Episode 29 - Eric Wong - Expect the Unexpected

Erik Wong (00:00):
I have spikes of happiness higher than I've ever felt before ever having kids. A lot of Chinese parents really think you're gonna go to a good school. You're gonna be a doctor or a lawyer or an architect like that was like the, the main jobs and you really controlling what they do. But then at the end of it, the kids might come out feeling bitter that they have choice, or like they had had to do stuff. They have to, you know, then take care of their parents at the end.

Young Han (00:27):
Nice. Hey guys, I'm young, a fulltime dad and a full-time professional with the goal to become the best parent possible. The girl dad show is my journey interviewing fellow working parents aspiring to be both good at work and parenting. I'm gonna do this by gathering and sharing unfiltered perspectives from my guest. So join me as I research parenthood one interview at a time.

Young Han (00:54):
Eric, welcome to the girl Dad show. Thank you for joining me today.

Erik Wong (00:58):
Thanks Young. It's an honor.

Young Han (01:00):
I appreciate you taking the time. Let's start with the basics. So what do you do for a living?

Erik Wong (01:06):
Well, I'm actually in between jobs right now. But my prior job was chief commercial officer at a startup called improv.ai. We were a democratizing coaching and I spent about over a decade in consulting doing people focused stuff. So facilitating executive workshops, executive training but the through line, you know, all my, all my jobs have been, you know, focused on people either in team cohesion or democratizing coaching or focused on cultures.

Young Han (01:40):
Wow. So it's always been inside of coaching and, and leadership development. It sounds like.

Erik Wong (01:46):
Yeah. Yeah. A lot of my work has been there.

Young Han (01:48):
Got it. And so what's, what's next for you?

Erik Wong (01:52):
Well, I'm I'm in conversations with a few few companies right now. The, the great recession is real so it does feel like there's a lot of opportunities right now. And so it's a, it's actually, you caught me at an interesting time where I'm 39 and I'm thinking about what, what should my forties look like? You know, as, as I have like a few different paths I could take. 

Young Han (02:14):
Yeah can you share with what you're thinking about so far?

Erik Wong (02:18):
Yeah, I would say it's, it's kind of crazy.

Young Han (02:22):
It's not that crazy by the way. I don't mean to interrupt you because I did the exact same thing when I was 39. So there's a lot of parallels to what you were doing and what I did. I, I literally quit my job and told my wife that I just needed to like, take some time to figure it out as I started to kind of round the corner on 40. And yeah, I completely uprooted our life and changed everything about it. And I didn't work for three months, so I, I can tell you more about it, but let's, let's talk about you. So like, yeah. Talk to me about what you're thinking about. I just wanted you to know that I have context and I, I, I'm not, I'm not inquiring outta nowhere. I'm actually inquiring, cuz it's really funny that you're, you're almost verbatim doing what I did when I was 39

Erik Wong (02:59):
Yeah, I think, yeah. I think we have a few a few similarities in our, in our lives. Oh yeah. So yeah, I yeah. You know, to, yeah, we'll, we'll get into that. I'm sure. But to, yeah, to answer your question I wrote down, you know, what are the types of attributes that are really important to, you know, in, in my next position and then given that the jobs can seem really different, but you know, the commonalities are, I, I really want to be part of a great team and, and really working with people that I love. And it sounds pretty cliche, but just realizing that for me, all the way back to playing sports, when I was younger, being on a rate team is really important. I think I'm think of myself as a bit of a catalyst, and so I, I look back at some of my best moments in my career and it's always been part of, you know, things are growing or moving fast and I'm there to kind of bring some structure to catalyzed, inspire to mobilize, to recruit. And so I'm, you know, what I'm not is I'm not like a turnaround artist, but I think when things are growing and moving or there's something that needs to be started, whether that be a brand new consulting firm, you know, a team within a larger company or a company that's just gotten a big round of funding is on massive growth trajectory. I think I come in that way. I I like being customer and so I I've been, I was consulting and facing clients and then, you know, doing a lot of sales and marketing in my past roles. I love being in front of the customer. I think that's when you're closest to what's matters most in the business. And then I'd say a couple like less you know, less obvious things are, I uprooted my life for San Francisco to Vancouver two years ago. Mm. And for me it's important for me to be able to be here in Vancouver, able to be present for my kids. And so, you know, if it is a company that's headquartered in United States and I'm talking to a company, a couple companies down there, it it's a non-negotiable for me that I need to be able to still be here and present for my kids. While still, you know, believing that I can achieve great things. I can, you know, I can be part of a leadership team. I can, I can have a big impact. So that's why I kind of love what you're doing is, is I'm I'm thinking about that balance right now as I'm designing the next chapter of my life.

