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10 Compromises Never To Make On The Path To Success

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There’s no doubt success changes lives. For better and for worse. Everybody loves a great rags-to-riches story. But nobody wants to be the star of one that leaves behind a trail of destruction and regret.

Compromise gives birth to regret. Your journey is filled with decisions and opportunities to move forward and succeed. The tricky part is that the journey doesn’t always follow the script right? Compromise and sacrifices are inevitable. And it’s a fine line between compromises that are worth it, and those that hurt us.

Here are 10 compromises never to make on your journey:

1. Your Uniqueness.

Don’t let emulation turn into imitation. It’s been said a thousand times– find a mentor, connect with a likeminded community, emulate and learn from those you look up to. The problem is, you can become so likeminded that you lose yourself. Uniqueness becomes uniformity. That different angle you bring to the game is left behind.

It’s amazing that there isn’t anyone in this universe like you- exploit it, not erase it. Don’t compromise on being different.

2. Your Passion vs. Profit.

The guaranteed door to financial reward will present itself. But if it requires you to set aside your passion before entering, it isn’t worth it. Money without meaning doesn’t bring fulfilment. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with taking small jobs for the quick and easy buck, but when it comes to anything of substance- something long term, it’s gotta be driven by something you absolutely love doing. Compromise on profit, not your passion.

3. Your Health.

The all-coffee meal-plan should set off some alarm bells. Sleep, exercise, and nutrition are easily forgotten in the daily hustle. But they are integral to our success. These compromises will quickly bite you in the backside– when your immune system is weak and you’re stuck in bed.

Nothing wrong with snacking and eating on the go, but choose nutritional ‘real’ food instead of running by the fast food joint. Exercise and sleep are crucial for your brain. You know the ideal amount to function well– it could be 6 hours of sleep, and 20-minutes a day of exercise. Whatever it is, don’t compromise on it.

4. Your Family.

There is always more work to be done. If it comes down to squeezing extra hours in the office or playing with your children, set aside those hours for the family. You’re not going to be able to buy back your kid’s childhood. And don’t compromise on the date-nights you set with your spouse.

5. Your Honesty.

It’s easy to justify little white lies. But they alway snowball. Whether you are sharing statistics, numbers, and connections, don’t put honesty on the line to get ahead. Lying may get you one step forward, but that toxic inner conflict brings you three-steps back.

Don’t put a healthy inner self– your personal standards and integrity– on the line.

6. Your Vulnerability.

Ambitious people are born with a cape on. But it’s good to take it off once in a while. If you don’t allow yourself to be vulnerable and susceptible to mistakes and failure, you set an impossibly high standard that only hurts when you fall from it.

As you step out to take on the world, remember sensitivity and vulnerability open up helpful road signs for your emotions. Don’t shut off your emotions from being teachers in your life.

7. The Hard Road vs. The Easy Path.

Don’t compromise on your doggedness and grit in favour of safety and comfort. The funny thing is, when you choose the tougher route, you get to enjoy greater comfort. The bigger the risk, the greater the reward. Hard work has gotten you where you are now, don’t start compromising and looking for the easy path.

8. Your Sense Of Humour.

In a dog-eat-dog world, maintaining a sense of humour will be crucial– if not for success, most definitely for sanity. Haters will enter the picture and it’ll take every ounce of strength not to email and comment on what you think of them, and their mother.

You can be focused, driven, and determined, and still find time to laugh at life. You’ll either have to laugh, or pull your hair out at times. The former is recommended.

9. Giving back.

No doubt one of your initial motivations was to add value to the world and others. As you build your audience, more people will want your time. All of a sudden you’re too busy– for anybody. Mentor someone if you get the chance, take some time to give some free advice, send an encouraging email in the midst of all the busy work.

10. Celebrating.

Work hard, play hard right? More like work hard, no play for most people. Don’t compromise on opportunities time to stop and smell the flowers.

I flew out to beautiful San Diego to record an interview. I’d heard amazing things about the city. But I didn’t get to experience any of it because I just had to get back to my office to make edits and get the post live. I’m kicking myself for not taking an extra day to see the city.

Hustling and being productive are essential in this business. But when life experiences present themselves, make room for them and welcome them. That post can wait one extra day.

The body can endure compromise and the mind can be seduced by it. Only the heart protests. The heart.

– Jeanette Winterson

Entrepreneurship

Women on Top in Tech – Daphne Ng, CEO of JEDTrade

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(Women on Top in Tech is a series about Women Founders, CEOs, and Leaders in technology. It aims to amplify and bring to the fore diversity in leadership in technology.)

Daphne Ng is the CEO of JEDTrade, a blockchain technology company focused on trade, supply chain, and financial inclusion projects in ASEAN. She is also the Scretary-General at ACCESS and Exco. of Singapore Fintech Association

What makes you do what you do?
I was introduced to blockchain technology in 2016 after I left my corporate banking career after 10 years. It was my mentor who first got me interested in this technology, which I then went on to delve further into, on its potential applications in the lending and trade finance space – domains where I came from.

How did you rise in the industry you are in?
Being in the space for 2 years and actively involved in the ecosystem, I was able to bring on the projects, network and a good degree of thought leadership in this vertical. Early on in the startup journey, our team faced many challenges. And to me, the key to rising above failures are two essential factors – resilience and support. While resilience is innate, I received a lot of help be it in terms of connections or advice. ‘Nobody succeeds without help’ rings very true for me.

