thank you 2020!
Updated: Jan 10, 2021
I remember ushering in 2020 New Year’s Day in Bangkok with family and our closest friends. My daughter witnessed fireworks for the first time as we watched from our apartment balcony along the Chaopraya River.
2020 was planned to start well with my Red Light Therapy wellness business. I had finalized the brand franchise manual and with the uptrend in fitness franchise businesses and lack of wellness brand offerings, a few interested franchisee parties in Malaysia and Singapore who had seen my sales deck were keen to invest in the brand as their own business.
But then Covid struck, and potential franchisees were not willing to part with their investment during the pandemic. I ended up with no plan, and no income for three months.
I started applying for jobs. Not anything I could find, but with relevance to my interests, experience and skillsets. I sent out ten resumes, was called up for interviews for half of them and proceeded to the next rounds for two, and then not making the final cut.
I gave myself two months to decide if I wanted to work for someone else, and if being rejected was a sign for me to do something on my own. I am a firm believer that if a door closes, then it's not meant for me. And maybe God was telling me to go create a door for myself to walk through.
I set out to redefine my “why”. This process was difficult and humbling as I felt useless in not being able to provide for the family. Big “Thank you!” to my wife for being supportive, and giving me space when I needed it and pushing me when I didn’t see the need for it.
I dug deep into my 20 years of a non-linear career to uncover what I was good at doing and what I enjoyed doing, and realised that they were not the same.
I was determined to understand what and how my experiences and network built over the years would be able to support and bolster my “why”, and that this door I would eventually create for myself to walk through, would not just be able to pay the bills, but also be able to have the business and I experience growth, be scalable, and enjoy increased profitability year-on-year.
2020 was definitely a year of forced discovery and reflection. It was being thrown in the deep end of the ocean… and in the dark.
But I am happy to report that I survived it, and there is so much to rejoice and be thankful for with everything that has come out of 2020.
I started writing!
Suddenly my university education at NUS in FASS where I learned (and realised then that I also enjoyed) to write better, was being put to good use. Rusty at first but I soon got off to having good momentum.
My first few articles in May had good response and this led me to conceptualise my first interview series.
You can find my first few articles here:
Community Builders Speak Series
This Community Builders Speak Series was inspired by the first article I wrote on 19th May 2020 - @The What, Why and How of Community Building.
I have had the privilege to meet amazing people in the fitness and wellness space in the last two years and I wanted to highlight what these self-employed individuals understood as Community Building and how they were building Community in their respective businesses.
It was my hope that by speaking to these entrepreneurs/business owners and sharing their story through articles, it would bring greater relevance to others, and would inspire and motivate others to understand the true meaning of Community Building, from a non-social services and non-sales angled approach.
I just concluded the series with 21 guests on the series.
In September I started doing LIVE broadcasts on LinkedIn and Facebook with Lost at 40: Kopi Chat with Alex Loh.
Tony Leong and I had been talking about having a LIVE conversation since the Circuit Breaker and thanks to Tony, he gave the push for us to make it happen despite his super busy schedule.
The inspiration for this was realising that both of us were in our 40s, and breadwinners with the responsibility of family and also elderly to care and worry for. We also have had many ups and downs in our personal and professional journey and we felt this would be a good platform to share and discuss. It could be wonderful for other men in similar situations to know that they are not alone, and that they could either find solutions through our conversations or find some common ground to speak about certain issues and struggles that might be preventing them from optimising and maximising their roles as husband, father and son.
Not as what they think society sees them to be, but as individuals with heart and that duty of care.
The main topics discussed have been on Health, Caregiving/Parenting, Career and Retirement, where conversations revolve around the pillars of Leadership, Resilience, and Sustainability. I will be continuing the sessions in January 2021.
Season 1 ended with 6 episodes, and they will be also shared on Crane radio starting January 2021.
Athlete’s Grit: From Sports to Life
This is an interview series where I speak to current and ex high performance athletes on their sport and how the skills learnt/acquired/trained in competitive sports have translated into their professional and personal life.
