2015 Year-In-Review

Much has happened since the start of the year, but here are a couple of things that stood out to me:

  • I had my first full time job and for lack of a better term, hated it. They said that your first job will most likely not be your last and I'm thankful that these words are more than true in regards to my circumstance. I found myself dreading the work that I produced as my boss's tyrannical nature began to affect my self-esteem and confidence
  • I found something I am naturally really good at aka taking photos and being in front of the camera. Instead of rejecting my calling, I started to follow my intuition, which eventually led me to the world of modeling
  • I lost a lot of friends and in turn, found my core group. No matter how hard you work or how much you care, sometimes there are people who are meant to be in your life. Other times, it's best to accept the very same notion that not every passerby are going to stay and that's absolutely okay.
  • I fell madly, deeply in love. If you ever get the chance to scan through my social media, you're going to find more than enough photos of me and my boyfriend. But here's the thing, folks. I feel absolutely #noshame in demonstrating the amount of love I have for him. Why? Because every single one of my genuine friends are going to be happy because their respective friend is finally at a really good place in her life right now. Shoutout to everyone who has given us nothin' but love. Anyone else who seems to be bothered by my [x] amount of posts are probably not worth my time #notsorry

There are a lot of things I've started to practice this year-

  • Saying "No" more often - and it feels freaking amazing! No guilt. No knots in my throat. Nothing.
  • Expressing compassion. Trying to look at another person's point of view to see where they're coming from. Why they may be in pain or why they may be acting a certain way. Everyone has a story, it's important to really listen to them.
  • Increasing a higher level of self awareness. I know when I'm happy, unhappy, excited, and disappointed. I am slowly starting to see who and what Khanh P. Duong is really about.
  • Closing in my circle. I still have friends who I would go great lengths for and then there are people who I will never really bother to talk to because our paths will most likely never collide again.
  • Letting go. Letting go of friendships that no longer inspire me. Relationships that no longer serves me. And people who no longer challenge me. As I go through one chapter after the next, I am beginning to feel more relaxed and optimistic about everyone who manages to stay with me throughout this long and enduring journey. My true Most Valuable Players.

Overall, I've had a rough year, but I've learned and grown so much. I'm also very thankful to each and every single experience because it has pushed me to cross boundaries and become a better, more diligent friend, co-worker, girlfriend, daughter, and sister.

Thanks for tuning in & wish you all a magical 2016! Fight On forever!

Working Out - Why It's Your Priority and No One Else's

A few weeks ago, I sat down at the table with a bunch of my pageant sisters when one of them brought up the subject of exercising. She said something along the lines of, "Do you now how people commit themselves to working out? Well, it usually happens after a life-changing event. Something that's strong enough for them to actually want to commit in changing themselves." I couldn't agree with her more. Exercising has become my go-to therapy session about three and a half years ago. I was almost done with my second semester of Sophomore year and still unsure as to what school I would actually be attending in the fall, and of course, there was the breakup that kickstarted everything. At the time, I would try to convince my friend Anne to go with me but since it took more effort to wake her up in the morning than it was to walk myself to the gym, I began to hit the gym by myself. Unlike a lot of people, much of that first year was spent with just me doing my own thing. I started out with doing a lot of cardio (running, elliptical-ing, biking, etc.) and it wasn't until I attended USC that fall did I started to implement other machines into my daily workouts. By my final year of college, I was working out consistently and at times, I even got to train some of the girls in my sorority. There were also a few sessions with my guy friends because they all knew that I had no other down time to catch up with them unless it was at the gym.

About a year ago, I reconnected with an old high school friend at...well you've guessed it, a gym. It was so refreshing to see his face so much so that we agreed to work out together from then on out. The first month was great. I finally had a consistent workout buddy and it was nice to relieve some of my stress with him since we tend to take turn talking in between sets. I felt like I finally found my groove again (post-college speaking) and more importantly, I had someone to keep me accountable. It wasn't until the second month or so did I realize that our workouts were pushed a bit back because he would arrive 5-10 minutes late. Now if you know me, you will understand that I don't deal well with lateness. I think it's a sign of disrespect when someone doesn't value your time, especially when it's a routine that is set in stone for four out of five days a week. I tried to show him the same courtesy I would show my future boss who is perhaps interviewing me by always arriving 5 minutes early or being there on time.

