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The Cost of People Pleasing. Jerry Fu
At certain times in our lives we seek approval from others. It’s a basic human need. But what happens when we become too reliant on the approval of others to define our self-worth? We can start to lose sight of who we are and what we want in life. Often as we begin to blossom into our true selves, we encounter push back and conflict from other people from whom we are seeking approval.
Advocating for ourselves and staying in connection with others are an important part of the journey of self-discovery.
Are you willing to push through the discomfort of confrontation to have the life you choose?
In my conversation with Jerry Fu, we discuss how people pleasing can lead us FURTHER FROM the path we truly desire. We also talk about meeting expectations set by other people at the cost of our own integrity. This episode explores the willingness to simply “go for it” even though you may not have perfected all the skills; being a work in progress doesn’t mean that your goals are invalid. Jerry’s expertise lies in his conflict resolution skills, and in this great conversation he expresses how having those skills gave him the courage to explore a life outside of people pleasing and expectations.
Jerry is a conflict resolution coach who helps Asian American leaders advance in their career and life journeys. Having taken on several pharmacy leadership roles, Jerry started coaching in 2017 to help other Asian-American professionals deal with the conflict they encounter at work, with their culture, and within themselves.
Prior to starting his coaching business, Jerry served as a pharmacist and began facilitating leadership workshops in 2012. Today, Jerry offers a range of coaching services, which includes individual coaching, group workshops, and keynote presentations.
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Click to Read Full Transcript
[00:00:00] Bob Wheeler: We all need approval. It’s a basic human need. But what happens when we become too reliant on the approval of others to define our self-worth? We can start to lose sight of who we are and what we want in life. Often as we begin to blossom into our true selves, we encounter pushback and conflict from other people from whom we are seeking approval.
Advocating for ourselves and staying in connection with others are an important part of the journey of self-discovery. Are you willing to push through the discomfort of confrontation to have the life you? In my conversation with Jerry Fu, we discuss how people pleasing can lead us further from the path we truly desire.
We also talk about meeting expectations set by other people at the cost of our own integrity. This episode explores the willingness to simply go for it. Even though you may not have perfected all the skills, being a work in progress doesn’t mean that your goals are invalid. Jerry’s expertise lies in his conflict resolution.
And in this great conversation, he expresses how having these skills gave him the courage to explore life outside of [00:01:00] people pleasing and expectations. My mission with money you should ask has always been to normalize conversations around money. If you enjoy this episode, my team and I would be so grateful if you could leave a review on your favorite podcast app.
Seriously, I’m begging you because every time you don’t, I get a beating from my producer. I’m Bob Wheeler, and this is money you should ask. Where we explore why we do what we do when it comes to money.
Jerry is a conflict resolution coach who helps Asian American leaders advance in their career and life journeys, having taken on several pharmacy leadership roles. Jerry started coaching in 2017 to help other Asian American professionals deal with the conflicts they encounter at work with their [00:02:00] culture and within themselves.
Prior to starting his coaching business, Jerry served as a pharmacist and began facilitating leadership workshops in 2012. Today Jerry offers a range of coaching services, which includes individual coaching group workshops and keynote presentations. He has appeared in over a hundred podcasts and plans to appear in plenty more.
Welcome to the show. Jerry. It is so great to have you here, and I gotta start off by asking, what is a conflict resolution coach? Does that mean you’re like breaking up fights on a regular basis? Like are you keeping the peace? What does that involve?
[00:02:34] Jerry Fu: Yeah, yeah. Typically it can involve maybe two parties, the seeming to come to an impass and they’re like, Hey, we need an arbitrator.
We just need someone who doesn’t have stakes or favors or either side that’s willing to offer a balcony perspective to our conversation and our c. More often, it is more individual one-on-one coaching to say one side needs help, really trying to address the situation. This person doesn’t know how to.
And [00:03:00] so usually I walk them through a five step framework I use for myself all the time because I’m also conflict diverse. I just have a system in place to compensate for when I fall back into bad habits. So we saw through things like what do you want out of this conversation? What would make it successful and what are some roadblocks to that?
How can you practice the moves that you need to spar the dozier before you actually step into the ring? And then how can you remind yourself that research and practices and enough that you’re actually there to run the marathon, not just train for it.
[00:03:31] Bob Wheeler: Okay. And I have to ask, so you had this successful job as a pharmacist, or I’m assuming successful.
Mm-hmm. , you’re a pharmacist. Were you just getting in a lot of fights? I mean, were people just triggering you left and right? Were you angry at people’s prescriptions? , like, what got you to say, I need to learn conflict resolution, and now that I know it, I wanna teach other people? So tell us the story a little bit.
How did this.
[00:03:54] Jerry Fu: Yeah, it’s a long running battle from the time that I was in college. And [00:04:00] basically I took some bad advice from a well-meaning friend that said, you’re better off letting people trample on you than to trample over someone. Oh. And I tried to make the point that I wasn’t trying to trample over anybody.
