Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Hi Everybody! I’m alive and breathing. I’m sorry for putting my blog to sleep for a long while. I’ve been busy working on my business. It’s doing good as it moves along slow but steady.
When people from outside the Deaf community ask me about the Deaf community and its economy, I wonder if what I tell them is offensive or degrading to the Deaf community. Please feel free to give me input on how I can explain it in better way.  Below is my response to their question.
From my understanding, Deaf populations in the Deaf community rely heavily on the government for money. A business model that the Deaf community uses often is to get cash flow from the government, not from people directly. The Deaf community has been oppressed for so many years. The hearing community has gotten the wrong concept about Deaf people which causes hearing people discomfort when working or interacting with Deaf people. The Deaf population is very small compared to the hearing population so that means that it would not be sufficient to earn revenue through the Deaf community alone. Unfortunately, in society, many Deaf people often experience that they have been barred from accessing languages, the media, information, resources, tools, rights and to an education that is not aurally focused. They were not given an opportunity to grow. Most of the decision makers of the Deaf community are hearing people. Right now, more and more Deaf people own business and earn money outside of government assistance, but we still have limited financial resources.  Currently, the Deaf community is experiencing growing pains with the transition from dependence to independence. It’s same thing with other minorities.

Staying Focused

Posted: February 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

Staying focused is one of the MOST important keys for entrepreneurs to have. We, as business people, constantly face challenges, obstacles, and roadblocks that will lead us to distraction from our goals, visions, processes, and projects. We also multitask from time to time, both personally and professionally, and that gets us distracted. It takes work to stay focused. The same applies to our comfort zone; it is easier for people to stay in there than to get up and to be active, since it takes some work to be active.  We often find ourselves needing to refocus our attention. These distractions can happen before, during, or after work, and can come from internal as well as external influences. Does it mean that there is something wrong with our minds? No, it is natural for our minds to drift away from our focus and end up elsewhere. After some practice and time, being focused becomes second nature.

The tips I mention below may help us stay focused, or get refocused, on our goals so that we can achieve them. 
  • To have a well-defined goal

It is very important for us as entrepreneurs to see the whole picture; from an eagle’s view down to a mouse’s view. The eagle flies at a great height and has the ability to take time and oversee everything from top to bottom and from side to side before it responds. With a mouse’s view, it can only see what is in front of it and respond to immediate situations.  To be a successful entrepreneur, it is significant to use both the eagle’s view and the mouse’s view for overseeing our short and long-term goals in every aspect of business. It also is critical for us to be able to adjust when adversity appears. Planning and predicting are essential to reach our goals. Without a plan, we cannot make progress. Make a plan on how to get from A to B to succeed in our goals, and make a plan and predict goals from A to Z.  We must always keep our eyes on the progress toward our goals, track our progress vigorously, and modify as needed.

  • To prioritize constantly and ruthlessly
There are many different factors involved in business that can literally suck the life right out of us, both personally and professionally.  These factors can include finances, consumers, partners, business associates, investors, employees and constant changes that happen every minute, hour, and day, internally and externally. Sometimes we find ourselves overwhelmed or feeling that we can’t finish anything because we frantically jump between tasks.  In the business world, Entrepreneurs must consider and make decisions about which tasks are the most important and prioritize them accordingly so that the business functions well. These priorities range from the employee level all the way up to administration. We also need to make decisions about consumers and how can we bring them to our business. Without consumers, there will be no business. Each day, we need to prioritize our time and tasks in advance so that we are prepared when a crisis appears.
  • To boost productivity
It is important for us to figure out which time during the day we are at our most productive for meetings, correspondence, and other tasks and schedule them appropriately.  We also need to get to know when we are least productive so we can do something that does not require too much of our energy at that time. It is important that we keep on exploring, learning, and holding onto what is working and dispelling what is not working for us to be able to function well during our work days or nights.  
  • To minimize distractions 

It is important for us to determine what and who distracts us and how we get distracted. For example, is it email? We can do something about that by closing our emails. When the social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook become a distraction, log out. It is not a bad thing to visit sites like Facebook or Twitter to get our social updates, but not to invest huge amounts of time on them.  Write a list of all the things we need to do and prioritize these tasks to find the ones that are the most important to work on each day. If we begin to lose our focus, we can come back to our list, or put a post-it on the computer  to help us stay on the track.