When it happened the first couple of times, I tried to not let it bother me as much. I figured my friend was tired from work, therefore, he must have over-slept. Generally speaking, that was always the case so I tried to emphathize as much as possible. However, when it happened over and over again, I knew I had to speak up and so I did. For a few months after that, he was never late again and our friendship began to blossom. You know that point when you finally realize that your friends get you? Well, we've reached that point and more. I had almost forgotten what it was like during the initial moments of our rekindling friendship until one day, I arrived at the gym and he wasn't there. "Uh oh," I thought to myself. Here it goes again.

You know, at first, I was very angry at the entire situation. Blaming him for his lack of courtesy and later blaming myself for being so heavily affected by it. [Insert angry emojis here] I didn't understand the difficulty that comes with standing by your words and showing up on time and then everything started to blow up in my head. I questioned our friendship, his character, and etc. It took me quite some time to settle down and understand the entire situation from a third person point of view. Maybe he had a really good reason as to why he couldn't show up. Maybe he's tired and Khanh, you really need to give him a break here. That's when it hit me. I started to make excuses for other people's inactions and that has also led me to my being extremely frustrated. It was in that moment that I took another step back in order for everything to really sink in and that was when I finally understood the situation.

First, I came to a realization that our priorities were different and that I needed to respect that. Just because working out is a top priority of mine doesn't mean that I can assume it's also somebody's elses. Secondly, I have allowed something I had no control over (ie. whether or not he shows up) to affect my overall performance at the gym aka I wasn't seeing as much results as I should have. More than half a year later, I finally took the time to make sense of everything and have decided that if I wanted to save our friendship, I needed to just do things on my own...even if it means missing the quality company that I had before.

Nowadays, he works out on his own time and as do I. I went from working out 3 to 4 times a week to 4 to 5 times a week. Out of those days, I train with my personal trainer (LOL my boyfriend, he's certified) and I've been more than happy with my results. He and I, well, we stay productive. While we do get to talk here and there, most of the time spent at the gym is dedicated to actual productivity. I later learned that I never needed someone to keep me accountable, I have been accountable for my physical health for all these years already. The only difference now is that I actually have a professional who corrects me on my form (if needed) and pushes me to do an extra set or two.

So do I miss those early gym dates? Sure. Do I miss counting all of the times I had to workout on my own after setting the expectation that I wouldn't be by myself? Definitely not. At the very least, our friendship stays untouched and I get to enjoy some alone time. Just me and my thoughts and a pair of dumbbells.

What's the biggest takeaway of this post? Do you. It's not selfish to put yourself first and to be your own company. There's something very liberating about being responsible for your own choices and not other people's.

As always,

Fight On!

 

 

 

 

It's Coming Together

This year has been all sorts of crazy, to say the least. I've said good-bye to more friendships than I could count. I got a boyfriend even though I swore off men and have since then broken my promise of "Let's stay single until you're 26, Khanh." I woke up one day and X'ed all of my nearly finished applications for big corporations because I've realized that a nine-to-five just wasn't for me. I also decided to pick up heavier weights again and my butt have experienced exponential growth since then. (Hi, @jonathantam) Although I have approximately a month and a half left of 2015, I can't even begin to tell you how anxious I've been. A few weeks ago, I received devastating news---one that tested my ability to stay sane and above all else, news that tore my family's mental state and shredded it into pieces. I also got into a huge disagreement with a good friend of mine and for a quick second, I felt like I was experiencing some sort of unwanted deja-vu. It's been quite a ride but I'm extremely grateful for every moment, every life lesson, every mistake, every falling out because each of those experiences has led me to this exact place and I couldn't be happier.

