“No matter how much it rains, or how much it pours, the sun will always shine again. It may not be today or it may not be tomorrow, but it will shine.” Joann Lim
Invisible Mentor: Joann Lim, Making It Happen Specialist & Professional Coach
Company Name: Big Picture Fine Focus
Avil Beckford: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Joann Lim: I’m a connoisseur of life and a make-it-happen specialist. I’m a lover of all things food and world travel.
Avil Beckford: What’s a typical day like for you?
Joann Lim: It varies which I’m very blessed about. Usually the consistent things are I wake up between 6:30 and 7:30 am. I have an hour of me-time which could be anything from reading, workout, and breakfast with champions. The day is filled with meetings of greatness, conversations with clients, creative and sometimes a lot of prep for workshops and keynotes.
Avil Beckford: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
Joann Lim: Between every 30 and 90 days, I create inspiration boards with pictures, sayings, anything that will pull my vision forward to help me focus on my big picture. To stay motivated, I surround myself with amazing people. I have an amazing dream team, whose expertise elevate and enhance what I do. I read a lot, and I do a lot of what I call exploration walks where I go to a different city, and kind of wander around and see what happens. It’s usually when we are in a free space that the most inspirational things come to us.
Avil Beckford: If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
Joann Lim: The beauty is everything happens in its place and in its time, so I wouldn’t necessarily change anything. But I think what I would definitely go back into is being less afraid. What I would do is come at my dreams and come at my days with more fervor, more passion, more courage, and identify my fears and let them go more quickly.
Avil Beckford: What’s the most important business or other discovery you’ve made in the past year?
Joann Lim: The biggest discovery I have made is what faith actually is. Growing up as a Christian, you are told so much about having faith in a Higher Being and faith in God, and so the word just seems to become a regular thing. But I don’t think it was until the last year or so that I actually understood what that meant. Trusting in something you don’t see is using the invisible to make sense of the visible, and talking about things that are not tangible – what courage is, what love is, what belief is. Those are things that are internal yet they help us make sense of everything that goes on around us, to bring meaning to our relationships, our work and our lives. And those are the things that inspire and help me to move forward. So that’s the greatest gift I have learned over the last year.
Avil Beckford: What are the three threats to your business, your success, and how are you handling them?
Joann Lim: The biggest threats to my business and my success would be from myself – my fears, self-doubt, and complacency. I call them the happiness robbers that I write about on my blog. Usually these things, these voices, these powers within us that try to rob us of our own potential and our own happiness, and I think it’s about being aware, that’s what it is to identify them, to ask ourselves why, and then ask how it’s benefitting me by listening to my fear, by listening to that voice that tells you you’re not good enough, will it allow me to move forward and live the life I was created to live. I think that’s one of the biggest things I have taken from this fear, and it’s something that I constantly work on. It doesn’t leave you, if anything you become a master of overcoming these happiness robbers.
Avil Beckford: What’s unique about the service that you provide?
Joann Lim: I help people live rock star lives. By rock “starness” I mean the life they want to live, the life they would love to live, something they envision for themselves. There are so many people out there that are living the same old, same old, just cause. I help people in organizations live because, to live with intention, to have impact, to have inspiration and influence and to know at the end of the day when they are taking their last breath, they can be okay, they have no regrets, and they say, “It was a life well-lived.”
Avil Beckford: Describe a major business or other challenge you had and how you resolved it. What kind of lessons did you learn in the process?
Joann Lim: The biggest challenge I have ever faced happened in my third year of university. It was exam time around November, December. I was faced with the third death in three consecutive years, and what I realized at that point, was that I hadn’t gotten over the first one. My life spiralled. My grandmother passed away and she was in Singapore at the time. I had to make a choice, would I go to see her the days leading up to her death, or would I continue schooling. It played big on me because I always said that I would put family first. People come before anything else. In that moment in time, I chose to continue my education. I battled with that, and I think it was one of those moments when I realized that that was what she wanted for me. No matter how hard it was not to see this person, that’s what she wanted, and it was a matter of what I wanted to do or honouring the wishes of somebody else.
In this time in my life, my life spiralled, and my family was out of the country. I was kind of alone, and I really went to a rough place. I felt like I lost control of my whole life, but what I realize was that no matter how much it rains, or how much it pours, the sun will always shine again. It may not be today or it may not be tomorrow, but it will shine. Holding up the hope that the sun will shine metaphorically was something that pulled me forward, and it was about taking one day at a time, focusing on the things that I could do, and making those things happen. What I learned is the resilience of human beings, what it meant to ask for help, what it meant to feel vulnerable, and it showed me that there may be darkness in our lives, but it’s the light that pulls us forward. Sometimes we need that little glimmer of hope that will allow us to come through our darkest days.
Avil Beckford: Tell me about your big break and who gave you.
Joann Lim: My biggest break came in 2007, and it happened on April 4th. It was the death of probably the most important person in my life, my hero, my inspiration – my everything. She is my aunt, my closest friend. She had the mentality of a five year old, she had breast cancer, lost her sight, was hard of hearing, and for the years before that, my life was about her. I didn’t travel long distances because I was afraid of being apart from her. I didn’t pursue the things I wanted because I wanted to be close to her. And the minute she passed away, no matter how sad and devastated I was, it was like she said, “For a time that you took care of me, now let me take care of you.” In that moment, I was free to pursue the life that I truly wanted. Within months, I packed my bags and I was off to Europe on my own adventure. Ever since then it has been one blessing after another of seeing, embracing and experiencing the true beauty of life. It is in her that I am in great gratitude for her life, for her inspiration, and for giving me this greatest gift.
