As part of my summer podcast replay series, I’m sharing a replay of a powerful podcast episode with a past student, May Lam Rocco.
May’s memoir, Confi-Dance: Memoirs of an Asian Businesswoman’s Journey from a Traditional Upbringing into Unconditional Love, has been endorsed by an impressive list of people, including the former president of Gucci China; the speaker-elect of the US House of Representatives; and my friend and coauthor, Ron Price, president of TTI Success Insights.
During her time in my program, May went from thinking her memoir was meant for an audience of one—her son—to realizing that her book had a significant role in fulfilling her newfound purpose of helping other people up-level their confidence in business, parenting, and life. She’s a shining example of using one’s voice for impact, stepping into a bold message, and helping further other women (and all people!) through her story.
Get inspired by this week’s pod replay on building confidence, writing a book, and making an impact.
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Learn more about my Idea-to-Draft Accelerator and Author Mentorship program here.
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Transcripts for Episode 101
These transcripts were generated by robots, not writers.
Stacy: Welcome. Welcome. I am thrilled this week to get to introduce you to an amazing woman, May Lam Rocco, who has a new book out and an incredible mission that she is working on spreading in the world. So before I officially welcome May, I want to give you a little bit about her background. May is originally from Hong Kong and spent her childhood growing up in various countries. She’s from a traditional family and also an entrepreneurial family. Three generations of her family are in business at a very young age, she trained to be a businesswoman. She studied in the UK and started to work in her family business after graduation. May has worked in many different industries throughout her career and now focuses her time helping others to rebuild their confidence as well as helps parents reconnect with their children. May, welcome. I’m so excited to talk with you today.
May Lam Rocco: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Stacy: And I am holding in my hands a copy of your new book, which I just got a few days ago after it being held in customs. So excited for you. Congratulations on the release of your book.
May Lam Rocco: Thank you.
Stacy: Can you tell our viewers and listeners a little bit about tell us the title of your book and a little bit about the book itself and what inspired it.
May Lam Rocco: Yeah. My book title is called Confide dance like Dancing. And it is my memoir, is my Life Journey. What got me into writing this book really is many years ago, I wanted to leave something to my son and I find that there’s no better things to leave him is to show him the story of my life. A big part of it is because I have seen a lot of people who has gone through, especially during 1997, we have gone through an Asian financial crisis. So I have seen a lot of people, many of them are my friends and even family that have gone through from having everything into having nothing. So they were not able to pick themselves up. So that really scared me and then a few years later I went through it myself. And my journey is by not knowing that one day I have nothing in. My bank account, really like nothing left and took me two years to get out of my depression. But I was able to make it.
That really made me kind of thinking. Life is not always so smooth, there’s always ups and downs in life and I always worry will my son be able to handle it if one day if things doesn’t really go according to what he wants. And I think it’s important that if we fall, everybody fall some time in their life, it’s important that we’re able to get back up again. So I think the book was because of that. It really inspired me to write this book. And at the end of the day, I’m very happy that I got to finish writing the book because I’ve been talking it for many years and I finally did it.
Stacy: I’m curious if you could share a little bit about the evolution of your mission because I know when you started writing your book, it was for your son, right? And through this journey of writing you have really kind of expanded into a broader impact of your story and this message of really helping people rebuild their confidence and repair their relationship with their children. So talk to me a little bit about that journey of kind of I don’t know, not accepting but like unearthing almost this purpose that you are working toward now.
May Lam Rocco: The whole thing is really starting with joining your nonfiction book school. This is one part of it is talking about the vision and I said it earlier I want to write a book is to leave it to my son. I didn’t even thinking about publishing because I know publishing is such a difficult thing to do in my mind at that time and I just wanted to write a book. And during one of the exercise you taught us about the vision and it just came on to me. I mean all my life I’ve been doing business, I’ve been doing so many different business in different industry and it’s really about building a life for myself and my family, right? But at this time of my life. I almost find it a little lost what is really my purpose in life. So by doing that vision piece, I was able to really think, maybe through writing the book, through sharing my experience in life, maybe able to help others.
To see that it’s possible, especially when you go through crisis or challenges in life, this is possible to bounce back. And if we are able to get back up, everything will be okay. So I have to thank you for that because that is where the vision come from and that is where I wanted to spend the time going forward. Just to help others to achieve that.