If you want to know how I'm feeling then I'm going to tell you. I'm scared. Venturing into a brand new industry is an exhilarating and equally frightening thing to do. I'm anxious. How do I even go about telling my mom about all of this and have her completely understand the emotional turmoil I've been going through? Through all of these emotions, however, the one that stood out to me the most....the one that kept me going is excitement. While I'm batshit scared, yes...I'm almost too enthusiastic to let anyone take this away from me. My life has been something I've worked incredibly hard for -a labor of love so to speak- and like I've said many times in the past, this is only my beginning.

It's going to be a crazy holiday with projects, work, and my film following Thanksgiving festivities but it's going to be a lot of fun. Wanted to give you some updates now that I can still take a breather. As always, if you're reading this, thank you for all of the support truly.

Why I Quit My Boss

“I quit.” “You did what?”

“I quit.”

“Man, you sure know how to start off the week.”

That was the conversation I had with my best friend yesterday morning after a slightly uncomfortable but much needed meeting with my boss.

At the start of my new job, I was ambitious, excited, and needless to say, filled with energy and enthusiasm. I imagined myself five years down the line, branding the company, producing my own shows, and managing my own team. Less than two months after our soft grand opening that vision of mine began to slowly dissipate.

Before everything went downhill, I was on my grind. Within the first month alone, I was able to put in a 50-hour workweek all while balancing my three freelancing jobs on the side. With only twenty dollars in my savings account, I knew I had to hustle and I had to hustle hard. Once I got the ball rolling, things began to look brighter. Every month, I watched my savings doubled. While I was making money, I tried to budget my spending as much as possible. Pretty soon, I was able to afford the things I never thought I was able to afford. Hustling (if you do it right) will always lead to unprecedented results.

Slowly, I started to notice that the dynamic between my boss and I began to change. She would walk over to my office often and criticize every research, pitch, and treatment I’ve completed for a show. At first, I took her words as a means to improve and grow, but after awhile, I began to feel uneasy.

Some days were doable and other days were just downright awful. I would hear the words "nonchalant" and "incompetent" being tossed casually. Furthermore,  her words had a lot to do with her own personal opinions of me rather than the product of my actual merits. "Why are you a Communication major when you can't communicate?" "Do you even do research at USC?" Etc, etc.

Although I am typically good at blocking out these kinds of misguided words, it became apparent to me that there was no real trajectory or future if I do choose to stay with the company. Don’t get me wrong. Well-spoken, highly self-actualized individuals do not intimidate me. They inspire me. My boss, on the other hand, was anything but inspiring. She was a disastrous procrastinator, but luckily for her, she had someone to pick up all of her pieces....aka me.

Two months in and I started to experience a new low. I lost a good amount of weight, broke out, had mood swings, and evidently, experienced a high-level of stress. So what did I end up doing? At the end of month 4, I booked a flight to San Francisco and requested a week off from work.

San Francisco was amazing. It gave me a space to reflect on the situation I was in. I stepped away from my every day routine and challenged myself to think outside the box. Lastly, I came home with a definite answer.

“I’m going to quit,” I said to myself.

That following Monday morning, I walked into my office and saw that my boss completely destroyed my desk space---books, used cups, papers were scattered everywhere. Granted, before I left, I vacuumed the entire office and tidied up my conference room. Welp, there goes that. It was in that very moment that I realized I could no longer wait for change to happen. After a couple of deep breathes, I mustered up the courage to tell her that I no longer see myself as a fit for the company.

She didn’t look too surprised and while she did try to find more horrible things to say, I did my best to avoid countering verbally altogether. Deep down, I knew I was doing the right thing and by giving myself the opportunity to shed all of the lies and unethical truths I’ve been repeatedly hearing, I have finally allowed myself to be free.

I don’t want to approach this situation in an aggressive outspoken manner. For me, this entire first job experience taught me more than I’ll ever know. Although some people may think that I am a quitter, I know very well that this was a decision that took a lot of thinking, discussion, and reevaluation.

