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How to Ask for What We Need

How to Ask for What We Need

In this episode of the Impostor Syndrome Files, we chat about our reluctance to ask for what we want or need. My guest, Xu Simon, shares her personal journey, including how she’s come to re-frame asking for what she needs to make it easier for her to do. She shares tips and insights to help de-personalize the process and empower ourselves to get what we deserve.

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About My Guest

Xu Simon had just finished her PhD from MIT and was nearing completion of postdoctoral studies, on track for a research-intensive academic career, when she took a chance. She followed the love of her life—now husband of 17 years—to Washington, D.C. for a two-year stint as a government contractor. In the State Department’s diplomatic office in charge of reducing the threat of chemical weapons use abroad (ISN/CTR/CSP), she both used her scientific expertise day-to-day and expanded her horizons to the international diplomatic stage. Since the fellowship contract spanned the 2013 Syria chemical weapons crisis, she also had her fair share of crisis management and public scrutiny.

One big lesson she learned from this experience is that the PhD enabled her to contribute high-quality science to the world, but it didn’t equip her to make those contributions accessible to the people who need them most. To help fill this gap, she went back to school for her MBA and subsequently used her combined business and scientific skills at two high-tech startup companies. In addition to her full-time job as CTO of Enozo Technologies, Inc., she speaks at keynotes and workshops about mediating between executives and technical talent in industry.

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Kim Meninger All right, welcome Xu. I’m so excited for us to have this conversation today. You and I had a great conversation when we initially connected. And I’ve been looking forward for some time now to being able to have this conversation in a way that we can share it. So I’d love to hear more from you before we get started on who you are and what, what we should know about you.

Xu Simon Thank you so much, Kim. I’m excited to be here, too. And moreover, I’m excited to be in such great company. I know that you’ve already talked to Valerie Young, who is my first impostor syndrome crush, and Kat Cleary of Cleary, et al.

Kim Meninger That’s right. Yes, we do have a number of great connections in common. So yeah, tell us a little bit about you.

Xu Simon All right. Well, I am Xu Simon and I’m a scientist. I started out as a scientist, I went all the way through the academic track. So I got my PhD and I did the postdoc. And then my career took a little bit of a shift. And it took a shift in a way that’s not necessarily socially acceptable for science to talk about. But I followed the love of my life into a non-academic career. And I’m so happy I did it. And I never looked back. So what happened first is my husband, and we’ve been married for 17 years now, my husband when he was my boyfriend, noticed that I was having a lot of fun in grad school. So he wanted to go to grad school, too. So he moved from Texas to Massachusetts, where I was living. And he started grad school. And the first thing that he noticed about grad school was that he hated it. And all he wanted to do when he graduated was not do bench work anymore. So he tried a whole bunch of different options. And the one he landed on was the American Association for Advancement of Science, a triple As Science Technology Policy Fellowship in Washington, DC. When he was applying for this, we were not prepared because it’s a very prestigious fellowship. And he got it. And then all of a sudden, he moved from Massachusetts to Washington, DC. And at this point, I was doing a postdoc, and I was well on my way to an academic career. And we just decided to do a year of commuting. And we did a year of commuting. And after that, I had two really good options, I had an option of staying married and happily married to this person who’s wonderful, or staying committed to this very specific career track that other people were telling me was the best. And that’s, that’s academics. And ultimately, I tried both. And I ended up following my husband to the triple As fellowship. Because of networking, I ended up having a much better time than he did. So I was working at the State Department and the diplomatic office in charge of reducing the threat of chemical weapons use abroad. And that was, that spanned 2013. 2013 was when Syria used chemical weapons. And so that was a very exciting time and a very exciting place to be there. And I learned a ton. In fact, I learned so much that I realized that my scientific education taught me a lot about science, but it didn’t necessarily teach me about how to bring science into the world. So after that, after the fellowship was over, I went back into education, I got my MBA. And then from there, I have been working on two different startups. I in fact, did a stint back in academia, where I was a research associate professor at Bentley University at the Center for Integration of Science and Industry. That’s where I met Kat Cleary. And now I am CTO of Enozo Technologies, which is a startup in North Andover, Massachusetts. Plus, I am starting a speaking business. So there’s been a lot going on.

Kim Meninger Yes, there has. And so I want to back up just a bit and ask you, this crossroads that you found yourself in where it was, you know, follow your husband and your marriage or stick to the academic track that you were on. What, what did that decision process look like? How did you know which decision to make? And did you worry that you were going to be getting it wrong?