Stacy: That’s so beautiful. And I think it’s easy, we’re just humans like functioning in the world and going through day to day. And it’s easy to just forget that the things that we’ve experienced and the stories that we have and the lessons that we’ve learned, there are people that are steps behind us, sometimes many steps, sometimes a few steps that actually really need what we have to offer. And it’s easy also to underestimate the impact of that for other people, right? So I’m so grateful that you were able to look at that big picture and see that vision of what you can do with your story. And it’s been so cool watching you really build that platform and start to share your message. How do you envision those next steps for you as you share this book and your message? And I imagine maybe do some speaking engagements or other things that are going to help you spread this out into the world.
What does that look like for you?
May Lam Rocco: Right now I’m focusing on building on social media, which I think is important that now I have the book, the next thing is really get out there so that more people will know there is such a book in the market. So I’m focusing on building the social media. So I’m on Instagram, I’m on Facebook, I’m on TikTok. And the next step really going forward is a couple of ways. One way I might be able to come up with different program, online program, that I’ll be able to help people to rebuild the confidence or helping parents to how to deal with the relationship with their children. And there’s another part of me, probably a little bigger vision is really I wanted to create a platform where I can bring people together, where they can talk about the challenge and they can hear about other people story.
Because I remember when I go through my own depression that time I’m all alone during that time there’s no social media really. I’m talking about there’s no social media and I was living in Asia, there was no supporting groups or anything like that. Maybe there know in church and all that, but I was not part of it. I don’t even know where to look. So I think it’s important that if we are in that moment, we’re able to get support from other people. And I’m sure social media is able you have a lot of different group to do that. But it’s nothing like being in a room together, face to face, feeling the person, seeing the person. And I think that’s something that I wanted to do and that will be probably my next step for building the platform going forward.
Stacy: I love that you also have this fairly practical first step and then this vision of where you want to go. It’s so businessy of you because you’re a businesswoman, right? So I wonder if you could share a little bit since many people listening or watching are aspiring authors or they are publishing their books, or they’ve published their books, can you share a little bit with them? With me? About how you kind of pulled some of those business principles into marketing, launching marketing this book and then kind of thinking forward on where this book will take you.
May Lam Rocco: Yeah, I know that we are in a different generation. My book, of course, we did do one exercise about who is your ideal audience, what age group and all that stuff. But because I am looking into two part of it, one part is about building the confidence, the other part is about relationship with children. So there is two demographic here. So I know social media will be the fastest way to reach out and I don’t grow up from a social media era. So I find it very difficult for me. I have to learn everything. So I just put on my business hat. If I don’t know how to do. It, I’ll get help, I’ll get people.
May Lam Rocco: Who even in business, we all know that we are not possible to know everything. And it’s important that you be able to build a team. And if your team, they all come in different background, different knowledges and they work together, they’ll be able to create that business. So that is what I have been doing in my business. And even though at the time when I was running a leadership consultant business with Ron Price, your co author, and I don’t do the training myself, I don’t do the leadership training, but I have a group of people who is expert in this area to do it. So coming back to the book, so I thought about I can do I don’t know how to do it, can I learn it? Yes, but it will be a long process. So I decided to go and hire a consultant to help me on building this marketing, even help me to self publish my book.
And I think that is a great learning for me. And then after that, after the book is published and he was able to help me to build on the social media platform so doing the TikTok, doing the Instagram, so he will give me the homework, I will give him the assignment. Basically this is how it works. So it works out beautifully and it took a lot of stress out of me because it’s not something that I am good at, but I was able to find help with it.
Stacy: It’s so important, I think, for people to hear that because there is this especially when you look at somebody on social media who’s doing a great job, they have lots of followers, they have really great content. You can have this idea that they’re just doing all of it and they’re somehow just amazing at it somehow. But the fact is that nearly everyone who has any sort of large presence has a team that is supporting them. And even for me, I don’t have a huge presence, but it’s growing. And I have somebody as well on my team who’s amazing and who helps make everything happen for you. I was looking at your Instagram. You had this beautiful reading that you did from your book. There’s pieces that only may can do, right? And then there’s pieces that your team has to do. And sometimes it’s about what you actually.
So for me, because I’m a writer, I write all of my content, but then I have a team to proofread, to schedule, to do all the things that are not within my zone of genius. But I love how you’re thinking about that and hopefully that’ll be really helpful to anybody listening and trying to think about how they are going to do the same thing. I’d love for you to share a little bit about the results, the successes that you have seen since publishing your book. Has there been anything that’s been surprising or especially exciting?
