Out of the Fog

Karen Goh didn’t know she was adopted until she was ten years old. After being asked countless of times why she looked so different, she asked her mother if she was “born” from her. 

“I didn’t know the word for adoption at the time,” Karen says while explaining this pivotal moment in her life. 

Karen always had a talent for music, but her tenth year was also the year she started composing her own. She was classically trained and currently has an upcoming album, ten years in the making, which was inspired by her birth mother and touches on themes of adoption and mental health related to her own adoption experience. “I’m excited to share my story through music because it’s a lot better than me talking,” she laughs.

Karen is a fully trained and experienced performer, composer, arranger, and producer of music. She is an avid advocate of mental health, foster care, and adoption-related issues. Listen to this episode for phenomenal insights into mental health, adoption, identity, and making it in the music industry.

Episode Highlights:

  • On relationships: Learn your partner

  • On telling them they’re adopted: The earlier the better. Embrace it

  • On leading: Inspire others to become leaders


Episode Notes:

  • Was I adopted? [1:00]

  • Pursuing music [8:00]

  • Mental health [12:00]

  • Trust [16:00]

  • Repair [20:00]

  • Adoptive parents [25:00]

  • My file [31:00]

  • Music and mentors [33:00 ]

  • Purpose and passion [44:00]


Want to Connect with Karen?

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Blues from Vietnam

Lara came to us by way of Operation Babylift, a mass evacuation of orphans from South Vietnam to the United States as well as other countries. She is now a professional musician living in Austin, TX as a Blues stage performer and recording artist. 

Her musical talent was inspired by influences such as her father, who gave her her very first music lesson, and dance classes which contributed to her burgeoning talent at a young age. “Watching people play music when I can’t is a little like watching someone eat while I’m hungry,” she says while talking about a time when she had to rely on a day job to supplement her living expenses when starting her musical career.

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Lara exemplifies a glass-half-full outlook on life and illustrates this through her thoughts on spirituality, productive routines, and constant self-awareness that allows her to consciously make healthy choices. She emphasises the importance of surrounding yourself with good people who will push you to meet them at their level, and knowing that regardless of who you know, or how much innate talent you may have, the bottom line of your success and happiness in life will always and forever come down to discipline and hard work.

Episode Highlights:

  • On creativity: It’s an outlet often observed in orphans

  • On making it in music: It’s all about hard work, not who you know

  • On energy: Consciously make healthy choices

  • On self-awareness: Question yourself


Episode Notes:

  • Operation Babylift [1:30]

  • The power of Facebook [4:30]

  • The power of music [8:00]

  • Day jobs [13:00]

  • So you want to go into the music business? [15:00]

  • Pushing through the struggle [17:00]

  • Parents [22:00]

  • Wait, what am I? [26:00]

  • Facing stereotypes [28:30]

  • Love = abandonment [24:30]

  • Calling them “Mom” & “Dad” [37:00]

  • Leadership [42:00]

  • Support the music [49:00]


Want to Connect with Lara?

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Commit to Your Dreams

Lisa believes that the ability to take control of your life all boils down to self-awareness. Through self-awareness you discover what makes you happy, drained, fired up, and motivated which in turn all help you decide how to proceed in life in the most strategic, productive way for your individual self.

Lisa herself is living proof of this. Gaining inspiration and training from her best friends and other life coaches after a difficult downward spiral in her own life, she was able to fully commit to what she discovered she wanted to be: a life coach. “Once I became clear on what I wanted and what my purpose was, I didn’t have any doubts.”

overcoming odds

Lisa and her brother Joe were adopted by a mother who wanted a sister for her daughter, and wound up bringing not only Lisa home, but her brother Joe as well so that the siblings wouldn’t be separated. When asked about her birth mother, Lisa says, “I don’t think she wanted to give us up, but looking back I think it was the best decision.” Lisa has an endless appreciation for people, their stories, and helping them achieve their goals in life.

Episode Highlights:

  • On giving: Do so purely, expect nothing back

  • On leading: Use your heart, not your ego

  • On commitment: You must learn to persevere


Episode Notes:

  • Life coaching [1:30]

  • Advice [5:30]

  • Adoption history [8:00]

  • A sister for Lilly [9:45]

  • Fast forward to now [13:30]

  • Through a lense of energy [15:00]

  • Do it for the right reasons [17:00]

  • A great leader… [19:00]

  • What fuels your passion? [24:00]

  • Daily routine [25:30]

  • Things to be excited for [28:00]

  • Being alone [31:00]

  • Final takeaways [33:00]


Want to Connect with Lisa?