Young Han (05:17):
And do you think that has to do with more about your age or you think just like timing in life? Like, or is it the prompts of like having kids? Like what do you think it is for you? Because I definitely have my thesis around this, but I, I definitely feel like, you know it's like a coming of age story to me and I'd love to know if you, if you feel the same sentiment, have you like kind of diagnosed it

Erik Wong (05:39):
Yeah, I think I, I was talking to my friend the other day and I don't know if you experienced this, but I was like, am I, am I still as ambitious as I, as I was before, cuz you know, in your, in your thirties you're like solely focused on career. You're kind of comparing yourself to others. I came outta business school. So there's some sort of like, well worn paths. So you're kind of comparing yourselves on how you're doing on those things. And he gave me a really good piece of, of advice. He's like, Eric, you're, you sound really hungry and ambitious, but it's just across more factors. Like you're also ambitious and passionate about making Vancouver your home and doing something impactful to Vancouver. You're really passionate about being a good father to your kids. You're really passionate about being healthy and like not letting your health like diminish and you know, I I've been in different stages of my life where I've been working like, you know, 60 hours and like my health was starting to diminish like my, my Peloton output was starting to get worse,  my back was start and a hurt. So I I think like at this, at this age when life has more factors, it's like, how do you balance all those things? There's like, there's like, no right answer. Like at all, like it's everything from you know, talking to a fast growth company based outta Vancouver to talking to a large tech company and the bay area to talking like a boutique consulting firm. Like those are some of the things that I'm talking to right now. And I'm trying to, you know, lean back on, you know, what matters to me most, which of these paths will enable me to live the life that I, that I dream about for myself.

Young Han (07:11):
Yeah. And so have you defined what that life is? It sounds like you have a pretty good idea of it now. Are you still wrestling with it?

Erik Wong (07:16):
Yeah. I it's funny. I would, you know, between career and like life I give myself like an A plus right now. You know, having the courage on the, on the, on the life part, like I'm like, yeah, I look around like, you know, I quit my, I quit my last job and, you know, go through some emotions, but like three, four days after words, I was like, man, I kind of like living here. I like this house that we're in. Like I love my family. I love my kids. And like, I really like the outdoors here. So it's really nice knowing that, that life part, my wife and I have done a good job of like figuring out what it is we want and going after it, like she and I were both in the bay area, she left her job. She had a nice job at Genentech, you know, I was doing well, I was running a consulting firm and then came up to Vancouver and both of us had to blow it up and go to a smaller city and and try to rebuild it. And so it, it it's then like, okay, well the career path I choose, how do I make sure that I don't ruin the stuff that we've created on the life side of things, you know, as I go off and we'll probably, you know, work a lot of hours and may have to travel and everything like that.

Young Han (08:28):
That's interesting. I, I think that it's like the con conundrum of like time, time and like how you allocate the time resources. Right. But it sounds like to me that you do have a good idea of it though. It sounds like you are very aware of like what you're qualifying a success. And that's really key, I think, into finding what you wanna do next. But I think the other aspect of it is like, what you just said is like the satisfaction happiness of your family, the location, all those things. Right. So if you don't mind, let's segue real quick into your family. Can you tell me about your family and, and and how you were, how you were, how you were on this podcast? I mean, you'd have to be a parent to be here, so let's talk about your kids.

Erik Wong (09:01):
Yeah. so we were introduced by a good friend of ours faith who is one of her best friends is, is my wife, Tammy. And so they were roommates together in San Francisco. Met my wife on eHarmony 10 plus years ago.