Pros about the job:

  • It was close to home
  • It was close to the gym
  • I will make my parents proud and less stressed
  • It gave me the flexibility to keep up with my social life and relationship

After writing down the pros and the cons, I learned that no matter how great the pros were, none of these things was worth risking my happiness and self worth.

Initially, I was planning to write this post a couple of months down, ya know... right after I get a new job or something along those lines. However, my thoughts are still raw and I wanted to share this experience with you because it’s important for me to be as honest as possible. I’ve spent years preaching about the importance of staying true to oneself while consistently chasing after calculated risks. This, right here, may very well be the best decision I have made for myself this year. Okay, second best (the first one was when I agreed to date the sweetest guy on this planet).

If there’s one thing I want you to take away from my story, it’s this: your dreams are worth it. Don’t let pre-judgment, condemnation, setbacks and people-pleasing tendencies to pull you back. After all, the second you start believing in yourself and your worth, everything will start to follow through. Trust me, I’d know.

Saying Good-Bye to Friends

For months on end, I've been reevaluating all of the friendships and relationships that are currently present in my life so it only made sense that I asked myself a ton of questions. "What role does this person play at this very moment? And is the role a positive one?"

"Does this person challenge me?"

"Are we in personal contact?"

If the answers were "Yes" to all three of these questions, I would keep the friendship as is. Consequently, if I answered "No" to any of these questions, I would start to further reexamine our current friendship because that one word answer speaks volume in itself. I guess one of the most heartbreaking realizations I had was when I reached that "A-hah" moment and learned that I had somehow moved on with my life and so have they. Although the move has been gradual, it has also been building up to this very day in which I have decided to look back only to see that everything has changed. Maybe it was me, maybe it was my respective friend. Either way, life took us to two different races and whether I like it or not, we're no longer working towards that same path.

I've been incredibly distraught and upset this entire weekend. At one point or another, these people would have been sitting front row at my wedding (If I were to ever get married, of course). It's fascinating that that it happened to such long-term friends of mine, but it is what it is. Truth of the matter is that we have all evolved and that evolution is just a part of a growing process that we can't avoid.  Of course, that sense of disconnect has bothered me (and it still does), but after talking to my best friends and Jonathan, I learned that it's okay to let go even if you don't want to.

When you think of successful people, you think of the sacrifices they've made in order to get to where they are at. You think about the amount of work and hour they've put into their craft in order to become masters of it. But let's take a different route and look at one of the most important things in terms of the road to success: who you surround yourself with. I've talked to so many people I've admired and they've all told me one thing--- keeping the right company will make all of the difference.

I will never trade my group of network for all the riches in the world, but at this point in time, I am learning how to say good-bye. Our plus number of years of friendship used to be a top priority of mine, but it isn't anymore. I cannot blame myself or them. The only real thing to blame is life. Life has decided that we were better apart than we are together so that's something we all have to learn to accept. With any loss comes gains. I've been fortunate enough to have some pretty incredible people entering my life so I cannot be one to complain.

To my friends, I wish them nothing but the very best and whether they know it or not, I will always look at our friendships in a beautiful light.

New Chapter. Let's Go!

It's a Friday night but unlike many other Friday nights, today will be the last Friday before I start my full-time job and I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am to start this new chapter of my life. Following graduation, I was completely exhausted from packing on my schedule left and right. Two internships, five upper division courses, Greek life, etc. I wanted to do it all and that's exactly what I did. I did it all and I spread myself too thin. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Looking back and reflecting on everything now, I wouldn't have changed my decision for the world. I learned how to multi-task, I am able to work under tight deadlines, and more than anything, I found that fire that kept me going...day in and day out, but things weren't always easy for me. My parents and relatives were constantly asking me questions about my future. "When are you going to get a boyfriend?" "What are you going to be doing now?" "What's next?" Questions after questions. While I have tried many times to avoid giving them bullshit answers, I couldn't help but to settle for a mediocre response. "Just wait. You will see." If you can't already tell, the problem is quite clear. I had no answers. To me, not knowing was perfectly normal. As for my parents? Well, it drove them nuts.

