Annual Report 2015: A Bumpy Ride

IMG_4074I started 2015 on a high. Having just ended 2014 with a big bang after achieving our company’s 3 years BHAG, I was feeling good and confident. Looking back, I probably have been a tad too confident after a string of successes. 

To describe 2015 in a phrase – I would choose – A Bumpy Ride. There were so many ups and downs. Many good moments, yet many more heartaches. But what really mattered at the end is, by God’s grace, we have come to a soft landing and still grew amidst the challenges. Looking back at 2015, what I am most grateful for is, despite the trials and tribulations, the tears and the turmoils, we survived.

3 biggest business/leadership wins:

  • Invited to speak on the same stage with world leader Barack Obama at the ASEAN Business & Investment Summit (ABIS). I am immensely grateful for the opportunity because it was a reminder to me that despite all the challenges that I am facing, I am on the right track, and I am in the right industry and the right business. I believe that many of these speaking and media opportunities would not have come my way if I have not chosen to persevere in my chosen career path.
  • Acquisition of Thailand’s largest dating company MeetnLunch. Jamie and I have been friends with Nikki for a long time. Hence, it was a dream come true to finally be able to enter Thailand and work together with a fellow entrepreneur who is equally passionate about the dating industry. This collaboration helped to further cement our position as South East Asia’s leading dating company.
  • Growing our next generation of leaders. This Christmas, I received a very heartwarming note from two of my associates. They are both very sharp and intelligent young ladies who joined us at about the same time 3 years ago. In the past 3 years, I have spent tens of hours coaching and mentoring them. And today, it gives me great joy and tremendous satisfaction to see them shining in their roles as they take on leadership positions in the company.

3 biggest family wins:

  • Jamie and I celebrating our 10th year wedding anniversary. 2015 was actually a challenging year for Jamie and I on the relationship front. We snapped at each other more, we were less patient with each other. It could be due to the stress we were facing on the work front or it could be due to the fact that after so many years of being together, we started to take each other for granted. We faced our challenges head-on, talked it out and made tweaks and adjustments. I am proud that we have committed since day 1 to always put our marriage first, and that has helped us tide through our tough times this year.
  • Celebrating my dearest mummy’s 70th birthday. People are usually shocked beyond words to find out that my mum is 70 years old. I hope that I have gotten her youthful genes too. Jamie and I went back to KL together with the kids to celebrate her birthday. We threw a party where we invited family as well as her closest friends. I am happy that my mummy is happy and healthy. To me, my mum is the Proverbs 31 woman – a woman worth far more than rubies: she works hard, she brings glory to her husband, she look after her children and her household well. I have so much to learn from her.
  • Precious family time. I counted… I made 37 trips this year. That’s 3+ trips a month. Some were long trips, some were day trips. I spent a lot of time away from home and the family. When I was reflecting on my year, my happiest moments were the moments spent with Jamie, Corum and Cara at Botanic Gardens, at East Coast Park, at our family holidays to Beijing and Bali. I might not have been the children’s main caretaker or spend as much time with them as I would like to but I focus on making every experience and every moment count.

3 biggest personal/community wins:

  • Completing Bible Study Fellowship – Life of Moses. This is my fourth year in BSF. I completed the first 2 years, dropped out of the third, and thankfully completed my fourth year despite my hectic travel schedule. I set a goal to complete it, and there were times that I flew back to Singapore specifically just to attend BSF. I figured that if I could do that for work, why not for my thirst for God’s word? I have been extremely blessed by this year’s study of the life of Moses. As I went through my personal and business struggles, I was comforted that if God would provide for Moses as he led the Israelites out of Egypt and out of the wilderness, God would lead me out of this mess. And He did.
  • Diving Trip in Manado. I have been wanting to dive since I was a student. However, the opportunity came and passed and never presented itself again until my EO forum mates decided that we would go diving for our forum retreat this year. It was a hassle going for the theory and practical classes in Singapore prior to the dive trip and I begrudgingly went through them. When we finally went to the open sea, I had no regrets. Nothing prepared me for the beauty and grandeur of the underwater world. We saw many turtles, lion fishes, “Nemo” and many beautiful corals. I loved the tranquility of the moment, just me, the quietness of the ocean, and the graceful fishes.
  • Rotary Medical Mission Trip to Nepal. I was touched by the heartwarming welcome they gave us. The whole town of Bandipur came out to welcome us. During this medical mission trip, I had a once in a lifetime experience of performing pap smears for the village women. There were not enough doctors and nurses, so they trained a group of us ladies to perform pap smears in a small and sparsely furnished hospital room with two steel beds, where two ladies will be lying side by side on each bed. This experience left a deep impression because I can’t help but compare my own pap smear experience with theirs. It made me feel extremely grateful for what I have and reminded me to stop complaining about life.

3 biggest lessons learnt in 2015:

  • The power of a compelling vision. In September 1965, Lee Kuan Yew said, “This country belongs to all of us. We made this country from nothing, from mud-flats… Over 100 years ago, this was a mud-flat, swamp. Today, this is a modern city. Ten years from now, this will be a metropolis. Never fear!” He and his super competent A-team built that and a lot more. During the week of national mourning, I watched many footages of Lee Kuan Yew’s fiery speeches. He was a man with a vision, a man with a purpose. Millions mourned his passing as he has made a mark. I do not know yet what my legacy would be. But I do know that if I have a big enough vision and compelling enough purpose, and the grit and perseverance to keep going, I too can make a difference.
  • Stick to your core mission, stick to what you know and do best. This year, we strayed from our core to chase after “shiny toys”. As we were going about it, I had a gut feeling that something was not right. Even though I have committed to the plan, I was not 100% convinced that it was the right thing to do for us. I consulted my mentor. She told me to keep my eyes on our core, and not to get distracted by what others are doing. Initially, I was reluctant to take her advice. As the plans started to fall through, I took a step back and realised that my mentor was right. We made the decision to stop pursuing “shiny toys” and refocus on our core. It felt extremely good, and instantly, I felt at peace.
  • The importance of building great teams and surrounding yourself with competent people. In the midst of the craziness that I was going through this year, what kept me sane were the people around me. Jamie, my parents, my helper, my extended family, my amazing team at work, my friends. When I had to go for an urgent work trip, my support network at home pulled their weight and helped out with the kids. When I was feeling down and drained, and could not muster the strength to chair yet another strategy planning retreat, Jamie stepped in and did a fantastic job. When I was not sure if I could push my team any harder, the leaders themselves stepped up, kept morale up and took up the load on their shoulders. I am thankful for each and every one of these angels in my life.