Young Han (09:21):
Nice. San Francisco, oh cool. You're you one of the digital romance products. That's awesome. Yeah. Yeah  there was a whole wave. There was a whole wave of that, right. Like when I first started, that's pretty amazing.

Erik Wong (09:30):
Yeah. I don't, I don't know if anyone uses eHarmony anymore. There's like a new wave of apps, but back then it was really cool. Like the algorithm could, you know, you know, drip preview, like good matches according to their algorithm. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, so I met her in San Francisco. She's from small town, Nebraska. I was from Vancouver, so we were a bit of an unlikely couple. But yeah, we lived in Soma then went to Noe valley, then got a dog and drifted down to San Mateo. Hadn't had our first daughter and our second daughter. So now we have two daughters Isla and Zoe and Islas five and she's going to kindergarten, just next door. And Zoe is two years old. Oh my we're here in Vancouver.

Young Han (10:18):
We're literally like living so many similar lives. That's hilarious. So you're a girl dad too. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome. And I have a four and a two year old, so very, very similar age girl, dad. That's awesome. That's fantastic. Yeah. Oh man. We have a lot to talk about here. What's, what's the best and worst thing about being a girl, dad

Erik Wong (10:40):
I I, I love being, I love being a girl dad, so I think the best thing is just the everyday moments. I, I don't know if you feel this, but like I have spikes of happiness higher than I've ever before ever having kids. Mm. In general, like my, my daily, like happiness is more chaotic, right? It's like always scrambling from thing to thing, but just like the spikes of happiness are amazing. Having two girls, I just, I wouldn't trade it, trade it for the world. It's great. I think the hard thing is just to, it's a constant, constant trade offs and, and struggle. Like we ha our social life has, has struggled. I we've, we've had to make career trade offs in order to make this, make this work. And so I don't know if that's the worst thing, but it just forces prioritization. Right. Just constantly daily. Like, you know, who's going to make the, you know, who's gonna make breakfast, breakfast and lunch for them, you know, who get, this is like the one nice office in our house. And so who gets the office and, and this, like, it always, constantly feels like daily trade offs, like decisions you're making all the time, which is which isn't always easy.

Young Han (11:57):
Yeah. That's awesome. I love that. I I think that that's like definitely the, a shared sentiment for me too. And I, I don't know if you've noticed this, but it's also like the opposite of that. Have you, maybe it's just me, but I've also noticed that, like, not only do I have these spikes of happiness, but the girls cuz it's, I just live in a house full of girls. Right. Even my dog is a girl. So just like all girls and it's all girls and me. And like, even at this young age, like it's wild. Like I'll like walk in and everyone will love me. And like, I'm like the best thing in the world. And then like literally three hours later, everyone's mad at each other and everyone it's always, it's all my fault. And there's like these cycles of emotions even within one day. And I just like, oh my gosh, if this is what it's like with these, like, you know, young kids, I can't even imagine what's gonna be like with their teenagers, have you noticed that at all?

Erik Wong (12:44):
Oh, absolutely. Like there's nights. I'm like, why can't everyone just be happy? Right, it's just like tension and you know, it's she tiniest thing. She wants me to go downstairs and get her lovey that she sleeps with. Right, and that's last yesterday morning, I woke up early. We drew together and came upstairs and then I, I didn't get it because I'm like, no, I'm like, I'm not your, your slave. Like, you know, you like, you wanna have some sense of self-respect and dignity or right. I'm not gonna get bossed around by, my daughter and then that like tantrum for the next 30 minutes. And then everyone's, everyone's off.

Young Han (13:22):
You're a better dad than me. If it's my second daughter, I just, I just give in, I just like, I'll just be your slave. Oh, you're a better dad than me.

Erik Wong (13:29):
I, well, I do generally give in, which is, you know, the tension, you know, if my wife and I too, right. Like, you know, who, what is the bar for what is worth disciplining or not like it is we were, we were just arguing about that yesterday, man.

Young Han (13:42):
Thank you for sharing that. Yeah. Cause I was feeling bad about myself, so I appreciate you getting go to my level. Can I ask you how your, what your childhood was like, how did you grow up? Yeah.

