Sunday, October 6, 2013

Turning 40...

I know for past 1 year, something within me has been barking me to blog and write again, and I have been procrastinating it simply because at certain point of my life, I think I worry too much. The year leading to turning 40 seems pretty dramatic for me. I think I have witnessed more changes and made more drastic decisions than I ever have done in my past years. I have shed more sweat and tears than I could last imagine. The last time I remembered I was that crazy was when I was 30, and when Heaven's Gift was born.

Honestly, my emotions towards turning 30 and turning 40 are very different. When I was 30, all I want to do was to prove to myself and to the world whether I could achieve something. And that was when I left a good paying director role for a crazy vocation like wedding planning, in which I had no clue about then, and still at times have no clue why I stuck in it for so long. I suppose like what my ex Vice President had said about me : Hannah, you are just a simple woman who has lots and lots of guts. To leave a position where you could have 25 subordinates serving you for a job where you may need to serve 25 bosses look really silly.  And I think my boss was right, I have no clue what wedding planning entails.

When I am determined to do something, I simply just plunged and then I decide how to swim in it.. that explains how I have operated all these 10 years in Heaven's Gift. And why I am still fascinated at the fact that how God provides my clients. I think my clients are just as crazy to believe in me and give me the freedom to create what I have envisioned. And I am truly thankful for each of them bcos they do make you who you are today in some sense. But one thing I am certain, never stop dreaming, never stop envisioning. Your vision determines your future. And never think you have attained, bcos it is just the beginning.

This year, I went through much emotions than I could have imagined in my past years. I have to be honest, I am not ready to be in my 40s, there seems to be more apprehension in what's to come. The uncertainty of what's next, more than what you can do or achieve weighs more in my thoughts. Maybe because all the while, I really thought I would be married by the age of 40s and have 2 charming kids, and it will be a new phase in life that I want to experience. I always wish I could retire at 40. Hahah.. but I think these two questions can only be fully revealed and explained by the Lord Almighty.

The mid of this year I was brought to a decision of merging my company with another. The real reason : a voice within me leads me to. Do I have the full picture of the merger? No, but I knew I have to do it. It is the next season. It was really interesting because within months, I have clients and friends calling to meet me to simply ask me the reasons behind it. I didn't know that there were many out there who were really interested to know the goings in my life. And within weeks after the merger, I have a team whom I have built for almost 4 years left me all at the time, when I most needed them.. and I wondered and wondered. The thoughts of how you have showered your care, how your have poured out your hearts into each of them vs all their seemingly valid reasons to leave don't gel.  The mixed emotions of sadness and anger all came upon me at the same time. Yes, I questioned, but I was more heartbroken than bittered. Then one incident follows another, it was likened watching a confession reality show of the people in your life, and after all that I have seen and heard, all the bizarre messages, I decided that there was no need to explain our actions, bcos time is the best evidence of one's life.

To many who know me, I am as real as what I write. Bcos, blogging is my form of self-therapy, not a showcase. I really don't care what people have to say about my blogs or me.  My blog reveals the journey of me as an entrepreneur and as a dreamer. I am thankful that I have fans who follows my blog. but the real reason I blog is simply because it is a collection of reminders of what He has been doing in my life. The journey of an entrepreneur is filled with dreams, excitement, endurance and perseverance.
If it has not been God, I would not have persevered and attained much. I think it is much easier for me to stay as employee than building your own company.
And yes, after 10 years of building this company, people may think you have attained, but often to me, it is another leap of faith to continue to build and revisit the dream you have been holding on.
But I have no regrets becoming an entrepreneur, because today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope. I hold on tightly to this principle in life - don't live in regrets, take a look back, learn from it and then get up and walk again. Life is not a full-stop, it is filled with many commas. Only God knows your final destiny. So stay focus!

Heaven's Gift has been a treasured gift from God to me, to show me how much He has cared for me, and how much He can do through me. But at the end of the day, our vocation is still another job. All the energy we put in, and the toil we continue in a job cannot bring us eternal happiness. What matters most in life is Health, Happiness and Wholeness. And that's my vision of entering into the 40s.

Do I still dream of retiring - yes, we all do!
Most of all,  I dream of walking down the street of my land, with no regrets, with no hesitation, and with no burden, and I can always say to my spirit : It is well with my soul!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Roadmaps for Next Generation

Woke up really early today despite it is a public holiday. I suppose to rest, but my mind was bothered by what is upon my heart. And instead of brewing over the disturbed thoughts, a new inspiration came about. And last night, I decide to introduce something afresh to the industry that is close to my heart.

Some of you know that I have been in the wedding industry for coming to 10 years. It has been an amazing journey, and it really has. I have come to know more about myself, and what drives me towards perfection, but most importantly it has enabled me to know better the One who creates me - Almighty God,  and that He is the ultimate perfector of our faith. 

