In the midst of self-publishing my first book, I wanted to hide.

After frequent posting and shouting about myself, my book, my work, approaching people to collaborate, and asking for help, I was ambushed by a profound moment of doubt.

What am I doing?

Even though the ball was rolling, I had a break down.

Ryan Holiday called it a ‘drawdown period’.

The purpose

Publishing a book didn’t start off as a dream, but the seed of desire started to grow since two years ago.

When it comes to fruition, this book means a lot because it contains my five years journey to find the intersection of passion and purpose. It marked an end of search and the beginning of building something meaningful.

Despite being labelled a quitter and not moving up any ladder, I found myself.

When I found a way to serve with my strength, it is beautiful to want something so badly and willing to give all I have to get there.

I want this story to be heard, so that it gives other seekers comfort on their path. We are not alone.

The vision

Despite a burning desire, carrying the vision for what the book could be was a lonely journey.

I had to be thoughtful with how I spend every second because when my energy plunged, the vision crumbled.

I broke into tears while listening to the soundtrack of ‘The Greatest Showman’. ‘A Million Dreams’ reminded me of love from people around me. ‘This Is Me’ reminded me to be proud of who I am.

Then I realized that this is the beauty of creation – to tell stories that resonate with people’s lives and empower them to have faith in the darkest moments.

I had to believe, I could only believe. I had to keep pushing to the finishing line.

Having the right reasons helped me to hold the vision; having great people around me helped to hold me up in the darkest moments. @isabellethye (Click to Tweet!)

It was never about me.


After writing a book about ‘owning your story’ and conducting a storytelling workshop, I realized that vulnerability is an important element in all stories that reach people’s heart.

It requires us to acknowledge our emotions and accept it as a part of who we are. It helps us to connect with each other.

There were times when I had bouts of doubt, it was real and it was me.

When I accepted myself, I mustered the courage to show up as the truest version of who I am. It is okay to reveal my un-coolness, insecurities and rough edges behind a shining goal.

Mountain of life

When the doubt and fear was so overwhelming that I was paralysed to move, I told myself, ‘just one step’. Just focus in one action at a time to move life forward.

Wherever we are, we are all climbing our own mountains and dealing with our uphill battle.

We have to believe in the reasons of our climb, to know that we are assigned this mountain to prove that it can be moved.

I hope you find strength to take one small step every day to move yours.

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. Her first book ‘The Art of Owning Your Story’ is available for pre-order. Download a chapter for free!



Image courtesy of Archie Binamira.