Erik Wong (13:51):
Yeah. So I grew up in a suburb of Vancouver, north Delta, British Columbia, pretty normal middle class upbringing. You know, my mom was a pharmacist. My dad was an engineer. Generally felt happy growing up. I'd say the one thing that it has shaped him is it was a pretty white culture. And so as an Asian, I, my parents are from Hong Kong. I think, you know, being the one, like Asian kid in my group and trying to be popular, trying to play football and everything like that will was kind of forced me to figure out how to be a chameleon and just kinda like shape to whatever, whatever the environment needs for me. And that has both very big pros and very, very big cons mm-hmm <affirmative>. But otherwise, yeah, I think it was a, I, I can't complain about my you know, my childhood too much, generally pretty happy, optimistic kid, even, you know, we, we face normal, normal challenges that I'll find families do.

Young Han (15:03):
Yeah. And then are you doing things to replicate that, is that why you move to Vancouver? Why'd you move to Vancouver and, and quit your job and like do this whole reset with two young kids.

Erik Wong (15:16):
Yeah, we moved up with a three year old and a two month old. So moving to a different country as you know, I, I wouldn't recommend it. You know, we, one thing my wife and I did was my friend, Corey Ford introduced me to this thing called wheel of life. And you can, you can look it up on the, on the internet. It's basically like eight categories that cost two happiness there's career, money, health community, and, and other other factors like that. And my wife and I were in San Francisco and we self evaluated our, so every year we do like a couple's offsite where we actually reflect on the year and say, okay, what's working and what's not. And we had the, I guess, disturbing realization that as we were comparing life in three cities, so we're actually saying, should we live in Seattle Should we live in San Francisco? Should we live in Vancouver? That San Francisco was tops for career and money and Vancouver was better on everything else. Mm it's. Closer to family nature sense of community here. And and, and for us, and I got lots of friends in San Francisco, I'm flying down in a few weeks. I love San Francisco for us. We had this realization that well, Vancouver, it seems to be better on all these different factors, you know, except for career and money. You know, being bay area is the, one of the best cities on earth when it comes to building, making, have a making a career. And so I think at the time we were like, well, maybe when we're 55, you know, we'll move back up here. And I think as we kept reflecting on it over the coming months and years, we like, well, why not move up here? You know, it's really scary. But like why not just make the move in our late thirties versus in our fifties and try to like live a life live the life that we want now versus prioritizing career and money, which was so easy to do in the bay area. Right. It's like it's it, it, it almost felt like it was like defining us and I'm, yeah, I'm not strong enough to not get sucked into the, you know, the, the society and, you know, the constant, you know, ambition and trying to make more money, trying to get that cool job, seeing your friends have exits and things like that. And yeah, I think it was just healthier for us to live in a place where yeah. Career matters, but there's other things that, that matter too, right? Like my, you know, you, you, you just, here in the city that I love is people just kind of talk about that last. And they just felt like, you know, my, and my mom and my sister are here. And so it, it came down to like a holistic view of what happiness is for us. And I think having the courage to say, let's just go do it. Let's just leave and, and we'll figure it out.

Young Han (17:59):
That's awesome. Yeah. And I'm sure that there was a a factor of that, that like also contributed to the fact that like how you wanted to raise your kids. Right. Like what you kind of like wanted them to grow up and be, cuz one of the main reasons for me leaving the bay area was I mean there's many reasons, but one of 'em was that like, I don't know. I was like talking to my sister about this and she like said her kids were like, they entered like first grade at the bottom of the class and I'm like, how's that possible? They're like, they're so smart and bright and intelligent, you know? And she's like, yeah, most like 99% of the parents are sending their kids to Mathnasium and Kumon at the age of three. And I'm like, there's no way. There's no way. She's like, she's like, no, really like they are. And our, our kids were like literally at the bottom of the class and I'm like, oh my gosh, I don't know if I can do that. Like, I don't even know if I wanna do that and not to say that that's bad, but like I actually don't even care if they go to college. Right. So it's just like, yeah, for me, it's like, I don't know if that's really important to me. And so it's really funny to, to hear you talk about the bay. So, so specifically about that ecosystem and culture, and you don't actually realize that you're in it until you leave it and then you, when you realize like, oh man, that is like definitely a breeding ground for ambition and entrepreneurial spirit and aggressiveness and you know, and career. And, and it's really, really fascinating. It's a great place. It's a great place for that. Right. And I think you're absolutely right. It's not a bad thing. It's just like knowing what it is and, and being able to explain like that is really interesting to hear you say that because yeah, I've never really been able to put my thumb on that, but that is the reality. Like it's a, it's a, it's an ecosystem. It feeds into it. Yeah.

