Mike Li on LinkedIn: On this day every year, I’m reminded of my roots. I joined the Air Force… | 14 comments (2024)

Mike Li

I handle all things relating to finances for 7-8 figure net-worth business owners and corporate leaders | Bridging ASEAN Startups into China

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On this day every year, I’m reminded of my roots.I joined the Air Force at 19 because I had no direction in life.Over the years, I didn’t find myself overly passionate about what I do…I always joke and tell friends - how do you feel passionate about flying a drone from the ground, just clicking your console buttons?Add on the long hours on station just waiting for something to happen on the ground we are focusing on through the camera on the drone.But I always gave my absolute best at work because I’m always reminded of my mission and my role in a well-oiled system.And in the years since I’ve left, I’ve started to appreciate how a well-oiled system has kept our armed forces at a tip top level with high discipline, confident to be called upon any moment.This is only possible with the people.And we should celebrate the men and women in uniform who give their best everyday.Happy SAF Day!

  • Mike Li on LinkedIn: On this day every year, I’m reminded of my roots.I joined the Air Force… | 14 comments (2)

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Alvin Huang

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I feel that this is a critical lesson not just for those in uniform but for anyone in any field. Often, the significance of our work isn't about the immediate task—it’s about how these tasks accumulate into a larger picture, how they keep the gears of a bigger machine smoothly running.

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Bryce Sanders

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You are proud of your chosen profession and your role of service.

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Dennis T.

Volunteer Manager @ SATA COMMHEALTH | Leading Volunteer Engagement Initiatives

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Keep going! Glad that you found your passion now !! 😀

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Jacqueline Ng

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Committed personnel like you is an asset to the SAF to bring peace to the country, well done Mike Li

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Joseph Irving D'aranjo

| Commercial and Business Development | Sustainability Advocate | Interior Designing | Hospitality | Project Management |

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One of your major milestones Mike Li 👏👏

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Raymond Lim 林青山

Keynote Speaker to >20K Aspirants | Organisational Leadership Transformation | 22+ Years in Business Growth Coaching

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Amazing progress! Thanks for sharing.

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  • Mike Li

    I handle all things relating to finances for 7-8 figure net-worth business owners and corporate leaders | Bridging ASEAN Startups into China

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    This was me at the depth of my struggles this year.I believe it was post-natal depression. For me.Beneath the makeup for my photoshoot, were eye bags and tiredness hidden.When my newborn daughter was experiencing a combination of colic and sleep regression in April and May, I was at my lowest.She would wake up at 2am everyday. My wife would breastfeed her in the hope that she would fall back asleep, but she would be wide awake 9 out of 10 times.The only way was for me to put her into the stroller and walk around the estate (at 3-4am) for at least an hour to tire her out and put her back to sleep.That, together with frequent night terrors with my older child, rendered me with little and poor quality sleep.As a result, I started feeling easily irritable and would have thoughts of violent behaviour (which I thankfully never acted out) during times of frustrations.Yet in the midst of these outbursts, I knew something was not right within me, which I guess was the main reason I didn't act out.It was the first time I felt totally out of control, yet having some form of control at the same time.Even in my toughest and lowest of days building my practice a few years back, I wouldn't classify myself as being depressed. Yet, this was the very first time I felt this way.I decided to do more research by looking up on "post-natal depression in men" and realised that it was more common than I thought: 1 in 10 men suffer from post-natal depression.While the cause for women are usually hormonal changes, the main cause for men was lack of sleep.Since the realisation, my wife and I engaged a sleep trainer to help with teaching the kids better sleeping habits.I took a break from creating any forms of content and cut down on consuming content to focus on what really mattered to me - rest.It is still tiring but we are slowly claiming back our sleep and routines.But what I was most thankful for was the close group of friends I keep that I can speak with.April and May were also my best months of the year in business in 2024, so I am thankful that clients trust me beyond the "depressive" state.If you have friends who are parents to newborns (<6 months old especially), give them a pat to the back and some encouraging words. I'm glad I have those along the way.

