This is a solo, #riff, reflection episode from Fei Wu
Every once in a while, I like to indulge myself and record some solo episodes (without interview guests). There is a lot to learn and reflect. Capturing them in the moment seems to be the best way for me. These episodes tend to run shorter, and never overproduced. Enjoy!
Hi there, Feisworld listeners. It is late as I’m recording this right now, and I think I’m going to release this episode maybe a week from today. But something just came up and I feel, number one, really grateful for all the friends and mentors in my life. And recently I got to host two events and soon to be a third one for Inside Timer. And I had the pleasure of meeting Sarah Blundon, who is one of the most prolific meditation teachers on the platform.
By the way, they have over 6000 unique visitors daily, and I’m also working with their event manager and content manager, Maddie, to design a summit, most likely taking place on either June 18 or June 20, june 25 this year in 2022. So there is a lot going on in terms of not just the work I’m doing, but there’s a lot of self reflection. And as of tonight, I want to share a story, something I haven’t really talked about as openly on my podcast. Even though a lot of people realize that martial arts has been a really big part of my life. Growing up in Beijing, every kid wanted to be a Jackie Chan, Jet Lee, we watch all the movies and Bruce Lee.
Before all of that, of course, we wanted to be little martial artists, but many of us didn’t really put in the work. However, as soon as I came to the States, surprisingly, when I was 18, I moved to Boston to get ready for college. And I found in the yellow book that’s pretty ironic. There was even an older yellow book, and I found the Taekwondo school literally that same day. I wasn’t really making much money or anything, had very little really saved up at all.
I just wanted to do something because as an international student entering into college at the time, I had zero front, literally nobody I knew in the city. It was very lonely and I’m a very active person, very spontaneous person. So I went. Guess what? I signed up.
And for the next oh my goodness, 15 years, that was my life. A lot of people realize that I’m very into martial arts, but to the degree that I was into it, I don’t think I revealed it that much. Now, the part of the story that is making me or triggering me to talk about this is also the realization that sometimes when you have a big heart, when you’re really into something, you feel like it needs to be all of your life. You need to do whatever it takes. And this is when people like us, whether you’re an entrepreneur, your mom, your creator, your friend, you tend to neglect yourself.
Like, what your body, what your mind, what your body is telling you how well you’re doing? Are you setting the wrong expectations and people? Are you being taken advantage of? When it comes to your time, your investment in the project and then that’s all on you. So in retrospect, I realized that I loved helping out at my martial arts school.
I did that for literally a decade. That has a very long time. I think of it as my twenty s and my early thirty s. And that’s before I started Phase World as a company. I was there every single day.
I felt the need to be teaching, to be managing, designing flyers, website, everything in between. And I did it completely for free. Now I say that not as a regretful thing. And as a result I met a lot of really interesting people, other martial artists, people from all ranks. They were contributing to the school.
There’s a sense of loyalty and there’s a sense of expectation in ancient martial arts or martial arts schools that this is something that you did or you’re expected to do. What I didn’t realize is that I neglected myself, my health. And it definitely broke me a few times because on top of a consulting job, I was going to the school constantly and doing everything. And I loved supporting the school. I loved martial art.
As an art, I sponsor kids and competitions and I would just support the school in any way, in every way I could. But I neglected my dream, my goal of always wanted to be an entrepreneur. And guess what? I had no experience. I was in retrospect, I was basically just helping out maybe some of my entrepreneurial friends on doing a project or two.
But I had no idea what selfcare really meant, what I needed to do to maintain that, what it means to be your own boss, to take care of yourself, to have a plan, to stick to that plan. It was so easy for me to have a crazy busy consulting job and we’re in advertising and marketing for all my professional life working corporate America. There was just so much going on during the day and I didn’t necessarily know where I wanted to or know how to set a schedule for, oh, here are my Tuesday, Thursday nights, maybe one day over the weekend, I’ll just do this for Phase World. I didn’t know how to do that and I was utterly exhausted. So in retrospect, one of the lessons I learned is to be able to set boundaries.
It’s so much easier said than done, setting boundaries. After you’ve set everyone’s expectations that you are doing everything for free and all the time people expect that of you. And sometimes when we live in a place like the United States is such a democratic place, you own yourself, you own your schedule. Nobody should be in your face and your business. That can be a doubleedged sword.
And I wish, you know, I’m sure they probably were friends and voices and people are trying to tell me that that was simply too much. I probably didn’t really pay attention to it. Or maybe there was a sense of myself was just craving for the fulfillment of contribution. I think some of that has to do with childhood trauma and kind of trauma. This is a very trauma, informed decision or way of life of the need to have to be of contribution all the time.
You have to be doing something, making progress. So I think all of that contributed to my decision and how I spend my time and the people that I was friends with for over a decade now. In retrospect. I realize that today well. Hopefully not just today.
