Wendy Tee, the 285th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, believes that the older we get, the more tempted we are to settle for the familiar.
The same career, the same social circle, the same hobbies.
But Wendy feels that’s a trap. So she’s made a conscious decision to not just expose herself to new ideas, but to actually take action and make changes to her life.
That’s why Wendy decided to have lunch with a stranger. And, coincidentally, the day after our meeting, she was scheduled to attend a networking lunch with 100 strangers.
But it’s not as though Wendy has lived in a cocoon until now. She’s actually been a case study in taking action and stepping out of her comfort zone.
Wendy grew up in Malaysia and decided, from a young age, that her future lay outside the country. So, when she was 17, without telling her parents, she wrote to hospitals in Australia, New Zealand and the UK to apply for nursing placements.
When her applications were rejected, she changed tack and applied to study in Australia.
When she got rejected again, because she couldn’t prove she could financially support herself, she tracked down an uncle who lived in Kuala Lumpur and asked him to act as her guarantor. This time, she got accepted.
So Wendy moved, aged 18, to Sydney, to study accounting. Initially, she was painfully shy, but working as a waitress – Wendy took not one but three jobs to support herself – forced her out of her shell.
In later years, Wendy took two pilgrimages to Tibet and opened a Buddhist centre in Sydney – further examples of taking action and stepping out of her comfort zone.
I share Wendy’s view on the importance of trying new things. I don’t believe it’s possible to stay in one place; I think we either grow or we atrophy. Wendy has chosen growth.