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  • Mike Li

    I handle all things relating to finances for 7-8 figure net-worth business owners and corporate leaders | Bridging ASEAN Startups into China

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    After spending 9 years in the Air Force, I’d given enough…I’d given the best years of my youth to the military. Almost the entire of my 20s were spent in uniform, going to the same workplace.It was probably the most mundane time of my life, however it was anything but.I connected with Brandon Lee a few weeks ago, an ex-serviceman like me and invited me on his podcast, “Purple Light”.Brandon started the podcast to shed light on the experiences of other ex-servicemen (and women) and their career transition stories.The underlying idea is to help our colleagues in uniform make better transitions.Looking back, it has been 7 years since I left the Air Force and I haven’t shared as much about my journey as I did compared to the initial years after leaving.Brandon asked some deep and personal questions in the podcast and in a nutshell, I shared the following:❤️ Why making the transition for your passion is the worst advice for me💰 How being only financially prepared for my transition caused self-doubt😳 My most embarrassing mistake in my career in the Air Force (haven’t shared it this publicly before)⭐ And a few more interesting stories… I told him after the recording how speaking about it was a cathartic release.So yes… after 9 years in the Air Force, I felt I'd given all I could to develop myself and many other young juniors, and it was time for me to explore something for myself.I’m glad I stumbled through countless challenges to be the better person I am today.I can only be who I am today because of my 9 years in the Air Force. I am grateful.PS. When I first received the questions from Brandon, the question that stood out to me was “What are we drinking?” So I had to use my connections to get him the only local brew (ever since Tiger Beer got acquired). This beer - 1965 Brewing Company - is a tribute to Singapore and is exclusive to selected events in Singapore only. Special thanks to Kamal Mahtani for linking me up!Link to podcast in the comments.

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  • Mike Li

    I handle all things relating to finances for 7-8 figure net-worth business owners and corporate leaders | Bridging ASEAN Startups into China

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    At the start of every year, I do a simple exercise for myself to decide what my core theme I am going to shape my actions and belief around for the year.I do this quietly in my mind and I hardly tell anyone, mainly because I know at the end of the day, I am most accountable to myself.These had been my theme for the past few years:🗓 2021: Focus on growing the person I become rather than the awards I achieve🗓 2022: Believe that I am the person I aim to be, and I will align my thoughts and actions towards that.🗓 2023: Believing is seeing - believe in the outcomes I want first, and I will achieve itThis year, I went back to something very fundamental.🗓 2024: Do the things I say I will doAs I do this more often, I start to discover more about myself.I keep my words when it involves others. But I cut myself the most slack and give excuses when it comes to myself.To ensure I keep to this theme, I've set up more systems in my life to ensure I can keep to my theme.🥗 HealthBiggest struggle: Straying off my dietSystem: Helper separately cooks my healthy meals that I can eat everyday without feeling sick of itHow long it has been: 3 months👨👩👧👦 FamilyBiggest struggle: Not being present because of social media scrollingSystem: Deleted social media apps off my phone and only get my dose at night on my computer after the kids sleepHow long it has been: 5 months📃 BusinessBiggest struggle: Advisory process was too technical leading to inconsistent resultsSystem: Revamped advisory process with the help of a coachHow long it has been: 3 monthsWhile it seems like I've got it all sorted out, I still have challenges especially with health (lack of sleep from my infant's sleep regression) that I am dealing with.But isn't life always a work in progress?I am already enjoying my time with my son a lot more and I had the most productive month for business in April.The beauty of setting the theme for myself is having it ingrained in me the entire year, then it compounds as part of my identity for the following years.Growth like success doesn't happen overnight. It is a result of compounding beliefs, thoughts, actions and more importantly... reflections.What is your growth journey like?

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  • Mike Li

    I handle all things relating to finances for 7-8 figure net-worth business owners and corporate leaders | Bridging ASEAN Startups into China

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    Success always belonged to others.I felt like it was always elusive to me.I’d always tagged success to achievements for most of my life.Just a few years ago when I was at rock bottom in my sales career, I felt disempowered.I felt like a failure.Then there was the awards ceremony one after another, while my primary role was always clapping and cheering for others.And this is where I was wrong.I had the wrong yardstick for success all along.As the years go by in the industry, I realised that the achievements we see are only skin deep.❌ I’ve seen people with achievements and awards, but earn very little throughout the year.❌ I’ve seen people with achievements and awards but struggle to keep up with having enough to pay for their expenses.❌ I’ve seen people with achievements and awards but do so through shortcuts and unethical means.I reflected and asked - if I were to put myself in those shoes… am I successful?I doubt so, and I searched for my own yardstick of success.✅ Since I started my career, I’ve always insisted on doing business ethically.✅ In the last few years when my income picked up and stabilized, my wife and I have kept our expenses extremely low. We still wear the same clothes and shoes we wore from years ago. We no longer buy branded, but we buy quality things that last us for a long time.✅ We have consistently invested close to 6-figures every year for the past few years and diversified our investments, tracking them closely towards our financial goals.😊 Most importantly, we are happy. But we seek continuous growth and improvement.This is what I learnt about success - we have to find our own yardstick and be very clear about it.If not, we’d always be chasing what society is chasing… and the comparisons will kill us before we derive success.Photo: Me at an awards ceremony yesterday, awarded the second highest tier of awards in the company which less than 10% achieved. I'm no longer clapping and cheering only but I am happy that this award is tagged to number of lives protected and ethical business dealings.