It has not been an easy nor smooth-sailing year. I have learnt a lot of hard lessons this year. I believe that God has a purpose, and He is preparing me for greater things to come.

To everyone who’s reading this annual report, thank you for your love, your support and your encouragement. Thank you for being a part of my life.

Here’s to wishing you and your family a Blessed and Brighter 2016 ahead!

Love, Violet

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually ( Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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2014: A Year of Abundant Blessings

Another year has just gone by. The last month, the last week and the last day of 2014. And here I am, doing what I have been doing for the last 11 years, sitting down and taking stock of the year has just passed. :)

As I prepare to write my annual report, I read through all my previous annual reports, and many of them brought a smile to my face, and some made me tear. I reviewed the goals that I have set for this year, I read through all my monthly forum updates and note the key events that have taken place throughout the year.

One thing for sure – 2014 is a year of abundant blessings.


2014 – we celebrate 10 years in business. All the 3 business goals that I have set have been accomplished. We expanded to a new market after so many years. We forayed into the world of mobile dating apps. And, for me, the momentous achievement is… having successfully grew more than 50% this year, we hit a new revenue milestone for the business! I am so so proud because we achieved the BHAG that Jamie and I set for the company in Dec 2011. At our year-end management retreat then, I made my entire management team stand up, put their right hand up and pledge, “Today is 31 Dec 2014. We are a $XXX company.” At that point, I think many of my associates thought I was crazy, and felt that they have no choice but to say it since I am the boss. It was a target that seemed out of reach, it was a target that seemed almost impossible, it felt insurmountable.

Today, 3 years later on 31 Dec 2014, by God’s Grace, we did it!

The power of the BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal. The power of my dream team. My cupids & transformers, I love love love you. Without you, we would not have been able to #makeithappen!


2014 was a year of physical challenge. My forum mates and I decided to scale the tallest mountain in South East Asia – Mount Kinabalu. I am not sure what possessed our group of 8 ranging from 29 to 52 years old to take on this task. It started out as a joke, but it became a reality in May. Being one of the most unfit in the group, I trained by climbing the tallest hill in Singapore – Bukit Timah, which if you think about it is quite a joke because Bukit Timah is 164m and Mount Kinabalu is 4095m!!! I was extremely nervous before the climb. My forum mates were my pillars of strength as we forged ahead. There were times when I felt really tired and exhausted, wondering why I was doing this. They cheered me on, encouraged me and sang hymns with me nearing the summit. We were rewarded with the most beautiful sunrise as we conquered the summit. And it was all worth it.

And as if that was not punishing enough, I decided to sign up for a full marathon (42km), another challenge inspired by one of my forum mates, Annie. Knowing my personal limits, I engaged a running coach – Coach Ram. We trained for 6 weeks – starting first with 8km, and progressing to 30km. It was hard, it was grueling. There were many times I wanted to quit. There were many days that I did not want to wake up for my runs. But I began to realize that running a marathon is like running a business. There are tough days. there are challenges, but if you just keep at it and never give up – all the training, all the drilling, all the pushing… one day, it would all come together. And that was what happened. On race day, I managed to run non-stop for 10km!!! There was a time, I could not even run 1km without stopping. Even though, due to race technicalities, I did not manage to run the full 42km, I have resolved to complete my 42km race in 2015.

It has been 10 years since Jamie and I went on a humanitarian trip. Inspired by yet another forum mate, Liz, we decided to join her on her annual Global Clinic trip to Ladakh. It is hard to believe that such a beautiful place exist in this world. During our short stay, we set up a mobile eye, dental and women’s clinic and we served thousands of local folks. It was a blessing to be able to reach out and touch another’s life. And in return, we ourselves are touched. As we drove through the peaks and valleys in our small little van, and as the experienced driver maneuvered through the sharp bends, one thought was constantly on my mind. I looked at the simple houses, the sparse villages against the stately landscapes. Yet, the children always had a smile on their faces. And as we pursue success, we pursue wealth, we push ourselves, we push our children. Are we truly happy? In that short trip, I realized that… we actually needed so little to be happy. Happiness is the gap between expectation and reality. The smaller it is, the happier we will be.


Next year, Jamie and I celebrate our 10th year wedding anniversary. We have had our ups and downs, our trials and tribulations, but one thing remains – he’s God sent, and he’s the best thing that has happened to my life. Nobody knows me as well as he does. Nobody challenges me as well as he does. Because of his love, his support, his encouragement, he makes me a better person, year after year.

Corum and Cara are growing up fast. Having grown up being very close to my parents, I worry constantly that I am not spending enough time with them with my different passions and commitments. I thank God for helping me make time and prioritize. I have successfully had monthly dates with them – spending time with them individually – doing things that they enjoy. I learnt from my good friend Moonlake to work around their schedule rather than working them around mine. It is not easy, but I am consciously working on it to make it work. Corum is becoming more and more like daddy – serious and quiet, loves history, science and Minecraft. He’s a thinker, a daydreamer and he is becoming quite a strategist. And when it comes to friendship – it is not the quantity but the quality that counts. Cara at 5, never ceases to amaze us with her entrepreneurial spirit. She is spunky, she is determined, and she is extremely loyal to those she loves (especially her kor-kor). She loves all things pink and purple, Hello Kitty, My Little Pony, and baking!

I feel that God has given us a big test this year. And if it is indeed a test, I hope we have passed it with flying colours. We have been asked to separate our Christian values from our working lives. And that set off alarm bells in our heads, because we set up this organization to do God’s work, to glorify His name and to make a difference in people’s lives. We said no. God has been extremely faithful. Every time we prayed, He has answered. He has been our guiding light in our decisions, big or small. Jamie and I have been deeply inspired by the movie Facing the Giants.

Our favourite quote – “And if we win, we praise Him. And if we lose, we praise Him. Either way we honor Him with our actions and our attitudes.”

I must thank my parents, in-laws, extended family and helper for your endless support and helping me to live my dreams. My best friend Tsiao Yi for your 20+ years of friendship. My Top Ten Forum Mates who challenged and inspired me to greater heights. My many mentors who have advised me and shared with me their experiences so generously and unconditionally. My associates at #LunchActuallyGroup for believing in me and making my dream come true. Corum and Cara for bringing sunshine, rainbow and happiness into my life. And to my one true love Jamie, words cannot express my gratitude. I love you.

