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Own Your Story #20 with Kevin: Don’t sell yourself short for comfort


It is rare to meet a wine maker in a tropical country like Malaysia, let alone a financial consultant who turned into wine maker before diving into movie making.

I knew I had to dig into his story when I first met Kevin.

It was such a bliss to explore life from his angle distilled from experiences in the corporate world, serving the community and making wine in Europe, and coming back home to where it all started.

1| Love yourself more than a ‘good life’

Kevin’s story started with breaking out of what he called a ‘rat race’ in the financial industry.

He mentioned a moment looking down at the cross road from a tower in the middle of Tokyo city, realizing that he could be one of the people crossing the road mechanically had he not broken out of the system.

It wasn’t an overnight decision to leave behind a decade-long career, but he came to a point where he needed to search for the missing piece in life — the joy of living.

There is no way to make sense of his decision by punching the numbers, he did it out of self-love.

2| The power of choice

Kevin spent 2 years in Europe and New Zealand providing community services for marginalized community and youth.

When he came across an intellectual homeless man who was able to speak multiple languages in London, it struck him that he was only one choice away from becoming that homeless man.

Don’t give up on yourself, life could be as simple as that.

3| An authentic way of life connecting with nature

The first time Kevin visited a vineyard in New Zealand, he was mesmerized by the connection with the source when he was able to touch the vine and soil.

He started exploring courses in wine making after coming back to Malaysia and secured a highly selective scholarship offered by the EU, as though this was an arrangement by fate.

To Kevin, wine making is an authentic way of life that brings joy to other people by connecting the nature, produce and consumers.

Instead of making a prediction based on past indicators in the financial world, Kevin adopted a new way of living that required trust and surrender to get a good harvest season in the vineyard.

4| Create an impact through storytelling

When Kevin switched his path to film making, it was a conscious decision to share his passion and beliefs in gastronomy with wider communities across different cultures through media.

I loved how Kevin came alive when he talked about the importance of storytelling as a mirror to connect people with themselves and each other.

He believes that storytelling is not merely about techniques and skills, it’s about how to live life.

If we see ourselves as the hero in our own story, we can apply different stages of storyline in our lives and accept that all challenges will ultimately lead us to a transformation or breakthrough moment.

5| Don’t sell yourself short 

When Kevin talked about not selling ourselves short because we are capable of creating joy and possibilities for ourselves, it was such a great reminder for me to hold on to my vision when I couldn’t see a clear path.

He said, you know deep in your heart what you really want in life. It is your own responsibility, your own power to realize the highest potential within you.

If he chose comfort over the joy of life, he wouldn’t have created an amazing adventure in community services, wine making and film making in different parts of the world.

Let the joy of living guide your adventure in life

Kevin has indeed lead a life well lived by creating his own reality, trusting life, and letting the joy of living guide his path.

At the end of our conversation, he mentioned life is not somewhere in the future when one has X amount of money in the bank account or becomes a powerful person; life is in the present moment, in each and every breath one takes.

“Death is the only new experience that can happen to me now. Why are we so afraid of death?” — Tiziano Terzani, The End is My Beginning

In this moment, all of us have the equal choice to choose joy in life and create our own adventure.


Connect with Kevin: k.wanderman@icloud.com

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