I just wanted to be sure I didn’t back down. Every time someone tried to approach me with something. Somewhere in there, I just got tired of feeling like I just kept hitting trip wires and that somehow I was making all of the fatal mistakes. So I just decided to just give up and just start running from it and taking the path of least resistance every single time, which does not work out well, especially when people are trying to push you for free stuff or they want to get controversial medications filled earlier than you prefer though, or that’s clinically app.
And you try to stand your ground and then you know the patients go to your boss because they feel like they’re being difficult and they just say, okay, apologize to them and give them a gift card. And you just go home wondering if you’ll ever have a spine. And so this fixed mindset, to use a specific term to say, I don’t know how to get good at this, and I guess I’ll never be good at it.
So me trying to [00:05:00] just be the compliant good son or whatever else like that, right? I just want people to like me. But the higher needs that when you chase popularity too. You lose respect in the process. So once I had too many customer service incidents, I did know how to handle well in chain pharmacy. It was a five year run with my first company.
After graduation, I said, I need something different. And so I leveraged my connections to take on a teaching job through a pharmacy consulting company that I actually moved to Houston for. So again, conflict resolution didn’t go well for me because when my boss was upset with me, I just wanted to shrink into my office and just distance myself, which did not endear me to her, or the supervisor brought to department who eventually fired me
So again, that was a wake up call for sure. , sometimes the valley takes a couple discs before you finally climb out of the ditch, right? And so I stumbled into another independent pharmacy House of cars job where four of my paycheck spouse filling for crooked. Wow. They’ll teach you this in life’s manual and how to confront someone who’s clearly ripping you [00:06:00] off, but somehow you still have to learn this.
And you’re sitting there thinking, okay, if a pick can find a truffle, where do I get my help? Like, who’s gonna help me with this situation? And so after nine months of that, trying to chase down paychecks, while still trying to massage my boss for the money he’s supposed to pay me. According to the contract that he wrote and agreed to sign, I got out of that job, thankfully, with a more legitimate company through the help of some our friends, but couldn’t pay me more than eight hours a week.
So I said, well, what do I do? And they say, well, you can work for us in Austin, which is two and a half hours away. I could end up in worse cities and beggars can’t be shoes, right? I guess I’m gonna go work in Austin for a couple months. And that summer was key because I was tapped by some friends who run a pharmacy leadership nonprofit and they said, Hey, we need some help on the facilitator side because we know you’ve been helping out with other workshops, but we need one for our leadership seminar.
Can you help out? And I said absolutely. So teaching leadership kind of opened some doors in my head and said, you know what? Running from stuff doesn’t make you better at it. What if you actually could be good at it though? And so I started to [00:07:00] unlock some possibilities for myself. And so when a full-time manager position opened up in Houston that fall, I said, yes, I’m ready to come home.
I wanna take on this challenge. I wanna sleep in my own bed Again, all the comforts that come from. I proceed to get ridden up the following year because my technicians are not pulling their weight and I am not disciplining them or firing them. And so management says, Hey, your passivity is a problem here.
And again, just eating more humble pie and just the struggle. And I just thought to myself, I keep trying, but when am I ever actually gonna feel effective at this? And thankfully when that company had their funding pulled, I had enough leadership experience on my resume now to get another job. And so I said, wow, leadership saved my career, but still having trouble with difficult employees or employees that just not meet expectations.
My next job, the technician I hired was letting personal stuff cut into a work performance and attendance, and I knew that at the very least, if I didn’t cut her loose, the boss was gonna cut me loose, so I had to fire. Shortly after I found out she was pregnant as well. So that was [00:08:00] unfortunate. So you can imagine what’s going through my mind, just trying to not feel guilty about doing difficult and unpopular decisions.
So I realized that my capacity as a leader depended on how many difficult conversations I was willing to actually engage in and learn from. So when I realized this thing about myself where I realized I don’t like to be unlikable, I don’t like it when people are upset with me. I do need to do what’s in the best interest of the company.
Okay. Maybe there’s a better way. And so I started to study books. Some friends of mine that I felt like were good at having these conversations also gave me advice, and then I kind of make my own recipe. Yeah, specific to my own personality. So he said, well, when enough jobs fell through in pharmacy because of insurance problems or just bad revenue models or otherwise, I said, well, you know, I wanna turn this people development passion into a career.
And so that’s why I started my lc in the middle of the pandemic because I said, well, how much longer am I gonna put this off? But yeah, I niche out to conflict resolution because I knew other [00:09:00] Asian American professionals in their twenties and thirties probably didn’t get any kind of real training.
Tangible, concrete training or preparation for the kinds of challenges that they’re gonna have to deal with once they got into the work. So I have to live this out every single day. And I use my own system all the time because if I doubt practicing what I’m preaching, don’t hire me.