May Lam Rocco: I think a big part, very obvious is something that I want to go to do going forward, like I shared with you, that will be my purpose going forward is really to help others. I think that is the result of the book. Definitely.
May Lam Rocco: Before that, I was still really much a very business person. I wanted to run this business, build that business and all that. Maybe because it’s all timing as well, because I was able to solve my business when I started to write a book. So what’s next? So I was thinking about oh, maybe I should create another business. But the book really helped me to find out what is my real purpose, what I really wanted to do. So that definitely is one of the result that I’m getting. And another part of it is I’m learning so much, Stacey. I’m learning so much about writing the book, about how to build my social media platform. Even though I have a team of helping me, I still have to learn how to do it. So instead of me experimenting new things and all that, I’m actually learning from the expert.
It’s easier and faster as well. So for me, that is another great result for me. I feel that at this age, I’m not saying I’m old or anything, but I’m just saying at this time we need to be current is what’s going on out there. So I don’t know much about social media. Then I have to learn and I hire somebody that who work with me so that I can learn as well. So the learning part is also pretty.
May Lam Rocco: Amazing to me.
Stacy: I think, when you think with that growth mindset and also you mitigated the pain by working with an expert so it can be more joyful and more approach. You can approach it with curiosity. I know for me, I spent years just like loathing all things social media and I would feel this like, oh, I’m supposed to be posting and what am I going to write about? And I think the thing that changed for me is that I got help. And now when I want to do a little extra or I’m feeling especially creative, I can do that without the pressure of having to just get something done because there’s already things getting done. So I love that piece of it and you can learn through that too, and be creative and have fun. The other thing I feel like we should call out is that you’ve had some really amazing praise and feedback on your book and a couple of them I’m looking at right now.
You had endorsement from the former President of Gucci, China, who really resonated with your book. You also had Speaker Elect of the US. House of Representatives, who again praised the value of this book. And then I also read all these other reviews from people. How does that feel after this was a journey. It was a journey to get this book done. And now that you’re on the other side of it with a real book that you can actually hold and that people have read, can you share a little bit about that experience?
May Lam Rocco: It’s amazing, really. It is really amazing because you always have a little doubt about how good is your book? Does it resonate with people? I’m sure some people probably find it not that inspiring, but we look at it. We’re not cater for everyone, let’s say. But for people who read the book, that can resonate with them, especially like with Bob Livingston, the House of Representative. He’s from a different culture. But for him to be able to see my story not just apply to the Asian culture or traditional culture, it’s really applied globally to the world. Different culture.
Same thing with Carol from Know. She’s Asian, of course, but she’s very know. Before that she worked in the US. She worked in different parts of the mean. To me, it’s almost like an endorsement from them makes me feel that my story is worthwhile to share. And I think that is the feeling that I have when I review from people and really elevated me, make me happy. Because sometimes you don’t know everyone have their own story, but it’s my story. Be able to impact others, even by impacting just one people, I would be so happy. So that’s how I feel.
Stacy: I love that. And I think you said something, I can’t remember your exact language that you use, but essentially that this idea that you didn’t know how people would respond and that you’ve had these individuals that have really resonated with it, but then maybe some people maybe won’t find it as inspiring. And that’s been something I’ve had to let go of as an author as well. And we talked about this a lot when you were in nonfiction book school. You have one reader that you are really narrowing in on and they’re representative of a larger group. But your book should not please and inspire every single person on the planet, right? And not every single person will resonate with it. And if you set out to write a book that will resonate with everyone, chances are high it will fall completely flat and resonate with no one.
And so you really understand your reader. You understood your reader as you were writing the book. And I think that’s why it has resonated not just with that group, but also beyond. So switching gears a little bit, because many of the listeners of this podcast are travelers or aspire to live location independent lives, or aspire to be kind of global citizens. And you are like the definition of a global citizen were just talking about before we hit record, you sent me this book from the US. It took a while to get here to me in Portugal, but now you’re in Malaysia. You’re originally from Hong Kong. So tell us a little bit about your kind of international journey and how that has shaped who you are and also how you parent.
