Every time you overcome a big challenge, you feel so invincible that nothing can beat you anymore; you’ve cried your heart out and you thought you’ll never shed tears again.

The thing is, there are always challenges yet to come until you learn to accept it as constant in life.

I went through a badly shattered phase to gain enough clarity to be who I am, to write, to tell stories, to inspire people. I thought nothing could beat me when it comes to words. To start off this career on my own, I took on every project that came my way.

I knew this path is going to be hard, but I never thought I’d be beaten again so soon.

When I accepted an assignment to write an investment proposal, I knew it was a big hat to wear, and yet I was confident in my ability to process information and to write a convincing story.

As it went, I flopped.

The moment the client reprimanded me, I was engulfed in self-doubt, paralyzed by fear. It was all so familiar and yet unstoppable. For days, I found escape in sleeping when my world truly silent down.

No matter how many challenges we have conquered in life, the new one always has its unique ability to strike in a specific moment and completely disarm us. It brings out the monsters lurking in us – doubt, fear, feeling of not being good enough.

I was aware that I created the chaotic mess in my head, and yet I felt utterly powerless to shut it down.

I guess the only way we learn and grow is to ask questions.

Why do you give up your power to emotion? Have you done your job? Whose responsibilities are involved?

When forced to the corner, one learns to adapt, accept, and bounce back. I accepted that I feel like crap. I accepted that there is a distance between who I am and who I want to be. I accepted that this is temporary. I accepted that I have given my best effort. I accepted that I can’t please everyone.

When I turned attention from head to heart, my heart gained strength. @isabellethye (Click to Tweet!)

I thought the client expected a business consultant out of a writer; the client blamed me for not being proactive to get information from him. Both of us could be right, but it didn’t matter.

It mattered that I dove into the problem when I felt like quitting; that we kept our egos in check and worked together.

When we know the person we are, when we recognize that we are in the world of co-creation, when we open our heart to others, there is nothing to be afraid of.

I came across a deaf singer, Mandy Harvey, performing her original song ‘Try’ on Youtube. It brought me to tears, I wished she could hear herself.


Having lost her sense of hearing 10 years ago, she said, ‘this is not the dream that I’ve always had, that’s okay because I showed up, I did something I never believed I could do’.

Inspired, I started searching for emotional auditions, or those worthy o a golden buzzer, I smiled and cried watching all of them.

These singers carried their struggle, pain, hurt and love, they channeled their story into songs, turning emotions into something so beautiful, spectacular and moving.

We stand up for them, we cheer, we tear.

All of us have our own struggles.

When you turn towards it, shine a light on it, you are able to see its ugliness, silliness and laugh at it. Then you tell yourself, ‘I’m better than that.’ And you take a big giant step crossing over it.

My struggle brought me from corporate world to coffee world, to start a company, to quit, to not knowing what to do, to start over again, to be a creator of words.

I get good at turning bad days into a secret ingredient and create stories out of them.

Keep pushing, keep trying, never stop believing in yourself.

As cliché as this statement sounds, we give weight to it. There were dark moments when I couldn’t see the way out, it turned into a powerful mantra that pushed me through.

My struggle brought me where I am today. The process was ugly but the journey was beautiful.

I’m grateful for what it is, and I’m not going to beat myself up.

Isabelle Thye is a coffee enthusiast based in Malaysia. She co-founded a café consultancy business and started her own coffee label CHNO. Besides building her coffee business, Isabelle enjoys writing and backpacking around the world.



Image courtesy of Adrianna Calvo.