[00:09:18] Bob Wheeler: Yeah. Well, let me ask you this.
So a couple things you said that are interesting. One thing you said is you realized you weren’t advocating in a way that was serving the company. Mm-hmm. . So it still feels like that maybe initially this was for somebody else, like, I’m gonna conflict resolute for the company, not for myself, right? Mm-hmm.
And I think sometimes it’s easier to advocate for work or for other people than it is to advocate for ourselves. And I know that was true for me. I could advocate for this, I could protect my business, but I wouldn’t actually set boundaries and advocate for myself personally. And I think a lot of people can relate to that.
The other piece that I’m curious about, You specifically chose to work with Asian [00:10:00] Americans? Mm-hmm. , and obviously that’s probably a comfort zone for you, but maybe, and this is where I’m curious, it may be that there’s a cultural thing there. Mm-hmm. , there may be this piece that you’re taught to be.
Compliant The good boy or whatever those things are. So can you talk a little bit about what you discovered? Because I mean, when you grow up in a culture, you don’t know that it’s cultural. Mm-hmm. until you get out in the rest of the world and go, oh, I do it a little bit differently. . So can you talk to that piece where you started to go, oh, this might have something to do with my upbringing, what I was taught, and there might be others out there just like me who don’t wanna ruffle feather.
[00:10:40] Jerry Fu: absolutely. No. Here’s an example. People can really sink their teeth. When I first was working as a pharmacy technician, you know, it was winter time in Tennessee and my first job was, oh, it’s drive through. If you’re the lowest end on the totem pole, you gotta handle drive through and it’s cold, cold air billows in.
Sometimes they’re smoking a cigarette, so all the second half [00:11:00] smoke gets in your face and you’ve got like this tiny space heater that kind of helps keep you kind of warm and every. I hated drive through, but my mom would always tell me, no, what? The company needs you to do something and no one else wants to do it.
That’s job security. Like you do it and you don’t complain, or you don’t say how unfair this is, and you realize if you don’t speak up, then they start to get used to that standard and you start to enable them and they start to take advantage of you. I mean, same thing happened when I became a pharmacist.
My scheduler would call me on my days off, Hey, I need help this weekend. I need help this weekend. And again, I’m just, my mom’s voice is ringing in my ear. Hey, the company needs you. You gotta take care of ’em. You gotta take care of it. Bob. I gave over 200 hours in extra shifts one year. Wow. Because I didn’t know how to say no.
I didn’t know I could. I was afraid of, my boss would be upset with me, or my family’s got all paranoid, right? You know, like if you say no, they might fire you. They’re already thinking 10,000 deaths down the line. When you realize that at some point you’re gonna give out and then what’s left? You realize that, yeah, if [00:12:00] you’re not giving yourself time to recover, how are you supposed to work a good shift anyway, so again, it took a while for me to learn the language of I am not available.
Why not? What are you doing? Doesn’t matter. I am not available that day.
[00:12:11] Bob Wheeler: Doesn’t matter. Not available. Right. Learning the language, learning the tools. And what’s interesting, I wanna point out here for people listening, you’ve got a college degree, you had to get a specialty degree to be a pharmacist.
Mm-hmm. , I work with lawyers. I’m a cpa. I work with doctors and all kinds. People that should know, and many of them don’t know how to self-advocate. They don’t know how to set a boundary. They don’t actually have the tools or the languaging to say, I’m not available. And it’s so simple to say that, but I couldn’t do that.
My answers were, yes, yes. And how can, yes, can I do more? What I could say? No, I could say, let me think about it. I wasn’t given those tools and there’s no blame here. It’s just that I didn’t have those tools, and so I wanna. Name that [00:13:00] even if you’re educated, even if you’ve gone to do the right things, if you don’t have those foundational skill sets, you’re not gonna have them just because you got a degree.
And so I think this is so important that you’re naming the fact that I give away 200 free shifts. Mm-hmm. . Because if we can’t set a boundary, we may not be able to ask for a salary increase. Mm-hmm. , we may not be able to. I didn’t get paid for that. I did a whole bunch of free stuff. Yeah. Where’s my payback?
Mm-hmm. . And so financially it has an impact on us if we’re not able to navigate difficult conversations and work through these. Yeah. And I know you love to salsa dance . Yeah. I . And I’m wondering is there a correlation, are there any lessons that you can pull from salsa dancing to tie into conflict resolution?
[00:13:48] Jerry Fu: Yeah. Part of good conflict resolution is being creative. And you have to be creative on the dance floor because sometimes you have to improv. Maybe the person dances a different style you’re not used to and you kind of have to meet ’em [00:14:00] halfway. You always dance to the level of your partners, how we talk about it on the dance floor, and then other times, yeah, you have to be committed.
