Posted November 11, 2009 by Jennifer Lam in Competitions and Giveaways

5 Tips on How To Realise Your Potential plus win a $300 travel voucher

This post has nothing to do with food but plenty to do with me.

You may have noticed from the updated About section of this blog, that I have recently made some big changes. So when AMEX (American Express) brought to my attention, their latest campaign on “Potentialists”, I was super keen to take part. It’s a topic very close to my heart and I hope this post can help many who feel stuck (in work and life).

Social researcher Mark McCrindle explained that ”Potentialists are the one in five Australians who demonstrate a clear ambition to live a rounder life –one that mixes traditional career success with a refreshing appetite for new experiences. They are looking to make more of what they have, rather than always wanting more, and display an optimistic attitude that has previously been most associated with Generation Y.”

So here’s my story.

Three months ago, on the eve of my 25th birthday, I built up the courage and determination to resign from what used to be my dream job.

How it all started… I entered the professional world of advertising / interactive / digital media (whatever you wish to label it) straight out of uni. I studied a Bachelor of Design Computing at the University of Sydney which was a very broad but interesting course, allowing me to dabble in everything from eMarketing to 3D modelling to game development to interactive design and product design. At graduation, I felt that the degree hadn’t offered me enough so I went on to do a Graduate Diploma in Commerce, specialising in Marketing at the University of New South Wales.

Then I job-jumped several times; I always felt like it was the right time to leave once I had stopped learning new skills and wasn’t challenged enough. I thrived on testing new waters (and occasionally threw myself into the deep end) and loved moving diagonal on the corporate ladder. It meant I was ultimately able to easily expand my expertise and networks while giving myself the satisfaction and salary rises I knew I deserved.

While all of this was happening, I had of course picked up several hobbies. Blogging and producing my photographic memoir, I Ate My Way Through Singapore & Vietnam was one of them, but I also enjoyed dressmaking, web designing, web developing and photographing. These hobbies were pursued outside of work which meant that it was common for me to be up until 3am on a weeknight.

Business also became a hobby. After exposing myself to hundreds of business blogs, books and seminars, I found myself filled with business ideas and little time to do research let alone write business plans. I loved the idea of making something out of nothing.

I hit a snap point after two business ideas fell through which was when I realised I was letting a lot of opportunities go simply because I couldn’t commit to them 100%. So it was only logical that I take the next step and work four days a week.

I did that for about two months before deciding the one day off wasn’t enough.

In the first few months post-employment, I have become an events coordinator, a publicist, a book distributor, a copywriter and a digital marketing consultant specialising in food and hospitality. So until I’m hit with the responsibilities of marriage, children and a mortgage, I love not knowing where my entrepreneurial interests will take me in the next few years.

Here are 5 tips on what you can do next:

1. Surround yourself with inspiration.

Read and meet success stories. Check out the film Lemonade; a documentary which tours the lives of former advertising executives, post-GFC (Global Financial Crisis), from the moment they were fired through to how they saw it as an opportunity to discover long-held dreams that range from artist, to holistic healer, to coffee roaster.

There are plenty of social networks around which are filled with like-minded people, whatever your interest lies within.

2. Experiment with different hobbies

If someone had told me that I will be doing my hobby full time, three years ago, I never would have believed them. I think ultimately, everyone desires to spend more time on their hobbies, whether it be go-karting, painting, travel writing or jewellery-making so give everything a go until you find your passion.

3. Take advantage of flexible working arrangements

Taking the first step can be as simple as leaving work an hour early to attend a writing or cooking course.

4. Recognise who your support team is

Let your partner, family, friends and even colleagues know about your decision to explore your inner-artist and decide what compromises need to be made. Their support is invaluable.

5. Combat fear

Once you’ve fleshed out and faced the worst case scenario, opportunities tend to look brighter 🙂

Win a $300 travel voucher
Thanks to American Express, one lucky JENIUS reader will be able to take their inspiration to another level with a $300 travel voucher, helping them realise their travel potential.

To enter, simply leave a comment below in 25 words or less and tell me how this $300 travel voucher could help realise your potential.

Competition closes 19th November, 2009 at 11:59pm AEST and is valid to Australian residents only.

P.S. Don’t forget to drop by Global Gallery in Paddington, Sydney, this week to check out my book and photography exhibition! x


Congratulations to Kaz, who has won herself a $300 travel voucher to help realise her potential.


I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all participants for sharing their passion, aspiration and goals. I am truly inspired.

Good luck with chasing your dreams!


Jennifer Lam

Jennifer is the founder of I Ate My Way Through. Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of Sydney’s Inner West as a second generation Australian (of Vietnamese refugee parents of Teochew Chinese ancestry), Jen has always had a deep curiosity about global cuisines, culinary heritage and the cultural assimilation of immigrants. For Jen and her family, food is always at the centre of all celebrations, life events and milestones. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering and inspiring people to expand their culinary repertoire. These days, you'll most likely find Jen blogging about slow & intentional living On The Slow Lane and sharing what she knows now about mindful parenting and play-based learning at Mama's Got This.