May Lam Rocco: I was born in Hong Kong. I left Hong Kong when I was twelve years old. I went to a small little country called Brunei. I actually write that in my book. And then from Brunei went to school in England, and then I came back to Asia. And then from know, I live in Taiwan, I live in China, I live in Singapore, and then I spend a great deal of time in the US. As you know, a big part of this is really what life takes me. But the benefit of that, the plus side of that is I see that. It’s really enriching because I was able to fit into different culture, work in different environment, stay in different place, because. Every country have their own culture. And a lot of people might not feel comfortable when they go to a different country because things probably doesn’t work like they usually back home. We talk about the book arriving a month later. I was shocked too and probably take another month to just get the book out, right? We’ll get frustrated sometimes. It happens. I live in China, in the went to China in the 80s as well. There was nothing, really.
So all this experience is building who I am today, really, I wouldn’t trade for anything else. And every country I live, I’m learning. So much, and I’m learning how to work with people. I’m learning how to in some cases. When I was young, I learned how to be humble. Because when you come from especially when I come from places like Hong Kong, in those days, it’s metropolitan cities, everything works, and people work fast, work hard. And when you go to places like Brunei, it’s a small country, it’s very slow. Everything is slow. You do one thing in public, wait for a week to get the result, or not even result the next step and stuff like this. So my experience by living in all.
This different country really enriched. Like I said, I really enriched my life and also taught me so much bout people and at the end of.
The day, we are the same people. We really have no difference whether we come from different culture or whatnot. We still want love, we still want to love our family. I would encourage, until today, I still encourage all the young people, if they have a chance, they should leave their birthplace and go somewhere else and go and see the world. The same thing when I told my son when he was young, when you go to a different country, not just going to go into the shopping mall.
Doing shopping and all that, really trying. To observe people, understanding people, trying to see what’s going on in that country. Because all this experience, you cannot learn it by reading a book or you cannot learn it really by looking in the social media. So I think that is really a valuable experience for me.
Stacy: It’s so cool to hear you talk about your experience. You probably saw me nodding a bunch while you were talking but it really resonates with me and it’s very inspiring that you’ve kind of continued to live this life for so long from the time you were twelve. For me, I didn’t start traveling really till I was 23 and we moved abroad to the Dominican Republic when I was 23 or 24, somewhere around there. And something you said about kind of getting into the culture and really being part of it. And Then the other piece to that I would build on is that for me, growing up in a very homogeneous area in Idaho where it’s 98% white, most of the people around me were of similar socioeconomic level. Largely, there were two main religions, and they both were kind of under the umbrella of Christian and then going out into the world and standing out.
Suddenly I was like the person that people stared at because I looked different and I sounded different. I couldn’t speak the language and I didn’t share cultural elements and that discomfort I think, also gave me a lot of empathy and understanding of other people and their experiences in different places and pieces of their life. And that’s what’s something we’ve tried to recreate for our kids too and just putting them in different environments that are much more global and less of just one type of person in one place. That’s kind of very constant. What’s cool about your story and inspiring for me is that you have an older child and so we kind of feel like we’re living this crazy experiment sometimes so I can look to you and be like, hey, you know what, it worked out for her. You’re my keep going inspiration. Yeah, such a good story.
So I would love to just touch in on your kind of core messaging on confidence again because I feel like I would miss an opportunity if I didn’t get some tips from you. All of us at some point of our lives, and actually most of us on a daily basis, we have a piece of us, whether it’s as parents, as partners, as friends, as business people, as a volunteer at the school or community member that is lacking in confidence. And I actually just yesterday had a conversation with a coach mentor of mine about an area in my business where I’m noticing that there was like this hidden lack of confidence that I didn’t realize I had and I didn’t realize how much it was impacting me. And now I can name it and work through it, but this isn’t something we usually talk about. It’s not something we even usually dig deep within ourselves to uncover.
And if we do uncover it, we tend to push it away and not want to deal with it or find reasons that we have this lack of confidence and kind of just still function the same way. So I would love for you if you could just share a few tips on if somebody notices that they have a gap in confidence, they’re lacking confidence in an area of their life. What would you recommend as maybe first couple of steps that they could take to start to make a difference in confidence?