You just say, Hey, it’s not going well for me, but I’m gonna finish the song. You may not like me right now, but we’re gonna come to a solution that works for both of us, even if it works to neither one of our preferences. So the commitment to learn to say, Hey, how did that dance go? How did that conversation go?
What can we learn from that? What went well? How do we wanna build? What do we need to scrap? Because it didn’t go so well. So yeah, there are plenty of parallels between learning to dance well and then learning to resolve conflict. Well, and even, yeah, just using some dance techniques in your, or. Health resolution, Hey, you’re gonna have to improv sometime.
No plan survives attack by reality. And so you say, Hey, I can go in with this whole thing and then realize, oh, poop, nope, I’m gonna have to, you know, it’s like good jazz. It’s like, oh, nope, I gotta riff off this main theme, but sooner or later we’re gonna finish this song. So absolutely there are connections there.
[00:14:54] Bob Wheeler: So somebody comes to you and they’re like, Jerry, conflict resolution, I run for the [00:15:00] hills. Mm-hmm. , or maybe I don’t even realize I’m not good at it. I’m just like, oh yeah, no, I just leave. So I don’t even have the awareness that I avoid conflict. What are some of the first couple of things that people can do or practice to start to muster?
The courage to start setting boundaries. To start saying no. To start saying, I changed my mind, I’m going to self-advocate. What are some things that people can do? Because it’s scary for a lot of people I know. For me, it was terrifying to actually confront somebody. I was visibly shaking. Now I don’t love it.
Mm-hmm. and I know the value of it, so I push through. But I know there’s a lot of people out there will just stop at the first hint.
[00:15:41] Jerry Fu: Terror. Yeah. Yeah. How do you get from A to B? Right? To have like no idea of how to do this to being someone people take advice from in terms of how to do that. And the irony is that if you try to ask someone.
Ize success for me, what would it be if they have no frame [00:16:00] on what success would be? How much can they really do? So really the first step is, hey, study someone else’s success. I’ll give a quick example. One of my pharmacy manager friends who I love because he just carries himself with so much confidence and I know how much work he put into being a good leader.
And I would borrow phrases from him right when he would. When people would try to guilt you in the St. Jerry, you know, I thought you were my friend and you say something like my, I thought, and I borrowed this from my friend Mike, and he says, don’t drag our friendship into this. And I’m like, oh, I’m gonna take a page from that playbook.
Yeah, yeah. You don’t have to like learn how to start your own fire from scratch. That’s just like, well I think I supposed to use flight them that I get some bramble. I kind of do. It’s like, no, there’s plenty of YouTube videos out there, right? Like there’s plenty of other success you can already study.
Find someone who’s already solved your problems. These problems, Aren. So the first thing is to say, okay, for people who know and have that awareness to say, yeah, I’m not good at this. Hey, you know what? It’s not for lack of information that people don’t succeed. Plenty of great business manuals out there to say, Hey, this is how you can [00:17:00] scale up.
But for the people who may not be aware, part of it is, and being a good friend is just kind of introducing the conflict into them to be that powerful mirror. Be very gentle, powerful mirror and say, I noticed that when your other friend got mad at you for not showing up to the movie the other night, I noticed it just kind of disappeared altogether.
Like, we couldn’t, no one could reach you for like three days. Can you tell me what’s going on? And then they say, oh, well, you know, and they give you all the answers and you say, Hey. I’m not here to force you to do anything. You make your own decisions and I’m just curious, what do you think are the effects and the consequences of those actions on the relationship?
And you just generally try to help them connect the dots, not because you’re trying to lead the same conclusion, but you just say, Hey, there’s evidence here. I need you to help interpret. And at the same time to be able to let go to say no. Well, you know, thanks for bringing that to my attention. I really just not gonna change.
And you realize, hey, you know what? I don’t have to solve that problem. It’s not my problem anymore. Yeah. Like I tried to step in as a helpful friend and if my help was refused, Hey, nothing personal, it’s.
[00:17:58] Bob Wheeler: Well, that’s awesome. I love [00:18:00] this piece about borrowing other people’s catchphrases because I did the same thing too.
Wait, you can say no, write this down. I can say no. I can say, let me do this later. So I too, I didn’t have the verbiage. Yeah, I didn’t have the phrases. And so every time somebody went, oh, that’s a new thing. Oh, I have three choices. I have five choices. And for me, it was like a revelation. And so I think people out there that might be beating themselves up, a lot of us didn’t know how to do this.
Mm. It’s about willing to do a little bit of work, getting a little uncomfortable and finding people around you that can help support you or that are asking you about why you didn’t show up after somebody didn’t show up for the movies and stuff like that, to just start to connect with that. So I really think that’s so important and I appreciate that.
And I’m wondering now when I take this back to you, Personally, can you tell me where not having the ability to deal with conflict and not having the skills of conflict resolution where it financially impacted you in a negative
[00:18:55] Jerry Fu: way? Oh yeah. All the time. like this even happened recently, so [00:19:00] I’m in this alumni and preneur group through my college or my university.
