Inspired by… Allison Tsao

Allison Tsao, Humans Who Lead

1. Tell us what this quote means to you and how it inspires you on a daily basis
This quote captures how I’ve evolved in my own life – my journey of growth. Too often, we as human beings suffer because we want to change things that are out of our control. We struggle so much because we think to ourselves, “if only I could change that person, or if only that person would listen.” What we don’t realise is if we change ourselves – our attitudes, mindsets, and behaviours – that we can actually affect real change in the world. It’s called role modelling, or as Gandhi put it, “being the change you want to see in the world”. We must focus on developing ourselves in order to contribute to the positive evolution of humanity.

2. What drove you to start your business Humans Who Lead? And you recently moved across the world to live in Australia didn’t you?!
Yes! I moved to Australia in November 2014 with two suitcases. It was a total leap of faith, I had never even been to Australia, I only knew two people in Sydney, and I didn’t have any job lined up. I had been climbing the big corporate ladder in NYC for 8 years when I realised that that life wasn’t going to be for me. Something in my soul was telling me there was something else I was meant to do and distancing myself from my NYC lifestyle would give me some space to reflect on what that was. So fast forward 3 years, I’ve been working with a boutique consulting firm in Sydney, helping organisations through transformational change. Being in executive meetings most of the time, I realised that the pain I  experienced in corporate America felt very similar in corporate Australia. People are struggling! They are stressed, so busy, and simply overwhelmed with the complexity of the world. There are just so many demands on us as humans these days, how do we make sense of it all and lead lives that are fulfilling and energising amidst all this change?

3. Miss Collective is all about helping women Level Up. Who's helped you Level Up in your career?
If you asked me this five years ago, I would have said no one. Hah! Seriously though, in my younger years, I thought I had to figure it out all on my own, and I was terrible at asking for help. I felt like “asking for help” meant I owed someone something in return. That is simply not true. My own growth has profoundly shifted how I think about asking for help. For me, it’s about two things. It’s about surrounding yourself with people who want to lift each other up and sharing who you are, vulnerabilities and all. This is why I love Miss Collective, because that’s what you’re all about! The other thing I’ve learned is that help takes on a lot of different forms. It doesn’t always have to be formal mentorship. Rather, nowadays, it seems like everyone I meet is helping me Level Up. I learn something from everyone I meet – even the people who criticise and judge. That’s not to say that I take everyone’s advice, rather, I consider it and weigh in and take on what I feel is helpful to me because I know myself.

4. How do you keep the balance between work, life and play? Do you get a chance to do anything for yourself?
Oh, isn’t this the million dollar question? There’s no such thing as balance! It’s all about integration! (Disclaimer, I wrote my thesis on work life integration). Balance assumes that something has to be traded off, it almost inherently creates a sense of guilt in that trading off. I like to look at life as an integrated dance of work, life, and play. What this practically means is that as long as I stay present in the moment and am enjoying what I am doing, I don’t think about work, life, and play as distinct and separate from one another. This, of course, isnt’ easy. Sometimes I find myself going too fast and realise I’ve gone into hyper-doing mode. That’s when I have to slow down and listen to my body. The human body, if we can pay more attention to it, is such a smart instrument that is finely tuned to tell you when you are not integrated, or not in balance.

5. What’s your go-to Podcast at the moment?
I don’t listen to podcasts (am I the only one out there?!) I’m a terrible auditory learner so my mind literally blanks out when I listen to books on tape or podcasts.

6. If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Know yourself and value yourself. Once you do, your potential will be limitless.

7. Our three go to pieces of Tech at the moment are Canva, UMUN and Slack to help us be more organised and on top of things! What piece of tech are you loving that helps you work smarter not harder?
– zoom, they are awesome. We have virtual team mtgs all over the world all the time now. We record mtgs, webinars, etc. and share them on mobile and desktop. We share screens and collaborate together. For some reason, it just feels easier with zoom than it did with all the other virtual tools before it.