May Lam Rocco: I think confident a big part of lack of confidence is really coming out of fear. The fear factor. We all have fear in us. We want to do a certain thing. We’re not sure whether we’re doing the right thing, what will be the outcome look like if we do this. So a lot of time it’s the fear who stop us on the track. We don’t want to do it. We procrastinate because there’s a lot of uncertainty out there. But I would advise people if there’s something so important for you, even though it’s fear, you have to step out and do it. Step out meaning that acknowledge that fear in you. But if you’re not going to face up to your fear, you’re never able to get that things done anyway. You’re going to hide it, you’re going to procrastinate, it’s going to affect everything that you do. So sometimes you need that courage to step out. And when you step out, you will find that it’s actually not that fearful because I always believe the universe will show you what is the next step. But if you don’t even give that opportunity to take that step, then you’re going to miss out a lot. So I have a lot of fear in me. Writing the book is one of them. I have a lot of questions sometimes about myself, whether I’m making the right decision and whatnot. But one thing I do have is I have the courage to step out.
Because every time when I step out, I’m really seeing oh, all this fear that I have is a lot of them is really in my head. So whatever that is remaining is something that I need to work on. Then I’ll go and find a solution. I look at it as something that I need to work on instead of looking at it as a fear. So I would encourage people. If you find yourself is really lacking that confidence, first of all you might want to ask yourself not about why you can do it. It’s really about what can I do? What can I do to get a different result? So something like that.
And another thing is just step out, see what happened. The worst thing is like if things doesn’t work out, you can always come back, right? But most of the time, I would say 100% of the time, once you step out, you find something that you never seen before and you will say, oh, this is where I need to go, this is the next step, I need to I just follow that step to go, to do. And you will get there. And the second thing and come into. Confidence is a lot about self love.
I think that is a part of that. I didn’t know it before. I grow up as pretty much doing everything to please others. Because I come from a very traditional family. A traditional family is like you have to listen, you have to listen. Nobody really cares about what you think, but you just have to follow certain things to do. But later on in my life I realized that it’s so important to have that self love. Self love doesn’t mean selfish. It’s totally different thing. But if you’re not able to love yourself, you’re not able to love anybody else. So the self love is really about building your self worth and also giving your confidence, building your self esteem. And then your confidence will come because you become happy. You can find your happiness, your own well being.
When everything is good, then your confidence will come, everything is possible. But when you have all this self doubt about yourself, then it’s a different story. Every step you make, you question yourself. So it relates to confidence.
I would say self love is the number one thing that we need to work on as well.
Stacy: It’s so true. It’s so true. It’s interesting because I’m thinking about some of the conversations I’ve had with my ten year old in how she kind of navigates the world as a young person and trying to impart this because I really struggled with confidence as a child and really up until probably my late teens, early 20s, well, probably honestly longer than that. But eventually I kind of found my way in my twenty s and really kind of anchored in who I am. And when that happened, everything changed in my life. Everything. And my hope is that she can find that earlier and stay anchored in that. We have that when we’re really little. We are born with confidence and we’re born with courage and this willingness to try anything and take on anything, but it gets stolen from us from external pressures and input. And I love that you have this message and that you’re putting it out into the world.
So your book is Confi-dance. It’s the coolest cover. I love it. Tell our listeners where they can get your book and where they can follow along as you grow your social media and really make that impact that you are specifically designed to make on this.
May Lam Rocco: I mean, the book is on Amazon, so if you Google Confidence by May Lam Rocco, you’ll find that all the goodreads. You can also find it on Goodreads. I’m on Instagram, I’m on Facebook and also TikTok under my name May Lam Rocco. So they have all information and I have put up a lot of my social media that’s related messages for my book and also link tree. Link tree. Yeah. Just reach out to me on my email, firstname.lastname@example.org, so that can reach me too. Yes, wonderful.
Stacy: We’ll be sure to add links in the show notes too for anybody listening. So you can grab the book, you can access the link tree and of course send May a message if you feel inspired. I know for us authors love hearing from people. Can I say that for you too, May? It’s like amazing to hear from people that read your book or resonate with your message.
May Lam Rocco: Thank you. I’m very happy to.
Stacy: Yes, well, thank you so much for joining me today and sharing your inspiring message of confidence and connectedness with your children. And I’m so proud of you getting your book done and out in the world.
May Lam Rocco: Thank you, Stacey. I couldn’t do it without you. I have to say I really think your cost nonfiction book school, that’s the only thing that make this happen for me. If I didn’t join it, I won’t be able to write my book. So I have to say thank oh.
Stacy: Well, my honor, May, and congratulations and thanks so much for joining me today.