Blogging is a therapy for me, a pity I have not been consistent. Some who reads my blog are surprised at my boldness of truth, but I suppose that is one side you will see of Hannah Chong. To me, the best way to teach and share is to be transparent, and be sincere. There were a few times my pals and partners ask me : Hannah, why don't you teach about wedding planning. Honestly, that thought never really come across my mind, mainly because I don't think I am qualified to teach. When I looked at the gurus such as Colin Cowie, Preston Bailey & Mindy Weiss whom are the benchmarks I strive to become, I concluded I need to excel even more to be considered.  

Over the years, I have seen new talents, young talents and have also recruited young people. I have been a Sunday school teacher and worship leader before, and I have witnessed when we train our kids and youths well, they will become real talents that shape the future. Some of my youths have now grown up to be matured young adults in their 20s, and I am blessed to have some who have worked for me, or interned for me. Every time I think of these interns, I am grateful because they opened up my eyes to see things in different light.

But I have also met a fair share of young people who are shortsighted and are really different from the ones we brought up. Their viewpoint to passion and opportunities are quick fix and fast glory. I was thinking last night : how can we help or influence this new generation of talents? Will we see a quick fix planner, or will we see a rising star in the midst? A pal last night laughed with me : Hannah, how long do you see yourself doing this? Honestly I don't know, I always dreaming of retiring, but never seems to be happening. But if I ever retired soon, I hope to do one last thing for this industry, I hope I can influence or impact right values to the new talents and entrepreneurs. I always believe the best teacher is not just to teach by words, but by investing time, efforts, and even money in those who are truly passionate and diligent. 

This year will be an interesting year for me, as I continue to do the above, I believe God is expanding my heart to see how He sees. I am not sure will I be burnt in the midst of expanding my heart. But I am certain I will grow to be a better person. And I have just started our Heaven's Gift series of career roadmaps for wedding planners. It consists of principles and guidelines I have held on dearly that have sharpened me and made me a better planner. May those who desire to enter into the wedding planning industry be blessed in our series at our corporate facebook

Sunday, January 20, 2013

2013 - A year of Life and Love, Health & Happiness.

2012 went by so fast, and looking back, it has been a very unpredictable year. Somehow the industry as a whole seemed to encounter challenges, experienced many changes and evoked a mixed of emotions for the coming year 2013. Many of us were pushed to make changes, reviewed our milestones and reset new ones.

For us at Heaven's Gift, we have experienced an unexpected and unplanned journey. The year started with key projects and much travel. And before I knew it, we were invited to recreate new trends on how wedding shows should be done. It was a year filled with bridal shows, more than we ever have imagined to create. But the greatest unexpected step we took was the launch of our second brand - Celebrate Heaven, a one-stop online stop for weddings and party products catered to assist couples to create their weddings and parties at an affordable price. Eventually, the year ended with what we love most - creating one-of a kind weddings we always dream to have. And I am sincerely thankful for those couples who came along our lives and willing to embrace the vision we set for each of them. 2012 was a year of ups and downs, but looking back, it was a year of many pleasant surprises.

Reading the news about 2013, I refuse to believe what the economists projected for this year. Many have claimed that 2013 will be a slow down for consumers and businesses. And I was reminded that this year could be likened to what we had gone thru in 2009/2010. It could be a year of sifting, a year of refining or it could be a year of readiness and conquest.

This year marks the 10th year anniversary of Heaven's Gift. The number 10 always represent completeness and order. I somehow was reminded that all these past years of hard work was to reinforce the very principles I hold on dearly as an entrepreneur. But besides just being an entrepreneur, I felt a tug in my heart asking : Hannah, what's your life goal for the next 10 years... was it merely for business?

The question was real, and is close to my heart. Life is more than just business. Tho I am thankful for all the learnings to make me the business woman and artist I am today, life definitely has more meaning than these alone.

What do I really hope to see in the next 10 years?? These are my thoughts, and Lord, pls guide me.
- To impart the right attributes and principles of entrepreneurship to the next generation. Just as my bosses have taught me well, I hope to be able to do that as well, not just in mere words/trainings, but be a living example.
- To spend more time creating beautiful moments for those I love. As a special events planner, I have spent my last decade creating special moments for my couples, and at times neglected the very people at home whom have released me to do what I do today. At the end of the day, what is close to our hearts is our loved ones and families.
- To care for the needy. It is always a privilege to serve the rich, and we are grateful to be given the opportunity for that. But my heart cried out to the poor. During last Dec outreach, when I saw that there were still many Singaporeans who were really poor and could not even feed their households, I was humbled again to be reminded - be contented, but be evermore compassionate, don't let the daily affairs of your life cause you to forget the poor.
- Finally, I want to laugh as much as I can, to love as long as I live. The greatest joy of a human race is to find life, love, health and happiness.

2013 - I can't wait to write the conclusion of this year experiences.... let it come at the right pace, let me experience the destined place.