When the Going Gets Tough

I have become a bit obsessed lately about forming a non-profit educational media company to become the home for my podcast “One in a Billion.” Obsession is kind of my work style. Whenever I’ve decided to do something challenging, I often nosedive into the realm of the unknown. As I discover more and more, and the unknown becomes known, I pull back, pause and stare at the monster I’ve created. In this case, I see a mountain of legal steps and logistical procedures in front of me.

I feel overwhelmed. Doubt creeps in.

Am I making the right move? How much time, energy and money is this process costing me? What am I sacrificing or ignoring that are important to me in the pursuit of this new project? Most importantly, who’s with me?

These are crucial questions I keep asking myself, and they draw out the same answers every time. I believe in why I’m doing this. What’s been driving my passion for ”One in a Billion” podcast has not been about making money. Profit was not my interest.

My goal is to create an audio show and a community that would serve a rising generation of Chinese (foreign or native born) in America, and bring their personal stories of overcoming bias and barriers to a wider audience. Six months and 12 episodes later, we sold one episode and received one recommendation from RadioPublic, a new podcasting app. Since its launch, last summer, countless friends in America and China have expressed their appreciation for a podcast that gives voice to young Chinese who want to be heard and understood by their peers. Many have volunteered time and counsel. They serve as much-needed well-wishers and cheerleaders.

So, what’s my problem? It is my focus.

Even as I focus intently on writing details about this new entity, filling out paperwork, recruiting the team and board members, I periodically cut into my own concentration by fretting what I don’t have, or fearing what else I might be missing. Inevitably, I let fear and doubt overwhelm me.


Like looking at a glass half full, once I fix my stare on the half empty; I freeze. I forget what I already have and how I got here.
Yes, my team has come together and gone separate ways just as new members continue to show up and chip in.
Yes, my resources are limited, but the rewards so far have outweighed the risks.
Yes, my passion is not limited to podcasting but it is the most meaningful and least self-serving.

Reminding myself what has been achieved over time keeps me grounded with gratitude.
Reminding myself how it all happened keeps me humble.
Reminding myself why it matters keeps me going.

Mable, New York

Mable Chan

Mable Chan is the founder of China Personified. Her contact is mablechan@chinapersonified.com.