ORLANDO, March 2, 2014 – The American Dream has never been more elusive than in today’s times of unstable markets, volatile currencies and unpredictable world events. For every successful firm or dashing new business genius, there are millions of other companies and entrepreneurs who shipwreck before achieving resonance. Among Millennials, the prospect of thin employment opportunities and increasing specialization of the workforce has led many to build their own business, but breaking even, let alone success, has been an uphill battle for many young people in America.
One relentless and driven young woman who not only succeeded but broke the mold in one of America’s toughest states for small businesses is Michelle Ching, a 23-year old MLM strategist who in the span of a few months built a health marketing empire. Hawaii – which CNBC ranked in 2013 as 39th worst for access to capital, 40th worst for business friendliness, and 48th worst for cost of doing business – is one of the most intimidating places to start a business, but Ching thrived under conditions that shattered countless others.
In an exclusive interview, Ching shared some vital tips to succeeding in tough times. Never shy to challenge the impossible, Ching says discipline and vision carried her through opposition and offers hope for other young business builders that they too can win breakthroughs.
Danny de Gracia: Michelle, you managed to go from “pouring the shots to calling the shots” as a cocktail waitress to a rising affluent in just a few months. That’s obviously not easy, nor is it common, you have to be a razor to cut through life like that. What’s your advice to people who have a vision for something but are at a point where “quit looks good” to them?
Michelle Ching: My favorite author John C. Maxwell once said “A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion.” To fulfill any vision there has to be passion behind it. Doing something just for the money or recognition will only result in dissatisfaction.
My advice to anyone who has a vision is to be sure it’s tied to your passion because there will be days, weeks or even months when you feel like quitting or second-guessing yourself, but if you’re pursuing your passion you will always work hard to achieve your goals no matter how hard the obstacles seem.
DDG: So what’s the key to developing a positive, can-do mindset towards life?
Ching: Success and failure start in your head. The mind is a powerful thing, and [people] underestimate how much of an effect it has on our daily lives. If you’re constantly feeding your brain with negative information and surrounding yourself with people who only talk about their problems, chances are you’re going to end up thinking, walking and speaking negatively.
Bill Cosby says it best, “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” When I first entered into the world of entrepreneurship two years ago [at] 21 years old, I had a lot of fears that were holding me back. I was constantly worried about what my peers would think of me, if I was saying the right or “cool” thing, if my circle of friends were “cool,” but after a while, I got tired of trying to live up to what was “right” in the eyes of society.
That’s when I was introduced to an opportunity that ultimately changed my life forever. The key to developing a positive, can-do mindset is to consistently feeding yourself with positive, uplifting information and surrounding yourself with go-getter types of people who are constantly striving to reach their goals.
DDG: What you said reminds me of the quote by Sun Tzu, the one that says “he who is destined to be defeated fights first and then looks for victory.” An entrepreneur has to win in their heart and mind before they can win out there. So, when you wake up in the morning, do you visualize the kinds of things you plan to do?
Ching: Before I go to bed at night, I plan my entire schedule for the next day so that way when I wake up I’m ready to hit the ground running. I believe that envisioning what you want your life to look like and seeing yourself living the life of your dreams plays such a big role in actually accomplishing it or not. I created a vision board at the beginning of 2014 and every day when I wake up I look at it as a reminder to keep working hard towards my dreams and goals!
DDG: Speaking of dreams and goals, I think that in both business and personal lives, it’s all about strategic partnerships to add value. We need these things to overcome competition, get access to resources and stay in the fight of life. Do you think that today in relationships people seem to be “takers” rather than “givers”?
Ching: Absolutely. I think that most people are takers rather than givers because of our selfish human nature, but the most successful people in business are givers by choice and on purpose. People who are takers think more of themselves rather than others and with that type of mentality there is so little room for growth.
DDG: What role do you think gratitude and thankfulness have in successful living?
Ching: [Two things] define a person … patience when you have nothing and [attitude] when you have everything. No one has ever achieved greatness alone. Gratitude and thankfulness play huge roles in successful living because they are vital to the teamwork necessary to make a dream a reality. Success doesn’t change who you are, it just magnifies what you already are.
DDG: Today it seems people expect to get things out of other people but won’t step up themselves in life, family, business and so forth. What do you think about this trend?
Ching: The world around us today doesn’t teach us to work hard towards our dreams. In fact we live in a society where we’re encouraged to take the path of least resistance. At 23 years old, I will speak for my own generation that we are spoiled. Plain and simple, we have everything we need to be successful in life, but I think technology and communication have had a huge effect on the way that we think.
What you think about is ultimately going to come out in your actions. The information that people are flooding their mind with nowadays such as negative news, the latest hook-ups in Hollywood, who got caught cheating, a dramatic post on Facebook from a BFF, et cetera. At the end of the day, the people and information you surround yourself with has the greatest influence over your actions.
DDG: Well said. Last but not least, what do you think is the number one personal trait that makes a difference between failure and constant victory?
Ching: While there are many important traits in business and life, every trait goes hand-in-hand with the personal trait of discipline … especially when measuring success with constant victory. To be victorious in any aspect of life there has to be high level of discipline to keep pushing even when the road gets bumpy, when you get pushed over or even when life knocks you off your feet unexpectedly. Discipline is like the necessary fuel that keeps the car moving when other functions are not necessary.