Dr. Grace Lee
Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
I am a career mentor & educator, neuroscience expert and speaker helping career-driven professionals joyfully earn more, be more, and experience greatness—an ultimate level of success and reward in their work and life. Given my personal experience where I found that my academic and educational training weren’t nearly sufficient to help me overcome my challenges let alone achieve the greatness I was destined for, I am on a mission to redefine modern education, teaching men and women how to unlock true vocational confidence and master their professional destinies. My approach uses brain-based coaching for career and life integration.
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
I became a member two days ago as of this writing. My favorite success story is the one of David and Goliath. It is a story of courage, faith, and overcoming the impossible. The story was set during the time when the nation of Israel was called to war with the Philistine army, standing on opposite sides of a deep valley. A great Philistine 9-foot tall giant named Goliath came to the front of the Philistine battle line each day. King Saul and the opposing Israelite army were scared.
David was a young shepherd boy sent by his dad to bring back battle news from his brothers who were members of the Israelite army. When he heard Goliath mocking Israel and their God, he volunteered to fight Goliath without wearing any of King Saul's armor.
King Saul said to David, “You can’t fight Goliath, you’re only a boy and he has been fighting for many years.” But David said to Saul, “I have had to fight lions and bears to protect my father’s sheep. God helped keep me safe then and he will help keep me safe now.”
He went to war with his sling and 5 smooth stones. Even though Goliath had a sword and spear, David sank one of the rocks into the giant's forehead and he fell. David then picked up Goliath's sword and used it to cut off his head. It was an extremely unlikely win.
This story carries with it some timelessly applicable lessons on faith, belief, and perspective as the lifeblood of honoring your true purpose. It also shows that we are capable of more than we believe, more than others perceive, and more than we may ever know.
How would you define your professional mission?
My mission is to change the lives of career-focused professionals through world-class training and insightful coaching that inspires mastery in all areas of life.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
I can think of a number of qualities that contributes to success in my line of work. For the purpose of this article, I will talk about the top three:
1. Visionary. This is the ability to envision with crystal clarity the improved future that my life's work will make possible. It's not enough just to create the vision. I have to convey the vision to my team members every day so that everyone is working towards a common goal. I must believe deeply in my vision and be clear on my reason for being.
2. Extreme ownership. This means taking complete responsibility for my part in all situations, events, and circumstances. There's no one and nothing to blame. When something goes wrong, it's my fault. When there's a roadblock, I had a part in its appearance. When I didn't get the outcome I wanted, it's because I hadn't yet become the person I needed to become to do what I needed.
3. Constant improvement. This means that I am always working on being the absolute best version of myself. Improving my knowledge base, my skills, my communication, my leadership, my management, and the list goes on. I never stop finding ways to improve myself and the way I do things in my life's work.
We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?
Mine is what I call a “David and Goliath” story. I spent most of my childhood as an orphan with no support, no place to call home. It wasn’t until I finally let go of my previous self-image as someone totally unworthy of love that I was intellectually capable of thinking about the future. And I wouldn’t have been able to do that if it weren’t for the amazing couple who adopted me. Two years later, I learned to begin to trust their love and the care they offered, and developed a deep burning desire for a better future. One where I would have my own home, be independent, and give back to these wonderful people who gave me a second chance.
The only way I knew how to achieve that vision was act in accordance with what I’ve been told: go to school, get good grades, then get a safe and secure job. I didn’t have any financial support, so I had to get resourceful to find a way to fund myself to my dreams. You know how they say that usually when people are in a ‘do or die’ situation, they tend to succeed? That was my own experience. When you’ve escaped the worst pain and trauma in your life, you don’t want to go back. I had to learn to survive first, and then I learned to thrive. Sustained thriving requires forward thinking. And as I got older, I added more and more experiences to my years which gave me better frameworks upon which I planned for my future.
