Today's episode is called Being Steph. So I'll admit trying to start out this podcast today, talking about me has been a bit challenging already, I mean, like, it's always difficult talking about yourself. We're so used to talking about other things or other people, but when it comes to being put on the spot to describe who you are as a person, maybe your story makes you hesitant a bit, and it's really. really a lot, because we didn't grow up that way, not allowed to talk about ourselves. Who are you to say these things? And you know, list off some accomplishments or some lessons along the way.
But I'll give it my best shot today. Today we're just gonna go over some stuff about me like who I am as a person, why you should be listening to this podcast at all. And
why this notion of Plan B, as in B-E. What is it about? How did I come to that. What? Why is it important?
Why is it the whole premise of this entire podcast? I'll talk a bit about my story. And as we're going through this journey through other episodes, you'll get to know more and more about me through some of my lived experiences.
And really finally getting to the nitty gritty about what's a people pleaser, you know. This is how we end up losing ourselves in the process of life, you know, instead of
following our true passions and deep desires within. We follow Plan A, according to someone else's plan they've created for us because we just don't want to rock the boat.
You know we want to be accepted and approved by our parents. Society, you know, our loved ones, other peers. And that's really the whole idea around that.
So we'll dive into all of those things today and really hope by the end of this episode you get to know me a bit better, and why you should join me on this journey.
So a little bit about me. I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. I am second generation Canadian. My parents were born in the Philippines and immigrated here in the seventies. And I grew up in an area that wasn't the safest. It's not well known to be a higher income area. It's more of a lower income, a lot of immigrants or people who have a lower income bracket.
So I grew up around a lot of diversity, so to say. And it was actually quite nice growing up in school. We didn't really know difference between each other in terms of color. We hung out with everybody. Everyone really got along. And you know there's some few oddballs that happened to be in the class, but it's not, it wasn't anything out of the ordinary. But what was nice is that we were united as a group. Not because of the color of our skin or our cultural background. But we kind of had group where we adopted a lot of different aspects of ourselves in cultural belief systems in addition to the Canadian way.
So growing up my whole life in terms of that part. It was hard to straddle both worlds. you know. It's like. Living in between 2 different types of cultures, the Canadian culture in like, what is it like to be Canadian enough in how to navigate this society and and just being here and then coming home and then juggling. What is it like to be, Filipino? What does it mean to be Filipino enough? You'll hear more about my journey with that, and trying to discover my ancestry and my and my roots. But it it was tough, because a lot of my peers in class growing up also had the same thing growing on like their parents immigrated from somewhere. So they're trying to integrate these 2 different cultures. Which is why it's so beautiful that when we did come together as a group.
We adopted a lot of our different cultural beliefs and practices and food. And and you know, it was just really great. We didn't have to worry about being different. We felt like we belonged with each other but with that, too. Coming in as a second generation Canadian, I was raised that hard work was the most important thing. It was so important to work hard with your grades at school, being busy doing other stuff and then eventually having multiple jobs. So living in a second as a second generation Canadian, it's not uncommon that our parents have multiple jobs just to carry things along, you know, whatever qualifications they had back home may not have translated when they came over here.
So a lot of people, especially like me had parents that were gone a lot of the time because they had more than one job. And we didn't really have a parental figure physically around often.
So it really taught me how to work multiple jobs. And that was what was glorified. When I was growing up I was taught that working was the most important thing. It didn't even matter like money income important. But the fact of the act of working hard and having multiple jobs was of great importance. I started working at 15, and I was pushed hard to work throughout the whole time, but like I was just a work horse while I was in school, and then I had to figure a way to pay out my my university on my own after I got a ton of debt racked up.
But it always felt like I had multiple jobs because I was in school full-time and then working almost full time hours, just trying to stay afloat and still accumulating a lot of debt. It's really expensive back then to go to school and work at the same time.
So there weren't many opportunities for me in in school and university because of the fact that I had to work. and I was really conditioned that it was so important. You know, and when my family would call and check in on me. Be like, Hey, Steph, first was like, Hello, Steph, are you working? Like, no, I'm not. I'm I'm not feeling well. I'm I'm sick, like.