  • To be prepared for challenges
It is critical for us to be prepared for the possible challenges that may show up down the road. This will help us be proactive when obstacles arise so that we can get ready to climb it, go through it, or work around it.  It is important for entrepreneurs to have the ability to predict and to plan for adversity, make adjustments to keep the business afloat and to work thoroughly with the challenges that might promote the business or temporarily divert business until it gets back on the right track. Instead of pushing challenges away or denying them, we allow them to help us observe, evaluate, analyze, and make critical decisions as to how we can bring great business to consumers and at the same time see our customers return again and again; preventing any loss in the control of the business.

  • To refocus

No matter how many times our minds drift away to other things, it is our job to refocus every time. The human mind loves to wander and not  stay on one subject for a long time. It is important for us to recognize that our minds do wander by nature and that we must practice bringing ourselves back to focus every time we find ourselves wandering off. The more we practice focusing or bringing ourselves back to a focused state, the easier it will become. It takes some time and practice.

  • To reward yourself 

 Every now and again, we  need to reward ourselves for our accomplishments on a short-term or a long-term goal. We deserve to be proud of ourselves for our achievements. Go out and celebrate with friends,  treat yourself to shopping, eating a nice dinner, getting a hair cut, or riding a motorcycle. Give yourself a pat on the back for your hard work and persistence in succeeding your goals. Drop the excuses and guilt about why we cannot or do not have time for rewards. Once rewarded, we will be able to refocus more mental and physical energy on excelling in the many areas of our business. Go ahead and celebrate the triumphs, big or small. That will feed motivation, determination, and passion to move our business/entrepreneurship forward.

Business people would like to think that we could bury our emotions and bleeding hearts at home and become robots once we walk into a business, and make critical decisions with a business head. We work so hard to push our emotions down, and get upset with people for pushing our buttons in order to open up our emotions.

The truth is that our emotions will be with us everywhere. Without having electricity, nothing will be able to be operated, even the earth needs electricity to run. It is the same thing with human beings; including entrepreneurs with emotions – positive and negative emotions will boost our opportunities and our chances to progress our business if we have skills in coping, channeling, and balancing our emotions.

Entrepreneurs must have three important functions: passion, energy, and creativity. Even though we have everything under control, the situations and performances and attitudes of people can create a trigger event that can get the better of us. Business is not a constant. We will feel a variety of emotions from excitement for landing a new project or a new client, to the pain of disappointment when the business suffers a setback.

As entrepreneurs, we will experience being on a roller-coaster ride, so it is very important for us to have emotional strength, personal and social competences, and emotional intelligence; all are essential to our development and growth in business. We need to grow ourselves in order to grow our businesses. Meanwhile, we embrace the emotions for being our driving force in entrepreneurship.

From my entrepreneurial experience, It can be restless and impatient moments whenever I face challenges that may slow down or stop the process of my business and my show from moving forward.

It can be worrisome when I have limited resources, speed, finance, and network in order to keep my business and my show in flow.

It can be stressful to go in roads that have many detours, juggling different hats, jumping from project to project, constantly thinking and figuring out different strategies that will help to reach my goals, and dealing with discriminatory obstacles professionally and personally.

It is always a game of trying to figure out which things need to take priority, as I always seem to feel that there is just so much business to do and to try fitting within a limited amount time.

It is important for us, as entrepreneurs, to keep in mind that there are not short cuts to building and maintaining a business, and there are no fast-food solutions to issues, obstacles, or challenges. We need to understand how important it is to know the difference between reflexes and thorough evaluation responses and how these responses can influence our results positively or negatively.

We continue to strengthen our self awareness and self-management skills (that has to do with ourselves and how we manage ourselves internally) and social awareness and relationship management (that has to do with how we manage ourselves with other people and situations externally.)