Xu Simon I was worried that I was going to get it wrong. And the reason is in academia that is often or at least at the time, it was seen as a detriment if you ever left academia. So I was in this strange mindset where in science you do want to experiment. And the point of an experiment is you might check something in the future and the answer is no. So you have to be really comfortable with the answer being no. And also, academia being a little separate from science, you just can’t leave, you can’t leave and come back. I did do, I did talk to some other very high-level professors who pointed out that at the very upper echelons of industry, you can come back into academia, but it’s a different track. And I ended up just paying attention to myself, and what I wanted, and realizing that there was just a lot of external information coming at me, the world was telling me I wanted an academic career. And to a certain extent, that was true, there are certainly some things about an academic career that are exciting, and that are attractive. But I thought, if I calmed the external voices, and listened to myself, what was really valuable was adventure. And this person who is still extremely valuable to me. The thing that I point out about that experience is, academics did tell me after I made this decision, they told me that I made the wrong decision. I respectfully disagree. And some of the framing is wow, you let being married restrict your career, which is such an anti-feminist way to think about it. And I look straight at them and say it is not detrimental to my career to double my salary. [Hmm.] So there are a lot of considerations going on. And I ended up weighing the one that worked for me.

Kim Meninger Yeah, it’s so interesting, because you mentioned the external pressure, which I think all of us have, to some degree, because society has dictated what the, the ideal path is for many of us, depending on what field we’re in. And it can be really difficult to walk away from that even if we know in our hearts, it’s not right for us. But adding to that the layer of choosing your, your marriage, right. And that perceived anti-feminist component to it must have complicated things even further. I love how for you, you know, you, you owned it and said, Absolutely, this is not detrimental to my career.

Xu Simon Yes, I did own it. And it took a lot of energy to own it, I would say that was the first moment where I really looked at society and thought, society can be wrong. A lot of people telling me the same thing can still be wrong.

Kim Meninger Which is interesting, because I think a lot of times our natural tendency is to think we must be the ones that are wrong. When we are hearing a lot of other voices saying the same thing. We turn it in inward and say, oh, I’m there must be something wrong with me like how did you get the strength to say they’re wrong?

Xu Simon Oh, that’s such an interesting question. How I got the strength is I couldn’t convince myself. So there’s a, there’s an element of people telling you something that they believe is the truth. And then in science, we always back it up with data. And so if you’ve got the data, then the truth will emerge. It’s not enough to be the truth, you have to show the truth, you have to eliminate it, and you have to make it understandable. And I do say understandable with a caveat. Because at the high level, science is full of jargon, and it becomes un-understandable as well. So then it turns into a little bit of a power struggle. And if society is giving a message, and it seems like those voices are really loud, and it seems that those voices are coming from so many different directions, it is really hard to say maybe that’s not true. But what finally got me to realize that it’s not true for me, is that I couldn’t see the evidence. No matter how many people were telling me this nobody was giving me evidence. And I was giving myself evidence.

Kim Meninger Oh, that’s so interesting. That’s such an interesting perspective on it from you know, from a scientist point of view. So how did impostor syndrome factor into your journey?

Xu Simon So I’m going to talk about Valerie Young, who I’ve mentioned before, Valerie Young was absolutely critical to my impostor syndrome journey. So I had impostor syndrome terribly as a graduate student. And my graduate institution, MIT hired Valerie Young, because they realized impostor syndrome is a huge problem. It’s a huge problem for women. And it’s a huge problem for academics as well, regardless of gender. And in fact, it’s a huge problem all around the world. But these are two of the really important demographics. So MIT hired Valerie Young to give a seminar, and I attended this seminar. And for this one hour seminar, I almost burst into tears, because she wasn’t even looking at me. But nobody had ever seen me so clearly before in my life. She spoke to all of my fears. Everything she said was 100% accurate. And I know that Valerie does talk about this. Now she gives three action steps. Back when I saw her the first time she gave 10 action steps. And I did not go back and ask what else I could do. These were 10 action steps that I was not implementing in my life. And I wrote them down. And I implemented them to a tee, I just went right out of that seminar and I started doing those things. And the next year, Valerie came back, and I remember being so moved by that seminar that I came right back to that seminar, and I sat right down. And I thought, wow, I feel a lot different than I felt last year when I heard the same thing. But the same 10 step list came up. And I was taking more notes, because there were some nuances and like it had already been a framework that I was using, but there were so many, I could go so much deeper into her suggestions. And so I was so glad I went that second year. So the third year she came back, and I was gung ho, Valerie Young is going to change my life. And even though it was the same seminar, it just seemed like she was telling a story about someone else, someone I recognized and somebody that I loved and could resonate with. But she wasn’t talking about me anymore. So at that point, I stopped going to her seminars, but I ended up hiring her because she’s so valuable. So I hired her as part of Graduate Women in Science, an organization that I’m with. And also when I went to Bentley, I invited her to come and give a seminar.