Erik Wong (19:34):
I, I, I could have like a, I think we could have that entire conversation about this, this topic. Like I think of, of everything, like I can be, I can do fine in the bay area. My wife can do fine in the bay area. Like, you know, we're grownups, but I, I do think for us and it was maybe is how we grew up. You know, I grew, I went to public school, my wife went to public school in small town, Nebraska in, in Lexington, Nebraska. And so for us, it, we were seeing some of our friends like applying for private school for their kid to make sure they get into the right preschool and pay 35, $40,000 a year. So that they're on like the right track to maximize the probability that you get into Stanford or Harvard. And like, yeah, maybe that's the right thing for them, but maybe not, and I think for us it's really important to have like, just exposure to like a wide socioeconomic, like, you know, spectrum, like, you know ILA, you know, in kindergarten, you know, she, some of the kids, she goes to school school with like her, her best friend, like, you know, have, you know, very parents just, you know, normal working class jobs. And then another one, you know, like very, very successful. And so for me, it's not like avoiding that cuz it's, it's amazing like the types of amazing things that happen in the bay area. But I think for me seeing that your self worth isn't defined by your grades, what school you go to, what career you have, like it's a, it's a small slice of your identity versus everything.

Young Han (21:04):
Yeah. So now I'm gonna get into the, like the hard-hitting questions here. So based on all the things that you've learned about yourself and the kind of the transitionary point of your life, like how are you qualifying success in business, in, in this next job that you have? Like, what do you, what do you, what would you say is successful in this next, this next era or this next chapter for you?

Erik Wong (21:24):
I think living some of those factors that I may mentioned earlier, right? Like can I be a catalyst? Can I be working on a team in a great culture? I think some of the more deep purpose driven things are like I had this idea that I spent 13 years in the bay area and the big leagues of business, can I of come back to Vancouver in this underdog city smaller business market and help, you know, help an organization you know, prove that we can have global impact, you know, out of Vancouver, you know, kind do something impactful out of Vancouver. That's, you know, that's what I was drawn to about improv. Like we were really looking to create a global organization, democratize coaching and, you know, make what's a luxury, good accessible to everyone. Like I got really fired up about like creating something that could change the world. Some of my friends know this, it's kind of funny that I talked to 'em about like, can I go back to Canada? Like imagine if I went back and I was just in Trudeau's secret weapon to help catalyze business growth here. And then afterwards, you know, we'd have some business meetings together and afterwards we'd go like work out like shirtless and take a shirtless selfie. And I called it like op operation Trudo bro. Like my, my friends. And I said that, and I was half joking, but it did kinda like be like, Hey, can I go back to Canada and do something super impactful here? I'm lucky enough been exposed to a lot of really cool stuff in the bay area. And now can I go back to my home country and, and help it? So I think that's the, that's the icing on the cake and I don't know if that's in my next job or if that's, you know, eventually maybe I have to go have some other successes and come back and be an investor or, you know, or advisor or something like that. But I think coming back home and like, I think I've always been driven by being like an underdog. And so I think I kind of need that to like really, really stick my fire. Can I, can I help catalyze something that's unlikely? And, and can I motivate inspire people, create great work and, and like have young people really grow as a result of the, you know, as a result of my leadership and the organization that I'm part of

Young Han (23:32):
Man, you are transitioning in a lot of different ways. I love it. You're like, you're like totally doing self discovery. I love it. So this is a great time to ask this question then. So based on the transitionary phase that you're in, like, have you changed the way that you define success in parenting and who you are as a dad? How, how do you do that now? And, and how do you, do you feel like you've changed that since in the, in the last five or six years since you moved to Vancouver?