I’m meeting with other alumni that are in similar stages of business development, trying to get our businesses off the ground, and we’re trying to be at each other’s support note. We’re trying to help each other develop connections, leads, even bring each other in for work if it’s appropriate. And one of ’em says, Hey Jerry, yeah, we’re starting up our enterprise company and we’d love for you to do workshop for us because I know you’re looking to prove yourself.
That in my head was, oh, he’s going to pay. And I guess it was my mistake for not making that clear up front to confirm his budget because by the time I got there, all I got was some leftover tortes tacos.
[00:19:43] Bob Wheeler: not great.
[00:19:44] Jerry Fu: Yeah, not great. And so not willing to be bold enough to say, Hey, my time is worth something.
My efforts are worth something. Even if we have to negotiate and you can’t pay or won’t pay what I know, I can justifiably charge. Give me some kind [00:20:00] of good faith statement to say, yeah, this is what we’re willing to do, and if it’s to a point where I’m not going to be paid down the road, what I think I’m worth, hey, this is as much as I can give you because compliments don’t pay my bills.
[00:20:16] Bob Wheeler: And the thing is, at least you would’ve been in choice if they had said, we can’t pay you, you would’ve had the choice to have said, oh, you know what? I really just wanna work on some skills. Mm-hmm. . And so this’ll be great. Yeah. And I wanna help you and I’ll do it for free. But you actually had choice there.
Mm-hmm. versus Oh great. Some leftover tacos. Mm. I would’ve preferred pork. Yeah. . Yeah. And it reminds me, I have conversation with new clients, so. And they’ll say, well, I know there’s a whole lot of work here, but I can only afford to pay you 400 bucks. And I’ll say, well, here’s the thing. I know that we normally, for what you’re asking, that’s a $2,000 job.
And if I do this for you, I’m gonna be actually really resentful and angry and probably not return your phone calls and you’re not gonna get really good service cuz I’m gonna be not [00:21:00] happy. Mm-hmm. , and they’re like, So what I’ve found is when I’m really just direct with people and clear about expectations, then they have a choice to, you know what, I’ll come back when I’ve got more money.
Yeah. Or when things have turned around, I’m like, fantastic. It’s nothing personal here. I just know me and I’m gonna be resentful and bitter and you’re not gonna get your money’s worth. So go find somebody that’ll do it for 400 bucks, but it’s not me. . Yeah, there you go. Yeah. Right. Because I used to be that guy and all I was was miserable and they were very happy.
but. It just wasn’t a good fit. Now, let me ask you this. Are you the oldest child? Are you the youngest child? Oldest. Oldest. Okay. So culturally, there may be some pressure on the oldest male son to be, and I don’t want to put anything on you, but can you talk about culturally as an Asian American man, some of the expectations that are put on you as firstborn?
[00:21:55] Jerry Fu: I’m happy to unpack that because yeah, my parents were willing to admit [00:22:00] that they poured everything they could into me to be sure that I succeeded, because there’s a lot riding on the reputation of the firstborn, especially since I’m the oldest grandson of all my cousins, so, wow. Extra pressure,
Yeah. Not only was I expected to become a physician like my grandfather, Still hung on to the idea that I could become a physician and then get married, have kids. None of that’s happened. And you can see my family. Where are you with this? Right? You’ll make your grandpa very happy when you get married.
And even worse, they’re shaming him. They’re like, why isn’t your oldest grandson married? Like, you’re so successful and. It takes down even the most senior people who shouldn’t give a flip about what the world thinks of them. Right? I mean, my parents, I remember when I got a subpar P S A T score my sophomore year, my parents hit the alarm bell and they’re like, oh, no, no, no.
That whole thing about just trying your best. Yeah, just kidding. . Like you still have to [00:23:00] hit like this minimum, right? Cause that’s what happened. I’ll share with you something real quick. I got busted for cheating on a test in seventh grade. Mm-hmm. . And again, where’s that pressure coming from? Oh, I need to get the grades and I’m not here to blame my parents.
I mean, I put it on myself, right? Cause I wanna get good grades. I like getting good grades cuz I’m recovering approval addict. In fact, I still fall back into those habits, right? . And that was the conversation where I kind said, Hey, you don’t have to resort. Like, yeah, we want you to succeed, but do it with integrity and with ethics.
Until that didn’t like get me the minimum of score on the PSA T. And then it’s just like, well, what message are you sending to me? Right? Like just saying, you’re forget cheat, just don’t get caught as long as you get the success we want. Like what’s the real message here? So yeah, a lot of cultural pressure there.
Even when I wanted to start my business, I would tell my parents checked on me during the pandemic and the only reason I even covered most of my expenses my first year in business was doing private tutoring, cuz I knew that was the immediate need and I’m still working on closing the deals to get more clients or bigger contracts.