2014 has been a momentous year. I have laughed, I have wept. I have fallen, I have learnt. Thank you for being part of it! Happy New Year, and may you and your family be blessed with much love, laughter and happiness in 2015!!! :)


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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually ( Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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13 Lessons Learnt in Year 2013

Welcome-2014-Bye-Bye-2013-Wishes-WallpaperAs 2013 draws to a close, as part of my annual ritual, I sit down at my desk at home to reflect on the year that is coming to pass. 

2013 has been an eventful year. There have been many ups and downs, many joys and disappointments. Perhaps even more, there are so many lessons that I have learnt.

Here are my top 13 lessons this year…

~ Personal ~

1. Stop Working on Sundays. Work will NEVER end. Friends have commented previously that I seem to be online all the time. This year, I realised that no matter how hard I work, work will always be there. The emails will not stop coming in, the projects will not stop streaming in. And hence, this year, I decided to stop working on Sundays. I never thought it was possible. I even felt guilty initially as I thought that work will pile up since I am working one day less. What I have realised is, actually by giving myself fewer working days, it actually forces me to more efficient with my time, and plan my time better!

2. Health is Wealth. I have fallen really sick twice this year. My lower back is giving me problem. My bunions are growing bigger. I am putting on weight. And I am only 33. I need to look after myself better. I need to eat healthier and spend more time exercising. Because, at the rate I am going, I am running down my body. And all the money, accolades and achievements in the world mean nothing, if I cannot live a healthy life. I have to be more disciplined with my personal training as well as my eating habits.

3. It is Important to Reflect and Sharpen My Saw. As much as I try to make time for myself regularly, I find that I do not have a lot of me-time with having to juggle family time with business and other commitments. I started to feel down and my energy being sapped away. This year, I have started the habit of setting aside a day every month to just read, relax and reflect. My PA knows this as my 'Read & Think Day' and does not schedule any appointments on that day. New ideas started to flow freely again, and I come out of it feeling refreshed and recharged.

4. Who am I to Judge? This year, I have been privy to a lot of confidential information. And some of these information have been shocking (and some disturbing) for me.  The initial reaction like what most people would do was of course to judge. However, I realised that everybody have gone through different life experiences, and it is really not for me to judge their actions and decisions. And once I learnt to suspend judgments, I started to focus on how these revelations help me know and understand myself better – who I am, what I stand for, what my values are. And how I can make use of these knowledge to make a difference.

Family ~

IMG_63245. Charity Begins at Home. I never really understood what this saying truly means until recently. A lot of us spend a lot of time doing good for the community, for the world. We are willing to donate not just money, but also our time and also our patience. And sometimes, we forget that being kind, generous and compassionate is actually most needed at home. We are usually most critical of the people around us. We are usually most impatient with the people whom we love and love us. This year, I have made a conscious effort to be kinder, more compassionate and more patient with the people closest and dearest to me.

6. Our Children Wants Our 100% Attention when We Spend Time with Them. There has been endless discussions on Quality Time vs. Quantity Time. What I have come to realise is – our children need both. But most importantly, when we are with them, they want our 100% attention. No smartphones, no tablets, no daydreaming. I learnt this when I tried a 'management tool' with my kids after an evening out at the park. I asked them what were their '3 highs and 3 lows' of the day. For the biggest high, Corum said, "When you played ball with me!" and Cara replied, "When you brought me to watch the singing and dancing at the stage area!" This is a good reminder for me that being in the same room or space with them simply does not constitute spending time. It is about 100% engagement, 100% attention.

7. Family Rituals are Important. We started many family rituals this year. Family movie nights where we have pasta and pizza takeaway and watch a movie at home. Family meetings/conferences where we discuss family laws, holiday plans etc. Annual Family Holidays where we spend 24 hours together, just the 4 of us. These rituals have brought us closer as a family. It has also amazed me how much a 4 year old kid is actually capable of understanding and doing. At our final family meeting of the year which has taken place 3 hours ago, Corum and Cara have just set their 2014 Goals. :)

8. Our Parents are Not Getting Any Younger. Just recently, I brought my dad to get some insoles for his shoes as his feet are aching. He also told me that he cannot see the maps on GPS machine clearly. Like all little girls, while growing up, my daddy is my hero. He carries me on his shoulders when I was a toddler. He ferries me around in his car when I grew older. He has always been and still is looking after me. It is easy to take for granted that our parents will always be young, healthy and energetic. I now make a point to spend time to have lunch, dinner or even supper with my mummy and daddy… to have long and deep conversations with them when they are visiting us in Singapore or when I am back in KL. 

Business ~


priceless gift. words of encouragement from my associates.

9. 1 to 1 time is Priceless. When we first started Lunch Actually, there were only 4 of us. Now there are 40+ of us. In the past, I would have daily conversations with everybody. Now, everybody is scattered in different offices and countries. Of course I communicate regularly with my direct reports. However, there are some of our associates whom I would have probably just spoken with at orientation and some small talk at company gatherings. After reading a book that says that lunches should be fully utilised, I have decided to have "lunch dates" with my associates. Once a week, I will have a one-to-one lunch with one of my associates where we can talk about anything they want – work, family, personal, goals, life etc. I got to know a lot of my associates a lot better – their aspirations, their family, their passions. I did not realise the impact of this initiative until I recently received a Christmas card from one of our associates. The card read, "You may not be around all the time, but you have no idea how much I do appreciate the 1-1 time spent with you over lunch. A boss who makes the effort to learn and know their associates better. I feel so appreciated and loved."

10. Work CAN be and SHOULD be Fun. Learning from my fellow entrepreneur friends at EO (Entrepreneurs' Organization), I implemented a company wide Daily Huddle where associates will come together to update each other on their daily goals and accomplishments. And we will end off with a Morning Dance. When we first started, my strategy team and I were apprehensive of the associates' reaction to the Morning Dance. Would they think we are crazy? Or would they find it too childish? Well, our team of Cupids & Transformers simply LOVE it!!! Thank God! :) When I shared with some friends in their 20s that we dance every morning at work… they were stunned for a second. And then, they started to ask, "Do you have openings in your company? Can we join?" :) This has made me realise that… work does not always have to be serious and uptight. Work CAN be fun, and SHOULD be fun. In fact, I always ask my associates, "Is work still fun?" Because we spend 8-9 hours a day at work, and when it becomes a drag to go to work everyday, maybe it is time to move on.

