A story about entrepreneurship and a short guide to finding your purpose and calling.
By Michelle Chai Founder of Kintry
All you need to do is make that decision, that one decision and act on it. It could be going back to school, starting a business, speaking in public, writing that book, teaching that class, being happier, finding your passion, or doing what you love.
Going through the grief of losing my mother, the failure of a marriage, the fights in family court, large sums of money lost, and confidence gone down the drain for fear of everything. I felt like I was doing everything wrong, I was being judged, being laughed at and isolated. I always had an excuse or an answer for why I did this or that and I realised it was always because of what other people may think.
During that time, I read books, I meditated, I sage-d, I prayed but let’s be honest here, nothing was going to change if I wasn’t going to change. If I just sat there overthinking and being worried and you know what, that would probably be what I’d still be doing today if I didn’t wake up and decide. This is it, I was going to give myself the time to think, but I also needed to be firm and decide that it was also time to stop. Stop the self-doubt, the fear, the worry, and just start doing. I had to understand that we are all bound to make mistakes and that’s what makes us human and that’s the only way to learn.
I decided to start my own little snack food business here in Malaysia, we did something out of the norm, we created snacks that feed the whole family, crisps for those who want a salty kick, healthy cookies for the kids, and sweet tooths and granola for the healthier option. I wanted to build a brand with community in mind and also to honour my heritage and country (let’s leave this as a story for another time) from there I evolved and took a yoga teacher’s training course and also a coaching course as I felt that this was the value I wanted to bring to the people around me.
Finding you, your story, and your path to entrepreneurship.
Building a business as an entrepreneur is a lot of work, but if you find your passion and you built on it, it will be something you’d be happy to wake up to every day, and it will be worth it.
Being an entrepreneur means you must have a vision of what you want to build, a dream of what you want for your business and your life and from there this vision would inspire others to be a part of your creations.
The thing is, how do we find that “thing” that we should be working on, that idea, that path of what we want to do? Isn’t it easier to just wait and stumble upon an opportunity? Well, the answer depends on you and what you really want.
This is what helps me and hopefully, it would help you discover your entrepreneurial calling and help you discover your purpose.
Start with your ending, your ultimate goal.
Ask yourself, what matters most to you, is it money, community, family, and what would be important to you for life? Ask yourself what you’d like to bring to the world, what you’d want to help others with and what you’d like to be known for.
Being an entrepreneur means you are always dealing with uncertainty and you have to keep moving forward despite ambiguity. It doesn’t matter if every detail is not laid out, as long as you have a sense of your values and ideals and you take the steps to start, you’d somehow reach your goal in the end.
To help you understand, start by questioning everything and everyone, their processes, their thoughts, and their stories. This knowledge would help you further shape what you think you’d agree or disagree with. Ask people what they value in life, read autobiographies of people you admire, there will be so much in there you could learn at the current stage of your journey.
Spend time alone and when you do, take the time to really think about where you’re at in life and where you want to be. Think about what you have learnt from the souls that have crossed your path and how the lessons they have taught you shaped you.
Write all this down, flow-chart, mind map, and notes and keep going back to the key ideas and words that you feel strongly about.
Make a plan (but be receptive that things may not go as planned)
Now that you have your ideals in mind it is easier to determine what you need to do.
From here, try imagining your life a year from now, 3 years from now, 5 years from now, 10 years from now, and so on. At each stage of your life, write down what you’d like to achieve or where you’d like to be.
Ask yourself a few crucial questions like what you’d need to do now and at each stage to reach that goal. It could be through meeting the right people, learning the right course, and letting go of things that hold you back. What lifestyle changes do you need to make, think about mental, social, career, health, and family decisions.
A lesson I learned during my tough times is that the lifestyle choices made during the early periods in life will set the pattern for the rest of your life. Studies show that over-reliance on instant gratification behaviors can create bigger problems by changing our brains, distracting us from more meaningful pursuits, and leading to destructive financial, social, and health outcomes.
Be willing to pivot, and accept change and challenges. Remember to fall back on your ideals and values to make decisions when you face crossroads.
Practise even if you aren’t motivated.
This may seem like a lot of work but there’s a joy in doing what you love, in doing what you value, and in doing what’s in line with your purpose. Once you start practicing and putting things into plan. The path will be clearer, on what you’d want to do, what career path you’d want to be in, and what value you have to give to the world.
Entrepreneurs find joy in their life’s purpose, they know that every choice leads them to a path that they know nothing about and that’s the adventure of learning and discovering. They know with grit and gumption many things can be achieved.
In fact, as you go about your journey, your vision and purpose are the most precious resources for rejuvenation and motivation in the face of seemingly impossible challenges.
Understand that you can’t have it all.
Be realistic. Think about the roles you have in life right now, partner, parent, child, leader, friend, sibling, and think of how you spend your time. Understand the value of saying “no” because it is impossible to focus on more than three things at the same time.
Picture your funeral and ask yourself what you want people to say about you as they look back on your life. These would be the things that you would want to focus on most and ask yourself in terms of physical and mental health, how much time would you need to set aside for this each day.
Set your priorities right and allow yourself to accomplish as much as possible by freeing your mental energy from misaligned activities. Once you do that and realize the difficult choices that will be required, ask yourself if it would be worth it and acknowledge the conflicts that may arise.
At the end of the day, you know deep down what you need to do, you know the truth and you know you can do it. Trust the process, and accept that life is an adventure, and nothing is linear. Just start doing and trust me, it’ll be the best decision you ever made and if you ever need help or would like to hear more from me just reach out!
 The Real Issue With Instant Gratification by Austin Perlmutter M.D.
As the founder of Kintry Co, Michelle Chai began her journey from the confines of her home kitchen. From slicing potatoes to shelling the salted eggs, getting flour all over her floor and herself, to understanding the importance of packaging to keep all items fresh, Michelle has emerged from hurdles and huge learning curves to build a local brand uniquely Malaysian.
An avid yoga and gym-goer, Michelle believes that health takes on both the physical and mental forms. Being a working Mum, Michelle holds high values in being a good role model for her daughter. Ensuring that she walks the walk just as much as she talks the talk. Leading by example not just through her parenting journey but with her incredible Kintry team means that Michelle is hands-on with every aspect.
Currently, she also works with empowerment coaching, mindfulness, yin and vinyasa yoga. In the past, she has also worked with UNHCR to empower Rohingyan refugees to create a small home catering business. Michelle does not sit on her laurels and is always up collaborating with local businesses, researching and snacking her way to creating more products for the Kintry brand!
Memories of her Mothers’ cooking and generational recipes that were passed down encouraged Michelle to forge on creating flavours that enhance customers’ Malaysian taste buds. In time, she hopes that her daughter will cherish these memories as much as she does with her Mother. She is grateful to Andy, her life partner for all the support he has given her to push her to where she is today and also to her father who has been there throughout with his unconditional love.
Connect with her at http://www.michellechai.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org