Erik Wong (23:55):
Oh man. I think, I think this moment and you probably experienced it too is amazing and scary because like I have all this time right now, so I'm able to be present for my kids. Like before, when I was just busy, I was just, am I even doing the minimum? Am I even present? And I'm not on my phone when I'm talking to them. Mm am I making them feel like they're important? Are we just checking all the boxes, making sure they brush their teeth and get bathed every day, which I don't always do and like go to bed. But I think right now, like during this, you know, three month period I think, I think a lot about like raising girls and like independence and confidence comes to my mind a lot. Right. Like I, I really think that it's, it's good to be able to stand up for yourself. I, I think especially in the world today, like giving them the confidence to make their own decisions, cuz if they just follow the well worn path, I think that's not the way to have a really fulfilling life. So it's almost like I like it when they break the rules a little bit. And my wife and I may disagree on this one. It's a little bit of a crazy thought, but, I think the idea of them being confident and, and independence is really important. Yeah. And then I think the other thing, I think, especially coming from like an Asian background where like a lot of Chinese parents really think you're gonna go to a good school, you're gonna be a doctor or a lawyer or an architect. Like that was like the, the main jobs and really controlling what they do. But then at the end of it, the kids might come out feeling either like, you know, bitter that they didn't have choice or like they had to had to do stuff. They have to, you know, then take care of their parents at the end. I, for me, I just, I would want them to feel like they had complete freedom to do what they want and then still want to talk to me when they're grown up, yeah. You know, like choosing, choosing to wanna spend time with me. Like I went and had lunch with my mom yesterday and like, I like she's, she was an awesome mom. And like, because of that, I choose to spend time with her. I don't do it out of any sense of obligation or duty, but I just love talking to her and spending time with her. And so if my kids, even as they're, who knows where they're gonna be living, who knows what they're gonna be doing, if they still at the end of it want to come back and they, they want to have a relationship with me and my wife and then we've done something. Right.

Young Han (26:27):
That's awesome. Awesome. That's really, really great way of qualifying it. I love that. And it's really funny that you talk about kind of like the Asian stereotype about like kind of driving to it. I mean, it's, it's a huge, it's a huge privilege to also be able to like do what you're doing doing. And, and because I think the sacrifices that, you know, former generations have made to like make sure that we're established is also like gives us the ability to be more creative. Like for example, with my kids, like I don't, I actually don't care at all. Like if they want to be an artist, go for it. If you want to be a musician, go for it. If you want to be a dancer, I don't, I mean, I'm, I'm totally open to it, which is not what my parents told me growing up. Right. Like absolutely not. Right. Like and I think that that, that luxury is afforded because of what previous generations have done for us. Right. Giving us the, the privilege and the latitude to be able to think more like that.

Erik Wong (27:19):
That's a really good point, right? Like if you're coming from a play where you feel like you've got a little bit of comfort that you, you have the freedom to do that, but when you're coming from a place where you don't know if you're gonna make it financially, and this is the best path, like it's just, their beliefs are shaped by their experiences. Just like that's right. Ours will be shaped by ours. Like, I, I think you're totally right. Like I'm not confident that university is going to the a, a as good of a choice as it was 30 years ago when our kids are growing up. Like it's, it's more and more and more expensive. And you really just look at the ROI, like, like, like, and they might be like being a TikTok influencer being like a video game, Twitch streamer, like that's crazy path to success, whereas yeah. You know, for our generation, you know, it tended to be more like, like, yeah. Entrepreneurship and tech and the internet, like who would've, who've known that that was, you know, what was the good place to be. So I, I, I have to make sure that I don't get kind of set in my ways about, you know, if, if, you know, she's 14 making videos on taking selfie and like, maybe that's like the way to make money, like who knows. Right. Like, that's that scares that one scares me a little bit, but I, yeah, totally scares

Young Han (28:31):
Me a lot too. Yeah. yeah. That's really interesting. I love that. Hey, so let me let me jump into some rapid fire questions here. If you don't mind, I'd like to keep some symmetry to the interviews. And I want to ask every guest these the same questions. So first and foremost, what is the most surprising thing you've learned about yourself becoming a parent?