Why did you take on this role/start this startup especially since this is perhaps a stretch or challenge for you (or viewed as one since you are not the usual leadership demographics)?
From the start, I focused on my domain expertise in trade finance and the application construct of how blockchain and DLT can be applied to these use cases. Also, my strategy from the start was to build a technology company made up of 80% tech and engineers, which is also our key competitive advantage today. At the end of the day, deliverables are about strategy and execution, which includes building and leading an ‘A’ team.

Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work?
I have many mentors, which includes our company advisors (all of whom are well-known in this industry) and mostly informal mentors I meet via my connections, and on various occasions and circumstances. Creating opportunities also means putting myself in the right place, at the right time. And in my case, these were mostly organic and genuine friendships formed from the initial connection.

How did you make a match if you and how did you end up being mentored by him?
To me, a match in values is very important. It also takes humility to ask for help and be willing to listen to advice, which is important in order for mentorships to be successful – be it formal or informal.

Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?
I love this question! I am passionate about building strong teams and helping my people grow. I abide by the 3Rs when identifying talents: resourcefulness, resilience and right values. And then I invest in the ‘potential’ and this means giving them room to lead, make decisions and take risks.

Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why?
My support of diverse talents, skillsets and characters can be seen in the make-up of our core team – all helming specific roles and each bringing their own value to the table. We need the sum of all parts to build a great company.

What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?
Great leaders emerge in times of failures and challenges, never abandoning the team, and always putting the team’s interests before her own. And I consciously live by these mottos every day.

Advice for others?
My advice to other entrepreneurs: be resolute and dare to be different. If you are going to follow others, then you will end up on the same path as them. No right or wrong; but I would rather chart my own path. This June, we are officially launching our blockchain project, Jupiter Chain (www.jupiterchain.tech), which have garnered much interest in the industry, even before we made it public. We believe this project is the epitome of marrying innovation with practical implementation, and we want to be the first to truly operationalize blockchain for our ecosystem projects in this region.


If you’d like to get in touch with Daphne Ng, please feel free to reach out to her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/daphne-ng-%E9%BB%84%E7%91%9E%E7%8E%B2/

To learn more about JEDTrade, please click here.

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Callum Connects

Jace Koh, Founder of U Ventures

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Jace Koh believes cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. Understanding it will enhance your ability to run and manage your business.

What’s your story?
My name is Jace Koh and I am the Founder of U Ventures. I’ve always been inclined towards investment and entrepreneurship. I’ve played a hand in starting businesses across these industries – professional services, cloud integration, software and music. I believe that succeeding in business is tough, but that’s what makes the rewards even sweeter.

What excites you most about your industry?
Everything excites me. These are my beliefs:

  • Why is accounting important?
    The accounting department is the heart. Cash flow is like blood stream, it pumps blood to various parts of the body like cash flow is pumped to various departments and/or functions in a business. It is vital to the life and death of the business.
  • Is accounting boring?
    Accountants are artists too. They paint the numbers the way they want them to be.
  • What makes a good accountant?
    A good accountant can tell you a story about the business by looking at the numbers.
  • Why is budgeting and projection important?
    Accountants are like fortune tellers, they can predict the numbers and if you wish to understand your business and make informed decisions, feel free to speak to our friendly consultants to secure a meeting.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Singapore, and here’s where I want to be.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore is my favourite city. We have great legal systems in place, good security and people with integrity. Most importantly, we have a government that fosters a good environment for doing business. I recently went for a cultural exchange programme in Hong Kong to learn more about their startups. I found out that the Hong Kong government generally only supports local business owners in terms of grants. They’ve recently been more lenient and changed the eligibility to include all businesses that have at least 50% local shareholding. But comparing that to Singapore, the government only requires a 30% local shareholding to obtain government support. In the early days of starting a business, all the support you can get is precious. It’s great that we have a government that understands that.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
The best time ever to plant a tree was 10 years ago as the tree would have grown so big to provide you with shelter and all. When is the next best time to plant a tree? It is today. Because in 10 years time, the tree would have grown big enough to provide you shelter and all.

Who inspires you?
Jack Ma. His journey to success is one of the most inspiring as it proves that with determination and great foresight, even the poorest can turn their lives around. I personally relate to his story a lot, and this is my favourite quote from him, “If you don’t give up, you still have a chance. Giving up is the greatest failure.”

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I’ve faced multiple rejections throughout my business journey, and recently came across a fact on Jack Ma about how he was once rejected for 32 different jobs. It resonated very deeply and taught me the importance of tenacity, especially during tough times.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I live a life with no regrets. Everything I do, regardless of whether it is right or wrong, happy or sad, and regardless of outcome, it’s a lesson with something to take away.

How do you unwind?
I love to pamper myself through retail therapy and going for spas. I also make a conscious effort to take time off work to have a break outside to unwind as well as to uncloud my mind. This moment of reflection from time to time helps me see more clearly on how I can improve myself.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Taiwan! Good food with no language barriers and the people are great!

Everyone in business should read this book:
I don’t really read books. Mostly, I learn from my daily life and interactions with hundreds of other business owners. To me, people tell the most interesting stories.

Shameless plug for your business:
We’re not just corporate secretaries, we’re “business doctors.”
U Ventures is a Xero certified advisory firm that goes beyond traditional accounting services to provide solutions for your business. You can reach us on our website: http://uventures.com.sg/

How can people connect with you?
Converse to connect. You can reach me via email at [email protected] or alternatively, on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacekoh/

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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