You know sometimes that that could happen and then be like, Oh, my gosh! Isn't your boss going to get mad at you for taking time off. and then maybe one, two, five times, you hear something like that. You know. You're just like whatever you know. You can scoff at it. But when it becomes 10, 20, 5, 100 times yearly. it's it really gets ingrained into you. The feelings since you've had since you grew up when 99% wasn't good enough in your class because someone else would have had a hundred. And then coming in. And as an adult. And you're like, you're not working hard enough. 2 jobs. Ha! I have 3.
It makes you feel inadequate, and whatever you're doing is never enough. And that was really how I grew up. really feeling the pressure of working hard. Even when my brother didn't work that hard, didn't have to do the same things as I had to do.
And growing up really with the pressure as a woman. As I'm trying to navigate my body image. having the pressure of being either too skinny or too fat, and nothing was good enough either. so the whole concept of not being good enough. Using fear, shame, and guilt to fuel me to become the person that I was, you know, in my 20s and 30s.
Who did I become?
I had 3 jobs for a while I carried a ton of debt after being in school, not really knowing how to manage my money and just trying to survive. I had, like a lot of failed relationships, relationships, and you know, not understanding how to be a good partner, because I was trying to feel validated by somebody.
Because other places in my life. I didn't feel acknowledged or seen or heard, so you know, when you feel unworthy, you end up getting into toxic relationships, hoping that that person would give you that thing you actually needed.
And you know they ended up getting pretty good jobs moving, moving up the ladder. So that was going on, but I really neglected a lot in my other parts of my life like I was gaining tons of weight. I wasn't sleeping. I remember having 4 to 6 h of sleep and living off of cigarettes and Grande Americanos, multiple ones a day running. I remember waking up because I had multiple jobs, and I'd wake up at 6 in the morning. Like all panicked and wondering where I'm working like, am I working in my weekday job? Is it? What day is it today? Like am I? Is it the weekend?
Scrambling, wondering where I have to go and not knowing. And I remember some nights when I know they didn't want to go to one of the jobs. I stay up as late as I can just to hold on, You know, to that piece of freedom before I go to that place where I feel like my soul is being crushed. In sitting down and talking about this stuff, about me, and a bit about my story.
It feels like a lifetime ago, but it wasn't that long ago from now.
Hmm! It's funny when you sit down and recall. You know exactly what you've been through, because we're so focused on thinking about the future. Maybe we dwell on the past, but we never really sit down. And look how far we've come.
And I mean, thank you. I mean, for this, podcast I had to be able to say this, and I haven't been able to reflect on that in a while. So it's been great right now.
So in that pursuit of doing what I had to do, so I bought my condo. I had my jobs, I started a business.
I started traveling a bit, but I was working 100 h work weeks. It's overweight. Like knocking on 200 pounds overweight.
And you know, cutting off friends, not being able to attend social functions, completely isolated. I had a I had a partner and just figuring stuff out and just going on day to day every day.
Just working those 100 h.
And then something happened, where I would talk to some of my colleagues at work, and then they would tell me some news like either something really super happy like, oh, my God! I'm pregnant. I'm gonna have a baby, and they're so excited or like, I just got engaged. Steph, Oh, my God! And I'm just robotic. No emotion, no feeling. It's like, Oh. hmm. okay, yeah. Great like, because, like, that's how I felt inside. I mean, everybody's good at putting on a face, but deep within me, I couldn't feel happy for them.
And when it came to things that were sad it's like stuff. My dad just passed away. This person, this stuff happened. That's sad. I couldn't feel any sympathy for them, either.
I couldn't feel sadness and just felt numb. And you know, another thing that could happen is that I just, when people were doing things that made them happy, or were able to do things to take care of themselves and do some self-care or some activities that I enjoyed doing. Even my partner at the time. I had this deep. deep resentment. Even if people told me that they're tired, I was so angry. I'm like you don't fucking know what tired is.
But now I'm sitting here I'm like it's not their fault. No one owes me anything. Don't need to compare myself to other people and be resentful. But whose voice was that?
And I remember growing up. growing up and learning what resentment to other people was, and even having resentment to them when that other person was just living their life.
I had to change.