For the past couple of months, I've been living under a microscope. Although my mother tries to alleviate my stress by sending me your average 9-5 office job listings, I was constantly searching for more. The more I did my research, the more patience and confidence I started to gain. I knew that at the end of the day, my time will come so while I don't have full control over timing, I could still enjoy the "Started-at-the-bottom" ride while I still can. Due to this fuck it mentality, I ended up doing a lot of recreational things. I traveled. I partied. I explored new places. I read (a lot). I dated. To sum it all up, I had a lot of fun. Someone really special entered my life (Danny) while other friendships began to dissipate. While I'm sad that some bonds aren't as strong as it was before, I'm also lucky to know that I still have some pretty amazing people who will always stay by my side.

These months have taught me so much about myself, my desires, my interests, and my dislikes. They opened up my eyes to venturing out and trying things that I may not have had the courage to try and for once, I am so so fucking excited. I have mentally, physically, emotionally prepared myself for this new opportunity and I'm going to do what I've always done in the past. I'm going to run with it and see where it goes.

Before I end this post, I just wanted to thank you for following my journey and for being a part of it. You have made more than an impact on me and because of that, I'm forever grateful. Take care and I'll be back on this blog soon!

As always, Fight On!

Before You Take The Job, Ask Yourself This

My friends always laugh and joke around whenever I tell them that I am going in for an interview. "Why do you do it? So that you can turn down another company?" I chuckled a little because there is some truth to that. Okay, maybe not some truth but it is the truth. I've been turning down offers after offers. Call me crazy, but it'll all make sense to you later on. I promise. Anyway, a couple of my friends and my parents have been shaking their heads at my adamant decision, especially since landing a great job right after college is as scarce as finding an awesome and loyal boyfriend. However, there's always a valid reason as to why I have done what I did and I'm about to share with you why. Here are the questions I have asked myself before making the final decision as to whether or not I should take up an offer. This is not only applicable to my career, but also to other areas of my life, so here we go.

1) Will this take me one step closer to where I need to be? If you wanted to be an actor, should you apply to be a bank teller at Wells Fargo? Maybe, but it wouldn't make any sense. However, you might as well take up some bartending lessons (if that's something you've always been interested in), get yourself the license, so now you have income flowing in while still have the flexibility to go on auditions. Win-win.

2) How is the work environment and culture? You want to be a part of a team or company that represents you as much as you represent them. Do they treat their employees well? Is there room for growth and collaboration? Do you agree with their mission statement? For me, it's important to be in a space that has structure as well as transparency.

3) Will I be able to utilize my talents and skill sets? No matter how great the pay is (or maybe this is just me), passion will always come first. I want to be able to see myself loving what I do and doing what I love. The only way I'm able to do good is if I'm able to practice my craft.

4) How are the people? I'm a Communication major. This one is extremely important to me. While I know we're not always going to get along with our bosses or co-workers, I still want to surround myself with people I respect, people I can learn from, and people I can share my ideas with. Yes, showbizz is an extremely lucrative one; however, I've also met enough incredible people to know that there are still those with humility, humbleness, and hunger to achieve.

5) Last but certainly not least, am I settling? I could go on all day and list reasons why you and I should never settle, but then I'll just be rambling about something you already know. The act of settling becomes a habit for a lot of people because it's safe, it's easy, it's effortless. People settle for someone they don't love or who no longer makes them happy due to financial stability or routine. People settle for the first person that chases after them because they like the perks that comes with companionship. People settle for mundane careers because it pays the bill. I've seen this happening to my friends, relatives, strangers, and etc. I've read and heard about these circumstances a million times in the past. Then I'd come across these rare cases when the investment banker moves to a tech start-up company, the lawyer goes back to school and becomes a philosophy professor, and a student who declines admission to Harvard Business School so that he can travel the world and create his own behavior design company. These are true stories from visionaries who are unsettling about being settled. These are the people who constantly strives to break the norms in order to improve on themselves and their works. More than anything, I want to be alongside those people because a person like Khanh is not meant to sleep with the wolves when she is meant to play with the lions. I'm sorry, guys. I love talking about myself in third person every now and then.