11. The Power of Empowerment and Autonomy is Simply Amazing. This year, we hived off one of our growing products and put in charge a COO and product manager to run it. They will seek Jamie's and my advice and counsel for major and critical decisions. Other than that, they are mostly on their own. I am personally amazed and astonished by the results that they and their team have produced in the last year. For entrepreneurs and managers out there, what I have learnt is… our people if given the right environment to grow and thrive, have a lot to give and contribute. What we need to do is to make sure that we are a 'multiplier' and not a 'diminisher'. Because under a leader who is a 'multiplier', teams are known to be 2 or more times more effective and productive. But if you have a manager who is a 'diminisher', people will actually 'dumb down' because they feel suppressed and are afraid to try new things and make mistakes. 

12. The Danger of Falling into the Trap of Self-Justification and… Complacency. Today, I am thankful that Lunch Actually Group is South East Asia's leading dating company with thousands of successful couples and marriages under our belt. Yet, if you were to compare our revenues to many other businesses out there, we are miniscule. Some people would say, "You cannot compare with others because your industry is a niche industry. You started out in a small region. Actually, you have done very well!" Do not get me wrong. I am all for being happy and contented with what I have been blessed with. However, I also believe that if I fall into the trap of self-justification, I would eventually become complacent and stop pushing myself to become a better businesswoman to improve the business, to extend the reach of our services. Being complacent does not serve me, my family, my associates nor the singles' lives whom we can touch through our company products and services. I have learnt that it is ok to whine and self-pity sometimes, but it is important to differentiate facts from excuses.

And to sum it all up, I have learnt to…

13. Let Go, Let God. There have been many mini-miracles that have happened in 2013 that I know can only be through God's grace. It has not been a year without trials and tribulations. There were times when we were lost, and not sure what to do. I thank God for walking alongside Jamie and I in the last year. I have learnt that we can make plans but our plans will only succeed when we commit them to Him. God has shown us that He has plans for us, and He alone can bring these plans to fruition for His reasons, in His timing.

If you are reading this, I thank YOU for being a part of my life. I have so many people to be thankful for this year.


A BIG thank you to: My hubby Jamie – my rock, my children Corum & Cara – my miracles, my parents – my harbour, my parents-in-law, my helper, my extended family – my amazing support system, my associates at Lunch Actually Group and – my inspiration, my EO forum mates and friends – my council of advisors, my brothers and sisters in Christ – my fellow disciples in Christ, and last but not least, my close friends – my sanity. 

To each and every of you, I pray that you and your family will have a blessed year ahead. 


Love, Violet

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually ( Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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2012: My Year in Review


Reviewing the goals that I have set for 2012, I have achieved 80-90% of the personal goals that I have set under the categories of Faith, Relationship, Family, Business and Personal Development. However, I have failed miserably in the Health and Friends categories. Nevertheless, looking back at the year 2012, I will remember it as one of the best years in my life thus far.

Knowing God, Serving God

One of the things that I have always wanted to do since becoming a Christian is to study the bible. However, I have never been able to read the bible diligently until a good friend of mine introduced me to Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), where you meet with a group to study the bible for 32 weeks. I never thought that I would be able to commit due to my frequent travel, as there is an attendance policy. However, with the encouragement of my group leader, I persevered and completed my first year of BSF. I am so glad that I have taken my first step to studying the bible and knowing God’s words.

As I have received abundant blessings, I wanted to give back through a ministry. Hence, when there was a ‘recruitment drive’ for Sunday School teachers, I prayed on it, and decided to volunteer. I have met so many amazing brothers and sisters in Christ that are serving passionately in the ministry, and I am so blessed to be able to be part of the lives of the delightful K1 kids (5 years old) that I teach at Sunday School.

12 Happy Years and Counting

In 2012, two of my close friends’ marriages broke down. I am very saddened and shocked by the news. I know that divorces are on the rise across the world, but somehow, I thought that my circle of friends would somehow be shielded from these statistics. But this was not to be.

Jamie and I celebrated our 12th year of knowing each other, and 7th year of marriage in 2012. And as couples get more familiar with each other, it is inevitable that they begin to take each other for granted. Like most married couples (despite popular beliefs), Jamie and I do have our ups and downs, and our fair share of disagreements and arguments.

We have learnt from a wise man that we should put our marriage as the number one priority in our lives. Our marriage must come before our children, our extended family, our business, and our personal goals… With that view in mind, we have learnt to resolve our arguments by putting away our egos, and saying sorry even when sorry is the hardest word.

One of my goals for 2012 was to have weekly date nights with hubby. And this is a session we look forward to every week where we ‘pak toh’ (date) and enjoy each other’s company be it through a dinner date or a movie date.

Focus on the Family

Even as Singapore and many of the first world countries battle with declining birth rates as more people are getting married later and delaying parenthood, I often say to Jamie, “Why would anybody not want to have kids?” So much so, I am starting to sound like a broken record. The truth is… Corum and Cara have brought so much joy into my life, our lives. 

They wake me up in the morning with their happy chattering. They make me laugh with their corny jokes. They give me hope for the world with their lofty aspirations. And they warm my heart with their unconditional love. Watching them grow up is one of the most satisfying journeys of my life. I am so very blessed to be given a chance to experience motherhood and I thank God every day for our two very wonderful children. 

Many people were astounded when they find out that Jamie and I live with his parents, his grandmother, his elder and younger brother and his elder brother’s family. We have four generations living under one roof – a rarity in today’s society as more young families choose to live on their own. Friends were even more amazed to find out that we actually get along! Hence, I am so glad when my sis-in-law suggested that we start a family prayer group earlier this year. It has been an amazing experience praying for each other and our other family members, and we have grown even closer as a family.

The Love Business

We celebrated our 8 years in business this year. We have set extremely ambitious targets for 2012, and I am so proud of my team that despite some challenges and setbacks along the way, we made it!!! We have received many wedding invitations, gifts and presents from our happy clients. And it is so incredibly heartwarming to know that we have made a difference in our clients’ lives and we have had a part to play in their lifelong happiness. 

2012 was also the year we came onto the TV screen sponsoring our first dating show “Love in Progress” and launching our first TV commercial! As this was our first foray into TV, we definitely still have much to learn. Nevertheless, it was an amazing feeling to have taken this first step to educate and change mindsets.