Kim Meninger Wow, so she did change your life.

Xu Simon She absolutely changed my life. And I would say, she does point out that impostor syndrome is something that you manage, it’s not something that you necessarily cure. I feel like I am just about as cured as I possibly can be. But it’s only because I have made the habit of all of these techniques to manage it.

Kim Meninger Could you share a couple of the techniques that you found most powerful?

Xu Simon Oh, that’s an interesting question. Because at this point, it has now become some of who I am, as opposed to what I remember to do. But I can, I can tell you a couple of things that are related. So this is about how you talk to yourself, and also how you would see somebody else in a situation. We all make mistakes, we all fall flat on our face. If your internal voice is shaming, then that is not necessarily helpful for impostor syndrome. So if you frame you as somebody who made a mistake into somebody that you have seen made, make a mistake, and talk gently to that person who has made a mistake and understand and see that there are other opportunities than just that. Speaking to your, speaking to yourself, gently helps a lot.

Kim Meninger So there’s that there’s a self-compassion component to this. And I think the distance, putting some distance between yourself and the events, so that you don’t go into automatic blame and shame mode, right?

Xu Simon Absolutely. And it sounds like it’s soft to have some self-compassion or some distance. I’m going to disagree that it’s soft. I’m going to say that it’s a technique that actually increases productivity. When we get the blame and shame either from the internal or from the external voices, we just shut down.

Kim Meninger Yeah, yeah…

Xu Simon We actually can’t perform.

Kim Meninger So what is I mean, and you may not remember when you were starting this, this may be, like you said, just sort of woven into how you operate right now. But what does it look like to actually do what you’re describing?

Xu Simon What it looks like is I try to ask for exactly what I want. And I also anticipate the answer being no. But I don’t anticipate the answer being no, in terms of, oh, I don’t really have permission to ask this. I give myself permission to ask. And I give other people permission to say no, in fact, sometimes if I’m making a really big ask, I will say, and no is an acceptable answer. But you never know what is difficult for other people or what’s easy for other people. And I am not going to be that filter. I’m just going to ask for what I need. I’m not going to demand it, I’m going to ask it. And then the same comes back. I don’t mind if people ask a lot of me. What I mind is if I say no, and they don’t hear it.

Kim Meninger Mm-hmm. Yeah, that’s really interesting. So what I’m hearing you say is, you’re not taking responsibility for their response. You’re putting it out there. And trusting that they will respond in the way that works best for them, right? A yes or no? Or maybe whatever that looks like. You’re not going to predetermine the outcome.

Xu Simon Absolutely. Yeah. It is not my job to read anybody’s mind.

Kim Meninger And do you consciously, or have you throughout the process of growing these muscles, did you ever have to deal with the fear of rejection? Did I ever have to deal with the fear of rejection?

Xu Simon Yes, absolutely. Um, I’ll talk about asking, as well. And then just what, how that translates to rejection, specifically. There’s a book that I would almost recommend, but it’s a little bit outdated. It’s called Women Don’t Ask and I forgot the author’s Sara Laschever, I believe is one of them. And in this book, the authors argue that women don’t get as much as men get, because they don’t ask for as much as men ask for. So there’s a really easy solution, where if you’re a woman, and you want something, you just ask as if you’re a man. And the reason that I think it is just slightly outdated, is there’s a two part system to asking for something. First, you have to ask. And second, the answer has to be received. And again, the answer can be yes or no, if it’s a yes or no question. But there is a societal expectation for men to ask. And so there’s not that power struggle element. An example I’ve got is I was a postdoc, and I was looking for a postdoc fellowship. And I landed a fellowship, and we were negotiating salary. Postdoc salaries are absolutely transparent across the board, or at least in my field. So there’s a National Institutes of Health salary range based on your experience. So the, the fellowship, asked what my salary what I wanted my salary to be. And I said exactly what I was worth because I could point to it online. And then the, the response back was, well, that’s higher than the starting salary. And I said, that’s true. But I have already got experience. And this is the amount of experience. And in fact, the feedback I got about that negotiation from my colleagues, were we, the feedback I got was, we don’t ask for more than we need. Even though it was a matter of like $1,000 in salary. So I thought that was interesting that just the whole expectation that we don’t ask for more than we need. And I think that sets up an unfortunate pattern where women ask for much less than they need, and then they don’t perform because they don’t have what they need to perform. And then they don’t end up getting the resources that they need to perform. And it’s a, it’s a vicious cycle.

