Guest Speaker, Wing Yan Man & The Entrepreneurial Mindset

A personal story about how to succeed with an entrepreneurial mindset.

Wing Yan man, a young, powerful entrepreneur decided to quit her successful career as a civil engineer in the Netherlands where she was working for the esteemed American, multinational technology company, IBM. She left this prestigious position to embark on a journey as the founder of Wing M. and began a career as a millennial coach.

At only 29 years old, Ms. Wing Yan Man stood in front of Professor Xavier Arola Pérez’s class of Master of Science in Entrepreneurship students to provide insight and wisdom into the life of becoming an entrepreneur.

For most people, 29 years old seems very young, that Ms. Man had very little experience in the real word to be able to make a start on her own, but that’s where many are mistaken. This latter generation of millennials typically have a record of accomplishment of getting things done, moving up in the ranks and never sitting still, and sure enough, that applied to Ms. Man.

A short list of her accomplishments can be spelled out. She graduated from the University of Twente and moved directly onto getting experience at Toyota and Shell, trying to make an environmental impact through the automotive industry. This was before she found her calling in water management and engineering in the Netherlands. She has been a public speaker on the international stage and worked for IBM as a water management consultant. In her position with this respected tech firm, Ms. Man worked in university relations and valorization management. At the age of 27, she was a United Nation’s prized project recipient.

It seemed like she had it all, a steady income, sitting at the big table with executives and directors, and the ability to network with famous individuals across the globe. Who wouldn’t be enamored by that lifestyle?

The downside to the professional success in the multinational company was the high stress and demands that were a constant in Ms. Man’s life. Inevitably, she felt lost and stuck in a position that for the blind eye seemed to be perfect, but for her, the constant stress and pressure left her uninspired and without true purpose.

This realization led her to start her own company and redefine her standard of success to be more in line with the life she wanted to live.

What is success?

Before galivanting off on the road less travelled, forging an entrepreneurial career that is not always considered mainstream, Ms. Man asked herself a very definitive question.

Wing Yan decided to quit her successful career in technology company IBM

How did she define success? The generic answer, and the response from the students in class was that success was defined by earning a certain amount of money, gaining power and prestige, reaching their personal and professional goals, and obtaining overall happiness. These are broad responses and can work for most, but it takes reflection and evaluation to prioritize what aspects of success are more important than others and finding the balance between earning a living, managing a career, and building a life. For Ms. Man, she wanted to define her own idea of success and not follow pre-established stereotypes.

In partaking this step and presenting the question of success to the Master of Science in Entrepreneurship students, she laid the framework in which to guide students into the world of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Four key steps to fostering an entrepreneurial mindset, according to Wing Yan Man.

1. Success: Define Your Own Success

Do what you love, and don’t let your colleagues, friends, superiors detour you from the life you want to lead.

2. Change: Embrace It

Most people do not respond well to change because it fosters uncertainty. Ask yourself why you want to change, and what the risks are involved. Get comfortable with the risk and go for it. Take the gamble, and embrace change.

3. Learn: From Yourself and Your Failures

In 2015, Ms. Man hit burnout, a type of psychological stress that compromised her feelings of self-worth and helped to define her personal journey. After having hit a theoretical wall, she knew she no longer wanted to withstand the demands of the career and life she was leading. She sought to rediscover her passion and went travelling. During her adventures from Japan to London and Hong Kong to the United States, she delved into her inner workings, asking herself why she perceived burnout as failure, how she felt about society and her place in it, and how to fully accept herself and her aspirations?

Sometimes it takes these moments of awareness and clarity to reconfigure our lives. It takes an epiphany to realize that a better life exists and that it is within each and every individuals’ grasp to transform their future.

4. Trust: It Will All Turn Out Okay in the End

Trust in your own strengths and talents and try not to stress if everything doesn’t go as you planned. Ms. Man used Morgan Freeman as an example; it wasn’t until he was 52 years old did he have his first big break at stardom in Hollywood, and look at him today. He is a true testament that with hard work and determination everything will work out okay in the end.

Written by Emily Dawn Szajda, GBSB Global Content Manager

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