I've been following this plan that wasn't even mine trying to just do the right thing. work and work and work. And like a lot of signs came along. You know, I went to my aunt's funeral. My dad's sister. The first line of the eulogy was like, you know what. She was a hard worker. When I sat there. and I look to myself at the church like I'm like looking within. God, I don't want someone to say that about me. When I die I want them to say something about me. That's more than this job. this job that I complain about every single day like, let me put it as jobs that I had to complain about every single day. What was I really doing about it? It's been years.
So I went to see the if, there was a real problem with me, like the numbness, the feeling of not feeling anything. So I went online.
And I realize that I'm addicted to work. I know, I know, like even with 100 h, and, you know, like on days off, it'd be like, I better be productive today. Otherwise it could have been working like I'd be so angry about that.
If we, me and my partner weren't doing something like going to groceries doing stuff like getting stuff done or having an activity, if we're sitting at home all day and just relaxing. I'd get pissed because it's like one my one day off out of after like months of not being off and were spending it watching TV instead of being productive, and I could have been working instead.
So I found that there was a group called Workaholics, Anonymous, similar to AA. I haven't been to an AA meeting other than watching it on TV. So when I went to the place,
I went to a meeting in person.
I went in, you know. It was on top of a store, I think, in just a room, and then there were chairs in a circle just like how it looks like an Aa. And on TV. And I sat down, and here I sit down. My arms are crossed, my legs are crossed.
I don't know what to expect. and I'm looking around with those that feeling of resentment, already the filter, the mask.
What do they know about working, and people would share their stories and talking about things. It might not even be about a job. It might be an addiction to actively doing something like working or volunteering too much, overextending themselves. And I'm sitting there, hands crossed. Arms crossed and I'm like.
What do they know I have 3 real jobs. And you know we do the serenity prayer. We hold hands and and share these things, They tell me. I have to buy this like, get this book or something, and I was like, this isn't working for me.
Of course. Steph...
It's been like 30 plus years of hard-wired value based off of hard-working.
So like hard-working, hard working, hard working work, harder work, harder work, harder, do more, do more, do more.
How could I break that? Would just coming in and sharing my story and holding hands and saying a prayer. So of course I would be like that. I'm also very stubborn. I'm in Aries. So I walked out of there. Had to figure something out had to figure out what the heck I had to do. And it's a bit of a whirlwind. There's a story, but I tried to find another career.
So that's how it kind of jumped off. I knew there was something wrong with me. I can accept that I was addicted to work. But I was like, maybe if I find another job I'd have a bit more time freedom
Like where I can work from home and do stuff like that I have. So I was trying to think of a career. And I was trying to order a book around funnels like digital marketing and creating it. And I was like, Okay, I'm going to order this book. I'm going to order this book. So I'm like, you know, you're in bed. And you have your iPhone over you, and you're just scrolling and looking at the bookstore to order the book.
I'm like half awake, because you already know I'm only sleeping 4 hours night. and then I order the book. and then I go to bed.
So I'm waiting for this book to come in. And I'm like, Okay, I'm going to start. I'm going to practice. I'm going to learn about digital marketing. Maybe this is going to be my ticket to not having to have 3 jobs... And I ordered the wrong book completely wrong book. And the thing is is that when I opened up the book I was like, what the hell. What the heck is this?
And it's funny because I was so like, I mean, I just fell into the ads like Facebook ads so well that I subconsciously ordered the book that I've been seeing ads for the entire time, and it was so funny because I was like, no, this wasn't the one I wanted, and it was like high performance habits by Brendan Burchard. I didn't even take a look at the book. I parked it for a bit. I waited, and I was like, Okay, well, I ordered the wrong book, so I took it on me on holiday.
I'm on a trip to go to the Philippines for 5 weeks, and I brought it in there, and I was like taking a moment to read it. Then I was like. I got to chapter... I think 2, and I talked about a story about a woman named Kate.
And she was talking about her looking successful and doing so well. She has a lot of stuff. and everybody wishes that they could have her life.
And but really, when she talked to him because he's your coach. She was saying that she was barely surviving. She was drowning, and no one can see it.
And that resonated with me so hard. Gosh! I was like so this is it?
What do I need to do right now with my life and take the reins?
