Having the courage to fully see and own who you are with Fiona Lam

Fiona Lam is a Melbourne-based naturopath and certified Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET) practitioner with a special interest in supporting patients with stress-related disorders and mental health. Fiona has seen over 800 cases in her 13 years of clinical experience. Fiona’s practice has a focus on providing effective physical, mental and emotional support for teenage patients suffering from mood disorders.

Fiona’s passion is to continue providing both professional and practical strategies to help adolescents manage their stress. This led her to develop Wander Base which offers a 7-Step online program for building resilience and self-confidence for young women.

Thank you for joining us here at The Corporate Escapists. Please introduce yourself to our reader. They love to know about you, your passion, and how you came to find and follow your passion.

My name is Fiona Lam and I am a naturopath, a certified Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET) practitioner, and the founder of Wander Base – an online platform for building successful and inspiring lives for young women by loving who they are.

I found my passion from a series of experiences starting from childhood.

I was allergy-ridden as a child and chronically unwell. It felt like I was taking antibiotics or other forms of medication every other month, which would clear the infections but always left me feeling worse in other ways.

I was always a sensitive and empathetic kid too. If I saw an animal big or small suffering in any kind of way, I would do everything possible to comfort them.

As a teenager, I noticed that friends or family would tend to confide in me and I naturally knew how to make them feel better. By the time we had to consider career choices, working with alternative medicine, and helping others as a naturopath seemed like a no-brainer!

Little did I know what kind of life that would lead me down…

Working in the alternative healthcare industry opened my mind to explore other therapies as a way to further my skills and get better results for my patients. Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET), was a catalyst in drastically improving patient outcomes and continues to expand my view on all the opportunities in life.

My drive to invest in self-development along with life lessons and professional experience helped me identify certain practices that’s allowed me to live a meaningful, passionate life.

I could imagine how different my teenage years could have been having learned these skills earlier, which is why I created Wander Base so I that can share this knowledge with girls willing to discover their power.

As an successful entrepreneur please share your view point if you believe that entrepreneurs are born or made?

I think it’s both really. Potentially slightly more to do with entrepreneurs being born because it takes certain personalities and traits to realize that you can choose how you perceive yourself and what you are capable of. What you choose to believe ultimately changes your actions and therefore the success of the outcomes.

I say entrepreneurs are both ‘born and made’ because your surroundings have a significant influence over your potential to make yourself an entrepreneur. I can see how much more courage it would require to make yourself an entrepreneur if you’re born into an environment that is traumatic, disempowering, or completely lacking in support or resources. Your perception and version of reality would be seriously altered when all you have experienced were limitations.

As someone who is extremely grateful for growing up with loving parents in a secure and supportive environment, I have deep admiration for self-made entrepreneurs who were born into much less fortunate circumstances.

Nelson Mandela once quoted – ‘I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.’  What has been one fear you have overcome?

When I was creating my online course, the biggest fear that I’ve had to overcome was what my audience would think.

I would hear the judgement in my head like “What if people are going to think this is lame?” or “Why would they take anything from what I have share?” whenever I was writing the content or practicing the script for the shoot.

The loudest fears came when we actually began filming the content! That was a whole other level of fear about how I presented myself and doubt that what I was offering to my audience wasn’t good enough.

I did however, overcome it because I could recognise that the fears were just stories my mind was telling me so I can acknowledge it and then just keep moving forward. After all, the skills on how to overcome your fears is a key message from my course and I’m a firm believer in leading by example!

Tell us what the word “empower” means to you?

Empower to me means having the courage to fully see and own who you are. It’s accepting ALL of who you are, not just embracing what you like about yourself but also your history, mistakes, flaws, weaknesses, and even regrets.

Personally, I feel that you can have a much stronger connection with your passion, true values, and potential when you give yourself permission to be vulnerable.

To be empowered involves letting go of your inner judgments and validating your emotions with compassion. When you do that, it cultivates an absolute trust in your ability to make things work in your favour, a mind-set to see opportunities in every situation or the inspiration to be better. Only then can you align your actions to experience the abundance of what you want without fear holding you back. Holding onto judgement will only bring you down to a state of unworthiness.

What has been one of the biggest business ideas you have had and how did you have the courage to implement it?

My business as a healthcare professional involved some courage for the practice to evolve into what it is today, but that felt like a natural progression…my idea for Wander Base and the online course on the other hand required a lot more courage. I started running the course with the option for participants to complete it in a group setting or as a mentoring program with me.

It was receiving really positive feedback from clients but I was already at full capacity in practice so I was very limited in how many courses I could run. I knew the course could have been positively impacting so many other young women, particularly as a result of the pandemic. Something had to change.

