Building a sustainable you

by Courtney Zhu

Patrick Ip, former CEO of Kip Solutions and now current Google employee with the Business Innovation Lead team, gave guidance to delegates at the BurnoutL Building a Sustainable You workshop. He formerly worked at the United Nations, focusing on the United Nations Academic Impact Program.

During this session, Ip shared stories from his upbringing, focusing on the influence of his tiger parents. He spoke about growing up in Modesto, California, where there was a drive-by shooting close to his high school. He opened up about facing rejection from not only his dream school but also universities on his distant radar.

Amid the flurry of rejections, Ip persisted. He went to the University of Chicago and asked to be removed from the waitlist.

After learning more about Ip’s background, he challenged delegates to think about their own. The next portion of the workshop was devoted to a partner exercise: one partner closed their eyes while the other repeatedly asked the same question.

The first question was, “what brings you joy?” After answering the question once, the partner would ask it again, requiring a different answer than what had been said previously. This was met with simple, beautiful responses like “my sister’s laugh,” “dinner with my family,” “watching my friends overcome their challenges,” and “seeing meaningful impact come out of my project.”

Other questions included:

“What holds you back?”
“What do you want to change?”
“What do you fear?”

Having to respond to these questions with eyes closed put people in a vulnerable place. It was a challenging and uncomfortable exercise, while also being refreshing and necessary. Ip has an incredibly personable nature and was able to facilitate seamless discussion. The leading takeaway was the importance of introspection and confronting  weaknesses, understanding the root of the problem, instead of avoiding them in order to avoid burning out.