I was accepted to the university of my choice on a scholarship that paid for my tuition and afforded room and board with the dollars I saved from waitressing tips. I had tapped into my potential and earned what I told myself was my "ticket to freedom".
Eventually, I earned my way up the academic ladder to earn a PhD. Throughout my 9 years in academia, I felt that there was something missing from the education system, but I didn't have the words to describe it back then. Now, I became fully aware that the academic culture and its traditional measures of productivity impose values that often don't align with the values of many soon-to-be graduates.
Now I have a vernacular to describe it: The education system is designed to give you the historical and technical knowledge focused around an offering of subjects, but it does not teach you how to make sense of the knowledge you've collected, how to organize it, how to apply it, and turn it into invaluable wisdom that puts money in the bank. In other words, it does not teach you the career development education you need.
During my PhD, I was committed to carrying out my personal mission to help my peers break through limitations that were holding them back from creating or pursuing opportunities outside the academic pillars. This was when I discovered my calling as a career mentor and educator. I started by running seminars and workshops in the classroom for graduate students on topics related to career development. This was my first foray into public speaking, personal development leadership, and advocacy. And it's what set the foundation for where I am today.
What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?
For me, my life's work is much more than my business. I have created a global movement that I called Career Revisionist. It's a movement of individuals from all walks of life who are creating an inspired, purposeful, and abundant life. My mission as I mentioned is to change lives. If I change one life, I also change a family. When one family changes, so does a neighborhood. When one neighborhood changes, it affects a city. A changed city impacts a state. When a whole city changes, that changes a country. You change a country, you can change the world.
It all starts with one individual. That's my legacy. Ultimately, I envision 1,000,000 lives changed through this global movement.
What would you say your personal superpower is?
Real conversation. Let me explain. I can get to the root of the problem - through the symptoms, or the things that people say are their problems but they're really just the symptoms. It's a diagnostic skill, but it involves having a conversation that poses insightful questions that educe the deepest voids and potential. These real conversations are quite rare, because it's hard to find people, places, or groups that are built to hold the right space for real, raw emotions. It takes self-awareness. It takes courage. It takes resolve. But with this superpower....you are just one conversation away from a radical shift in your career and your life.
What does success look like to you?
Success means that I am living out every day of my life consistent with my highest values of changing lives, having global influence, and fair exchange of value in the world. It means client success. It means having prosperity beyond the standard of abundance.
Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
No, because work-life balance doesn't exist. It's an illusion that creates a delusion, which is why it eludes people when they strive for it. Let me illustrate.
For example, the ambitious woman who has a successful corporate career, 3 kids and a household to run, she will feel the pressure of being available around the clock both at home and in the office. There is no possible tactic that can create balance; you cannot achieve a balanced work-life because anything can happen when you have 3 kids and a corporate career you've spent years building.
Even if it feels balanced one day or one week, it won't feel balanced the next. And then you spend so much time in the 're-balancing' of something that never felt truly balanced in the first place.
Don't strive for work-life balance, because it will elude you. Instead, strive for integration. This is one of the pillars of what I help women with, and it stands the test of time.
What advice would you offer future leading ladies wishing to break into your industry?
Get really clear on your truest reasons for wishing to break into this industry. This is important for personal and professional alignment, your long-term fulfillment, and creating a connection with your audience.
Then seek the best mentors or consultants you can find who have the success that you want in this industry. Invest in working with them so that you can receive valuable feedback, coaching, and the insights on how to mirror what works.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Brain-Based Coaching for Career & Life Integration. Neuroscience Expert
Mastery Insights Inc.
Dr. Grace Lee, neuroscience expert and CEO of career coaching firm Mastery Insights, helps professionals joyfully maximize their impact and potential through brain-based coaching that integrates career and life. She provides career training to small-to-medium sized companies, business-focused organizations, and universities. She discusses fulfillment, meaningful purpose and other career topics on her Career Revisionist Podcast and YouTube Channel. Continue Reading
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