Anyway, I just wanted to remind you, my friends, that you are also capable of everything and anything you'd want to be. A surgeon. An artist. A teacher. An engineer. A philanthropist. Whatever it is, it's possible. So never ever settle.

I hope this summarizes why I've been a little bit picky with my career path as well as other things. I have all the trust in the world that the Universe is saving something phenomenal for us and it's only a matter of time until we'll be able to find out what it is.

Until then, take care and as always, Fight On!

Why I Turned Those Offers Down

Mentor. Inspiration. Role-model. These are some of the kind words I've received from my peers and I don't take it very lightly. At the age of 22, I've led countless of public seminars, appeared on national television, and spoke in front of thousands of people. While I would say that I've done fairly well for myself, I know very well that I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the love and support I've received throughout the years.

But there are days when I would wake up and ask myself why I do what I do. Is it for the fame? Is it for the prestige? Whatever the reason may be, I know for certain that it's not for one thing and that's money. Truth be told, I have not received an official paycheck up until this past summer. (Thank you, ABC). After all those countless hours on set and at the studio, I still drive home with an empty wallet. So how was I able to support myself without asking from my parents for financial support? Well, I would take on weekend freelance projects. Lots of them. It's tough and at times unsettling, but if you're trying to break in the same industry, you would know that not everyone's going to make it to Hollywood alive. Only the hungry will. And if you can't already tell by now, I am fucking starving.

Success to me has always been about the journey that I embark on not the destination. Whenever I do lose sight of my motive or pursuit, I would think about how far I've gone and how closer I am today than I was yesterday. Although this may sound a bit strange, but I absolutely love every minute of my struggles. Each of my experiences, whether good or bad, has taught me to rise from the bottom and become an even more brilliant, more resilient woman. So as I begin to congratulate my best friends on their new job offers and accomplishments, I also start to paint a clearer picture in my head as to how I would like to live my life. I'm not afraid to stand alone. I've chosen that route plenty of times and have never once looked back (unless I'm reflecting like how I am now). There is a thrill in choosing the route less taken. In a way, it pushes me to think outside of the box and learn how to overcome my fears while simultaneously break my comfort zone. That's the rebel in me talking. Correction, that's the hungry me talking. There's also a small little voice in my head that tells me to take that very first job offer and go for an administrative position. I will then have to spend eight hours a day answering other people's phone calls and organizing their schedules. "This is ____'s secretary. How may I help you today?"

The thought of living that life scares me. Why? Because I know that my passion is elsewhere. I know I want to be my own boss, but at the same time, I have to start somewhere. The door's already open and my foot is right there. However, what are some of the steps I need to take now? More importantly, will they do my dreams justice?

I don't know. I don't have the answers just yet, but I'm working on it. How I was able to overcome the low parts of my life has a lot to do with the bigger voice that's in my head. The one that's telling me that I am capable of so much more than the average. That at the end of the day, I am someone's mentor, someone's inspiration, someone's sister, and someone's friend.

So I've turned down job opportunities. Ones that looked impressive on paper, but would have left me feeling unfulfilled. Yes, I did try to explore some of the options, but I knew that had I taken the job, I would be even further away from where I need to be. At this point in time, I want to believe that for once my heart and head has aligned and that if I listened closely to the Universe's calling, I will be one step closer to the finish line.

Call me picky if you like, but I never want to live a life knowing that I've settled less than what I've deserved. But who's to say that that's a bad thing? You can't pick on a girl who knows what she wants.

