I 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, VioletShare on Facebook