When the matter is complex, you will get best results when you mentally step back to allow the time for the combination of rationale and emotion, to observe and stress-test reflexes, then you will be able to make sound business decisions.

The critical information I learned is that our brain is hardwired to give emotions the upper hand. In the limbic system of the emotion area and rational area – when you see the situation, the information will always travel to where emotion is produced first before the rational area. Again the rational area will not be able to stop the emotion once it arrives. What the rational can do is to combine rational with emotional in order to help people to respond, to listen, and to communicate in balance.

Now my answer to the question in the title, “Is our emotion our collaborator or enemy?” Well, it is both. Emotion can be our collaborator if we know how to regulate our emotions and have tools ready when our trigger button is being pressed. But, at the same time, our emotions can also be our enemy if our emotions are being deregulated, misunderstood, or misinterpreted by others.

What are your thoughts on this?

Be Proactive

Posted: November 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

Several years ago, my whitewater kayaking instructor told me that the important key is to stay proactive while kayaking and that way it will be more likely that your kayak will not flip. Whenever I face challenges while kayaking in the whitewater river I start to freeze, but I always remember my instructor’s advice — Stay proactive… And it works every time.

What does this story have to do with my TV talk show?

For a couple of weeks my show had faced a challenge that was worrisome and I used my experience as a kayaker and applied it to my show business by staying proactive and finding creative ways to overcome this challenge. I did that and my show got past this phase and moved in the right flow! Whew! It is important for us to stay proactive and not to give up. It gets better every time. The challenges will not go away but our confidence will increase and our fears will fade every time we get through the challenging times.

Deaf People Can Do Anything!

Posted: June 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

I know joining the Army has nothing to do with entrepreneurship, however what Keith Nolan experienced with the army is exactly what I have experienced with the TV talk show business.

Many hearing people in the business world think that Deaf people cannot own and operate a business in the mainstream community. Those hearing people have the kind of mindset that only they can own and operate businesses in the mainstream community, which includes the Deaf community, however Deaf people should own and operate business for the Deaf community only.

Often, hearing people ask me how can I communicate with hearing people if I am doing business with them?

It is disheartening to see that hearing people have the mindset that two groups using two different languages, English and American Sign Language, CANNOT work together, CANNOT communicate and therefore CANNOT mix together and work together.

The better that Deaf people can speak and hear, the more privileges they get in the mainstream community.

For example, on the TV show Switched at Birth, actor Katie Leclerc, who portrays the main character Daphne Vasquez, became deaf at 17 and speaks almost as well as any hearing person. But the irony is that the character of Daphne became deaf when she was baby. Why can’t the producers, writers and the director pick a Deaf person who has been profoundly deaf all of her life, has the strong identity of a Deaf being and is signing fluently?

Is it because they have adopted/developed the belief that culturally Deaf people, who use American Sign Language as their first language and  other communication tools to communicate with hearing people, are INCAPABLE of functioning in the mainstream community?

Do hearing viewers not feel a connection with Deaf people if they are not somewhat similar to them as far as the ability to speak or “hear”?

What Keith Nolan stated in his presentation is powerful and it is important for us to recognize the seriousness of his message.  He said, “When a Deaf student came to me and said, ‘I wanted to be in army.’ I told him No, he couldn’t join the army. I stopped myself and realized that I am doing to my Deaf student the same thing that hearing people did to me so many times, that I couldn’t be in the army because of my deafness. I cannot allow myself to pass this myth on to my Deaf students, that they cannot join in the army because of their deafness.”

Here is Keith Nolan joining the army and facing the rejection from the army because of his deafness. He will not give up the battle against the discrimination of Deaf people who want to join in the army so they can serve their country.

It’s like a domain effect… from Deaf babies, Deaf children to Deaf adults, hearing people have told us what we can do and what we can’t do based on our deafness, to the point where we would absorb their ridiculous message without knowing it, then we delivered the message to Deaf children and tell them what they can and what they can’t do based on hearing people’s ignorance.

The truth is… Deaf people can do anything… hearing people and Deaf people, we always face challenges in our lives, but what makes us advanced people is the ability to climb over the obstacle, go through it, or go around it.

