by Tran Thi Hoang Hac, Corporate Communications, Mekong Capital
21 February 2020
Since I was a child, I enjoyed a well-managed and predictable life. My parents are teachers so I received early schooling, and was prepared as well as expected to be a good student and get a good job.
After I passed the interview with Mekong Capital, I quickly felt that I fit well with the company culture and people. As a corporate communications person, my goal was to have good PR coverage for Mekong and for our investee companies. I jumped right into the job, started meetings with the Deal Leaders, reached out to journalists, and was getting busier and busier. The feeling of being loved, being important, having a lot to do brought me onto cloud nine for two months until…
A sudden email arrived with the title written: “fail to hold people accountable and manage timeline” from one of my Deal Leaders. I stared at the email for a while, took a deep breath and started reading.“I rely on you for the PR article, but it has been 1.5 month and you could not get any article published”. The more I read, the faster my heartbeat went. “With your current working approach, even one year you will not be able to publish 3 articles about my company, not to mention per quarter. Please schedule a 30 minute meeting with me…”
I was severely thunderstruck.
A bunch of streams of emotions were burning me:
· Scared: “Oh my God am I fired? Oh my God she even cc-ed the head of HR. Oh my God you want to set a meeting with me? I am dying..”
· Hated: “Why you did this to me? Is it fair to talk to like this to your newbie? This article isn’t even worth it!”
· Sarcastic: “Just a delay with a PR article and it sounded like a huge failure! It wasn’t just me, many things happened, common! I just need more time.”
But above all, a storm of sadness was ragging through my body. I was disappointed with myself and my performance. “Can I really get more articles published in a faster pace?” — I felt like a fish out of water.
I remembered trying to sleep that night, lying with eyes wide open, looking at the ceiling, asking myself like a Psychopath:
“What the hell did I put myself into?” And it’s been quite a long time since I could remember, I questioned myself: “Am I good enough for this?”
The next day, I finally had to “attend” THE meeting with my Deal Leader. To my surprise, she wasn’t mad at all. She started asking questions. We found out that we simply did not align on a timeline yet. And on top of that, I did not communicate with her along the way. I found it was easier for me to follow my old ways of working and clearly I did not know enough about how to work with other parties.
Walking out of the meeting, it became clear to me that this had nothing to do with my capability. I have never wanted to try new ways to improve my effectiveness. Thus, I had a change of heart and was determined to turn around the situation. I asked more questions from the companies to get more insights, learned to handle concerns and expectations and yes, worked closely with the Deal Leaders.
In the next three months, not just one article, 20+ news and stories our investee companies and Mekong were on the most read local newspapers. In the next three months, Mekong was on the most popular Asian newspapers including Korea and Japan. Half of those achievements were not even part of my annual targets.
I slowly realized that:
“Yeah, no one is actually “good enough” for everything. Problem surely happens. The fact that I am feeling scared and uncertain about my capability means that it is the moment that I am about to step out of my comfort zone and working on something that bigger than myself and delivering better results.”
So, I am sharing this story today, as a Mekong-er, about my experience being our core value of Springthrough:
“Inspiring ourselves and others to step out of comfort zones, play a bigger game, and choose empowering contexts which lead to new actions and breakthrough results.”
Click below to subscribe to Mekong Capital’s quarterly newsletter.
Mekong Capital makes investments in consumer-driven businesses and adds substantial value to those companies based on its proven framework called Vision Driven Investing. Our investee companies are typically among the fastest growing companies in Vietnam’s consumer sector. For more information on Mekong Capital, please visit www.mekongcapital.com.