Kim Meninger So you’re pointing out I think two big factors here. There’s the external, societal one rooted in stereotypes right of women aren’t expected to ask for what they want or if they do there’s potential backlash there. So we’ve kind of been conditioned through our learned experience that it’s not safe or it’s not worthwhile for us to ask. And then as a result, we have these internal blocks that tell us, no, that’s not appropriate. No, that’s too scary. Whatever the message is that holds us back from doing it.

Xu Simon Absolutely. So as far as fear of rejection, which I believe was your first question, yeah, I do fear getting rejected if I ask for something that somebody doesn’t want me to ask for. The thing that got me over that is, right now, that’s a very easy filter. If you’re a person who does not see my humanity and my right to ask for what I need, then I don’t want to do business with you.

Kim Meninger Hmm. I really like that reframe a lot because it is not about you. It’s not about, it’s not about it’s someone else’s unwillingness to give you what you need, or what you’re asking for is not a reflection on your value or the, the right that you have to ask, it’s about what they value or don’t value. And then you have the choice to decide, do I want to continue in this relationship?

Xu Simon Yes, exactly.

Kim Meninger And there may be an opportunity to get more information. I’m just thinking about other people who might be listening, right? If you go to your boss and ask for a raise and the answer is no. It doesn’t mean you necessarily say okay, well, then I’m out of here. Right? It could be that you dig more deeply into well, what, what’s the reason for that? And it could be something totally unrelated to you, it could be that there’s just a budget freeze, or it’s not the right time in the performance cycle, or you have some things that you should work on first in order to get to that level. But it’s an empowering way of looking at it because it doesn’t, it doesn’t make you a victim or a hostage in a situation that doesn’t work for you.

Xu Simon Absolutely. I think there is a big difference between no, the answer no. And the answer no, and you also don’t have permission to ask.

Kim Meninger Hmm, I like that distinction. Yes. Yeah.

Xu Simon No is absolutely fine with me. You don’t have permission to ask is not okay with me.

Kim Meninger Yeah. And I think that’s at the root of a lot of the fear is that we believe that that might be true. We believe we don’t have permission to ask and that by asking, we are rocking the boat on a relationship that’s important. Because if it is your boss, you’re going to have to after you ask that question, a question you may believe is not an appropriate question to ask, you still have to work with this person. You still have to, to get, you know, career support from this person. You’re, you’re feeling like, oh, no, have I threatened the most important relationship that I have in my work environment?

Xu Simon I think that you just hit on something really important about just the power of relationships and the, the pressure that women are under to stay in relationships, even if those relationships aren’t working for them.

Kim Meninger Yes, yeah. I believe that a lot of women have been conditioned to believe that we should shut up and be grateful that we have a job, don’t rock the boat, don’t cause trouble. And when we do that, we definitely protect the relationship for the other person, right makes their job a lot easier. But it doesn’t serve us. And eventually, we end up feeling stuck in a, in a relationship that’s out of balance.

Xu Simon Absolutely. And I think it’s important to notice if the relationship is out of balance, so if women are expected to do a lot of the emotional labor and to shoulder most of the relationship, that is exhausting. And I would just like to give people permission to take a look at the relationship and whether the relationship itself is doing what you need it to do. You can always leave a relationship and this is different from holding a relationship hostage and being like you give me this raise or I’m just walking out right now. You don’t want to do that unless you have someplace to land. But there is a slightly different mindset from this is working out right now but I’m going to see if there’s anything else that might work out better. Versus I have to stay in this relationship because I just need to be grateful.