And my parents called me and they say, you know, why are [00:24:00] you. Doing all this private tutoring, especially during the pandemic. Isn’t that a safety risk? I said, well, you know, I’m trying to get this plane off the ground. Well, don’t you make enough money as a pharmacist? And I’m like, yeah, but this is really where I wanna go.
Well, what is this business You open? Leadership coaching? Oh, no, no, no. Like, I don’t know what that is. And I don’t think that’s reliable. And they might be right. Like , you know, trying to be your own boss is hard. Like I’ve gotten some tough love from other CEOs. They’re just like, Hey, you’re a little too nice to be your own ceo.
You’re not willing to go through the difficult, at a faster rate in order to iterate your product and get it out there. And you know what I tell them? Oh yeah. Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, . Okay. Sorry. Sorry. It’s like, all right. Well, either I accept the challenge or I just keep going or give up just because I think I’m not gonna succeed.
What is this? Well,
[00:24:45] Bob Wheeler: I think that, look, there’s definitely the pressure of family and probably at least having some conflict resolution skills helps you negotiate some of those conversations. Sometimes on a personal level, yeah, but we all do it at our own pace and yeah, maybe [00:25:00] I’ve been told I’m too nice.
And here’s the thing. Probably I’d still rather be a little optimistic about people and have a couple of fails than be so ice cold that I step over people and people that I love just to get to a goal. An imagined goal. Yeah. And so I think it’s important that we trust ourselves, even though we can continue to say, oh, there’s where I could learn.
Oh, there’s where I can improve. Yeah. And be conscious about that. But I love the fact that you pushed through and said, you know what? I have a vision for my. Maybe it’s not all completely figured out. I know my family has a different vision for my life. Mm-hmm. and being first born and the oldest grandson, geez, I can’t even imagine that pressure cuz I have a lot of friends that have those pressures.
And so I just commend you on saying, you know what, I’m gonna stick through it. And I think what’s important or for me is the fact that I’m gonna stick through it. Even though I don’t have my skills perfected, I’m still gonna. My family personal history [00:26:00] flavor into my choices. I’m gonna do it anyway. Here we go.
Yeah. Now you’ve said that your personal relationship with money is a little bit anxious. It is. Why do you think that is? And is that something that it’s a constant struggle or you feel like you’re making progress? Because just cuz people are successful doesn’t mean they don’t have money issues. . Oh yeah.
Or a relationship with money that’s not.
[00:26:21] Jerry Fu: Well, it gives some cultural context to that as well, because my mom is a CPA and , she would feel guilty for charging market value, right? Like she just felt like, oh, well, you know, it feels selfish and they can use that money for other things. The irony is that if we saw money as a statement of our value, all these business owners are like, oh yeah, this is a steal.
Like yeah, of course they’re gonna negotiate against themselves for us. You know? Sure. We’re not forcing her hand, she’s just already like sabotaging her own value. Right? Yeah. And. We would tell her at least Jim’s market value. Like you don’t have to feel guilty about this. You don’t have to project your own guilt and your own story around money until what they think in [00:27:00] their eyes.
They’re like, this is a good value. We’re getting a good CPA for a reasonable price, or whatever. And even if you are market value and they recognize you’re still better than someone else who charges the same price, they’re gonna come to you. Like, that’s not a problem. And so to give a kind of like an evolution story of how I’ve thought about money, With the salsa dancing.
Right. I actually help out as a volunteer instructor for a local salsa dancing, uh, student group. And so the funny thing is, there was a point where because there was no overhead, we didn’t charge students because it was just open source sharing and it was fun, but we didn’t have any money in the bank. We couldn’t like, upgrade our equipment or anything else like that.
Right. So we were just like, yeah, we know we’re great that we, it’s a lean operation, but you know, he’d like some margin in the bank account in case we do need some things. And uh, Bob, like it was just funny. Me being intrepreneur now, I’m just like, money is a statement of value and we are providing an extremely great value for nothing.
And then you have the students who are in charge of the organization say, no money is a barrier to entry . If people can’t afford this, [00:28:00] then they shouldn’t have to pay money just to enjoy dancing like we do. And the funny thing is they avoided this conversation for a long time about whether or not to charge.
And I’m so happy to share this story because it just showed such growth for all of us because I told him, I said, okay, please don’t ignore this conversation. Even if what we conclude is okay, we’re just going to not charge dues. Like we’ve gone through all the options and we feel like not charging dues is what helps us just kind of keep things simple.
And that’s what we’re happy to share. Generous, that’s fine. But go through the process. Just have the conversation, stretch things cuz we’re more on the same side than you realize. And here’s the crazy thing. We came to a beautiful compromise that I would not have come up with on my own or anyone else would’ve come up their own.