It is my hope that these true stories of grit and overcoming adversity will inspire and motivate others.
During Circuit Breaker from February to April 2020, I was given the opportunity to share my athlete journey multiple times. I talked about how I managed to transfer skillsets from competitive sports to my professional and personal life. I also talked about how I had to retired prematurely due to an injury that almost left me handicapped.
There was an active listening and engaged audience. It was then that I realised many Singaporean athletes' journeys have been unheard or not shared enough.
This project is also meant to give athletes a voice and an opportunity to tell the world about who they are and in turn be self-reflective about their journey and may it be the fuel to keep their passion burning.
I am now on Season 1 - Episode #3 and will be releasing a new episode once every two weeks. Season 1 will have 15 to 20 guests.
In December I legally registered my company Aviary and Co. Pte Ltd. Something I am most proud of because it was conceived through the Circuit Breaker and the door that I created for myself and that everything else I am doing (including those mentioned above), will fall under this umbrella. It is a culmination of my experiences, successes and failures in my non-linear career, that I now see and use as my competitive advantage.
Aviary & Co. is a consultancy focused on providing solutions, growth and targeted success, to businesses and individuals in the fitness, health and wellness space.
Our specialisation lies in bridging the gap between knowledge, content delivery and executing goals for business sustainability. We can do this for one or a combination of the three domains of fitness, health and wellness.
Our mission is to build a global community of leaders, with an aligned vision to share our experiences and knowledge to help businesses and individuals in the fitness, health and wellness space optimise and achieve peak performance.
I learned to write authentically to engage with articles.
I learned that the LinkedIn algorithm likes photo posts more than video posts.
I learned that the LinkedIn algorithm discriminates against photos that show too much skin.
I learned to convert sound file to be edited on Audacity.
I learned the art to choosing the intro and outro music and also transitioning between one soundtrack to another.
I learned to create artwork on Canva.
I learned to create audiograms on Headliner.
I learned to host on Anchor and to distribute my podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcast.
I learned, and am still learning, to be the best father I can to my 2-year-old daughter.
I have continued to connect authentically and really work on what I love and do best - which is building Community. I not only enjoy connecting with new like-minded individuals and businesses, but I take extreme joy in being able to offer solutions and to connect them with potential individuals and businesses. It is my hope that these connections might add value to their respective business or to address challenges they might be experiencing. If not now, then maybe in the near future.
It is my hope that these connections might add value to their respective business or to address challenges they might be experiencing. If not now, then maybe in the near future.
2020 taught me that life is fragile.
My wife and I lost our unborn child at 8 weeks. 2020 taught me not to take life for granted. And to cherish life and everything that we have is God given and could just be taken away in the blink of an eye.
There have also been many losses in 2020, from relatives to mentors. Some in their right time, but some prematurely. 2020 reinforced the mindset of walking the talk and building legacy.
2020 reminded me that health is wealth, and that we really only live once, so how and where do we want to be spending that time.
2020 whispered to me that we live for the family and loved ones in our midst, but really… we live for ourselves. And if we do not have that self-awareness of ourselves, then nothing else matters.
Thank you to you for reading till the end.
I am stronger, more resilient, and evermore so purposeful with what 2020 has helped me experience.
I would really love to hear from you on what you started; learned; honed; and lost in 2020.
About Alex Loh
I am a consultant and coach in the fitness, health and wellness space, business owner, loving husband and doting father.
My compass is guided by the desire to help people. I help individuals and business owners to find purpose. Together we unlock fruitful solutions, experience growth and achieve targeted success. Having successfully built and maintained communities over the years, my focus is to help businesses and organisations harness community as the vehicle to connect, and build credibility, trust and authentic relationships.
Come speak to me about Developing Wellness Strategies, Finding Purpose, Building Communities and/or in Optimising your Life!
Photos from www.pexels.com.