Kim Meninger Right. Exactly. And, and to expand upon that if I muster up the courage, and I asked my boss for something that I need, and my boss says no, to once again, recognize that that is not about my value, as a professional, as a human. I mean, it may be in terms of that system. But it’s not about your self-worth, right. There’s, there’s something about this conversation that we internalize so deeply that keeps us stuck in a place where we don’t ask or we don’t, we don’t recognize the power we actually have. And I think that reframe is really important.

Xu Simon I agree. And if you ask, and the answer is no, then you do have a couple of options. You can either put up with the no, you can, and that’s often very reasonable. You can dig deeper, which runs the risk of it, well, it might solve the problem. Or if you just tried to convince, then it runs the risk of putting a strain on the relationship. Or sometimes it’s just permission to go look elsewhere for what you need. Will you give me a raise? No. Okay, I’m going to start looking for jobs. Yeah, as I can, that second part, the I’m going to start looking for jobs can be internal. It doesn’t have to be something that you threaten. But it is something that you can just keep in mind, you can always be looking around to see if there might be a better fit.

Kim Meninger Yeah, and you know, I think this is important too because I have shared very openly that I’ve struggled with anxiety for most of my life, it’s just kind of who I am. And the in-between is so unbearable to me, that I would rather get to the ending of whatever it is as fast as possible. So the imaginary state of wondering what my boss is gonna say, when I ask for a raise, or what’s going to happen, is so uncomfortable to me that I would rather fast forward, ask the question and know, so that I can then take that information and do something with it. And so I think that’s something worth considering, too, is how.. We’re so afraid of the pain of the conversation. But what about the pain of all of the buildup and all of the pain that comes with being in this holding pattern, and not getting any information about what the path forward looks like?

Xu Simon Oh, that’s exhausting trying to read other people’s minds. And Kim, that sounds like a superpower where whatever the answer is, it’s better than not having an answer. That’s science.

Kim Meninger There you go. Yeah, and I mean, I just, I just really feel like what you’re saying is important too. Because if you can, if you can really boil this down to, beyond the emotion, to just okay, getting the information, being able to take action, you know, obviously, we’re never going to get rid of the emotion as humans. But if we can temper them with a framework for how we think about these steps in the process, I think it makes it easier to go through them.

Xu Simon I agree. One more superpower that I would like to point out, that women sometimes have is women can be moms. And moms are by definition managers of little sociopaths. And… I’ll tell you one of the, one of the things that I did that I think helped a lot is I read another book while I was expecting my first child, and the book was called How to Talk to Kids so Kids will Listen and How to Listen so Kids will Talk. Oh, I’m sure I got that title wrong. And I absolutely have no idea who the author is. But it’s a pretty famous book for both child development. And it turns out that managers read that book as well. And the basic premise is, when somebody asks you a question, often they are not asking you to answer the question. They are asking you to acknowledge the emotional content behind the question. So it’s a lot easier to say no, if you first acknowledge the emotional content, you know, the fear, the anxiety, the desire, whatever it is, that brings that question, recognizing that emotion and then saying no makes that no land a lot more softly. But what I noticed about reading this book is I read it because I was pregnant. And quite honestly, the first children that I had real, tangible long-term experience with were my own. And that’s a completely separate topic. We expect people to be perfect parents, and we give absolutely no practice in the field. So, I did what I do best is I go and I look at other people’s information. But I didn’t have a kid. And I certainly didn’t have a verbal kid to practice this on. So I practiced on scientists. And I was shocked that these just basic techniques about talking to children worked so well for getting along with scientists. And I’ve noticed that now that my, my oldest kid is five years old now, he’s definitely verbal. In fact, they’re both verbal, five and two. Practicing on how to relate and how to get what I want out of children has been amazing for relating to grownups as well.

Kim Meninger That is such an interesting perspective, I have often looked at the parallels between parenting and managing because there are just so many obvious ways of comparing the two. But the idea of using that model or that, those techniques, with scientists in particular makes me laugh. It’s so powerful, because you when you mentioned, we are not given a lot of practice to become parents, and we’re expected to be perfect. My immediate thought when you said that is the same is true for management, when we’re expected to be perfect managers, but most people do not get management training. And if you get management training in the form of, you know, a week long leadership development program or something like that, it’s better than nothing. But it’s not really something that you’re going to carry over into your, your work life. I mean, it’s, it’s theoretical, it’s not very practical. And so I love the idea of cross-pollinating, right between management and parenting.