Our team of Cupids & Transformers has expanded exponentially over the years, and I am so thrilled that we have found so many dedicated individuals who are passionate to join our cause to help singles find love!

Learning and Growing

I have joined the Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO), a worldwide organization with 122 chapters in 35 countries. It is truly an enlightening experience getting to know other fellow entrepreneurs, and learning from their triumphs as well as failures. It is also reassuring to know that I am not alone in facing the multitudes of challenges and heartaches that most if not all entrepreneurs have to go through.

Health is Wealth

I know that it is important to stay healthy to keep up with my dreams and my lifestyle. I need to be more disciplined to achieve these goals in 2013. And I am glad that I have found a form of exercise that I enjoy very much, and it is sustainable. My new-found solution? Dancing on Xbox Kinect! J 

Good Friends Make The World Go Round

I have been blessed with many good friends throughout my life. As we grow older with more work and family commitments, the time that I am able to catch up with friends has diminished. I have not been as good at keeping in touch as I would like. Hence in 2013, I have set an objective to reconnect with at least one old friend every month.

If Only We Believe

One of the highlights of my year 2012 had to be being invited onto Malaysian radio station 988FM as a talk show guest. I have been an invited guest at various radio stations but this was particularly special because I grew up listening to 988FM. Never in my wildest dream as a teenager did I think I would one day be an invited guest to share my views and expertise on my favourite radio station. 

Which reminds me… our greatest enemy is often ourselves. We can be whoever we want to be. We can achieve whatever we want to achieve. Nothing can stop us. If only we truly believe.

Thanks Be to God

I am thankful for my achievements as well as the setbacks I have encountered in 2012. I am thankful for the many media opportunities that I have been given to encourage singles to take their first proactive step to find love and happiness. I am thankful for my hubby who is my anchor and my rock, my parents who love me unconditionally, my wonderful children who keep me grounded and sane, my ever-supportive extended family, my very helpful domestic helper, my most amazing team at Lunch Actually Group and all my loving and encouraging friends. 

I am looking forward to 2013. The best is yet to be.

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually ( Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Year 2011 in Review: What is Success?

2011 is another of those years where I look back and think… "Is this one of those years that has just passed by unceremoniously?" Because as compared to say 2010, I can't seem to identify one single successful milestone. When I shared this with Jamie, he said, "You are being too hard on yourself. Look through your calendar, and I am sure you will realise that you have accomplished a lot…" Thank God for the significant other… always logical, practical and eternally supportive. :)

I did go through my calendar, looking for glimpses of inspiration, and to be honest… secretly hoping I have some successes that I can share with you in this 'annual report'. However, I am still unable to identify many or any worthy feats I felt that was worth sharing.

And just about then, I read a newspaper interview with the Acting Minister of Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports, Chan Chun Sing. He was asked to give his opinion on the declining birth rate in Singapore. He shared that he would not put pressure on his children to get the best grades in school. More importantly, he will nurture them into disciplined, determined and responsible people. The reporter quipped, "But that's not society's definition of success…" Chan then explained that he believes that it is up to us to redefine the definition of success. "There are many roads to 'success' ", he said.

Which led me to think… What is my definition of success?

My definition of success like many others' are "Wealth, financial freedom, high-flying career, fame…" In other words, no failures. The reason I felt that I do not have many 'successes' to share this year is because even though I did embark on several new projects this year, most of them either did not pan out well or did not achieve the level of results that I wanted. This of course has caused me many endless frustrations throughout the year.

As I reflected on this, I suddenly had an epiphany… Steve Jobs would have been the epitome of success for many. Yet, as cancer slowly took over body and his life, I believe something he wished for, something that none of his success could buy is… to regain his health. To have more time to spend with his family. To watch his children grow up.

Closer to home… I have attended many funerals this year. Many of which were precious lives snuffed out by cancer. There were three deaths that I took especially hard. Not because the others who have passed on were not precious in my eyes. But it is because I felt that these three people had their lives cut short, their dreams unfulfilled. They died so young. Too young. They would never have the chance to see their children grow up, graduate, get married. Nor would they have the chance to grow old with their loved ones. Nor would they get to experience doting on their grandchildren. Yet… even as they battled cancer knowing that they did not have long to live, they were determined to live a full and complete life. They continued to inspire the people around them with their unyielding passion and perseverance. 

And then I realised… with all that I have been blessed with, what right do I have to complain? Why am I here whining and lamenting? The problem is… my definition of success.

I HAVE TO redefine success. Success is not about material wealth. Success is not about keeping up with the Joneses. Success is not about living up to societal expectations. Because when people are at their deathbeds, their dying wish have never been, "I wished I could have made more money or I wish I have run more businesses…". In fact, I read a report this year about the 5 biggest regrets that people have when they are dying, and the one that struck a chord with me is… 

I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

It has finally dawned on me that:

Success is not a destination. It is a journey.

Success is not defined by others. It is defined by what you hold most important to you.

So, what is success?

Success to me is…

A happy marriage, a happy family.

A healthy body, a healthy mind.

Ability to make a difference in people's lives.

With my newly redefined meaning of success, the year 2011 has actually been an extremely successful year!!!

Jamie and I celebrated our 6th year wedding anniversary and our 11th year of being together. He has always remained my rock, my anchor, my cheerleader. :) Despite my hectic travelling schedule, I have spent a lot of quality time with my parents as well as my two wonderful children. Through Corum and Cara, I have learned to play, to laugh and to smell the roses.

I have never felt healthier… having lost weight and maintaining the weight loss with occasional exercise (I should do more!) and healthy eating.

And everyday, I am making a difference to people's lives through my chosen vocation. Wedding bells have been ringing throughout the year. And we have also been informed of many 'Lunch Actually Babies'. :) And thanks to my unique profession, I have also been invited to share my journey thus far at many meetings, forums and conventions – giving me a chance to inspire others to either pursue their own entrepreneurial journey or to be in a happy and fulfilling relationship, or both. :)

Yes, year 2011 has been a SUCCESS! Wow, isn't it amazing how a slight change of perspective changes EVERYTHING?!

To all of you – my family, my friends, my readers who have touched my life in one way or another, I would like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart… thank you for making a difference in my life.

And as we usher in the year 2012, I hope you too will take some time to reflect on what success means to YOU… :)

Happy New Year my dearest friends!