Avil Beckford: Describe one of your biggest failures. What lessons did you learn, and how did it contribute to a greater success?
Joann Lim: One of my biggest failures was not being able to take a project that I was deeply passionate about to the next level. I was given a great gift of becoming a Director of Events for a large conference event. As we progressed, I started to see the challenges of being a part of a large organization, and building it from the ground up. Despite the many successes to it, it was at that moment when I realized it was more than me. I realized that I wasn’t the person for it, as much as I loved the potential for where it’s going, I’m not that person for it. It taught me to let go, it challenged me to say, “How much do you believe in it, and does it matter who gets the credit?” And I think it was at the point when I asked does it matter who gets the credit, and when my answer was “No,” I realized that whatever happens in my life, I’m not attached to it, it’s okay. And when you truly believe in something, you want the best for it, and that sometimes mean letting go.
Avil Beckford: What’s one of the toughest decisions you’ve had to make and how did it impact your life?
Joann Lim: It happened in my third year at university, and it was forfeiting my third year to go to see my grandmother around the world, or to staying where I was. That brought into play my values, what I believed in, what I believed was right and wrong, the character of who I was and who I am. The impact is that (a) I didn’t get to say a formal goodbye to my grandmother and (b) honouring a wish that she wanted for me, even though it may have gone against what I would have chosen for myself. Knowing what someone wants for you is something that I hold sacred. The impact is that I wouldn’t be where I am today if that choice was different. Who knows where I would be? Everything happens for a reason, and there is a place and time for everything. For her and for her wishes, I’m grateful.
Avil Beckford: What are three events that helped to shape your life?
- Being on the many farm vacations that I did as a child. By age six I had gone on three farm vacations, so my parents instilling at a young age the value and power of meaningful experiences – the value of curiosity, imagination and the willingness to try something new.
- My aunt’s life and legacy. Spending the last couple of years with her so intimately, and even those quiet moments in her room holding her hand, even though she couldn’t see me, I know that she could see me with her heart. That was really powerful. Her death for me was one of the most inspiring, devastating, but empowering event in my life.
- When I came to know love. I went through a life wondering if I would ever fall in love, will I ever meet that person that I can share my life with, who I could bring out the best in, and who could bring out the best in me, in every element in life. For many years, it looked like that was never going to happen, I dated Mr Wrong to Mr Wrong, and it was okay, but I always wondered until that day, when I met that man who really transformed me. He showed me the true meaning of unconditional love. He showed me what it means to let somebody else take care of you, and what true partnership is. I learn from him every day and he inspires me. And I know that this is an event that has transformed me, and had a significant impact on my life – is finding true love.
Avil Beckford: What’s an accomplishment that you are proudest of?
Joann Lim: Going to Europe. I think that was the kick starter to me living a life that I truly loved. I made a choice that if my aunt was here in July 2007 I wouldn’t travel, but if she wasn’t here, I would let no one and nothing stop me from doing something that I love. She passed away on April 4, 2007, one month before my 25th birthday. And it was a month later that I booked my trip to travel solo to Europe. That was a transformation in my life because it showed to me and others that I was serious about it, that I could take the risk. I was risking not having a job, not having an income, not having anyone to travel with, but doing it on my own. I think that’s something that’s so powerful when we take a vision and transform it into reality – anything is possible.
Avil Beckford: How did mentors influence your life?
Joann Lim: Mentors influenced my life heavily. They inspire me, empower me, they raise me up when I feel weak, they give me courage in times of fear, and they pave a pathway. They help elevate who I am, and believe in me when I don’t believe in myself as much as I should.
One of my mentors, he says that, “For any successful person that you value, they started somewhere, and to remember this, everyone starts somewhere.” We all choose where we’re going to start. That was very powerful for me to know that no matter what, no matter where people are in their life, no matter what they’re doing, no matter so amazing they seem, how brilliant their lives appear to be, it’s a matter that they chose to start.
Avil Beckford: What’s one core message you received from your mentors?
Joann Lim: One message is the power of starting, and I think one of the other messages is don’t give up. One of my mentors drills that into me all the time when I see her. It’s the idea that when people believe in you and believe in what you’re capable of doing, there is a power in saying, “don’t give up, keep going, keep persisting, keep believing and incredibleness will happen.”
Avil Beckford: An invisible mentor is a unique leader you can learn things from by observing them from afar, in the capacity of an Invisible Mentor, what is one piece of advice that you would give to readers?
Joann Lim: What I’d invite them to think about is, “You matter!” You matter, your life matters, your choices matter, your actions matter, your attitude matters, and it’s in that capacity that we embrace the idea that we matter. The things we do in life become more intentional, have more meaning, they’re more inspiring, more empowering. It’s in the roles that we matter that we can transform the lives we are living into the lives we love, and in turn become a community of dream makers, not only for ourselves but for others.
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