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  • Mike Li

    I handle all things relating to finances for 7-8 figure net-worth business owners and corporate leaders | Bridging ASEAN Startups into China

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    “Why did you sell your Rolex watch?”, My mum asked sternly over a voice message.This was after I asked my Dad if I could have the extra watch he had in his collection. It was a simple dress watch I bought for him a few years ago.As I was growing up, I was the least of my parents' worries. I was the model child in their eyes. I had a stable career in the Air Force and was progressing rather quickly for someone who isn’t a scholar. When I first bought my Rolex, they were proud of me because in their eyes, I must have achieve a level of financial success to afford societal’s symbol of success.But in recent years, I've been bringing them on a roller coaster ride with some of the decisions I've made.🎢 When I left civil service to be a financial consultant, my parents were worried.In one phone call back when I was struggling in the first few months, my Mum asked me, “How long are you going to give yourself in this new career?”I was angry that she doubted me, but got around to understand that they were worried.I reassured them that I wanted to have a go at doing something I have an avid interest in (finance) and challenge myself at a new skill (sales) after years of going through the same routine. I asked for their patience as I built my practice. In the past few years, their patience paid off as I outdid myself year after year while doing good work. They became proud of my achievements again.🎢 Recently, when they found out that I sold my Rolex, I sensed their unhappiness.I felt that they were still attached to a certain identity of me.Again, I reassured them that I didn’t need material items to make me feel successful, or be a dutiful son to them.Most importantly, I am happy and I am healthy.I realised how my values and beliefs have also evolved as years go by.I used to appreciate things that are hard to attain (financially), now I appreciate things that are hard to retain - my health and my memory dividends with the people that matters.And when I am driven by these values and beliefs, I dive in unapologetically even if I am going to upset my parents.Have you found what is really important to you?Photo of my one of my parents' proudest moment of me 14 years ago.

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  • Mike Li

    I handle all things relating to finances for 7-8 figure net-worth business owners and corporate leaders | Bridging ASEAN Startups into China

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    It’s been almost 2 weeks since I finalised my divorce…Or maybe a better word is dissociation.I used to chase society’s symbols of success.⏱ At age 26, I bought my first Rolex to celebrate getting over life’s toughest period then - working long hours followed by going for night classes to complete my part time degree. My weekends then were attending additional classes or catching up on assignments. I even did whatever I could to squeeze what was essentially a 3 year degree program into 16 months - which meant taking on the max number of modules each trimester.⏱ At age 29, I bought my Jaeger-LeCoultre to celebrate my courageous transition out of the military.It was the boldest decision I’d made in my life till then because I was in an enclosed environment, and the fear to step out of a stable pay and comfortable working environment has been so overwhelming I delayed the decision for at least 5 years. 🚗 At age 34, I bought my first classic Mercedes convertible.It was a time where I was constantly working and felt empty. I felt like there seemed like there was nothing to look forward to outside of work. So I took over the car from my friend and started joining classic car communities.Along the way, I also used the car to drive old folks around during charity events, which brought smiles to them and learning experiences for me.Since the turn of the year, together with the birth of my daughter, I felt a stark disassociation towards these items.I went into a deep reflection and I realised I felt like these items no longer bring me joy any more. 👨👩👧👦 It was the moments with my family that gave me the most joy.🤝 It was the moments where I can secure the financial future of my clients that gave me the most joy.🤔 It was the moments I get to spend with myself, to quietly reflect on life, that gave me the most joy.I used to laugh at people who sold off their luxuries to simplify their life, thinking they don’t know how to enjoy the finer things in life.Now I understand.I no longer need material things to give me that temporary happiness.I could now make better use of my money to create more happy memories for myself, my family and my clients.