So I really had to start that journey. To start looking from within, I mean fast forward. And since that time and became a certified coach, I started to get into personal development. I run communities online and run events
I have an online course. You know. I did all those things from that mistake of ordering the wrong thing. So if you're skeptical about Internet or like social media ads.
It did work. I can't. I can't say that it didn't for me, because I did end up ordering something, even if it wasn't consciously.
But in that moment you can see that the signs are there. The signs to where to go. what to do. how to get there unfold on its own. I've been nudged and nudged and pointed around. And then it happened without me even thinking where I could be right now. where I didn't know the days of the week, and seeing my future from that time, because it was so stuck to being able to be here now and talking to you.
It's such a remarkable journey, and really it's not a end of a journey. There's no destination here when it comes to tapping in.
I lost connection with myself, which is why I couldn't feel. and I'm actually a very empathic person. But years and years of conditioning and programming made me shut that side down.
Be shameful for showing emotion and as a person of color, a person who is Asian, Filipino. We don't talk about feelings.
You just got to go and suck it up and move forward like you know. Oh, life is so hard, you know. It's kind of a mockery. We're shamed about it because everybody else is sacrificing somewhere else, and sacrifice is what's glorified. Oh, that's a good man there. He's working so hard for his family sending money back home. Oh, she's this and this.
That's what it's like.
And I lost myself in that.
And I know a lot of people doesn't matter if they are Filipino or of Asian descent. A person of color or anything. A lot of people lose themselves chasing after plan A. And even if plan A's there.
There's still that feeling inside you, either numb because you've suppressed what you truly are passionate about who you are as a person from the core or you know, you just choose to stay numb.
And that's why Plan Be is so important. Plan Be is is the idea that we can connect with ourselves within and honor ourselves as the person that we always were.
Kids are so perfect when they come out right. And then, after you know, around age 8, 9, 10, they start to absorb all that programming. Become fearful, start to make their habits really hardwired to how they'd become as adults in. Why can't we get back to age 6, where we believe that we could do anything where we had dreams and aspirations, and felt so much emotion that we could express it freely, instead of shutting it down, swallowing it.
And that's really what it is. It's reconnecting to the true essence of you finding who you are, because you know that you don't know who you are. You know you don't know what you like, but really, if you go back and you witness, and you see that little spark of you still there.
And you can really connect with it.
When you get to know me a bit more, and you probably will. I love crying. I love letting the emotions flow through me. So you may hear at times, or watch my videos, and you'll see it come. And I want that to be a normal thing for everybody.
Because, you know, we've been holding on to so many things for so long.
We're so weighed down by these burdens of things that we don't even need to hold on to. We have to hide how we truly feel. We have to hide a lot of aspects about ourselves, things that we geek out on like, you know, we're so shameful of things. We're so shameful for loving ourselves.
And that's what I'm hoping here as we go through this journey to connect with who we are and find our own unique purpose and live our lives the way we want to.
You'll be able to feel that again. That little spark that's still within you could be a massive flame, burning and feeling vibrant and joyful in feeling that sense of love and fulfillment from within.
You know, Plan Be is so important. Because what else do we got? You could have accomplished all these things and still feel empty. But there's some people who are always authentic and true to themselves.
And are living their best life, and they don't even have that much stuff. It's always people are chasing more and more and more. And the reason why is because they're going further and further away from them.
How could you love yourself if you can't even connect with yourself.
That's really what it's all about. You know. We can only live to be a people pleaser for so long. If it's about people pleasing and trying to get the validation from our parents. They're only around for so long. And then, when they're gone.
Whose validation are you looking for?
Who are you trying to please? Are you trying to please them as they've already passed? Did you take on their voices to help put the pressure on you even when there's no pressure around.
And that's the thing. When we are people, pleasers, over-givers. We give so much of ourselves, so much, we give whatever people want of us and we're left with nothing.
We're feeling like. The only our only sense of worth and value is what we give to others, having that sense of feeling, of belonging because people like us, because something we did for them, or you know.
And is that the way you want to live?
And as pepple pleasers. We have our guard down because we just are so wanting to be liked. We get used, abused, taken advantage of, get into toxic relationships where it's horrific. And I can tell you all about that, too.
