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Obstacle is the way — Michelle Sun, Founder of First Code Academy

The founder of First Code Academy, Forbes 30 Under 30 in Asia, on the importance of tackling your fears.

Michelle donating a lunch hour and raising 94 volunteer hours

Sometimes the most meaningful and inspiring conversations happen over casual meals. The Time Auction Blog is a snippet of our meetings with people who have found passion in their life and career, where we get a glimpse into their mentality and attitude behind their ventures and stories.

We met with Michelle Sun — Founder of First Code Academy, Forbes 30 Under 30 in Asia, who donated a lunch and raised 94 volunteer hours.

After diving into topics from her favourite books (Sapiens, Zero to One), productivity tools (trello) to meditation practices (hello headspace), we asked Michelle a few questions.

What’s a life philosophy you live by?

“Always choose what will grow you the most, instead of what you fear.

When I am in a dilemma with two ways in front of me, there is often one path that is more difficult. Most of the time, the most rewarding experience comes from choosing the more difficult one. There is a lot to discover and I have learned a lot from choosing it.”

Can you tell us how you were like when you were 25? What are the most important experiences to get out of your 20s?

“I turned 30 in last December, it is a very reflective time to look back in my 20s. In society, there is a lot of pressure to know what you’re doing and to choose a path like buying a house or starting a family.

Looking back in my 20s, I am very thankful that I took time to be lost and confused and asked a lot of questions.

That’s what 20s is for, you are not going to do it in your 30s. It is not too late to do it as a twenty-something, the most energetic and passionate period. Take time to question yourself and get out there. If you have a job, you can make use of weekends to expand your circle and meet people who inspires you.”

What can people do to impress you?

“I would say the most impressive people are the ones who keep reinventing themselves and pushing themselves. It is very easy to get good at something and stay there.

The best people I look up to are the ones who ask questions and destruct themselves.

I did this thing this way yesterday, doesn’t mean I am doing it the same way today. There could be better ways.”

What is one action you want everyone to take away from meeting you today?

“I always remind myself to find out what I am fearful of and go for it. Last year, I wanted to get over my fear of swimming in open water.

It is a very transformative experience to identify what your fears are.

As you learn to overcome your fears, it builds up your courage. You are telling yourself ‘hey, a year ago you were super scared of swimming in open water but it is actually not that scary!’ and this can apply to all scenarios.”

Thank you Michelle for donating lunch and indirectly contributing 94 volunteer hours to Project Wecan, Soap Cycling, Food Angel, Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, Agency of Volunteer Services and more.

For more experiences, visit Time Auction, a platform connecting you with inspiring people while encouraging volunteerism.

The volunteers would like to say:

Jasmine Ko, Lingnan University Student

Appreciate Michelle for donating her time with us on sharing about herself. She learnt a lot on living behaviour, never expected to have such a wonderful conversation on reading books and using scheduling tools. Knowing how to utilize current resources is the greatest wisdom :-)

Herman Wong, Open University of Hong Kong Student

I am impressed that the lost will get you thinking more understand yourself more. Don’t be afraid.

Angie Ma, Hong Kong Baptist University Student

Thanks for your sharing today, it was nice to hear your “constantly striving for excellence” stories which inspire me to keep on challenging myself and keep myself hungry:)

Craig Martin, Angel Investor and Entrepreneur

Great to meet you Michelle, your story brings back lots of lovely (and difficult times!) memories for me. You seem to have the right formula and done very well so far! Would love to chat further about seeing if we can work with some of your students (we call my current company unofficially “university forever!” between the team).



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