Twitter | Facebook | Website

Learning from the Good and the Bad

Joe Galindo is a culinary entrepreneur based in Austin, Texas where he and his wife own and manage, RedBookChef. Their venture was inspired by his wife’s little red notebook in which she would take notes while watching cooking programs as a young girl. In this episode, Joe tells us the story of how he went from foster care and a lucky adoption, to where he is today.

overcoming odds

At the age of five years old, Joe was found by Child Protective Services and entered foster care in Fort Worth, where he was later adopted by a loving family who instilled within him a life-long work ethic, which has made him into the entrepreneur that he is today. Ever since childhood, Joe maintained a strong positive outlook on life and always believed that things would be okay, even when they seemed to be at their darkest.

Joe worked in a myriad of roles within the food service industry, including one at Walt Disney World, where he continued to develop his entrepreneurial spirit, and honed his skills as a businessman in the world of food service.

Episode Highlights:

  • On Success: Never stop educating yourself

  • On Positivity: Count your Blessings and Enjoy Small Moments

  • On Investing in Yourself: Think Big

  • On Pressure: Use it to Make Yourself Better


Episode Notes:

  • Friends of Peter [1:00]

  • Red Book Chef [5:00]

  • Family history [11:00]

  • Birth parents [16:00]

  • Past and future [19:00]

  • Blessings [21:00]

  • Maintaining optimism [24:00]

  • Trust [30:00]

  • Telling your story [33:30]

  • A no-brainer startup [40:00]

  • Final thoughts [48:00]


Want to Connect with Joe?

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Redefining Manhood

Joshua Banks doesn’t believe there is any such thing as a selfless act. But, he does believe we can all be our most authentic selves while benefiting the people around us. According to him, we all have the potential to be self-centered, yet still be a positive influence on our communities.

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Joshua earned many commendations during his years in law enforcement, where he learned much about the nature of people at their worst, as well as at their best. He also spent many years ministering, helping his community connect to God in ways that helped them find themselves as individuals. Joshua’s journey has led him to a place where he has devoted his life to building others up, teaching vulnerability, communication, and togetherness in a world that has become as disconnected in some ways as it has become connected to others.

Today, Joshua spends his time communicating his mission of helping people become their best selves through speaking engagements such as the Mastering Manhood Conference, and his books, Jesus Others You: The Self-Centered Gospel, and The Doctrine of Synchronization, which explores and emphasize the importance of being centered, and self-centered, as an individual in order to grow while leaving a positive legacy.

Episode Highlights:

  • On being a better you: Be self-centered in the right ways

  • On creating: You’re always doing it

  • On finding your Why: What angers you? What excites you?

  • On manhood: Commit yourself to the journey. It’s not a destination

  • On leadership: It’s about humility


Episode Notes:

  • Joshua’s book - all about finding your identity to be more centered. To recognize that you have what you need inside of you to give to others instead of taking from others [2:15]

  • Church [3:30]

  • Being “Self-Centered” [4:30]

  • Addiction [6:30]

  • Know Yourself [8:15]

  • Oleg’s Experience with Religion [9:30]

  • Confusing Religion [10:30]

  • Nontraditional Christian [12:00]

  • Creating Irresponsibly [13:30]

  • Be Fruitful and Multiply [16:00]

  • What is Dominion [16:45]

  • Are You a Giver or a Taker? [20:00]

  • Law Enforcement Experience [20:45]

  • Public Service [21:30]

  • Legacy [23:30]

  • Nothing You Do is Selfless [27:30]

  • Joshua’s Why [30:15]

  • Mastering Manhood [35:30]

  • "It’s a journey, not a destination" [39:30]

  • "Everybody cries in jail" [42:00]

  • "What is a great leader?" [43:30]

  • Being Vulnerable [47:30]

  • “Something Else Deep” [54:00]

  • Mentorship [58:30]

  • Final Thoughts [59:30]


Want to Connect with Joshua?

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Your Past Doesn’t Define Your Future

Kira Omans is an Asian-American actor, model, dancer, and adoptee advocate. She was adopted by a Caucasian family living in Washington DC and grew up with an adopted brother from Korea, as well as a sister.

She struggled to adjust to how different she felt at school as her family had always celebrated their diversity. But, at school, these differences weren’t celebrated. They were highlighted in negative ways and she was forced to learn the harsh realities of racism and micro-aggressions, especially later in her career as a professional actress.

Kira Omans_Overcoming Odds

Today, Kira is a strong and influential advocate of adoptees and of learning from the breadth of unique experiences we all have to share and learn from. She gains inspiration from surrounding herself with people who are motivated, talented, strong, and driven.

“I truly believe that when you connect with people, you enrich their lives as well as yours,” she says when thinking about all of the relationships she has had the opportunity to form.

But, at the end of it all, when the world seems like it’s against you, Kira knows that she has to rely on what’s inside, on what drives her passion and what she wants to accomplish, not only for her, but for her community as well.

