Today, I’m excited to share details about my fireside chat with close friend, former Wall Street executive, and serial entrepreneur Bernardine Wu. Bernardine shared with me a bit about her journey from an immigrant child in Staten Island to a successful entrepreneur and mom; we also talked about her philosophy of asking for what you want and the importance of mastering life through wisdom gained from experiences!
Bernardine is a Dartmouth grad, entrepreneur, and contributor to my book The 7 Secrets to Creating a Life You Love: A Practical Guide for Women in Leadership. She is no stranger to struggle and challenge. Growing up as a classic Chinese immigrant in Staten Island, she had to navigate a world where English was not the primary language at home, and her parents were starting anew in America.
Her journey to success included commuting to the city to attend Stuyvesant High School, a life-changing experience that fostered her independence and self-reliance. However, attending Dartmouth College presented new challenges as she found herself in a less diverse and more homogeneous environment, leading her to confront stereotypes and find her place.
One of the key pieces of advice Bernardine shares is the philosophy of “don’t ask, don’t get.” This mentality has applied to Bernardine in all areas of her life, whether it’s a promotion, assignment, support, or commitment. There is often a tendency among women not to ask for what they need, which can manifest in both personal and professional contexts. It’s vital that we, as women, learn to stand up for what we need.
Senior leadership and executives may not be aware of certain needs or situations, not because they don’t want to be, but because it’s not in their purview. Similarly, in relationships, expecting others to read our minds can lead to misunderstandings and unmet expectations. The takeaway? It’s essential to ask for what you need and express your desires clearly and respectfully.
Reading about the experiences of other women and reflecting on their stories can lead to self-discovery and a better understanding of one’s own path. Bernardine’s contribution to my book and her appearance on the podcast is part of a broader effort to encourage women to share their stories and learn from one another.
Wisdom is not something we are born with; it is developed over time through experiences, both good and bad. Bernardine reflects on this notion by acknowledging that people who are wise today were not born that way. It is through falling, making mistakes, self-criticism, and not being kind to oneself that wisdom is developed. The key is to recognize that beating yourself up over mistakes is futile. Instead, acknowledge the mistake, clean up the mess, and move forward with a commitment to doing the best you can.
These lessons are a reminder to live authentically, be proactive in seeking what you want, and appreciate the fleeting nature of life.
Bernardine Wu‘s journey from a classic immigrant to a Wall Street Titan, entrepreneur, and author is truly inspiring. Her philosophy of “don’t ask, don’t get” is a valuable reminder of the importance of asking for what we need in all areas of our lives. Her story emphasizes the importance of sharing our journeys, both personal and professional, to inspire and learn from one another. Additionally, her insights on the development of wisdom, the power of language and awareness, and life’s masterclass lessons provide valuable guidance for personal growth and development.
I hope this episode inspires you to reflect on your own journey and the importance of asking for what you need. Be sure to check out the full podcast episode for more insights, and don’t forget to hit that subscribe button. Your support does make a difference!
“Anything is possible if you have a plan and you have intention.” ~ Monique de Maio.
Let’s make 2024 the best year ever together!