The Tao of Self-Confidence: An interview with inspiring Sheena Yap Chan

As the host of the award-winning podcast, a keynote speaker, consultant and the author of the newly released book "The Tao of Self-Confidence", Sheena Yap Chan dives deep into the challenges faced by Asian women and provides insights to help them overcome obstacles and thrive.

The Tao of Self-Confidence by Sheena Yap Chan

In a world where conversations about self-confidence often neglect the unique experiences of Asian women, Sheena Yap Chan, a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, has made it her mission to bring awareness and healing to this vital topic. In this interview, Sheena shares her motivation for starting the podcast, its success, and practical tips from her book that can empower individuals to embrace self-confidence.

The Tao of Self-Confidence talks about the traumas that stop us from moving forward, especially when it comes to Asian women. We’re not told to talk about what we go through or share our feelings. Mental health is such a taboo topic, just like in any other culture. That’s why it’s important to have these difficult conversations and bring awareness to the issues we face.

By doing so, we can find ways to heal and truly show up as our best selves. Sometimes, something is holding us back from moving forward, whether it’s something rooted in our childhood, experiences of sexual violence, PTSD, intergenerational trauma, or the negative stereotypes that Asian women often face.” Sheena passionately explains.

What was the motivation behind the podcast and your book? How did you come up with the idea for “The Tao of Self-Confidence“?

Sheena: “Everything started from my upbringing here in Toronto. When my parents migrated from the Philippines to Canada, I felt disconnected from my culture. Growing up, I rarely saw anyone who looked like me in the media, and I even contemplated changing my name; I wanted to assimilate into Western culture.

It wasn’t until my 20s that I decided to embrace being Asian and rediscover my confidence. In 2015, I struggled with self-confidence issues and realized a lack of resources catered to Asian women’s confidence. That’s when I started “The Tao of Self-Confidence” podcast to create representation and support. After interviewing over 700 Asian women from around the world, I felt the need to expand my platform and create more representation.

This led to the launch of the book “Asian Women Who Boss Up” in 2021, highlighting the inspiring stories of 18 Asian women who have overcome obstacles and forged their path. The positive response to the book encouraged me to write my own book, “The Tao of Self-Confidence,” which was a surprising journey I had never imagined undertaking.”

The Tao of Self-Confidence by Sheena Yap Chan

Your podcast has been downloaded over one million times. Why do you think it’s been so successful, and what have you gained from having meaningful conversations on the show?

Sheena: “I believe what mattered was that when I first started podcasting, there weren’t many Asian people podcasting at the time. There was probably just one guy doing it. And I thought, if he can do it, I can do it too. So I just went ahead and started.

Being able to interview women from different industries and diverse Asian backgrounds, and having them share their experiences on the podcast, has helped bring that representation to light. It’s all about consistency. I’ve been podcasting for almost eight years now. So it definitely wasn’t an overnight success. It’s because I consistently showed up and put myself out there.”

Can you share some practical tips from your book to help people feel more confident?

Sheena:Be okay with asking for help, have the courage to ask for it and support each other. As women, we often feel the pressure to be “superwomen “and do everything ourselves, leading to burnout, low self-confidence, and not feeling good enough. Learning to collaborate, give the things that we’re not good at to someone else, work together and have a community is important so we can eradicate the current problems that all women still face today. For the longest time, I was the same. I never wanted to ask for help because I didn’t want to look weak.

But asking for help is one of your greatest strengths. Another practical tip is to be proactive and make the first move. Rather than waiting for opportunities to come to us, we should have the courage to go out and create the opportunities we desire. Embracing mistakes and failure is also crucial. As women, we tend to be perfectionists and have everything right, but making mistakes is part of the learning process. And then you’d be surprised, like, how much you can achieve, right? Be always resourceful and think as you go. That’s what men do all the time.? You can create more results and action and eventually change the world.”

A filipino lady with a red dress and white jacket on her shoulders with a book in her hand.
The Tao of Self-Confidence: an interview with inspiring Sheena Yap Chan

How do you stay motivated and keep inspiring others, and what do you do to build your confidence and grow?

Sheena: “I have a support system. I can’t do everything myself. I’m tied to a community where I feel inspired when they take action. I read other people’s biographies, and I listen to other people’s interviews. For example, the movie “Everything Everywhere, All at Once” broke many barriers. And then seeing someone like Ke Huy Quan, who had one of the best comeback stories in America, continuously pumps me up. He’s an example that anything is possible if you go out there and do it.

Many cast members have been in the industry for four, five, or even seven decades before they received the recognition they deserved. Knowing that and seeing that it’s not always easy, that there will be pushback and slow progress, reminds me to trust the process and realize that anything is possible if you go out there and make it happen.”

What are your future goals or projects for empowering people and making positive changes in self-confidence?

Sheena: “I take it one step at a time. I figure things out along the way. Coming to The Collision conference was great to meet so many new faces and get to know their stories. Representation is always important to me, so I’m constantly finding ways to create better representation and elevate the voices of Asian women. Of course, I’m always working on different things to achieve that.”

What advice do you have for people who want to write books or start podcasts?

Sheena: “Just start. Start messy, don’t worry about it. It’s okay if it’s your first time and not perfect because it’s your first time. Sometimes we have these high expectations that everything has to be perfect from the beginning, but that’s not the case. People love to see how much you’ve evolved from episode one to episode 100, from your first chapter to your final draft.

So be okay with starting, starting messy, making mistakes, and failing forward. Determine what works and doesn’t work to achieve the desired result and make informed decisions. I delayed starting so many times because I was afraid of what other people might think of me. But most of the time, those people aren’t thinking about you; they’re thinking about themselves. And you can’t please everyone. So you have to go out there and do your thing. Just start and embrace the messiness.”

Sheena Yap Chan’s journey to empower Asian women and promote self-confidence is genuinely inspiring. She was recently listed in the top 15 on the 100 Most Influential Filipino Women on LinkedIn, created by Connected Women, ConnectedFilipinos and VB Consulting. “It is such an honor to be on this list with so many boss lady Filipinas,” says Sheena.

Her success and positive impact on her audience are a testament to the importance of representation and sharing unique stories. Sheena’s advice to start messy and embrace the process of growth and learning is a valuable reminder for anyone scared or hesitant to embark on their creative ambitions.

Maria Rostecka picture
Maria Rostecka

Author: Maria Rostecka, Content Specialist for The Onside Media, Canada. She is based in Toronto, Ontario. If you have any stories to share, please feel free to reach out:


SOURCEThe Tao of Self-Confidence by Sheena Yap Chan


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