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually ( Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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2010 marks the 10th year I have been writing annual report a.k.a. my personal report card. Maybe that is the reason I am finding it so difficult to begin. Perhaps I really should not think too much, and just let the words flow. J

So here goes…

I have been thinking what would be the best way to write this year’s report to encapsulate the essence of 2010 and an idea came to mind! Since this year is year 2010, and it is also the 10th year I have been writing reports, why not make a listing of 10? J

2010 has been an amazingly good year. With God’s grace and unmerited favor, I have made great strides in many areas of my life.

The Happiest 10

1. I am now a published author. I have always loved to write, and have always dreamt of seeing my words in print.  I now have two books to my name – an English book and the Chinese version of the book. This is definitely a dream come true. J

2. My blog is the winner of The Most Insightful Blog in the Singapore Blog Award 2010. After keeping a blog for 10 years, of course I secretly harbor the hope that one day, it would become an award-winning blog… and this year, it has! J

3. Nominated for Singapore Women’s Weekly Great Women of Our Time Award 2010. Even though I did not win, it was definitely an honor to sit among some of the most illustrious and inspirational women in Singapore.

4. Celebrating 10 years of courtship and 5 years of marriage with my supportive and loving husband Jamie. I wrote about him and our courtship 10 years ago in my annual report then. Amazingly, we still share an amazing connection after all these years, and we can still talk for hours every day! J

5. After 6 years, Lunch Actually has reached new heights. Many businesses have achieved this milestone in a much shorter time. However, for Jamie and I, the last 6 years have definitely not been easy, and we are proud that we have achieved it with the hard work, dedication and contribution of our team.

6. Losing 10kg. I never thought that this was possible. But I am so proud that I managed to do it. After piling on the pounds after marriage and two pregnancies, I was weighing the heaviest that I have ever been in my life. Thus, it has been very empowering and confidence boosting to lose all those excess weight. I feel lighter and slimmer, and most important of all, healthier!

7. Running one 5.6km and two 10km marathons. For a person who has not run more than 2kms before last December, to have run two 10km marathons this year has not been easy. J It has taken me years, but I am glad that I have finally found the discipline to exercise and stay fit.

8. Discovering my passion for speaking. I started my journey as a Toastmaster in 2001. However, 2010 is the year that I am given the chance to speak and touch lives. Two speeches that stood out for me are the speech that I gave to a group of secondary school student in Singapore and a group of undergrads in Hong Kong. I am extremely honored to be given an opportunity to shape and mould our youth and inspire them to be the best they can be.

9. Seeing Corum grow to a confident little boy. When he was about 2, whenever we bring him to his friends’ birthday parties, he would cling on to us like a koala bear. And if we try to get him to participate, he would cry. It was frustrating as we know that he’s a bubbly kid at home. After a lot of encouragement, he is now more chatty and confident. It is extremely rewarding to see him blossom.

10. Seeing little Cara grow up and go to school. My little princess is growing up fast. She is a quick learner, and she can already say lots of words, and she can count 1-10. She can also hum many songs. I am starting to see a lot of myself in her. The good and the not-so-good.  J If she wants something, she absolutely has to have it. And she is not even 2!  It is going to be interesting to see her go through ‘Terrible Two’!

2010 has been an absolutely grand year. I finally turn 30, and am officially over the hill! :) I have learnt a lot from the many inspirational people around me. I have made many new friends and got reacquainted with many old friends.

On a sad note, this year, one of my uncles passed away as a result of multiple strokes. This has reminded me how important it is that we spend time with our loved ones before it’s too late. Thus, with my heavier travel schedule this year, I am grateful to be able to spend quality time with my loved ones.

Looking back on 2010, I really thank God for his abundant blessings on my family.

As the curtain falls on 2010 and we step into a brand new year, may we have the wisdom to learn from the highs and lows of the past year, and the confidence to embrace the New Year with renewed faith, hope and vigour…

Happy New Year, my dearest friends! May you find much love, laughter and happiness in year 2011! J

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually ( Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Bidding a bittersweet farewell to 2009…

Francesco Marino / FreeDigitalPhotos.net7 more hours, and we will be in 2010.

While the family sleeps, I am stealing some time to take stock of the year that is about to pass…

2009 is the year we welcome to our world our little princess Cara Krysania Lee. We wanted to name her Crysania Kara Lee, but nobody seemed to be able to pronounce her first name, and after she is borne, we felt that Cara suits her better. She’s a perfect little addition to our family. She’s demure and ladylike whilst Corum is loud and boisterous. She looks absolutely gorgeous in pink, and Mummy really enjoys dressing her up. Corum just turned 3 and is growing up well. He just said, “Mei-mei is the best sister ever! I love Mei-mei!” Daddy whispered to me, “But he only has one Mei-mei!” Oh well, it’s a good start…! :)

2009 is the year of travel. I have been travelling so frequently that sometimes I do not even bother to unpack. The worst travel stint was when I arrived back at Changi Airport at 12am, and I have to go back again at 6am. I have come to the conclusion that unless you are flying business class, business travel is so NOT glamorous! 😉

2009 is the year my best friend Tsiao Yi got married to her university sweetheart Tow. And I was the matron of honour. The reason I flew across the globe to attend her wedding having only delivered a baby 6 weeks earlier and amidst the height of the H1N1 flu scare (other than she’s my best friend), is because I wanted to support them in their journey of love. Tow is battling cancer, and he’s in an advanced stage. Some people might think it’s crazy that they are even contemplating marriage but the love that they share is so pure, so sincere, so true that I wanted to be part of their beautiful wedding tapestry.

2009 is the year that Jamie and I got baptized. For myself personally, I seemed to have played a game of hide and seek with God in the last 20 years. And finally in 2009, I have found my way home.

2009 has been an extremely tiring year on the business front. I feel that I have been fire-fighting most of the time. And being an entrepreneur of 5 years, thinking I am no longer a ‘greenhorn’, I was not prepared for it. Especially since I was heavily pregnant with Cara… But I honestly believe that God will never throw you something that He thinks you cannot handle… We had to make some tough decisions. It was not easy but hurdle after hurdle, challenge after challenge, obstacle after obstacle, Jamie and I overcame them.

2009 is a year of reflection. I wondered if what I am doing is enough to help singles out there find love. Sometimes, it seems like such an uphill task…. A drop of water in the vast ocean.

As professionals and executives, we all have our criteria and preferences. We all believe ourselves to have attained a certain status in life and we have the right to demand and expect. It’s only normal.