But a while back when I started Phase World. That if I had stayed there. Not just a place. A physical place. But mindset wise.
If I just stayed there. I would have never created my own little world called Phase World. Started my podcast. Shooting my documentary. Meeting the incredible production team.
Meeting my dear friend Herman. My content manager. Rose. And Anna is someone who’s been helping me out. I speak with her on a weekly basis.
I feel like she’s my little sister. I’m creating this little family. I’m creating jobs and opportunities, a way of teaching other people to do what I do and being able to learn from them, to be able to grow with them, help many, many more people beyond just martial arts friends or people who were close to me by proximity. And all of a sudden, it was just in retrospect, wow, that’s really clear. And I connected with so many new friends and mentors in the past eight years, since I started Phase World podcast, and even more so since I started Phase World LLC, my company.
And I’m so grateful to be able to finally buy a home my mom can call a house. My mom can finally call home as of August 2020, closing that home, to have enough finances, to have the confidence to buy it and to continue living my life as normal, to be able to provide for her, to be able to care for her, and to be able to run my company. One thing I told my producer Herman, is like, okay, I know that I have a house now. I have a small mortgage. No.
I am not going to give up face world. The whole point of buying a house is now I can record more videos in different backgrounds. I can invite friends into my home. This is a creator incubator. I’m not kidding.
I am already speaking with different friends and mentors about when we get old or forget that before we get old. This is a place where I’m going to make Chinese tear. You can look into my mom’s studio and look at her paintings and in the basement. And we built this kind of a multimedia area, and it’s just incredible. I can invite my friends in and provide a place to stay for them, especially now, given what’s going on in the world.
I’m able to offer to my friends who are leaving places where they don’t feel safe or something could happen that I tell them wet open, completely openly, that our home is open to them. So I want to share this. Not to say that it was an easy decision. It was so, so difficult of a transition for me. My goodness.
Probably one of the hardest things I would say, to say no, to let go of that identity, to say that I am not available this weekend, no, I cannot just continue to keep working on these things or no, you have to let me know ahead of time. I can still help you. But I need to make the transition so that I work on these things. On certain days, I can only commit to certain amount of hours each week, maybe each month. Then I start teaching the instructors at the Tag 120.
I started teaching kids on how to manage social media, how to maintain the website. And I don’t know why I didn’t do that before. And I think I try to do that and sometimes the kids are too young and they don’t know what’s going on and things don’t get done and I just take over. I’m like, okay, I’m going to do it again. That’s not what a leader would do in our situation.
Sometimes as an entrepreneur at the beginning, we all have the tendency just to take over. We know what to do, we can do it better, or we can be sure that the outcome is what we wanted. It took me many years to learn that I absolutely needed a team. I need to learn from other people, to be able to trust them. And so, with all of that said, letting go my identity, my past, not just the story I lived in, that was my life.
There is still a sense of grief in me, but it was the right decision. Most importantly, I get to help so many more people run my own company, spread more love. The projects I’m working on are just incredible. I’m helping Dr. BJ.
Miller with Metal Health publishing a book in China. I’m helping my dear friend Gustavo Serafini to start and continue to run the podcast called Enabled Disabled to celebrate the lives of people living with a disability, their family, their friends, rehabilitation centers and incredible. My friend Michael Velasquez. Childhood Cancer Hall of Fame and Talent champions. I’m sorry.
And then running that community of 1200 people, parents, kids, families, to give them a sense of hope, to share their stories, incredible. And that’s only a fraction of some of the things that I’m working on right now. And of course, there’s Phase World, all the life stream conversations. So sometimes it’s really important to let go and to move on, to create a new life, to create a new identity, and to honor the one that I lived in the past, to honor myself in every stage, but also the current stage and the future stage as well. This was unprompted, but I just felt this urge of sharing and please let me know if this resonates with you.
Leave me a message at Face World anywhere. You can also drop me an email. [email protected]. I love hearing from people and I know that it’s weird to sometimes send an email to write a comments, but it’s really not. Give it a shot and let’s exchange.
I sometimes just let go sometimes. I don’t do these things. Oh, I’m busy, which I am by the way. I need to wake up at 06:00 in the morning to bring my mom to the surgical center. And her hand, her right hand, her painting hand, needs to be operated on due to trigger fingers, by the way.
It is a pretty minor surgery, but it is my mom, so always a little worried about her. And her English is not exactly fluent or anything, so you have to be there with her. Being just by ourselves and taking care of her is a great thing. But what I was trying to say is sometimes I have these feelings and urges and lessons learned and I don’t always share them and go to sleep. I wake up the next day, they’re gone, or even when I try to say them again, it doesn’t quite sound the same way.
So I love these riffs and reflections and I hope you don’t mind if I always call them riffs reflections. This way you know that this is not traditional live stream or interview episode with assets. So much love, guys. Honor yourself and listen to yourself and I will see you next week. Take care.