At first, there was a LOT of inner resistance to converting the course into an online program, but I knew I had to do it if I wanted my support to be more accessible.

With my practice already full, I feared how the additional commitment involved in pivoting the course to online would affect my work-life balance. There were major obstacles along the way, whether that was to do with the technical side of project (i.e. sound engineering, filming equipment, video editing, setting up a website), being seen on social media, time/energy management or fear of being judged by my audience.

It was extremely overwhelming at times, but my desire to empower young women was stronger than any doubt I encountered throughout the experience. Also, if I was going to impart my knowledge on how to build self-confidence, then I knew that I had to continue showing up despite all the roadblocks!

As I mentioned, being vulnerable and accepting of myself was how I was able to overcome fear and implement my business idea. It also gave me the perspective to ask for help in the areas that I am not an expert in, such as, anything technical!

Being graceful about not needing to do everything myself opened my mind to ask my beautiful partner who is a web developer to manage the IT aspect of Wander Base and become a business partner. His input has been a major contribution in complementing my skills and the business.

Having the courage to implement all of these strategies has allowed me to remain focused on what I’m passionate about and continue developing the business

Running your own business can be scary.  Success requires moments of courage to push through to the next level, please tell us one of the moments you have had to push through to take your business to the next level?

Trust me, there were SEVERAL moments I had to push through. The ones that probably stand out the most were the times I had to record myself presenting content for the online course. It was during one of the lockdowns last year and my mental resilience had been worn down.

It was vital for me to embody an authentic, passionate and engaging energy whenever I presented for a shoot. I connected with all of those feelings when I developed Wander Base and the course, but I felt utterly mentally exhausted and emotionally fragile in some moments during the filming process. I kept getting frustrated at making mistakes which would cause me to make even MORE mistakes. It definitely hard to stay present and continue pushing through at times.

It was even more challenging because when I was at my most vulnerable point, I felt like an imposter sharing practical skills to young women on self-confidence and how to be kind to themselves!

Tell us what attributes you feel make a good leader in business today?

I feel there are several attributes that make a good leader in business.

Self-awareness for starters, because you need to get in touch with what is fulfilling to you and why. I think it’s a lot easier to succeed in business if you are genuinely passionate about why you’re doing it. It’s the thing that will pull you through when things don’t go as planned.

Being self-aware can help you maintain a level of humility and allows you to witness any behaviors that are not aligned with your beliefs.

Empathy is another quality that makes a great leader. I think it’s the basis of building great relationships with your audience or with the team that will help you grow your business. If you can understand and validate where others are coming from, you’re giving them a safe, positive space to reach their potential.

Another essential quality that relates to empathy is strong communication skills. I believe you can only resolve inevitable disagreements and develop trust when you can openly yet respectfully express your thoughts to others.

I would also consider curiosity as an important trait of a good leader. It gives you the ability explore beyond what you THINK you already know or the tenacity to figure out a solution when problems arise.

Ultimately, the combination of these attributes can significantly contribute to self-confidence!
What is your favourite quote about empowerment?
“Fear is a reaction, courage is a decision.” – Winston Churchill.
You can only connect with and achieve what you want when you accept that fear is part of the process. Running away or avoiding it will keep you in a lifeless holding pattern.
This quote just reminds you that you have a choice to either believe in the fear or to face it and continue moving towards your goal. On that theme, if I ever find myself in a self-doubt spiral, one of the most effective questions that I continue to ask myself today is “If fear wasn’t there, what would you do?”. The clarity and inspiration I gain from responding to that question gets me through time and time again.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?
The first step is to make sure you have a strong belief in your product or service, authentic stories behind each business are what attracts your audience. Anything less than that tends to make people feel like you’re just trying to sell to them rather than giving them something valuable.
You also have the grit to push through the challenges that come with starting a business when you can draw on the undeniable value of what your business can offer.
Having said that, sometimes enthusiasm for a business idea is not enough. There may not be enough of a market that resonates with your product or service.
Assuming that everyone else is as excited about your business and then investing excessive time, money, and energy into manufacturing or launching your product/service without testing the market’s interest first is a common mistake a lot of people make. This can cause major issues with your profit margin and possibly even result in bankruptcy. Always test the market with a minimum viable product (MVP) then adjust and increase your investment in growing the business as you go.
I think the other thing a lot of people don’t consider when starting a business is their personal deal breakers. Look at what your business will involve and how that will affect your life. For example, are you willing to work extra hours in the beginning or face rejection and failures?

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