People pleasers tend to be empathic, to wear their heart on their sleeve. They say a little bit more sensitive, you know. We just have so much love. and we just want to feel accepted, seen, and heard.
But what we really want.
Like what we really need to do is to find home within ourselves. And what is that feeling that we can validate ourselves, give ourselves love, security, safety, all from within.
Because we're searching for it outside. And there's a reason why you're not finding it outside. It's because it's within you.
And that's what plan Be is all about. To reconnect with that spark. Grow that spark into that flame. Live yourselves like your lives, really, truly connected with your true essence, of who you are...your utmost potential. I guess, if you want to use those personal development terms. But really the whole idea is to connect within.
And I know it's hard because we don't want to face ourselves, and it's scary. But that's really what the journey is all about. because we were bored. We're all alone. We come into this world. we're going to die and leave alone.
So it's all about how you want to live that way.
Feel home from within, feel a sense of fulfillment, joy, vibrancy from within. Looking at yourself compassionately, honoring your feelings, giving yourself some love.
And then, you know. Live your life the way you want to.
And it's about not about material things. because you can probably talk to a lot of people. They'll say, Oh, yeah, my life is so great. I love money, I love spending money, I love buying my things and my toys and my things, but if I sat down and talked to them and asked them. Are you truly happy from within? Do you love yourself? Not your stuff?
What do you think they would say?
So? I hope that's helped. You learn a bit more about me, my story, and why I had to realize that Plan A wasn't the way for me. Plan Be.
Is is still being embraced by me. You know I'm not a Guru or a specialist. I could say that I'm a teacher, but more like a person who can pass on information very well curated and presented in a nice way.
Because we all know these lessons. Everyone says the same things just about how we present it and how it resonates with you. So with this journey. please take as much or as little as you want anything. just come in with an open mind. Let us grow together. And that's the type of person I am. If you come out with me for dinner, like I said, like I tell everyone I'm like, just be prepared.
We might be getting into a conversation, and I might start crying. Then that's okay. You don't have to come and try to see what's wrong or comfort me. You can just be there to hold space and just not be judgmental. And everything's okay. I love the feeling of emotions flowing. I've been holding it on, holding on to them for far too long.
So how could I feel truth bliss and joy and happiness in my life if I can't even feel sadness, pain, and hurt. You still have to learn how to feel and let it flow.
And that's really me. just another student of life trying to learn how to navigate this very challenging world. And lessons keep presenting to themselves like it's like the endless cycle of learning like once you feel like you have a handle on something. There's another thing that gets thrown at you.
And now that I'm more connected with myself and increasing that connectedness, ready to face them head-on because I can figure it out. I've been through a lot of shit. I figured that shit out. And then I'm here.
So I hope you would enjoy to come and join me on this journey. and really learn about other people, too, about their journeys, and how they face some challenges in life head-on. How do they thrive and connect with themselves, carve their own unique paths. You know, like we'll go through some of those things.
Learn a bit of my lived experiences as well. So we'll be having the podcast come out with a longer episode each week, and then a mini-code like a smaller one. That's a little bit more personal.
Just so that we can go through this journey together.
And I'm really excited to embark on this with you, and hopefully, you would join me on this transform of journey. I invite you to to email me. I'll put my email in the show notes ([email protected])
Where you can make suggestions of topics you'd like to hear, you know, or if you want to talk about something and teach me, I'm willing to hear, and you know, to hear and learn from you and hear about your lived experience as well.
I can't wait, and I'm excited. and I want to thank you for taking the time to listen to my story. Why, it's important for Plan Be, and then hopefully giving you it gives you some ideas of the possibilities of you in your life. And how, looking within, to find home and safety within yourself.
How that could change your life a bit more.
Because it's exhausting chasing after this Plan A
You know I don't know. Don't say it's a midlife crisis, or whatever that's what people say. But it's not about a midlife crisis. It's more like a midlife waking up. Not a midlife crisis, a midlife waking up. But you don't have to be in the middle of your life to wake up, because it's not working. Something's not working. You don't have to feel that emptiness inside. You don't have to feel like something is missing.
Because you're already whole.
We just don't know.
I can't wait to see you again on our next episode.
Take care of yourself.