Finding the Courage to Take the Road Less Traveled

Balancing your family’s plans for your life with your own dreams can be difficult, as children of immigrants are all too familiar with it.

Parents who relocate across the globe desire to provide a better life for their children than they had.

This is admirable—but it doesn’t always allow for the kind of risk that audacious aspirations entail.

Judy Joo began her career by following in her parents’ footsteps, working in finance for five years before making a career change: she was the first female Iron Chef to compete on Iron Chef U.K. and has served as a judge on a number of cooking shows, including Iron Chef America.

She has also founded many restaurants, including Seoul Bird in London, and hosted her own Food Network show, Korean Food Made Simple. She has also published two cookbooks and hosted her own Food Network show, Korean Food Made Simple.

Judy’s parents, who had relocated from Korea, thought it was a hazardous option for her to exchange finances for food.

Judy realized she had to take charge of her life, as much as she admired her parents.

She says, “I didn’t want to live my parents’ dream for me; I wanted to live my own dream.”

Judy talks to SUCCESS’s Madison Pieper about the things that motivate people to pursue their aspirations, navigating male-dominated sectors, and the necessity of role models who look like you in this episode of SUCCESS Stories.

Related: As I Opted To Win, Everything Improved In My Life.

Don’t Let Despair Get The Best Of You.

If pursuing your dreams was simple, everyone would do it. The truth is that doing something new is dangerous, and you will most likely make mistakes along the road.

Judy claims that finding a buyer for her debut show, Korean Food Made Simple, took years. It was finally picked up by Food Network, but only for two seasons. She felt like quitting up at times, but she learned to accept failure as an unavoidable part of pursuing her dream of becoming a chef.

Even as you emerge from the ruins of one setback, you must continue to hunt for the next chance. The ability to persevere in the face of one “no” after another distinguishes those who succeed from those who fail.

Judy responds, “Everyone falls down, everyone fails.” “It’s how you get up that will set you apart from everyone else.”

Related: How 3 ladies ‘Black Angels’ Are Bridging the Racist Shortfall

Be The Role Model You’ve Been Looking For.

There weren’t many Asian women on TV or in movies when Judy was a kid. She recalls seeing comedian Margaret Cho on TV and chef Anita Lo on the cover of Food & Wine for the first time.

When Judy spotted that magazine cover in line at the grocery store, she was already considering leaving finance for the cookery school. “I was like, ‘Wow, there’s an Asian female doing this,’ and I thought to myself, ‘Maybe I can do this,'” she adds.

Follow Your Passion

It’s easier said than done to hand in your resignation and go out and live your ambition. It’s natural to have reservations, especially since you won’t be the only one in your life who has an opinion on your choice.
Before you drop the news on your boss—or your parents—here are two things you should know:

Accept The Fact That You Cannot Live Your Life For The Sake Of Others.

Perhaps the reason you’ve been putting off chasing your aspirations has less to do with your personal worries and more to do with the reactions of others you care about.

It’s fine if you ended up in your current position as a result of someone else’s goals for you. It’s not always a bad thing to listen to your parents. However, you only have one life.

If you don’t feel fulfilled on your current route, you must select who you want to live for. Do you want to do what you’ve always done and never find out what your life may be like if you went after your dreams? Or are you willing to risk disappointing some individuals in your life by following a different path?

Related: How to Overcome Failure and Attain a Dream That Seems Unattainable

Being a Woman in a Historically Male-Dominated Field

Men control professional kitchens, much as they do in banking firms. In particular, white men. In 2019, women made up less than 25% of chefs and head cooks in the United States, with 43.7 percent being white and 16.5 percent being Asian.

Judy has had to deal with being the only woman—and the only woman of color—in the room in both finance and food. Here’s what she has to say:

Don’t Be Pushed About By Others.

Employers still impose demands on women that they do not make on men. “They’re constantly testing the system with us,” Judy says. She claims that you learn to recognize when someone is pushing you past your limits and to push back when they do so.

Negotiate As If You’re a Man.

Women are more hesitant than men to pursue the career advancement they deserve. They don’t want to be perceived as demanding or difficult, therefore they believe they must meet specific criteria before requesting more money or a promotion.

Men, on the other hand, are less likely to prioritize their boss’s comfort over their own desires. They are more concerned with what they believe they are entitled to than with proving themselves. Judy would want to see more women adopt this attitude.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For What You Need.

Children, she asserts, need to see people who look like them and come from similar backgrounds accomplishing great things. It demonstrates to them that they, too, are capable. “It’s an essential place to be since there are so few Korean and Asian girls in the public spotlight,” she says.

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