XOXO

My Morning Routine

Lesson 1: "The state of your bed is the state of your head." One of the greatest tips I've learned this past year is that in order to maintain a positive attitude, I must begin my day by doing something positive. For me, on days when I work, it would be making my bed. Like any other habit, it's a tangible means in which I have complete control over. While I notice that most of my friends enjoy lounging around and pressing the snooze button a couple of times, I, on the other hand, would typically take several deep breathes, meditate, and proceed to start my morning as soon as possible. People always ask me how I am able to do what I do. Well, for starters, I would tell them this: make your bed. I've been doing it every since I was six years old and it has not changed since I've graduated from college.

Lesson 2: "Think in the morning" - William Blake 

On weekends, I would pull up my iPad (not my phone) and read. News stories. Feel-good. Transcripts. Blogs. Reading is a keystone habit of mine. A catalyst in many ways. While I am all about a healthy body, I also feel strongly about a healthy mind.

Here are a list of successful people who also read in the morning :

http://www.businessinsider.com/successful-people-morning-reading-habits-2014-1?op=1

And if you're too lazy to click on the link, the list includes Bill Gates, Obama, and Warren Buffett (just to name a few).

Lesson 3: Push ups, push ups! 

I love being active. Although I don't go to the gym every single day, I try to squeeze in at least 100 push-ups on my rest days and a cup of green tea in order to jump start my metabolism. Not only does exercise increase my mental acuity and energy level, it definitely sets the tone for what's to follow.

I am not asking everyone to imitate my morning ritual, however, I do want to fill people in on the central objective of this post which is to encourage others to start their day in a positive and productive manner. Rarely do I sleep in or wake up cranky. Believe me, I have tried rejecting my natural body's adaptation to early morning wake up calls but I have found that rather rejecting it, I should embrace it. As of right now, I could not even begin to describe to you how happy and great I feel about both mentally and physically. I've realized that my habits has slowly changed over the past year or so and it feels as though I have finally found my happy place.

So Happy Wednesday, everybody! Enjoy the rest of your day!

 

I Am The Standard

1922964_10203234932812910_1625709522_n As an only child for nine years, I grew up with the notion that the world revolved around me. I was young and I would like to say that I didn't know any better, but that would just mean that I didn't give myself enough credit. I knew I was a selfish child, but it wasn't until my brother was about 7 years old did I realize that I had it all wrong.

This past evening, I sat in a communication seminar with Antonio Neves who is a notable award-winning business journalist turned producer turned executive coach. After the seminar was over, I walked up to him, shook his hands, and introduced myself to him. "Hi, my name is Khanh. It's very nice to meet you." Rather than making an impression, I really just wanted to get his opinion on my current situation and the steps I needed to take in order to move forward. He gave me some pointers and proceeded to ask me two very important questions. "Why entertainment broadcast? Is it only because you want to be in front of the camera or is it because you breathe and live it?" I was overwhelmed by the degree of the questions since I knew that this was something I should have thought about a long time ago. The only reason that can justify my lack of a response was that I never really questioned my passion for story-telling. I've always felt like it was something I was born to do. So rather than justifying the means, I spent a great deal of my time trying to excel and use that gift to my advantage. At the end of the day, I am in love with it and through that love that I have for what I do and what I want to do, I am able to endure the highs and lows that come with having such ambition. So after a brief moment of contemplation, I realized that my dreams should never be questioned if I genuinely believe in them and as much as I love the idea of being on national television along with all the glamorized things that come with the industry, my purpose in life is to be more than just a television personality. I want to give back to my parents who raised me, to my friends who believed in me, to my mentors who guided me, and to the community that molded me into becoming the woman that I am today. I am meant to do bigger things because I have a purpose in life and that is to be the change that I wish to see in the world. I can definitely go in specifics later on about my goals, but as of right now, my journey is guided through my efforts of wanting to use my talents in order to inspire young professionals and peers, alike. This journey is no longer just about me. It's about the many lives that I can potentially touch along the way. In reference to the text message I received from my friend earlier today, I am the standard. But it doesn't stop here. It is only the beginning, my friends.