Keep Challenging Yourself. Shaping Your Future


Alice Ko_photo2

ALice Ko(アリス・コウ)

Change is essential for innovating new ideas and development that certainly includes one’s career as well as self-improvement. Naito-san kindly shared with us his personal experience in his last relay-talk which motivate us to keep on experiencing and moving forward through ‘CHANGE’. In my relay talk I would like to share with you my life story and how I shape myself for a brighter future through challenging myself continuously.

■In my childhood years – ‘Keep on Learning and Stay Out of Your Comfort Zone’ 

Doing lots of wild things that I would have not imagine doing if I had my education taken in Hong Kong. Every day of my life in Australia was learning and I realized now that as an adult you need a lot of courage to pick up new things since people tends to stay within their own comfort zone, and if we have not immigrated to Australia, I probably would not have equipped myself with courage from a very young age, to step-out of my comfort zone all-times. I believe this is also contributed by the diverse surrounding I was in where people have background, different races, religions etc.

I was born in Hong Kong and before I was old enough to make my own decision, my dad brought the family to Sydney, Australia where I spent majority of my education life. Life was quite of a change and my perspective broadened through my primary and high school years. We weren’t trapped in class reading texts and solving mathematic questions, of course there we no cram school or private tutoring. Sometimes we went on excursions doing field work to verify what we learnt from the textbooks and sometimes we were placed in the woods, picking up some basic survival skills like building you own tents, crossing lake on a kayak and abseiling down a mountain.

In my 20’s – ‘Challenge and Moving Forward’  

My challenging and undefeatable mindset pull me through all the hardship in the early years of my life in Japan. My perspective toward life again evolved as I relocate myself in this third countries, I learnt to keep moving forward to challenge my limit. I realized that there are different approaches to any agenda and problems but there are no impossible missions!

Japanese became my best friend, no matter how unfamiliar Hiragana/Katakana is to me, besides my sleep hours I engaged myself with it and learnt to make good use of it through my living. Some even told me that it would be impossible to get in the Japanese university like any ordinary Japanese student, let alone completing my MBA in Japanese. To prove them wrong I graduated Keio University with a MBA and carried on my career in two Japanese corporations for more than 10 years now.

Being a wild rebel young female I decided to step out of my comfort zone to move myself out of home, not just my house but to an entire new territory, somewhere different to Hong Kong and Australia, where I am isolated with new adventure. It was Japan that I landed on and that was one of the biggest challenges in life since I basically had to start everything from scratch in order to make a living here. No family or relatives, no friends, all I had was my passion in the business world and my goal was to complete a MBA program to strengthen myself. Life in a foreign city is never easy especially when your first, second and even third languages do not come in use.

■In my 30’s – ‘Reflection and Leadership’    

Into my second half of my 30’s, again lot of changes and exciting things happening. Career-wise I moved into a new company, changed in work role taking up more responsibilities, and in private, changed in marriage status, having my own family and expecting to bear heavier responsibilities ahead as a parent-to-be.

Besides reflecting, through ‘HISANO JUKU’ I had the opportunity to meet many knowledgeable people from different industries who are passionate in whatever they are doing, all these motivated mindsets stimulate me to keep on challenging and improving myself, which to me is priceless!

Now I try to have the habit of letting things ‘sit’ for a while before acting upon it so that I am clear on my objectives and decisions I made wouldn’t directly or indirectly influence others in any negative manner. Through reflecting I have learnt to be more objective, less distorted by my emotion and personal bias.

I believe most of us do think and consider a lot before making any big decisions, but the ‘stop to reflect’ part is particularly important for being a leader as leader tends to have both direct and indirect power to influence others and leader’s decision could course a great deal to the outcome of the business, especially in this fast changing digital environment where one simple GO-Sign could be delivery to almost any corner of the world within seconds.

The first half of my 30’s was an important part of my self-development and leadership stage where I was introduced to the ‘HISANO JUKU’. Opposing to my character, the first lesson was “being a leader you need to stop to reflect”. Question marks was all over my head until I read the recommended text. Indeed, it is important to reflect so that your actions are thoroughly processed and align with your mind and heart before making any irrational decision.

The story of mine goes on and besides what I have shared above, the key focus in the coming future will be evolving around “Educating other to Transform in my 40’s” and “Reinventing into society in my 50’s”. These are also extremely challenging work which is easier say than done, but I truly would like to contribute back to what I was given through my development phase.

PS: For these of you (either in Japan or overseas) interested to find out more about me or HISANO JUKU, please be welcome to leave me a comment I am more than happy to share my experiences and thoughts further.