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Lilian Ong, Founder of Class Living, Shares Heart-Warming Reads for Empowerment & Courage

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Lilian Ong is an entrepreneur based in Singapore, a community leader, and author of the upcoming book named “Women of Courage, Breaking the Fear Barrier”. She founded Class Living, a company that raises awareness about artists with special needs.

The core mission of Class Living is to support people with special needs to create their own financial independence in a society where they often end up struggling. The way it does that is via Shop for a Cause, an online e-store where they can sell their work.

There are lots of things that make Lilian a female entrepreneur worth following. She battled depression, fear and self-doubt. She completed two half marathons (21k) when she was 44. She volunteered as a fashion model to support a social cause she believed in. She is at the front of several support groups, such as “Soul Rich Woman” and “Connecting Mothers”.

Without any prior business experience in the home furnishing trade, Lilian founded Class Pte Ltd in 2007. The company specialized in interior decoration, custom-made sofas, upholstery and window dressing. She built the company from scratch and exited successfully after 9 years.

Lilian talked to us about her battle with depression and provides invaluable advice on how to overcome such moments. She shared her go-to list of books, the ones that built the foundation of who she is today.

What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.

1) Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer – It has helped me to gain awareness of my limiting beliefs and how I can tear them down.

2) Running with the Giants by John C. Maxwell – Learning the different characters of the heroes of faith in the bible and learning how God sees us as who we are in Him and who we will become and not who we were affirmed my identity in Christ and helped me to see the promises of God in the scripture.

3) Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren – I gained clarity and a different perspective of living a life with purpose. I learned that how we are “wired” or our S.H.A.P.E can help us find the purpose of our life.

4) God is my Coach by Larry Julian – The activities provided in the book was a helpful tool for me to gain clarity and confidence in navigating the “grey areas” of my life where I’m not sure if where I am heading is the right choice.

5) Five Levels of Leadership by John C Maxwell – Helped me to see the growth of a leader, where I am and know where and how I can progress in the journey of leadership.

6) Lioness Arising by Lisa Bevere – inspired me to awaken the courage of women to live out their potential and their dreams!

7) Understanding the Purpose and Power of Women by Myles Munroe – As the title stated, I learned about my purpose as a woman and the power of influence I actually possess and how I use this power will create a positive or negative impact in my sphere of influence.

8) God is a Salesman by Mark Stevens – The Creator of the universe knows best how to communicate and introduce Himself to His creation. Story-telling is a powerful tool!

Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?

Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer has helped me in my journey walking out of depression, self-doubt, Self condemnation.

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7

“Thoughts are powerful, and according to the writer of the book of Proverbs, that have creative ability. If our thoughts are going to affect what we become, then it should certainly be a priority that we think right thoughts. I want to impress on you the absolute necessity of getting your thinking in line with God’s word. You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind” (pg 31)

This paragraph has helped me to realised how negative I have been in my thoughts! It has helped me to understand about self awareness and that my mind is the battlefield and I must first get my thinking right and in lined with God’s word. I must go through the process of a renewing of my mind. I had too much limiting beliefs and lies in my head which has kept me trapped and imprisoned in a victim’s mindset! My journey of personal breakthrough begins with my mind which is why I now want to help other women with their journey of personal breakthrough.

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What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)

The 8 books listed above and my upcoming book – Women of Courage, Breaking the Fear Barrier, Ordinary Women with Extraordinary stories.

I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?

I read everyday. Both physical copy and digital are fine with me depending on where I am.

Digital is convenience when I am travelling or on the go. But nothing feels better than holding a physical book in hand in a cozy corner 🙂

How do you make time for reading?

Intentionally! Find pockets of time during my day. Best time for me is in the bathroom hahah.. I read the bible every morning. While commuting or before bedtime.

Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?

Yes, I jot down phrases or quotes that speaks to me in my handphone.

How do you choose what books to read next?

Depends on the season of the growth I am in and what catches my attention.

Do you prioritize the books recommended by certain people? Is there anyone that you consider a book-recommendations guru?

Yes. I would read books recommended by leaders and mentors in my life.

What book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?

Without Rival by Lisa Bevere – Lessons I learn from this book to encourage other women.

In the Asian Entrepreneur interview you mentioned that you have daily journal writing as a habit. Can you please detail more the process?

I pen down what I learned from the experiences and what I learn about myself from that experience.

Many women entrepreneur struggle with the “impostor syndrome”. You also battled with self-doubt, fear, depression, suicidal thoughts, body image issues. What advice would you give to other women? What helped you?

Do not succumb to FEAR! Take courage to seek SUPPORT which is available out there. Don’t go through your struggles alone!

Seeking support is NOT weakness but COURAGE and STRENGTH!

Be authentic and truthful with yourself, acknowledge the struggles you are going through and seek support.

Know that your belief system affects your behaviour and emotions. You cannot change what you cannot see so take courage to be vulnerable and do a self reflection and self discovery of your life.

Every decision or choice we made has consequences. You are not where you are right now by chance or accident. You are here because of the choices you made in the past. Some choice worked well and gave you positive consequences but some didn’t but it’s ok, you can make different and wiser choices now so you can enjoy a harvest of positive outcome in the near future.

Start cultivating good habits, be consistent and never give up! Seek a mentor and be accountable and seek support – “no man is an island”. (John Donne)

Everything has a season and every season has a beginning and an end. Life comprises of seasons. Seed time and harvest time.

Everything begins with a thought, it is like a seed. Do you think about what you are thinking? The seed will grow into a fruit. what fruit are you expecting to harvest?

What kind of life are you expecting to play out? What seed (thought) are you cultivating and nurturing in your mind?

Links where you can follow Lilian Ong or find out more about her projects:

All books mentioned by Lilian Ong in this interview:

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