The #DGChallenge — are you up for it?

My journey from jobless to retired by 28 from corporate America has been fun, exciting, challenging, and fraught with drama.

People who say success is easy or people just got lucky sure aren’t referring to people like me. As a daughter of Chinese immigrants who came here as babysitters and dishwashers, I am a walking stereotype of the immigrant rags-to-middle-class narrative who came to this country with $1 — $100.

Much of my life was heavily influenced by my somewhat misguided stereotypical Asian-American family/success ideals (piano lessons, math tutor, Chinese school, art classes, no emphasis placed on social skills, only academic achievements, etc.). Realizing that they were incorrect on a matter of issues (ranging from irrational racism/prejudice, elitism, academic accolade obsessions, aggressive isolationism v assimilation dilemma), I have basically stumbled through life, learning from people from the real world the way to create my OWN life.

Inspired by the multitudes of people at the level of success I aspire to be at, I challenge myself, and everyone reading this to do the Dandan Global (DG) Challenge #DGChallenge that may change your life which is:

Send an email to your family, friends, spouse/significant other, colleagues, bosses, clients, vendors, etc. (ANYONE who knows you at least decently well) to solicit HONEST, specific, and constructive feedback to highlight areas that you can develop.

This sounds very easy and you’ll probably write it off by saying “oh, that’s stupid. I already know my weaknesses/everything wrong with me and I’m working on it”. That was my initial thought too!

But that’s not good enough of a reason NOT to do this. Think about it, why do companies always grade you and evaluate you? They want you to improve and you NEED to in order to stay competitive (and employed). Why does the effort have to stop at just listening to feedback from one singular source in relation to making a living? What about becoming a better parent, sibling, daughter/son, mentor, friend, lover, and all else?

Ironically, the more successful you become, the more issues you actually have — you have a lot more to fix to continue reaching success.That sounds counterintuitive, but let’s think about this.

The reason why you’re successful is that you’re witty, funny, clever, intelligent, confident, aggressive, what-have-you. That’s good, at least to get to the first stage of success… Sadly, the same strategy that got your there won’t work to get to your next destination. Further stages of success require significantly more empathy, inspiring qualities, and maturity. As a young professional, being caustic, cheeky, and snarky, may win you the first few promotions, but that won’t lead you to become the CEO or division head!

Instead of feeling that you’re above this, this feedback may be the only thing stopping you from reaching the next stage of personal growth because you couldn’t possibly know everyone’s opinion of you down to the last tee! So, here’s how you can get started.

WARNING: This is very simple but you are opening yourself up to risk, discomfort, and anxiety — you may be shocked, surprised, upset or angry at the responses you get back, but your negative emotional response will defeat the purpose of this challenge.

Here are the 4 steps to take on the DG challenge:

#1. Draft an email to your family, friends, spouse/significant other, colleagues, bosses, clients, vendors, anyone who knows you at least well enough to warrant an email. The body of the email should look something like this:

#2. Pop the email in the To: section and PRESS SEND. DO this to 15–20 people. If you prefer to do this by phone, the press the Call button, catch up with your contact, then propose this small request, they may be taken aback so give them some time to either get back to you in writing or another call, in which case send them this email too.

#3. Receive the feedback with neutrality. Don’t be too happy or upset. Instead just devise an action plan moving forward. Find an emotional baseline to read the responses objectively, without any judgment on the person writing it. Realize this is just an exercise to learn more about how you’re perceived. If you like the feedback and want to implement changes, great!

#4. Share the results of your DG Challenge by tagging #DGchallenge (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and email: with a screenshot or a write-up of your experience.

As a reward to support you along your personal success journey, you’ll receive a complimentary career coaching private coaching session with Sarah Mitko, Head of Private Coaching!

If what they say isn’t too terrible (or is it?), then question: how can this habit/behavior hold me back in the future if continued? If the impact is minimal, then you can afford to park it. For the issues that are recurring, highlighted, and bemoaned by many of your now “advisors”, you may seriously want to think deeply about why your behavior may not be that ideal and how if continued, may seriously pose a problem.

I am curious to hear about the fruits of your labor! If you like what I write, follow me on Medium!

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