Xu Simon It certainly makes life more efficient. And if we’re going to talk about what tends to happen about parenting. After a child is born, a woman can expect to cut her salary in half. And I’m going to tell you straight up that that’s exactly what happened to me, I came right back from maternity leave, and promptly got fired for incompetence. And the next job that I had was at half of my original salary. But of course, I needed a job. I had a mortgage to pay, I had just moved into a house because I just had a kid. And men, on the other hand, can expect to get raises because they are now assumed to be more stable, they’re not going to be looking around for other jobs, and in fact, they have more responsibility at home. So presumably, that transfers into more responsibility in the workplace. I would argue it’s exactly the same thing. I think that women have a lot more responsibility. And men have a lot more responsibility when they have children. And all of that can translate into greater managerial skill. And I just wish women were seen as managers more than as individual contributors.

Kim Meninger Absolutely. And if you think about the way in which moms get things done, a busy mom is the most productive, efficient person on earth. You want to get things done give it to a busy mom.

Xu Simon That’s true. moms get things done. And also moms know what is important.

Kim Meninger Yes.

Xu Simon And what can just be let go.

Kim Meninger Yeah…

Xu Simon That is an excellent skill.

Kim Meninger Absolutely. So where are you now in terms of, you’ve you mentioned that you’ve incorporated a lot of the techniques from Valerie into your life and that it sounds like that’s just part of your operating system now. What, what comes up for you, if anything, as you’re going about your, your life right now in terms of self-doubt or impostor syndrome?

Xu Simon Well, I am starting a business and that is definitely a source of, of self-doubt. So uh, in fact, I’m going through a program, it’s called the Speaker Lab, and it does help develop budding public speakers and launch their careers. And the Speaker Lab does talk a lot about impostor syndrome. And one of their arguments is, if you aren’t in touch with impostor syndrome, you’re probably not stretching enough.

Kim Meninger Hmm.

Xu Simon Like if there’s, the just the fact that it is there, is telling you something about how much potential that you have to grow into your mental self-image, or whatever it is that you want to do next. And I really like that framing.

Kim Meninger I do too, because although I would never wish impostor syndrome on anybody, if it feels too comfortable, you probably aren’t challenging yourself. So, impostor syndrome, when it shows up is kind of, you know, it can be painful. It can be disruptive, but it can also be just a simple reminder of like, oh, hey, old friend, I know you right? This must mean that I’m stepping further outside of my comfort zone than I ordinarily would. And if you frame it that way, it’s almost cause to congratulate yourself. I mean, there, I think it’s when impostor syndrome shows up, as long as you have the tools available to manage it, it’s a sign that you’re, you’re growing, you’re moving it forward.

Xu Simon I think you’re absolutely right. And the key is to have the tools available. So right now, if I recognize the beginnings of impostor syndrome, I remind myself that there are tools, I can probably go back and find out what the list of 10 things is, if I really feel like I don’t, I don’t have what I need, but just having the confidence that I have what I need to deal with the emotion that’s separate then from dealing with the actual process.

Kim Meninger Mm-hmm. Yeah, exactly. And I mean, again, as somebody who struggles with anxiety, for me, it’s all about having a plan. As long as I know what I’m going to do, in a worst-case scenario, or when these kinds of disruptions, emotional or otherwise, pop up, I feel much more in control, obviously, like you said before, it’s not really a cure per se, because we’re always encountering new anxieties about different things, but, but having the, the tools ready, makes me feel so much more confident, and much more, more prepared than ever before.

Xu Simon Absolutely.

Kim Meninger Any final thoughts today, Xu?

Xu Simon Well, I’m just thinking of Valerie Young, and how she got me started on this whole journey. And the whole reason that I would like to go into public speaking is, quite frankly, probably because I saw my life get changed by one public speaker. And that is the most powerful person that I know because she took what was holding me back and she completely transformed it, she completely transformed my whole life. And I just see what the power is of a speaker with a really good consistent message. So it all comes full circle. I started admiring somebody who now I have the skills to try to become.

Kim Meninger Hmm, I love that that’s so inspiring and something for everybody to think about, right? Think about the people that you admire. What can you learn from them? And you know, how, how can you continue to, to carry that on for others? That’s great. Well, thank you so much, Xu. It’s been such a pleasure talking with you today. You brought such great insights to this conversation.

Xu Simon Thank you so much, Kim. I had a great time.

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