By Lisa Carmen Wang
Allow us to introduce Lisa Carmen Wang, a former USA national champion and Hall of Fame gymnast turned serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and international keynote speaker. Oh, and NBD: she’s also a recipient of the most badass awards, including Forbes “30 Under 30” and Entrepreneur’s “100 Powerful Women.”
We asked Lisa to contribute a guest post for the House of Wise Library because of her ability to encourage women with passion, articulation, and grit. Lisa is the host of The Confident Investor and Enoughness Podcast and blesses thousands of women with her newsletter, Passion, Purpose, Power.
Without further ado, here is what is arguably the most empowering read of the month by Lisa Carmen Wang.
“Does anyone else feel bad when they can’t do as much work when they’re on their period?”
Immediately every woman on our group chat reacted in unison.
In the past, I would have echoed a similar sentiment of guilt and shame, but now I know better. I told the group, “I used to, but don't at all anymore. Our periods are our body's way of flushing out the things we don't need anymore, which if you think about it, is pretty amazing! So now it's a process I honor, and I remind myself that taking care of me and my body comes first. If I do that, work and everything else will be better too. I am my most valuable asset.”
It took me years to come to that realization.
“I am my most valuable asset.”
Not my bank account, not my job title, not my social media accounts.
“I am my most valuable asset”
And that means my body, my space, my health, my energy come first.
“I am my most valuable asset.”
My opinion of myself is the one that matters most.
For many women, this concept of putting ourselves first is uncomfortable at best and non-existent at worst.
I have seen it in my own mother — a tireless woman who has completely forsaken her own needs for the benefit of her family.
Whenever I have asked her what she likes or what she wants, her only response has been, “I just want our family to be happy.”
It pains me to realize how many of her own dreams have not even had a chance to form. Like so many women, she was trained to believe that the greatest sources of love and happiness could only come from her service to others at the expense of herself, rather than through honoring herself.
This is not a rare phenomenon, and it’s certainly not unique to my mother. For prior generations of women, putting themselves first was never even a consideration. The status quo — the social, political, and economic systems — erased their ability to make decisions for themselves. Their value was judged not on their merits, but solely on their ability to marry and raise a family. Only in the last couple of decades have women even had the opportunity to consider alternative possibilities — namely, our own careers, our own goals, our own dreams — independent of others’ expectations.
Yet despite moves toward female empowerment, the echo of negative voices in our heads — “I am not good enough, I am unworthy of love, my needs are unimportant” — continues to implant itself as an insidious virus reverberating just as loudly today as it did back then.
These self-debasing beliefs manifest in behaviors like:
- Saying yes when we want to say no
- Overworking to the point of exhaustion
- Forsaking our own needs
- Not protecting our boundaries
- Seeking external validation
- Forgetting to listen to our bodies and intuition
- Overvaluing other people’s opinions over our own
- Doubting our own capabilities
The list goes on, but nearly every woman can relate to most if not all of these items.
The good news is that these beliefs, no matter how deeply rooted, do not have to be permanent. Genuine self-confidence, self-respect, and self-love — the foundations of valuing your most valuable asset — can be learned. And unlike other tangible assets, there is nothing but exponential upside.
Women often ask me, “What was the exact moment that you realized you were enough? What was the turning point?”
The tough answer is that there is no singular “turning point.” No one wakes up, snaps their fingers, and suddenly develops unwavering confidence overnight.
For most women, it’s not a specific moment, but a lifetime of small paper cuts that add up until they snap — whether through a mental breakdown or a health scare — and trigger an awakening.
“I can’t live like this anymore. I can’t keep living for everyone else.”
When this awakening happened for me, it took me five years of actively working through my feelings of unworthiness to get to a point where I not only mentally believed I was enough but was able to fully embody the powerful knowledge that
I am unequivocally my most valuable asset.
My body and my health come first.
I am worthy and full of love.
I deserve to be recognized for my worth.
I have the capability to realize all of my dreams.
Now that I'm on the other side, my hope is that more and more women will have this awakening earlier in their lives.
No matter where you are in your journey, here are the three habits I consistently practice in order to re-align myself with my intrinsic value.
1. Reflect on my core values and priorities
I always ask myself one key question in order to clarify my core values and priorities: “What do I (really) want?” This is one of the most fundamental life questions, and yet one that so few women take the time to ask themselves. Once you have your initial answer, ask yourself “Why do I think I want this?” Oftentimes what we immediately think we want isn’t actually what we want. Rather, it is what we’ve been trained by society to think we want — things that are artificial, external, fleeting. When I reflected on this question, I discovered that my deepest-held values revolved around creating impact through guiding and empowering others. But in order to do so, I needed to prioritize my own health and sanity so I could show up as my best self. By regularly reconnecting with what I want, I can set clear boundaries to say “yes” to what matters most to me and “no” to everything else.
2. Reconnect with powerful women vibrating at my frequency
There is nothing more invigorating than being around women who are vibrating at the same frequency as you. These are women who will hold you accountable to be your best self, the ones who won’t judge you when you're having a hard day, the ones who will say your name in a roomful of opportunities because your success is their success and visa-versa. The outdated idea that there is only room for one woman at the top is dead. Instead, women who collaborate have an immense capacity to lift each other up to create collective change. When you surround yourself with women who know their worth, you can’t help but reconnect with your own.
3. Realign and honor my natural feminine cycle
We have been brainwashed to adhere to a strict masculine standard that pushes us to hustle harder and do more to prove ourselves. As a result, we falsely believe this is what we have to do to prove our worth. That we must make more money, gain recognition, win approval, and validate ourselves — all at the expense of our own health. The loudest voices tell us that success is linear and we should avoid failure at all costs. These falsely entrenched beliefs leave too many women overworked, exhausted, and sick. We override our body’s intuition for external logic. We overvalue masculine progress over feminine cycles, forgetting that a woman’s body and intuition are the most powerful forces on earth. Our bodies can give birth, create life, and shed past selves. What’s more, every month, every cycle, our bodies remind us of this power.
I used to feel shame, disgust, and guilt when my period came each month, but now I only feel awe. Now I honor myself and my body and am reminded of just how grateful I am to be a woman.
“I am my most valuable asset.”