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!!!