But because we were willing to kind of squeeze the call to actually find the diamond. We said, okay, we’re gonna keep it free for students because they already paying enough as it is in tuition. But people in the surrounding area in the community, like the medical center here in Houston, or other people in the community that know about other things, and they’re kind of writing the coattails of this activity [00:29:00] that we have.
Yeah, let’s charge ’em like 20 bucks a semester or something simple. And what’s funny is when we told this and was like, oh, that’s a steal. Like that’s right. That’s a no brainer. These are working for professionals, $20, just nothing to them. Nothing. But the students just projected their own view of money onto them and they said, oh no, we always feel guilty.
And I was sitting there thinking, all the dance instructors that I learned from had no problem charging. Right? Yeah. Because they know that their time and experience and effort are worth. Same thing happened to me, actually I was out dancing one Friday evening and this one kid was like, Hey, you danced really well.
Can you teach me a move? And this just kinda like, you know, I came here to dance. I didn’t come here to teach. So if you wanna hire me away from what I came to do, sure. But if you’re just asking me to give away stuff for free, number one, no. And then number two, yeah, like I came here to dance, not teach. So,
[00:29:49] Bob Wheeler: Yeah, be clear on the mission and be clear on the value.
I love that. Yeah. Well, Jerry, we are at the Fast five, and the Fast five is brought to you by Acorns, where you can invest bear, [00:30:00] change, bank smarter, safer for retirement, and so much more. For more information, click on the links in the show notes. You gotta check out Acorns, Jerry. All right, so we’re gonna just have a little bit of fun here.
Okay. Let’s do it. What purchase are you most proud?
[00:30:12] Jerry Fu: Oh, . This isn’t a typical answer, but I’m surprised at how much value I’ve gotten out of this. I have a banker’s desk CLA that I bought, golly, like 20 years ago from Walmart and it still works. .
[00:30:29] Bob Wheeler: I love it. That’s perfect. I like practical. Yeah. Financially. Do you still think you have quite a ways to go around finances or do you feel pretty comfortable?
[00:30:38] Jerry Fu: I totally need to learn more about not only getting better story around money, there has been some improvement and even as I know I want to get better at it. But also just figuring out, yeah, what am I worth? What would it take for me to have the financial goals that I know would give me some level of peace of mind saying, okay, yeah, I know I could make more, but this is enough for me.
Like a quick [00:31:00] literary reference is a great book by Andrew Hall called Millionaire Teacher, and he talks about just investment strategies and other saving things he did to become a millionaire. Age 30, and then just the way he just kind of generates his own passive income. Yeah. I’m just sitting there thinking, holy cow.
Like he doesn’t even have to start a business. He was just investing wisely this whole time. And he’s just like, yeah, I just traveled the world with my wife and . You know, I do think life is good and I’m just thinking that sounds great. So, yeah, I would be open to suggestions as to what sources you think as well would be health reading, just to kind of help get a better mindset around money.
[00:31:33] Bob Wheeler: Yeah. Rich Dad, poor dad, nice. , such a good book. Do you intentionally budget and do you set up a percentage for rent, mortgage? Do you set up 20% for entertainment? And you may not even budget. A lot of people don’t budget. So do you just like, woo, I got money in the bank we’re gonna spend today? Or how do you do.
[00:31:51] Jerry Fu: Oh, great, great, great. I don’t budget. I do track my expenses though, and I do know what my spending habits are and basically I just [00:32:00] kind of keep my spending up within a certain level cuz I realize, hey, this is where my habits are. I know how much money I’m making. I figure as long as there’s a big enough cushion between what I’m making and what I’m spending and so I have enough room in case.
Unexpected expenses like car repair or house repair, things like that. I have enough to kind of absorb that. Hit okay in order to keep going. So yeah, I do track my expenses, but I don’t specifically budget any
[00:32:25] Bob Wheeler: limits on it. See what we’ll have to tell you to go check out the Money Nerve resource page where we’ve got like great books on that stuff and great tips on budgeting.
So I’ll do a little shameless plug there. But look, we’re all a work in progress and. Budgeting and how to save our money and how to invest and how to get on track and all that stuff is something we all continue to learn. Yeah. But that’s what money you should ask is all about trying to help people get there.
Awesome. Right. Next question. What is your next big financial
[00:32:52] Jerry Fu: goal? Next big financial goal. Hold me to this one, guys. Yeah. Make enough money coaching to justify stepping [00:33:00] out of my pharmacy gig. At least jump it back down to part-time or even completely help just to say yes. That is my financial goal. If I can make 12.5 K a month in revenue, then yeah, I can just kind of put this other job to the side.
[00:33:13] Bob Wheeler: Make the jump. Make the jump. Yeah. How do you feel when you spend.