Erik Wong (28:50):
Well, first of all, I think having kids has made me a better human, human being. Like I just, I actually think like having, I'm just a better person and I think I'm a more likable human being now. Like it's, and I'm more confident in which like, you know, I was a bit of a, kind of a immature guy that partied too much and cared too much about people liking him. I think also just like the genuine belief that yeah, like my, my life in my career, like, yeah, I want, I want to have a bunch of success. Like the forties, if, if things go well will be oddly successful, but I'm starting to already feel like, if not, and they're okay. Like, that's, that's fine. Like their life is quickly becoming more important than, than mine. And, you know, I would, you know, if it was a choice between my career success and their life and career success, I, I would choose theirs every time. So I think it is just like the sense that like my, like that the feeling that they're more important than me they really are. Right. Wow. Like I'm not that important.

Young Han (29:56):
It's comforting in some ways. Right.

Erik Wong (29:58):
Yeah, exactly. So, yeah. Yeah, like, and I, I, I was probably a pretty selfish, like selfish person before. And so that selflessness that having kids brings is is surprising.

Young Han (30:12):
Yeah. That's a really good one. So what advice do you have for other parents and soon to be parents?

Erik Wong (30:18):
I think it's to actually talk about the stuff that's getting you to fight like. Hmm. Like one of the things is, you know, when my wife and I met, like I was making more money and I was working longer hours than her. And over time, like right now, like she's done really, really well. And so our incomes are actually kind of more similar right now. So what does that mean in terms of how the home duties should be divided? Right. When, before it was like 80, 20 my career to hers and it's like 50 50. So I actually made a spreadsheet that had all the duties when it came to giving baths, walking them to school, all this stuff. I love it. And I actually had a continuum of negative two positive, two where negative two was all Tammy positive two was all me, and you can actually have a graph where you can see and all the stuff that was all Tammy that was like red and then pink and off to green. So you could visually see the distribution of work. And part of it was me trying to, trying to prove to her, like, you see, I am doing like, you know, I am doing my, my share of work but the, the insight that came from that was the hours were pretty similar, but the mental load was 90% her. So even though the actual work was pretty, even she's the one that's thinking ahead about making sure they get their vaccinations, you know, what clothes we need to buy, what type of food do we need to buy? And so it actually created this like great insight for us were one, I was like, ha ha, I am doing 50% of the, the hours, but then it, like, it was humbling for me too. I'm like, yeah, it's, I guess you're right. Like, I'm kind of just doing what, you know, the day to day stuff, but, but I'm not thinking ahead about like, making sure they get enrolled in schools and making sure that, you know, they've got their shots and all that. So it, it actually created like a really good conversation and like, we it's a constant battle, but I think like the fact that we talk about it and, and apply some of this stuff we might do from work, it is actually really useful. Cuz you just have to keep talking about it, keep talking about it. I,

Young Han (32:16):
I love that you built it into a graphic chart

Erik Wong (32:18):
I'll send it you afterwards.

Young Han (32:20):
It's no, please do. That's H I like it's so funny cuz it's so awesome. I think it's brilliant. I'm sure there's other parents that would love that as well, too, just to like help avoid these arguments and create some level of sanity around it. Cuz the reality is, is that like the most important thing is what you just said, right? It's the conversation that comes with it. But I think the conversation can only start if you have something like that to actually con you know, converse around. Right. So it's great. It's brilliant. Okay. So the next question, if you can go back and tell yourself one thing before having kids, what would you tell yourself?

