I miss you


Strange. There must be more than 299 posts on this blog, which was my count last year, and it has irked me that the number wasn’t rounded. My dashboard says 700+, but that seems like too many. Which number is correct? I do not actually care. can’t deal with numbers, especially the flurry of statistics and charts and data, as if they show the whole story and therefore can guide our actions and decisions.

A year since I killed my blog. I said goodbye, but I miss you. I have wanted to come back many times during the year, and I tried to find outlets on LinkedIn or Bearapy newsletters or business school platforms. But it was not the same. I feel lame to resurrect this blog after letting it die, and I am worried how others will interpret this and see me, though at the same time, I do not give a fxxk what they think.  I am disappointed in myself for not being able to persist through a decision I made. It feels almost like reneging on a promise. But for you, I am willing to risk it.

It is tough. It has been really tough.

Because I feel very split. One moment I’m posting on LinkedIn looking for people to expand the team, and the same moment I’m whirling with thoughts to close down Bearapy.

I feel like my work is done. I wanted people to talk about mental health. I wanted them to be aware of it.

They are now. They are talking – what they are talking about is a different matter. Some of the rhetoric in the space makes me cringe.

I drown when looking at what everyone else is doing. Individuals and large organizations connecting with me because they want to “learn about what I am doing here in China”. I would love to share the experience, the synergies, and then I also am not sure how that helps our business, because translate that to no-bullshit talk plus my cynicism, I interpret that to mean that some of them would want to take what we do and sell it to their clients for 10 times what I charge.

Take it. Take it all. I trust I can produce more. Just that I am not sure I want to.

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A few years ago I knew this wave would catch on. I knew the big brands consulting firms would catch on soon enough, and with their reputations they can sell better. I saw what not many saw. I was working towards this very reality today, but it was difficult to find the emotional, mental, visionary, and financial support, because not many believed in my perspectives. Everyone liked what we were doing. We have done and continue to do some great work, speaking and raising awareness in different forums and platforms. Everyone liked Bearapy – but wanted to change it to fit into their ideas and perspectives. What I need, is help in the way that I would like to be helped. New ideas are great, and who will execute them for me, and with me?

I bubbled on. Vicissitudes of life. Today, I am still a little nobody. My brand is not strong enough. I did not build up my company strong enough for when the wave that I partly contributed to creating, comes washing on to the shore. And now, I am inundated by this very same wave. And I think I am letting the team down.

Some weeks ago, I conducted a workshop the hybrid way – on screen and in the room. Was anxiety-provoking and fun. I smiled and helped people learn to communicate their emotions when I was unable to stand inside. I was happy with the outcome – the participants showed an increase in knowledge and learning that they could apply to their work and lives when self-scoring before and after the workshop. Yet, the irony was striking: I talked about the mental health continuum and how we look after ourselves differently whilst in different states of mind by building our personalized toolbox. The green zone was healthy, and red was ill. I can’t remember the last time I was in the green zone.

I feel like an epic failure, not least because I cancelled our own team’s PLAYDATE (a fancy way of saying full team meeting), but because after I cancelled it, less than a handful of people bothered to message me to see how I was doing. It made me question myself: even I cannot instil a sense of active caring for each other in a team that promotes mental health, having conversations, holding spaces for each other’s emotions, and asking twice how each other are? So, what credibility do I have in telling other managers what to do? And if by now, people do not understand what we do, then I really have not been able to communicate clearly our mission, products, or services. So much for my leadership and me as a leader.

Am I sharing too much here? I have been told that I am. I thought showing our vulnerabilities as leaders and managers is what the “best practice” is, or did I not hear the parenthesis of “show your vulnerability as long as it inspires me but I do not really want to know all of how you feel”. Maybe I do not meet your expectations of a leader and a driver of business.

I’m tired. But what would I do if I closed down Bearapy? I do not feel I fit in anywhere.

I’m really tired.

Would you remember me forever? Could you ever love me? I miss you.

Either way, I hope you feel some love around you this Winter Solstice. In seven weeks, it will be Spring again. Will anything be different by then?


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about Noch Noch

Enoch Li, (pen name: Noch Noch) was born and raised in Hong Kong and Australia. She has also studied / worked / lived in the US, France, UK, Japan, The Netherlands, China, and has travelled to more than 40 countries. She loves travelling and her curiosity in foreign cultures and languages has led her to enjoy her life as an international executive in the banking & finance industry. However, she was forced to take time off work in 2010 due to her illnesses and after spending time in recovery, cooking, practising Chinese calligraphy, reading and writing – in short, learning to take care of herself and letting out the residual work stress, she has transitioned into a Social Entrepreneur and founded BEARAPY to help corporates make workplaces mentally healthy, and support executives to become more resilient.