TCC: The course that gave me the strength to pursue my dreams26th Aug 2020
I was living a comfortable life back in 2014. I was living my dreams. I freelanced and I earned an equal amount to my friends who held full-time jobs. I was free.
Or so I thought.
The first three years of freelancing were exciting. I simply loved hopping around different agencies, creating websites for a living, making friends, and knowing more people. I felt I could do this forever. But I was wrong.
I can’t remember when, but work started to become a drag. I complained incessantly about the work I did – about how clients won’t recognise and use my work properly, and how they will screw up their frontend eventually. If you are a frontend developer, you know what I mean.
The more I think about this, the more unhappy I became. “Am I going to turn PSDs into HTML and CSS for the rest of my life?”. My heart ached as this thought came across my head. “What’s the point of working so hard if my work will become crap when I hand it over?”
I had no answers. So I brushed the thoughts off and continued to work. I pretended it’s okay. That it’s normal. That life is like this.
I made it worse actually. I took on extra work (when I could have asked for additional help). I forced myself to work into the night. It got so bad, my fiancé started to complain I didn’t spend time with her. But I brushed that aside too because work was “important”.
These problems and thoughts came back to haunt me when I’m alone. I’m don’t want to think about them, so I buried the rest of my time Twitter, Facebook, and anime.
Then things got even worse.
But this time, it’s not about work. It’s about my relationships.
I invited my wife to hang out with my family on a holiday in Bali. I proposed to her in the villa we stayed in. It was the last day of our stay. It was also her birthday.
But my family fell out with her THE NEXT DAY. I also blew up at my parents for reasons I don’t want to mention here.
So my relationships blew up in my face. Everything crumbled.
I don’t know what to do.
And I don’t have answers.
So I did what I always did – pretend it was all okay and I could make things work out somehow, later, if I have the patience. And off to work I go.
Somehow, I tricked myself into searching for answers. I started looking for meetups to go to. I chanced upon a preview of TCC by Live Your Mark. Back then, it was called The Courage to Create (TCC). Now, it’s called Truself Creation Course. (Still TCC).
I was guided to think about my life in 8 different aspects.
I remember sitting back in my chair and all my problems came flooding back at me. Tears started dripping out of my eyes. I couldn’t control them. I could not hide from the truth anymore.
- I’m unhappy in my work
- My relationships are wrecked
- I couldn’t think about anything else except hope they’ll become better
I was asked to join TCC that night.
Joining the course required a huge sum of money (almost $4000 Singapore dollars). I wasn’t ready to part with this amount, especially not with an organization I met for the first time.
But I got convinced to join the course. Looking back, it was the best decision I made in my life.
My TCC Experience
During the program, I began to understand how relationships turned out the way it is – I avoided interacting with my family because they reminded me of so much pain.
Because of this avoidance, I felt like I was treated as a transparent person in my family. I felt my opinions didn’t matter at all. But the truth is I wasn’t alienated. The truth is I rejected their love because I didn’t know how to face them. We drifted apart. And this eventually caused a major misunderstanding between my family and my fiancé.
I was also afraid I’m a useless person in the family, and my mum isn’t proud of me. That question kept me from talking to my mum because since it’s so painful to face the possibility of hearing “No, I’m not proud of you”.
I knew what I had to do. I picked up my courage, called my mum, and popped the question. She was proud of me no matter what I did. And that gave me a lot of closure and freedom to choose what I do next. I was able to risk more things – which led to the life I have right now.
Finally, I did not appreciate and acknowledge myself at all. I believed that everything I did, all my life, amounted to nothing, especially when I couldn’t get my mum’s approval. Many things changed during that three-day program. (TCC was 3 days back then. It is 4 days now).
After TCC, I decided to take on a 5-week follow-up program to apply the lessons I learned from TCC into my life. In this follow-up program, I knew I wanted to do two things:
- I wanted to acknowledge myself
- I wanted to mend my relationship with my family members
So I decided on two projects:
- I would write a book and sell 50 copies of it
- I would, well, mend the relationship.
I focused more on the book during these five weeks.
Writing the book was hard. I was working from 9am to 6pm in my freelancing job. (How different was freelancing to a normal 9am to 6pm job?!). I was exhausted every day. But I continued to write my book into the night, sometimes sleeping at 2 or 3am, only to wake up at 8am the next day.
At the same time, I had to find ways to make appointments with my parents and my sisters. I had to find my grandparents and take them out for food. I had to talk to them and find out more about their lives.
It was hard because the conversations were so awkward at the start. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t have a follow up of what to do after the initial conversation either.
Every day felt like torture. I hated every moment of it. There was so much pressure on me. On most days, I just want to shrink and hide.
But I know I needed to get this done. I was finally doing something for myself. I cannot let this slip. If I let this slip, it’ll be the end of my life. I won’t ever write a book again. I won’t ever acknowledge myself again. And my relationships will remain like shit, forever.
So I pushed on.
My solution? Whine and complain as I did the work. It was the only way I could get myself to function.
My fiancé was worried about me. She wondered why I worked harder than before. And I had a hard time explaining what’s happening to her too. But I pushed on nevertheless.
My greatest challenge happened in Week 2 of the follow-up program.
