659: Be Your Own Advocate With Michelle Yang

Michelle Yang is a writer and a mental health advocate.  She recently left her coveted corporate career and has found her calling Be Your Own Advocate With Michelle Yangas a writer and mental health advocate.  Michelle is writing a memoir about living well with bipolar disorder from an immigrant Asian American perspective. She can also be found pouring out her heart on her blog.  Michelle has also been featured on Mochi Magazine and HuffPost.

Michelle shares what it means to be your own advocate to create confidence and a positive impact in the world.  She also shares tips that can help you in your own journey to self confidence.  Check out her episode to listen to her story.


Michelle Yang is a writer and a mental health advocate.

Cultural Background

Michelle is of Chinese descent.

Favorite Self Confidence Quote

You can’t advocate for yourself if you won’t admit what you are.

You can’t advocate for yourself if you won’t admit what you are.

Definition of Self Confidence

Self confidence is being truly at peace with oneself. This means NOT feeling like you need to apologize for taking up space and not apologizing or giving disclaimers before giving your opinion. This means being able to successfully dispel negative thoughts about yourself that you’re not good enough until there are no negative thoughts left. It means being your own advocate and champion.

Her Life Before the Discovery of Self Confidence

Michelle couldn’t respond when people around her said offensive things to her face, like “my boss is acting so bipolar” never dreaming that the person they’re talking to, her, would have the true condition.  She couldn’t call them on it and had to remain silent and complacent and it was slowly killing her inside to not be able to fight for herself or others like her.

She was often filled with self doubt. When you have a skeleton in the closet, especially for as long as she had, it was eating her up inside.

The “AHA” Moment

Michelle found herself at a corporate job that was not inspiring her anymore. She came from nonprofit roots and actually gotten her MBA to work in nonprofit.  She had a “how did I end up here?” moment.

She was making more money than she had ever had before, but she was miserable.  She was drained and did not have enough energy left for her family, and she was finding it impossible to prioritize her mental health in the role.

Could she have continued? Sure. But she realized, it wasn’t the way she wanted to live. She needed to make a change.

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Her Life After the Discovery of Self Confidence

It was terrifying in the beginning to announce to the world that Michelle was living with bipolar disorder and that she is a mental health advocate.  She couldn’t have done it without going to NAMI support groups for years and working on her own internalized stigma against who she is so she could make peace with herself.

Still, once she was out, she would be hit regularly with waves of panic. “What did I do?” What if she never find another job again because of this.  But people have been so supportive and she unexpectedly found a strong sense of newfound freedom, confidence, and self assurance. It is as if I’ve suddenly been freed from dead weight she has been dragging around.

It has been an amazing journey and she found an audience for her writing and gotten published in HuffPost and HelloGiggles.  She is also a lifestyle editor and contributor for Mochi magazine, whose focus is empowering young Asian American women. It’s all been so rewarding.  She never realized she would be one of those people who found their true calling later in life.

The One Self Confidence Tip For the Listener

Be kind to yourself. Be patient. Don’t apologize for who you are and things are usually never as bad as they are in your head. And therapy and support groups, if it’s applicable. Women experience a lifetime of conditioning – demanding us to conform to certain ideals of beauty, society and culture dictate the type of personality that is acceptable for a woman, the type of job. Our right to take up space has been challenged our entire lives. It will take time to reverse that. The first step is realizing that the way we’ve been programmed is not the only way to be a woman. And then it’s up to us to do the hard work, to heal, take our back our power and reach for self-actualization.

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