So, it is so difficult to share with singles to look beyond the façade, to see beyond the superficial attributes, to ask yourself does that quality really matter when I am old and wrinkled… Hence, I am so heartened to know that one of my readers have actually stepped out of her comfort zone and she is now happily seeing someone whom she would in the past never consider.

That gave me a glimpse of hope that I am actually heading in the right direction. This year, I have started running my workshop for single ladies again, sharing with them on how to be, meet and choose the right one. Men, don’t worry… I am not trying to leave you out, but for now, my focus is on the fairer sex. :)

A big thank you to my team at Lunch Actually and Eteract. You ladies and guys have worked so very hard. Jamie and I really appreciate your effort, your loyalty and your dedication.

To my ‘Ba’ and ‘Mi’, I do not know what I will do without your selfless and tireless love.

To my parents in law, thank you so much for your time and your love for us and our two children.

To my dearest girlfriends and guyfriends, thank you for keeping me grounded and sane… as I will always be Yan when I am with you. 😉

And to my dearest hubby, we have been through this very eventful year together. It wasn’t all rosy. But just like our wedding vows, “in good times and in bad times, when life seems easy and when life throws us challenges and difficult decisions…” WE MADE IT! And we have come out of it stronger! :) Thank you for being my anchor, my rock, my pillar of strength. I love you!

As the curtains fall, I bid 2009 a bittersweet farewell. It has not been easy, but there have been many beautiful rainbows that made up for the heavy storms. And… there are hopeful glimpses of what the future holds.

My dearest readers, Happy New Year!

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually ( Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Looking Back at 2008…

Dearest Friends,

We have come to the end of the year 2008. In another 7 hours or so, we will be ushering in 2009.

It’s quite funny, I was looking back at my goals that I set for 2008, and I have to say that I have not been very successful in fully implementing most of them. There are some health goals, personal development goals and spiritual goals.

In terms of health goals, I wanted to take up yoga this year. Well, I did sign up for a class, which I did not manage to attend most of the time. Then I signed up for a yoga membership! (Yes, I never learn…) And then, I got pregnant, and decide to defer it till next year. So, I still have not advanced very far in that goal.

And in terms of the business goals, truth is… I am quite happy with our ‘report card’ this year…

1. Launch of Matchmaking Institute, South East Asia, and have run 3 courses so far.

2. Launch of ADAMS (Association of Dating Agencies and Matchmakers of Singapore).

3. Launch of LUNCH Actually, Hong Kong! This is like a dream that I have had ever since we started LUNCH Actually… to eventually go regional, and this is our first step!

4. Having lunch with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana! :) Wow… I wonder if I would ever get such a chance if I was not in the dating & matchmaking industry.

5. Jamie & I were one of the Honourees for Spirit of Enterprise Award 2008.

6. Both LUNCH Actually & were among the pioneer batch to be accredited by the Government’s SDU Trustmark. LUNCH Actually received CASETrust Accreditation.

7. Attended quite a number of clients’ weddings, sharing in their bliss and happiness. And knowing that there are LUNCH Actually babies out there, and more on the way…!

And yet, it just never feels good enough.

I was quite down for a while yesterday, when I spoke to a single lady in her late 30s. I know that based on her profile and preferences, I am not able to sign her up as a member, because many guys in our database are looking for younger ladies. I explained the situation to her, but she got quite upset with me. And after I put down the phone, I was quite sad. I am upset because after 5 years in the industry, I am still not able to help these older ladies. I wonder if we ever can…

In terms of personal development goals, I wanted to complete my Advanced Communicator Silver for Toastmasters, but unfortunately I did not get very far. I did take part in the Humorous Speech Contest this year, and got as far as the Division Level. And… I forgot my speech half way. Stood there for 30 seconds. And then recovered. Can you believe it? I did not forget my speech at Club or Area Level, but it had to happen at the Division Level! :) Nonetheless, it was a good learning experience, and I learnt a lot from the more accomplished speakers.

The one goal that I have set, and I felt that I have accomplished is my spiritual goal. Last year, at about this time, Jamie and I decided to start attending church again. And our goal was to attend church regularly. Apart from some missing weeks here and there, we are on track. I must say Jamie and I have benefited so much from God’s Grace this year. Many times, we are tasked with facing difficult decisions or challenges, and God has answered all our prayers.

Many have predicted 2009 to be a challenging year in terms of the economic outlook.

I am preparing myself for an interesting year ahead. I am optimistic and I believe that there would be even more opportunities out there for us to reach out to more singles and help them find their happiness. 2009 is also the year that Jamie and I will be welcoming a new addition to our family. :) Did I tell you my Babe kisses my tummy now when I ask him to ‘sayang’ (love) his Mei-mei? Oh ya, we are expecting a girl! :)

As this year comes to a close, I would like to take the opportunity to say a big thank you the kind souls who have made a big difference in my life this year.

My ever-doting parents who give unconditionally. My in-laws & my extended family for their support, especially with Babe when Jamie and I are at work. Yin Yin & Vincent for being so wonderful and supportive, and walking with my parents’ in their journey with Christ. My girlfriends, you know who you are, for lending a listening ear, for believing in my dreams, and simply letting me be me. My team at LUNCH Actually & Eteract for working so hard throughout the year.

And… as always, I save the best for last… :) My dearest husband, without you, I will not be able to accomplish half of what I have done this year. You are truly my inspiration, my unwavering supporter, my pillar of strength. Thank you for putting up with my ups and downs, my crazy mood swings, my PMSes. I know you already know this, but I can never say it often enough… I love you!

To all my dearest friends and readers out there, Happy New Year! May the new year brings you much joy, laughter and happiness! :)

Love, Violet

P/S A new poll is up, go vote! :)

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually ( Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Looking back at 2007…

Dear friends,

How are you? Hope you have had a wonderful Christmas Celebration! :)

The reason you have not heard from me for so long is because… I am suffering from writer’s block! Yes, you heard me right! And this is the worst time to be hit with this, as I have recently be featured as one of the bloggers on “Notes from Venus“! (Much thanks to Anna & Gerry who believe in my work! You ladies are great!)… Btw, if you got to my blog from Notes from Venus, a very warm welcome to you! :)

Anyway, I have been extremely busy for the past couple of weeks… I can hear some of my close friends saying, “Yes Violet… what’s new?” Haha! :)

Just some updates… Christmas was fantastic. My parents were in town and it was good to catch up with them + they spending quality time with babe. Got some great presents, favourite one is from dearest hubby who gave me a mobile phone…! It’s a Nokia Navigator, which means I will never get lost again! Haha! :) Had the Lunch Actually team, alumni + spouses over at our place for our annual Christmas party. Had a blast playing games… And yes, the girls won AGAIN! Woohoo! :)

As 2007 draws to a close, it is time to look back at the outgoing year, make New Year resolutions for the incoming year.

