Welcome to week three of our Career Adventures series where we are charting the joys & challenges, and many different directions our career adventures can take us.
This week we speak to Lesya Li, Founder of HavingTime.com. Thank you, Lesya, for sharing your career adventures with us this week!
Tell us about yourself
I am a founder and managing director at havingtime.com – a digitally native magazine and a worldwide movement rooted in impactful storytelling; trying to define what it means to live well in the everchanging world.
HavingTime creates a safe space for people to share their stories. When we are going through hardship, it can be hard to feel like we’re not alone. Our purpose is to share personal stories to counter this feeling of isolation and create a wonderful community of sharing and connectedness. Recently HavingTime was permanently featured on Apple News.
On top of this, I am a creative and strategic thinking Social Media, Marketing and Publicity Specialist, with 15+ years of experience across a wide range of financial services marketing and communication disciplines. I bring compelling insights and fresh thinking into acquiring new audiences while retaining existing ones. I am a natural opportunity spotter, storyteller and curious about people and the zeitgeist.
My passion is creating impactful content and building fan bases for brands that people admire, love, respect, talk about and share.
The experiences that I have gained thus far in my professional life have allowed me to get a holistic understanding of the working world. My positions, with the fast-paced, high-pressure companies, have enhanced my ability to multi-task, be detail-oriented and apply my writing and editing skills in a practical manner, while being flexible and capable of meeting deadlines on short notice.
I know how to motivate people with a deeply personal approach to every individual. I’m passionate about new ideas and startups that try to solve real tangible problems, and I would do virtually anything to help them succeed.
What are you working on now?
At the moment I am working on helping even more storytellers get their stories shared on havingtime.com faster –– a blog that is about better living; started ten years ago, now grown into a worldwide movement to define what it means to live wellin the ever-changing world (where happiness and wellness often times take a back seat).
What past projects spark joy for you when you look back at what you have worked on?
Can’t answer that fully because in recent years when I’ve been freelancing and signed NDAs on certain projects preventing me from talking about those projects (that excite me the most) 🙂 The most recent project I am passionate about involved raising awareness of what mass tourism does to our natural wonders and how all of us should protect what we love. i.e. the planet that we call home; worked on various environmental issues including spreading the word out about plogging, trying to involve more people into the movement.
I think of stories shared on havingtime.com in the past that also changed the way I look at things, the stories that would lift me up on a not so sunny-skipping-in-the-meadows day; I think about brave souls overcoming adversities, battered by life yet staying strong emerging transformed and wrapping hope as a precious gift generously sharing it with others through; what sparks joy in me is receiving letters from readers and hearing how this or that story has helped them through difficult moments; everyone is a story ready to be told.
love helping others by investing my most precious resource –– time and
How do you choose what to work on?
I’ve started to get better at saying NO to things. There’s a power to a POSITIVE no. It became easier for me over the last few years with the help of mentors like Tim Ferriss to whom I look up to quite a lot; who is responsible for many guidelines and rules that he shared and I happily applied over the years making my life even more joyful, less stressful, productive and fun.
What we really pay for all things is our most scarce resource – our time. Our energy.
Whenever I see a new project on a horizon or a few thousand of emails to respond to always in a ‘timely manner’ like others would expect you to; skim through all the offers, podcasts, and interview requests… I have to be absolutely honest with myself and so I ask this: Is it worth it of my time? How can I really move the needle and contribute best if I take part in this? Does it even make sense for me to participate? … and so if the answer is not a ‘Hell Yes’ then it’s a resounding ‘No’!
Could you tell us about how your career adventure started, about what experiences, challenges or opportunities you came across over the years that led you to choose your own adventure? Where has your career adventure taken you in the past leading you to where you are now?
At the beginning of career I’ve learned the importance of saying ‘YES’ to virtually everything, opening the doors to new opportunities, fearlessly trying new things, learning, expanding and building meaningful relationships, always finding opportunities to contribute and make at least one person smile or feel better at the end of each day; I worked in the tourism industry which involved lots of traveling, meeting new people from all sorts of backgrounds and learning to look at life from different perspectives; I worked in the Media, briefly worked in the Government and in the Corporate world, which was challenging and involved long hours and eating your lunch at the desk, weekends for catching up on sleep and… breathing. I was burning a candle from both ends and that’s when I jumped ships and joined the startup world where each day never looked like the one before and everything turned into a pick your own adventure game. And all these years along the way I’ve been running havigntime as a hobby that now turned into something incomprehensively BIG which changed my life in many incredible ways.
never had a path, I was always on an adventure living no stones unturned,
always following my curiosity, rather ephemeral passion. Curiosity is a fun
thing to follow, it defies fear. All the time.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career adventure similar to your own?
Instead of dwelling on your shortcomings, ALWAYS focus on your superpowers and follow your curiosity 🙂
Please, forget about following your passion; not everyone wakes up one day and suddenly knows what they want to do for the rest of their life; I say ––follow your CURIOSITY.
Dig deeper. Concentrate on your strong positives and expand on those. Always work on yourself, making yourself stronger mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually. Practice Kindness, Gratitude, and Mindfulness each and every single day.
Could you describe your day-to-day at “the office(s)”?
All days are unique and never feel or look the same which is the beauty of fulfilling your adventure no matter where it takes you.
That’s the beauty of working on projects you are curious about and being your own boss: not a single day looks like the day before.
I could be traveling and working from my laptop and enjoying the stunning views around me; I could be sipping my coffee from a local coffee shop whilst finalizing a new story for havingtime; I could be on a mountain hike, clearing my head and finding headspace for new ideas to come and dwell in the mind for the future projects. Or a could be in the office doing an interview or a podcast or any other piece of collaboration with amazing people that I meet on this journey all the time.
Where do you feel you work best and thrive the most?
I work best and thrive and contribute the most when I find myself surrounded by inspirational people I look up to and learn from.
What inspires and drives you everyday?
INTENTION. Knowing that something put me here on Earth at this day and age for a REASON.
What advice would you give to your younger self, knowing what you know now?
Have no fear. TRUST THE PROCESS.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about any of our career adventure stories. Come back soon to read more career adventures! Contact us here if you’d like to be featured here to share your own career adventures story.