Since I had to sell 50 copies of my book, my coach asked me: “How will you guarantee you’ll get 50 sales by the end of Week 5?”.
I was dumbfounded. My balls shrank by this time. I thought of giving away the book for free instead of selling it. Even if I were to sell it, I wouldn’t have started selling the book until halfway into Week 4, then I’d hope for the best. That was how bad my fears were).
But she pressed for an answer. After rounds of avoiding the topic, I settled on the only thing that made sense: I had to sell the book now. So I went back home and started creating a website for my book.
The website was completed by the end of Week 2. I released 5 chapters of the book and started accepting preorders in Week 3. You’d know this book if you followed me long enough. It’s Learn Susy. It holds a special meaning in my heart.
I didn’t have much of a following back then – around newsletter 80 subscribers and 50 twitter followers – so I never expected the book to make any sale.
I had to work extra hard to make things work. I reached out to write articles for Sitepoint and CSS Tricks. I also told Miriam Suzanne (Susy’s creator) about my intentions to create this book.
Louis Lazaris from Sitepoint accepted my post. Chris Coyier from CSS Tricks accepted my post as well. And Miriam Suzanne graciously promoted the book on Susy’s website.
These three people hold special positions in my heart. I’m eternally grateful for what they have done for me at this point in my life.
Still, I never expected to sell anything. I envisioned a defeat where I sold 0 copies by Week 5. But to my surprise, orders started trickling in.
I got a few sales on Days 1 and 2 of my preorder campaign. I jumped with joy each time someone bought a copy. But at the same time, I trembled, wondering if they would ask for a refund because it sucked so badly. (Nobody asked for a refund though).
More people found my book soon after. I think it was because of the guest posts on Sitepoint and thanks to Miriam for putting the book up on Susy’s website. I can’t remember anymore.
My email list expanded, and I got a few more sales.
By Week 5, I sold 24 copies of Learn Susy. I did not hit my goal, but this was a major milestone in my life. By Week 8, I sold 50 copies, and I officially finished the project.
To my surprise, this book continued to grow and make money. It netted me $2,000 USD for the next 12 months to come. So my project literally paid for TCC and the follow-up program.
I then continued my efforts in the same line – creating books and courses – since it was doing so well. I felt there’s a possibility where I can make a living out of sharing my knowledge. So I continued freelancing while I write.
Results on my relationships weren’t as obvious as results from the book. But it was huge as well. I could now say a few words to my mum. I could be honest about some of my feelings, where I couldn’t even utter a single word of truth before.
I continued building up my relationship with my family members, and I continued bridging the gap between my wife and parents over the next couple of years. Now, they have no problems talking to each other.
After completing my book, I thought about what’s next on my bucket list. I remember saying I want to give a conference talk in 5 years. But this manifested in reality much earlier than I expected. I gave a conference talk within 2 years of writing the book.
That’s about it for my first TCC experience back in 2014.
Recently, I built up my courage and joined TCC again in 2020.
This TCC expanded my horizons considerably once more.
Before this second TCC, I knew I had anxiety issues. I had panic attacks all the time – but I didn’t know why. I also did not have control over my panic attacks.
I came into the second TCC wanting to deal with these anxiety issues.
In the program, I understood (intellectually) I am so scared of the world. I found a memory where I was toyed around by others and I was defenceless and helpless at that time. I couldn’t clear this trauma yet, so I still feel scared. But I’m more willing to explore now.
I also managed to work on some Shadow aspects of my psyche during this program. I shall not delve into details because Shadow-work is far too advanced (and dark) for most people to hear and understand.
Essentially, I resolved some mental traps that made me go in a loop. Example: “I’m a good kid. I cannot be a bad kid. But I need to be a bad kid because …”.
After this TCC, my relationship with music improved. I started playing the Guitar. I started strumming. I started practicing Singing and Strumming at the same time. (This was something I felt was too complicated and hence impossible for me previously).
My relationships with my parents improved too. I’m now able to hug them and peck them on the cheeks while saying “I love you”. And I’d like to continue expressing my love for them every time I meet them, because it’s important to me.
On the work front, the most important thing for my business right now is to create partnerships with people around the world. I remember I had to sit down and create a list of 50 people I wanted to connect with. I procrastinated on this for a month.
But within a week of TCC, I sat down and wrote 130 people into my list in a single seating. It took only 2 hours.
What’s the difference? The difference was the perspectives I gained from going through TCC. I also had more courage and I feel settled now. I know where I want to go, I (roughly) know what I need to do to get there, and I have no qualms going after my goals.
The key was clearing away some of the emotional charges that were tied to the trauma I experienced.
I feel alive now.
I have so much I want to do. I have so much I want to explore. And I have the energy and willingness to explore too.
I don’t know how my life will turn out going forward, because I have yet to live that life yet. But I see myself living fully, experimenting fully, putting myself out there, loving myself, and getting closer to my dreams.
If you haven’t heard of TCC before, I encourage you to take a look at it. Ask me questions if you want to. It’s done a lot for me. I’m more than happy to share.
If you’re considering TCC as you read this, then I encourage you to give it a try. It is worth it. It changed my life drastically for the better, and I’m sure it’ll change your life drastically for the better too.