[00:33:16] Jerry Fu: Uh, I just feel annoyed that I even have to deal with it, honestly. It’s just like, oh, the grocery bill. Uh, okay. Oh, insurance, uh, okay. Uh, dental visit. Okay. I mean, there are times when even on vacations where you’re just like, okay, I’m excited for this, but I’m also kind of terrified because what if other unexpected expenses come up that I’m not accounting for, and do I have enough margins to sustain any interruptions really?
As opposed to being more on the offensive, being more confident in my ability to make back that. Yeah. Cool.
[00:33:49] Bob Wheeler: We’re at our m and m moment, our sweet spot, money and Motivation. I’m wondering if you have a practical financial tip or a piece of wealth wisdom that’s worked for you, you can share with our listeners.[00:34:00]
[00:34:00] Jerry Fu: Yeah. I was thinking about this before the show, and I realize it’s kind of the same question to ask myself around time, and it’s to ask yourself, when you’re about to spend money on something, you ask yourself, what else could I spend this money? , right? Mm-hmm. . And then you realize, okay, maybe I don’t really need this, you know, expensive CD player, not that able to use the CDs anymore.
It’s like, maybe I don’t need the 60 inch tv. Maybe I don’t need to go to the movies. It’s just a nice check. Yeah, practical check in the moment. Hey, is this an impulse buy? Where is there something better I can use this money for? That’ll be more in line with my long
[00:34:34] Bob Wheeler: term goals. No, that’s great. I love that.
Well, Jerry, I know we’re coming to the end here. Mm-hmm. , I just wanna name a couple things as we’ve talked through this conversation. Even there, just talking about being aware and conscious, it doesn’t mean you always do it right? Doesn’t mean you always make the right choices, but just having that intentionality and having the awareness of, oh yeah, room for improvement here.
What I also appreciate. There wasn’t a lot of blame about your parents. Like, [00:35:00] okay, this has all been laid on me, right? Mm-hmm. , I don’t hear a sad story about all these things. What I hear is, oh, here’s what I could do. Here’s what I’m working on. Oh, there’s a new skill set. There’s a phrase I can borrow from, and just this willingness to do the work.
And even in the places like cheating on the test and not taking yourself out of just saying, well, hey, I was trying to like make everybody happy. I understand the process there. Mm-hmm. , and so that’s not taking yourself. The other piece that even though we didn’t actually explicitly talk about it, the fact that you’re creating your own company and you’re still working this other job, a lot of people think, oh, I must just walk away.
I’m gonna quit my job, have a strategy. Mm-hmm. . And so it sounds like you’ve got a strategy you’re working on, Hey, this is my bread and butter, and even when things were tight, I’m gonna do private tutoring, right? Mm-hmm. , you’re actually willing to go the extra step where other people might be like, nah, I’m not gonna do that.
That’s below my pay grade. You’re. I on the prize. I on the prize. And so I think [00:36:00] that’s so important for people when they’re trying to pivot out of something they wanna move from is have a strategy. It may not be perfect, it may not be on the timetable you initially set, but set that timetable, set those goals and move towards it.
And so I just really appreciate, Jerry, that you were just really forthright in sharing your personal story. Because I know there’s a lot of people out there that wanna be the good guy, the good gal. They wanna do what other people want them to do so that they’ll feel approved of. They don’t name their worth, they don’t hold to that, they don’t self-advocate.
And so I really appreciate that you’re out there helping people learn to have these difficult conversations cuz they’re difficult. Mm-hmm. and actually continuing to do the work on yourself. And that to me is always a key piece of all. We still don’t know everything and we’re still learning. Where can people find you online in social media if people wanna learn more about Jerry?
[00:36:52] Jerry Fu: Yeah, you can connect with me on LinkedIn. Look for Jerry efu and I’ll say Conflict resolution coach for Asian American leaders, the good stuff happens at [00:37:00] the website, www.adaptingleaders.com. If you want the free guide where I walk you through my five step framework, you can download it at www do adapting leaders.com/guide.
Download the guide that’s happy to, you know, put that in your hands, see how it pays dividends for you. And yeah, you could schedule a complimentary call if you want. Read the free blog where I share all sorts of fun. But the specific call to action, we’re gonna use that on the lingo here is, yeah, download the guide Adapting leaders.com/guide.
[00:37:34] Bob Wheeler: Absolutely. Well, we’ll put all that in the show notes, so I so appreciate it. Jerry, thank you so much for taking the time, and I wish you well in all your conflict resolutions situations coming up in the future. Thanks,
[00:37:45] Jerry Fu: Paul. Thanks every.
[00:37:54] Bob Wheeler: We hope you enjoyed this episode. Did you learn something new about your relationship to money today? [00:38:00] Maybe you have a friend who has some financial blocks or beliefs that are holding them back. Please share this podcast so they too can get off the rollercoaster Ride of Financial Fears and journey towards financial.
To learn how to have a healthy relationship with money, visit the money nerve.com. That’s nerve not nerd. We’ll be back next week with another perspective on money and the emotions that bind us.