2007 has been a year of ups and downs, hits and misses. But looking back, the highlight of my year in terms of my profession is not the media coverage that we are so blessed to have. It is not being the first South East Asian to be a panelist at the first Worldwide Matchmaking Conference. And even though I love Eteract to bits, it is not the official launch of Eteract in October. For me, the greatest sense of accomplishment is to attend the wedding of one of our couples in KL and to see the joy on their face, and to witness the beginning of their journey as husband and wife.

My profession as a modern-day matchmaker is sometimes a thankless one as many couples prefer to keep their relationships and marriages under-wraps. Maybe they are worried that we might publicise it without their consent. Hence, the experience of being thanked over and over again by this couple (until I myself feel paiseh/embarrassed) reinforced my commitment to my profession and my desire to bring people together.

2007 is also a very special year for Jamie and I as we watch our babe grow from an infant to a toddler. I believe that parenthood is one of the most amazing journeys that one can take. To witness the first smile, the first crawl, the first tooth sprouting, the first stand, the first step, the first word… so many firsts… And to see the proud and victorious smile on his face when he knows that he has achieved another milestone. And to observe the determination and perseverance to keep going despite falling down.

Our babe actually taught us a lot this year. He reminded us that if you put your heart and soul to it, and if you refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer, and if you just keep trying, you are actually making incremental steps. It might be slow sometimes, but one thing for sure… you WILL get there.

2007 is a year about gratitude. I feel extremely blessed by all that have been given to me this year. I have received so much love and support from my family, my team, my friends, my business associates and my blog readers. And I am truly thankful for your endless encouragement. And most of all, I would not be who I am without the love, support and inspiration from my dearest hubby. Hubby, xie xie ni!

As the clock ticks away, and as I await the monumental fireworks on the 31st Dec 2007 in front of my TV screen, I will be looking forward to yet another year of great learnings, joyous experiences and wonderful friendships.

Dear friends, here’s to a fabulous and exciting 2008! :)

Love, Violet

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually ( Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Reviewing 2005: May year 2006 be a dazzling year for all of us!

2nd day of 2006. Happy New Year! :) Have meant to write my 2005 Annual Report before the year ended. But as it usually goes, one thing led to another, and before I know it… 2005 has come and gone.

I was just telling Jamie the other day that I feel that I have not accomplished much in the year of 2005. Maybe that is why I have put off writing my annual report. I felt 2004 was a fantastic year in terms of personal breakthrough. I left my job to pursue my dreams. I started a business with my then fiance, now husband. And as a team, we created Lunch Actually. Wow, that was one exhilarating year! The always wise significant other said… "Why don't you look through your calendar and see what you have done in the past year? It is not as bad as you think."

2005 was about stabilisation. As they say, starting a business is easy. It is the maintenance that is difficult. Do you know 50% of first businesses fail in the 1st five years? 80% will fail in the first 5 years? 98% will fail in the first 10 years? Ok, those were the approximate figures that I remember, so do not quote me. But anyway, you get my point. We have just survived our 1.5 years. In April, we will be celebrating our 2nd year Anniversary. 3 more years to the 5 years mark and 8 more years to the 10 years mark. :)

2005 was about expansion. After starting our business in Singapore, it has always been my dream to bring the concept back to my hometown Kuala Lumpur. But, we never found the right time, right opportunity or the right partner. And finally after 1.5 years, we launched our KL office in September. Girlfriends thought I have totally lost it, as we launched the branch 2 weeks before the wedding! I guess, it was a personal challenge for Jamie and I. To start a new chapter in our professional life as well as personal life. :)

2005 was about love. Jamie and I finally tied the knot after 5 years of courtship. It was a fun-filled event. It was perfect. If I were to be given a chance to make any changes to it, I wouldn't. Because even though we did not have much time to prepare for it , it just turned out absolutely how I would have wanted it to be. And many friends have come to me after the wedding, "That was one of the best, if not the best weddings that I have ever attended!" Aww…so sweet of them. :) I was doing an interview for a Malaysian chinese magazine the other day – and the journalist asked me, "What do you think is an ideal husband?" I think I did not do the question justice the other day. To me, an ideal husband is of course Jamie. :) He knows when to let me have my way, yet he knows when to stand up to my ridiculous tantrums. He knows when I just need that little TLC (tender loving care), and he knows when to leave me alone to my own device. He knows how to cook, he's willing to help out in house chores, yet at the same time gives me opportunities to show off my feminine side. I enjoy being a 'xiao nu ren' (mandarin, little woman i.e. the traditional wife) too ok? :) He looks after me, my family, and our finances. He's the thinker, he's the strategist, and when you are with him, you feel safe, secure and well looked after.

2005 was about friendship. You never know how much your friends and family love you until there comes a time for them to prove their love. Our wedding would definitely not be as fantastic as it has been not for their time, effort and encouragement. They helped with the planning, the coordination, contributed ideas to make it perfect. My girlfriends gave me a fabulous hens' night. Haha, definitely memorable and unforgettable. And the 3 days celebration was just great. Everything was well taken care for. I was a happy and relaxed bride. Girlfriends came back from all around the world (U.S., Canada, UK, Beijing) to be with me on the most special day of my life. It was just great! Both sides' parents made things easy as well. No difficult demands on either sides, just lots of help, support and love.

2005 was about loss. Jamie lost his grandfather. I lost a 'en ren' (mandarin, person who gave you great help). Both were great men in their own right. One a family man, who loved his family so much, and strived hard to protect and look after them. One a charismatic business leader. I have read about Sam Walton's leadership, Ray Kroc's ingenuity but I have never come face-to-face with such greatness. Hence, I am honoured to have met Sunil Sreenivasan personally.

2005 was amazing. I learnt a lot. I made and kept many great friends. I made mistakes along the way. I discovered myself in the process. Let's toast to another enriching and meaningful year ahead! Happy New Year!

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually ( Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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