Erik Wong (32:53):
I believe, and I guess, you know, I'll I'll know this in like 15 years. I think the time with them from zero to five really matters. Even if it's like super mundane, it's like changing diapers like this baby can't talk and you're sitting there and you can't feed it because you know, the mom's doing the feeding, but I, I actually, I think it matters for a couple reasons. One is that it builds on itself. Right. And so even now, like, I feel like I have this relationship that comes all the way from just doing, you know, playing, changing diapers and stuff. And it kind of builds on itself. Like I've got some, you know, I've got some male friends who are like, oh, I've never changed the diaper before. You know, my dad never changed the diaper before, but I think like all of that, it starts now, and then it builds a foundation. And the other thing is like, I really believe kids. Remember how you made them feel like, like, I can remember like how I felt. I remember that my mom seemed to adore me and I remember that my dad didn't speak much. You know, he didn't talk about feelings or anything like that, but I could tell that he, I could tell that he loved me. And I think that they're already, like, at this age, they're gonna remember like, was dad always on his phone? Was he always prioritizing work? Or was, did he love me? Like I already, I, I already believe that, you know, that they, they, they remember how right now I'm gonna make them feel. Cause I remember from the time I was like three years old, like how my parents made me feel. So, it can be easy. Like I think, especially when you're worried about career, that's like, ah, you know, like, you know, once they're 5, 6, 7, like I'll I'll then come back. But I, I, I think this time actually matters. And you know, for the foundation, you know, the, the it's like a little seed that's that's like growing into a flower, the relationship and, and I just want them to, to not say like, oh, he was on his phone all the time or, you know, he prioritized work over me. Cause I think they'll remember that I really do.

Young Han (34:47):
Hmm. Yeah. And they soak up everything. Right. And they're watching and listening to everything even at the young age. I mean, it's wild. It's a really, it's a really good answer. So I'm gonna switch gears a little bit for the last two. So what's your all time favorite business book?

Erik Wong (35:02):
I right now I'm able to read a lot and one that I really like is your next five moves and it's a book about, you know, kind of business and also kind of planning your life. But what I like about it is it's written by like a scrappy entrepreneur. Like didn't go to a fancy school, kind of made it in the insurance industry. And like, I, I kind of like that it's like gritty and real and no holds, no holds barred, you know? Cause I think a lot of like the leadership books that, you know, I've, I've read before are very theoretical and you know, everybody's like got a Harvard or Stanford MBA and it, you know, sounds really smart and everything like that. But this is like written by like a, like a fighter, like a scrappy fighter entrepreneur guy. And I think as I look look forward to this next, you know, chapter it's like realize like, you know, business like entrepreneurship, it's like it's selling stuff and building stuff and so, you know, very quickly like it, like I'm at the stage now, and I like this, like, it doesn't really matter like where, where you went to school. It's like, if you can sell stuff and build stuff, then, then you can have a successful business. So I love the scrappy, no MBA attached nature to your next five moves. I if I can add another one, I just read the will Smith biography and I, I love, I love that book too. So I, I totally relate to not his wild success in being the fresh prince he really cares about being liked and like I and I really relate to that and it's something that I still kind of wrestle with and struggle with today cuz being likable really matters to me and like to see that will Smith like struggled with that too through his life is pretty cool.

Young Han (36:43):
Yeah. That is cool. I just saw my wife download it on audible. So I'm I'm I'm assuming I'll hear all about it soon enough here. It's good. It's yeah. Is it? I'll have to check it out then. Yeah. And then last question. What does Eric what do you do for fun? Like when you're not working or being an awesome dad?

Erik Wong (36:58):
Like, I think my favorite thing to do is to hang out with friends. And I think COVID and being a parent has like starved me from of that yeah, totally. And like, just like now, like when you're like a married couple, like looks different. It's like you know, it's like two couples get together and you have like drinks and takeout. Like that's what like hanging out looks like now. And as with your parents, but I, I love it. Like I love hanging out with friends. Also a big fan of skiing. I'm I'm supposed to be going up to whistle for the first time first time this year tomorrow. So I'm really really excited. Nice. I think just hanging out with friends and and skiing if I can I'm I'm I'm teaching Isla to ski and my, my secret plan is to get all my kids skiing. So that enables me to meet a ski more over the next decade.

Young Han (37:48):
Nice. That's very clever of you. I love it. those are, those are dad goals right there. I love it. Yeah. Eric, well, thank you so much for taking the time to spend spend some time talking to talking to me on the girl dad show. I will really appreciate it.

Erik Wong (38:00):
Yeah. It's a pleasure. I, I love what you're doing.

Young Han (38:02):
Yo, I appreciate that. Yeah, I'll talk to you soon. Okay, brother. All right. Take care. Thanks. Thanks for tuning to another episode of the girl dad show, we really hope you enjoyed that interview. And as always, please take a moment to review, rate and subscribe. We'll see you next time.

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