What Hanoi motorbikes taught me about goals

The streets of Hanoi are filled with far more motorbikes than cars. Loaded down with all kinds of things - like produce to sell in the city - they come fast, honking freely, seemingly without much regard for things like, you know, stop lights and pedestrians.

 (Photo: Kristin Early)

(Photo: Kristin Early)

To a novice - like me, when my fellow Ambassadors and I were on a Cyclotour of the city - it’s miraculous there aren’t frequent accidents or dismemberment as motorbikes zoom through intersections. So crossing the street is daunting. But by the end of the week, we'd all generally figured out how it's done. One of my roommates from the trip, Michelle Woo, reflected on how the key is to plan your path and step into it boldly. If you hesitate or abruptly swerve along the way, you’ll just cause confusion and chaos (because, despite appearances, the motorbikes are watching what you do - and they anticipate you walking relatively straight). If you’re unsure of your path, you find someone experienced to stick with and learn from. (I *maybe* crossed streets a few times by quietly allowing a pack of locals to act as my shield. Maybe. I mean, who can say, really.)

This is like life, isn’t it? As Michelle pointed out, sometimes we have to “go scared” and stay focused on a path toward our goal, anticipating but not panicking at the noise, dangers, or setbacks that make us think maybe we're doing it all wrong. We have to learn from others. And we have to believe that a well-planned path to a worthy goal is worthwhile even if it's scary.

When I started this journey as a Noonday Ambassador in 2016, I wasn't thinking about earning a trip, ever. That seemed too much for me; it was something for those other women to do. You know, those women who had something I didn't have. So I set a more modest goal, in terms of the impact I could make in my first 90 days. I wouldn't have said it out loud, but I saw it as a trial period - because I didn't really believe I could succeed in this business. I am a direct sales failure, after all.

 It was an Ambassador Cyclotour parade!

It was an Ambassador Cyclotour parade!

Once I hit that 90-day goal, I started to crunch some numbers and chat with my husband: what if I could go for a trip? It seemed so scary. I could see dangers on the road ahead...and in fact, I did run into setbacks that made my business feel as noisy and chaotic as a Hanoi street at rush hour. Trunk shows that flopped. Giveaways that flopped. Fears that existed solely in my head but seemed valid nonetheless.

But I didn't have to cross this street alone. I had the support of so many who had gone before me, who could cheer me on and show how it's done. I'm so thankful for this community of women who cheer each other on.

And now I know that when we reach the other side of the street, we’re exhilarated, emboldened to do it again.

As someone who has overcome failures and fears to earn her first trip with Noonday, you’d better believe I’m exhilarated and aiming for another. And this time, I want to help others - like those I coach - find their path there too.

Are you curious about what a path with Noonday could look like? There could be a spot for you across the street at #noondayvietnam2019, where you too can meet the artisans, hang out with amazing Ambassadors (just sayin'), and see the world. We’ll cross with you.

 The wise and hilarious Michelle. She was an awesome roomie and one of many who have been on multiple trips with Noonday, but showed me I belong too.

The wise and hilarious Michelle. She was an awesome roomie and one of many who have been on multiple trips with Noonday, but showed me I belong too.

Whatever your big dream is, whatever the street is that you're trying to cross, where do you stand? Maybe you feel like you're in the middle of it, swerving, panicking, just seeing everything go wrong around you, unable to focus on the goal. Or maybe you're still standing on the sidewalk, hoping that a huge, gaping hole will open up so that crossing won't be so dang hard. If life is anything like Hanoi streets, then honey, it won't. You have to find the smartest way through the barriers, noise, and fears. You have to commit. And I promise you, getting to the other side is worth it.

 #nobigdeal (Photo: Laura Choy)

#nobigdeal (Photo: Laura Choy)