“Know that your story is unique to you, no one else has that exact story.” If we can all remember those words, then we all have the potential to realize that our differences truly do make us and our stories worth sharing.

 

Episode highlights:

  • On differences: They are your strengths

  • On accomplishments: They aren’t worth having if you can’t share them with others

  • On purpose: Think of how you’ve come and how far you want to go

  • On challenges: You get to decide how you react


Selected Episode Notes:

  • Miss Asian American Pageant (2:00)

  • “How much you put in is how much you get out” (4:00)

  • Adopted from China at 10 months old (7:30)

  • Racism (9:00)

  • Differences are your strengths (9:30)

  • Your past does not define your future (12:30)

  • Casting director (13:30)

  • The importance of community (14:00)

  • My purpose (16:00)

  • Building connections (17:30)

  • What do you want to be remembered for? (20:00)

  • Being present (22:30)

  • My network (24:00)

  • Staying humble (26:00)

  • Maintaining confidence (28:00)

  • Your story is important (31:00)

  • My perception of adoption (33:00)

  • Final thoughts (34:00)


Want to Connect with Kira?

Website | Instagram

Strength From Dismay

Kevin Kreider spent much of his upbringing being made painfully aware of how different he was as a Korean adoptee.

The pain imposed on him by peers and the media for looking different, and the insecurity that followed motivated Kevin to begin working out. He eventually managed to start both modeling and acting careers, but was again set back. This time it was by Alopecia Areata, causing him to go bald.

Being an Asian male in modeling or acting was especially challenging, but going bald made it next to impossible for Kevin to continue on his current trajectory. He decided to quit everything and embark on a soul-searching mission in the form of a cross-country skateboard trip from Los Angeles to New York City.

After his trip, Kevin had to decide what to do next.

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Kevin had to start from scratch and decide what was really important to him. He returned to his previous fitness career as a coach, but this time it wasn’t about, “Making it as an Asian model or actor.” It was now about helping others find the same feelings of confidence he did when he decided to become fit and healthy.

Kevin doesn’t believe one should face all of the life’s challenges alone. People need a group of family, friends, and like-minded people to inspire them and help them when they’re down. At the end of the day, there is always someone else out there who knows how you feel.

Episode highlights:

  • On insecurity: There is always someone else who can relate to your pain.

  • On independence: We all need help. Don’t feel like you have to do it alone.

  • On mentors: Choose the ones that truly walk the walk.

  • On motivation: Find a purpose and the rest will follow.


Episode Notes:

  • Tip: Have someone with you on your journey (9:30)

  • Hard being an Asian male model, impossible as a bald one (10:00)

  • Freedom of having nothing, being able to create anything from scratch (11:00)

  • Don’t try to fit into someone else’s box (13:00)

  • Put acting aside to help other people look and feel better, build their self-esteem and confidence (14:30)

  • Have the right Why (17:30)

  • Dealing w denial (20:00)

  • Desire to be masculine (24:00)

  • “Not everyone is fortunate enough to have enough pain to jump themselves into having a why” (26:00)

  • Adopted at three years old (27:00)

  • Became self-conscious through the media for being Asian in a predominantly white culture (28:00)

  • “I am no good by myself” (34:00)

  • “I didn’t know what self-love was until I started doing that” (36:00)

  • Strategies for taking control of your day (40:00)

  • The importance of not settling (48:00)

  • Start by saying yes to yourself (50:00)


Want to connect with Kevin?

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter

Discovering Identity, Developing Strengths, and Maximizing Potential

Host and Overcoming Odds President, Oleg Lougheed has a heart-to-heart with the most connected man in America, top business strategist and former director at Dell Computer Corporation: Peter Strople. The two talk about loss, love, relationships, and how Peter came to define those things through struggle and success.

We talk about his experience growing up as an orphan in addition to how he started his networking meetup, Friends of Peter, where young professionals, as well as seasoned veterans, share not only the business side of life, but the personal struggles they have experienced and what they have learned or hope to become through those roadblocks.

Peter doesn’t believe success is at all predicated on money or power necessarily, but relationships and who you spend your time with. Being in a position where you have relationships with people you genuinely want to help and who want to help you is the basis of happiness and leading a fulfilling life.

According to Peter, too many people try to live beyond who they are. People should admit who they are and the mistakes they have made and through that self-recognition, they will find themselves on a more honest and meaningful path.

Episode highlights:

  • On relationships: Dig Deeper.

  • On family: People to whom you can genuinely say, ‘I love you.’

  • On insecurity: Recognize the mistakes you have made and grow from there.

  • On adoption: The definition of love.

Please enjoy this extraordinary conversation with Peter Strople!