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  • Mike Li

    I handle all things relating to finances for 7-8 figure net-worth business owners and corporate leaders | Bridging ASEAN Startups into China

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    This month, I will be celebrating 13 years of dating my wife.What people tend to believe is that relationships last because there is constant love & affirmation, commitment towards each other and supporting the other when times are tough.Here's why I disagree.Firstly, constant love and affirmation sounds like a fairytale. Being in a relationship for 13 years, I can confident say 90% of time are the mundane stuff, and we only truly show love to each other 10% of the time.Second, couples who have committed and support each other through tough times still do separate. I'm sure the spouses of Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos supported them through their toughest times building Microsoft and Amazon, committing decades to them. Yet, they separated.Instead, this is what I believe to be one of the most crucial factor in lasting and happy relationships:*Not harping on the mistakes of your partner.*I used to, in my frustration, bring out the past mistakes of my wife to justify my mistakes.It is such a toxic behaviour.It has been proven to be a surefire way to turn a disagreement into an argument - because it stirs up strong emotions of anger, guilt and everything negative. It then builds up resentment, compounds and stirs up even stronger hateful emotions subsequently.The last time I did it, my wife told me how hurt she was. That made me feel worse.In the course of my work, I'd come across a good number of couples who have unresolved issues surrounding money. This usually result in or could be caused by one constantly harping on their partner's money mistakes (scammed of their savings, poor investment results, bad career moves are among some of them). To be very direct... these are the couples whose financial portfolio are in a mess and their actions around money contradict what they say. I am of the belief that NO financial products nor financial advice is going to work until the dynamics of the relationship change, and the beliefs and values of the couple are aligned.I always tell my friends - the best investment I've made is in the relationship I've built with my wife.There have been countless challenges over the last 13 years, and we will continue to face more in the likes of disagreements and arguments.But we will overcome them... as long as we remind ourselves to use our past mistakes as lessons rather than weapon against each other.

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  • Mike Li

    I handle all things relating to finances for 7-8 figure net-worth business owners and corporate leaders | Bridging ASEAN Startups into China

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    We were playing around on the bed before bedtime and then I heard…“Crack!”This can’t be good.That crack was the sound of an injury to his right arm that had landed awkwardly on the bed.That crack was also the loud sound of a father’s guilt for not being careful.This happened last Friday evening, just after I spoke about how mundane life has become. Life has a way of throwing me a spanner in the works.I immediately worked with my medical concierge to have X-ray arranged and paediatric orthopaedic on standby. Then I rushed him to the Urgent Care in the hospital to have it checked out.Before leaving, my wife said,“It’s not your fault, you didn’t mean it, don’t take it too hard on yourself.”At that time, my mind was filled with all the worst possibilities.Thinking back, the reassuring was much needed when she could have blamed me for my carelessness.I was driving silently throughout the whole journey until my son said,“Papa no talk to Hector…”Even in pain, he was afraid that I was angry with him, even though I was worried and felt guilty towards him. It was also then I realised I had been so tense and had not really breathed.It turned out to be a case of pulled elbow after X-ray and seeing the paediatric orthopaedic, nothing very serious.At the end of the evening, he was climbing around in the clinic with his arm function fully recovered.The bill came up to $700++. Painful on the wallet as it might have been, I would have paid for it over and over again to have the most expedient care for my child. Maybe the guilt played a part too.But these are times I am glad for the resources I have available to offset costs (personal accident insurance) and have expedient care (medical concierge). That definitely made me breathe a huge sigh of relief at the end of the night.Picture of him with a very weak right arm in pain. What a brave boy he was throughout the entire ordeal.

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  • Mike Li

    I handle all things relating to finances for 7-8 figure net-worth business owners and corporate leaders | Bridging ASEAN Startups into China

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    Social media gave me this belief:"Happiness is the absence of problems and challenges."It seems everyone was always enjoying themselves and celebrating their achievements.I had my achievements too, but I also had a lot of doubts, worries and anxieties to my keep my business sustainable.I would often look to the wisest person I know - my wife - and ask her,"Is what I am feeling... normal? I have all these uncertain internal feelings that are pent up within me, am I.... not happy?""Go get some exercise done... go for a walk," my wife said.Last evening, I set out for a walk at dusk pondering the question I asked her.As I walked, I felt a release of the pent up emotions and able to think clearer.I thought of my kids and how we'd spent the past weekend... I smiled.I thought of my wife and the deep conversation we had last Thursday evening... I smiled.I thought of the appreciation my clients showed after the recent update of their investment performance... I smiled.After the walk, the doubts, worries and anxieties were still there.But this was what I realised..."Happiness can only be present with the co-existence of doubts, worries and anxieties."It is because of these "negative" feelings that I can truly appreciate what happiness is...And how wise my wife is.Photo taken from my walk last evening during dusk.

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