People including Deaf people can do anything and when they face obstacles, that they are capable of figuring out how to break the obstacle.

Do not create artificial obstacles that do not even exist about Deaf people’s ability and potential because of their deafness and usage of their language, ASL.

Do not tell us to accept or to understand that hearing people are afraid of communicating with Deaf people because they do not know how to communicate with Deaf people. Deaf people and hearing people are capable of communicating with each other through other communication tools such as writing, texting, interpreting, and Video Relay Service. Deaf people and hearing people can work together regardless of the language differences.

I say YES to Keith Nolan as a Deaf person, that he is capable of joining the army and serving his country. And I say YES to me as a Deaf person, that I am capable of hosting a TV Talk show and running a business in the mainstream community at large!

The Monstrous Challenge

Posted: June 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

Here I am, coming back to write a post! While I’m juggling different hats, trying to build my talk show, I’ll try my best to write a post every week to keep you updated with my entrepreneurial journey. In posts I’ll share what I’ve learned about the business system, my experiences of doing the business, as well as resources and tools I find that may help us to overcome obstacles.

I think it is important to share my experience that I wasn’t prepared for, the specific one, the ones I called a monstrous challenge. Before I start to tell you about my experience, as the developmental stage, my talk show business is moving along well as my team and I have been challenged and overcome by many obstacles.

However, I must say, it was not as bad as this monstrous challenge that I experienced at the meeting last Thursday. The reason I added this adjective word, MONSTROUS, is because this monstrous challenge would tear your business and you personally apart to pieces and see if you can bring your business and yourself back together and bring it to next level. That is a monstrous challenge I am talking about. Yes, I know I’ve said Monstrous for the fourth time – well it’s now the fifth time now. Anyway….

Here is the story…

I arrived at the meeting excitedly and wasn’t expecting that they were my “enemies.”  I came to the meeting thinking they would be open to my ideas, but hell no, I was wrong. The first thing they said to me was, “Why should we support your show? You have no background and you are not well known in the TV industry. What made you think millions of people would want to watch a Deaf host? There are many good hearing hosts out there who would do a hell of a lot better than you.”

A man in the meeting told me that he had seen a husband and wife pair once; the husband was deaf and the wife had to interpret for him everywhere they went. This man in the meeting said that he felt sorry for that wife, as if it were a burden on her.  When will she ever have time for herself? She is so courageous to marry a Deaf man and to be willing to take care of him and his communication needs. Deaf people are dependent because they always need interpreters to communicate for them.

Another man said it is sad that Deaf children who learn sign language at an early age will never learn to speak at all. What’s more, he even used me as an example and pointed his finger at my mouth saying that my sign language is the reason why I couldn’t speak.

I felt like my stomach was being punched without a warning. Immediately I wanted to REACT and say “FOOK OFF” in their faces, but I held myself back. That reaction would not help me achieve my goal of getting the show to launch. So, I responded as best as I could, remaining calm.

The calmness remained until someone in the room started to make a joke about a man with one leg who would be bragging how he is proud of having one leg and educating us about the culture of people with one leg. At this point I couldn’t accept the idea how they badmouthed about the Deaf community and the people with disabilities. I decided to speak up, “Did you know that about 45 to 50 million hearing people cannot read or write? Your HEARING people! They are illiterate and yet they have access to the education taught in English, the first language of America. Which is worse, my DEAF people who had have unstable education that had been operated under your hearing people or your HEARING people who had a stable education for so many years?”

All of the sudden, they said to me, “I am on board! You have potential.”

I felt crap after the meeting even though I had won the battle. I realized I must prepare my responses for unexpected situations. I must put my armor on quickly before they try to shoot me down.  I will always be ready when people will try to use my deafness in order to divert the attention away from my talk show business and to argue with me why my show or my business can’t succeed.

Now I have tasted the first cruelty in the business. And now I know what to do next time… I want to advise you, as Deaf entrepreneurs, to be prepared, know your business thoroughly, have a healthy thick-skinned and to respond with confidence.