January 21, 2015

Toan Lam Shares GIG's Journey on TV Show 'Bay Area People'

Some people live out their dreams by singing in the shower. Toan Lam began the path to his by reading in the shower.

"Growing up I loved to read and write and talk and I would read shampoo bottles in the bathroom, ... books out loud, anything I could get my hands on."

Toan knew early on that he loved to communicate and connect with people. This led to a successful, eight-year career as a TV reporter. However, having to frequently cover negative news weighed on him, and in 2009 he founded Go Inspire Go, a multimedia platform that features stories about everyday people doing extraordinary things, with the ultimate goal of inspiring social change.

Last week, Toan sat down with Lisa Yakota on KTVU-TV's show "Bay Area People" to discuss discovering his life calling, the impact of Go Inspire Go, and what lies ahead for the organization.

Despite achieving what was then his life goals by his early 30s, Toan still felt empty and unfulfilled. He decided to give it all up to pursue his real passion -- Go Inspire Go -- and an unexpected layoff, which he described as "the best gift ever," all but confirmed it.

Since the launch of Go Inspire Go, he has produced dozens of videos which have been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people and made a tangible impact on many of the lives featured. This is just the beginning of what Toan hopes will be the start of a new movement to use the power of storytelling and connecting with people to inspire positive action. During his appearance on the show, Toan also shared an exciting new development for Go Inspire Go.

Watch the video above to see Toan's interview on "Bay Area People," which aired on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015.

For more information: check out GoInspireGo.com or email info@goinspirego.com

-Kevin Lee

January 7, 2015

How ONE Word Can Transform Your New Year's Resolutions

New year, new you, right?

How many times have you heard this cliche? How many times have you tried to set resolutions, only to be disappointed that come February, you’re guilt-ridden and feeling bad about yourself? The truth is, many of us are still trying to catch up with last year’s resolutions — lose weight, spend more time with family, be more present. I was recently speaking with a friend who told me an intern of his asked him why he was always so stressed and overwhelmed. He replied, “I have to get my oil changed, get a hair cut, prep for a big meeting, etc.” The intern said, instead of saying I “have” to, change the word to I “get” to.

Wow. Powerful. Life-changing.

I applied this to all aspects of my life and my perspective shifted, I get more done and I am more grateful.

I get to work out. I get to get my oil changed, I get to prep for this awesome meeting with all these people who support my passion work.

So this year, instead of trying to have resolutions, a word that is already loaded with negativity, I have shifted my mentality and changed one word: “have” to!

So my three "get" to’s this year are:

1. Do More Yoga
Thanks to my lovely sister, Lynn Billett, who pens an inspiring blog, Empower with Lynn, I’ve been doing yoga since I was 17. But not regularly though. Yes, there’s nothing to namaste about here — I always feel guilty because I feel so good after yoga. It’s just getting to the mat.

The I have to: I have to, because it’s good for my mind, body and spirit. But I don’t have time to do yoga in the a.m. and p.m.

The get to (and the solution): I get to do yoga for this body that works for me, eats, digests, communicates, manifests and loves. YES! The solution is not to stress myself out. I don’t have to spend an hour or more on a mat. Instead, I do little five- to 10-minute sessions in the morning and night. Don’t know where to start? I love me some Tara Stiles. You can find her videos free on YouTube. When I have more time, I make a date with a friend or two and go to a studio. In San Francisco, Grace Cathedral offers "Yoga on the Labyrinth." It’s a wholly holy experience. Setting up an appointment to go with friends makes it fun and holds you accountable. Can I get a namaste and an amen?!

2. Be More Present

I’m not addicted to much in this life — but my technology — egads!

I admit, the first thing I see in the a.m. and p.m. is my phone. I feeling connected via emails, social media and don’t get me started on WhatsApp.

If your phalanges are guilty and you know it, raise your smartphone! The more I’m on my phone/tablet/computer, the less I am connecting with the real friends I love and adore.

The I have to: check my email, social media. I have to respond — true, but not every 15 minutes!

The get to (and the solution): I get to connect with people, but balance is key. A recent study shows how harmful it is to be on your technological devices before bedtime and that it alters your sleep. So, I’m switching the phone off before bed and getting back to reading myself to sleep. I leave the phone across the room (or better yet in another room) before hitting the hay. And if you’re on a computer, try logging out of your social media and email accounts after checking. Eckhart Tolle suggests building presence into your day-to-day habits. For example, when you close the car door, take 30 seconds to breathe, rest and observe nature — the animals, trees and everything around you. This leads you to the present moment.

3. Blog more:

I have to: blog, I have so much to share. What if my readers come back and the site isn’t updated? I teach a "Blogging Your Passion" class at a local university, so I should regularly update my bloggity, so I have to practice what I preach. Aaahhh!

The get to (and the solution): I get to share my experiences and words to inspire the world.

My dear friend, art therapist and kindred spirit Noula Diamantopoulos told me, “Experiences are the biggest gifts people can give to one another.” I have so many people in my life who teach me, grow me and love me. After many different conversations with these lovely people, I want to share our life lessons. My problem was, “I don’t have time to blog regularly.” And “It takes so long to write my blogs.” So this year, I won’t pressure myself to write so much and feel like I have to. Instead, I am going to keep it short and sweet. I started keeping a log of “things to blog about” and am going to set aside a block of time to regularly blog.

The pattern I’m seeing: Pay attention to how and why you’re not resolving your resolutions. This will lead to awareness and gratitude. Be grateful by changing "I have to" to "I get to." Then take actions that will help you achieve your goals. I better sign off so I can meet my pithy blogs goal! Happy New Year and New You!

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