Su Pheng Lim
Su Pheng Lim is a Learning and Development Professional, Founder and Director of Savvy Little Minds, and the Author of children’s books.
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
I was a shy yet ambitious girl, a quiet extrovert. I had a strong sense of social justice from a very young age and if I saw something that looked wrong, I would try to fix it. I am wired to solve complex problems and look up to people who made positive changes in society, such as Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Bill Gates, and Mother Teresa to name a few. My goals are to pursue humanitarian work, be a global educator, writer and renowned speaker.
Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.
There were many turning points, but what they all had in common was that they were gentle nudges to follow the desires in my heart and to stay true to myself. For example, I was working for one of the big four financial institutions when I graduated and first entered the workforce. I could see a career path mapped out in the corporate office if I stayed long enough to be seen by the right people or worked hard enough to try and prove myself. But something inside me felt that I was made for more, made for a job that didn’t have a job description yet, a role that was in the future and filled a gap that only I could fill. I’ve always aspired to live a life that was different from the majority because I wanted to build a meaningful and abundant life, which was different from what I experienced growing up.
Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea or motivation that made you start your business /initiative? What motivated you within to say “YES, go for it!”
It relates to those turning points, but when I was working in the private or government sectors, the work didn’t fully align to my values and I always felt that I could do something more meaningful. When your sense of “flow” disappears, it’s time to reevaluate your life choices and make changes that bring you more aligned to your goals, values and the life that you want to create. More specifically, what motivated me to start my business, which is a kids coaching company, I went through the same system as most people growing up, I went to school, university, work, and I learned how to be a good consumer but never tapped into my creative potential to be a conscious consumer and active creator in an area that I am passionate about. Naturally, because I’m wired to solve complex problems, I could see the heavy burden placed on teachers and the education system to cater to the social, emotional, intellectual and physical needs of children. So being an entrepreneur in this space allows me to create and write the narrative of my own brand that is aligned to my values and making a positive impact in society.
Everyone has their own set of challenges when starting an entrepreneurial journey. Still, the most essential part for others to learn is how you deal with those. Would you like to share with us your challenges and your coping mechanisms?
I have to deal with these challenges daily. I have had a lot of setbacks, mindset challenges and discouragements to overcome over the years. I think turning those setbacks and challenges into motivation and resilient thinking patterns has helped to keep me grounded. I experienced mindset challenges such as imposter syndrome, excessive worrying and anxiety, and insecurity that clouds your judgment. But I have also experienced relational challenges such as emotional and psychological trauma, and coped by seeking appropriate professional support, implementing mindfulness strategies and taking time to confront and change the emotional blockages that were holding me back from the life that I wanted to create.
While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?
On a personal level, the pandemic enabled me to focus on my inner health and remove the mental and emotional barriers preventing me from reaching my fullest potential. On a professional level, I was fortunate to continue building my career in the Learning and Development space for various non-government and government departments. The pandemic was a turning point for me to see the potential of remote working and making a difference online. I was able to run a successful online tutoring business during the pandemic and that gave me a taste of the entrepreneurial freedoms of setting my own hours, pay-rate, clients, and more.
Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?
I wrote and published a children’ book during the pandemic called Archiesaurus, which led to the inception of my business Savvy Little Minds. One thing led to another and I took one step at a time to get to where I am today. There is still lots more work to do.
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?
I would like to see more schools built in countries that lack safe educational facilities and resources for kids to learn and thrive. I would like to see more teachers trained and coached to improve the skill gap in schools and ensure children receive the best quality care and education. I would like to see educational leaders step up and fight for laws to change to benefit kids from low socioeconomic and disadvantaged communities. I would like to see more kids being coached to their fullest potential and reducing educational inequality across the world.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?
In my personal and professional life, I’ve learned that you don’t have to be a product of your environment, you are a product of your choices. So go create the life you want!
Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women’s leadership today?
YES, women are essential in leadership, from women, all humans are born into this world. One woman can change the course of history by giving birth to one child. Imagine what women could do collectively in leadership. Women bring a lense that is needed in decision making roles, they must have a voice at the top and they must run alongside strong male leaders, fighting alongside each other, not fighting each other. Two are better than one!
With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?
You are good and there is a seat at the table for you. Your leadership is paving a way for someone else after you. Your example is an inspiration to someone watching you. Your presence is felt when you enter the room. Be you, be bold and be kind. I’m cheering for you.