This Change Interview features Michael Lee, our #Humansofchange as he shares his deep #Storyofchange with us. Thank you Michael for your open sharing and honesty.
1. What major change has happened in your life?
2008 - Marriage
2010 - Stillbirth
2012 - Son born premature by 2 months, 2 weeks in ICU
2013 - Gave up 10-year career with a company to join a competitor
2014 - Both parents had near-death experiences in the hospital at the same time after contracting malaria from a mission trip to West Timor
I’m just going to talk about the Stillbirth and Career change experience.
2. What happened during this period of change?
- Wife nearly died (she was resuscitated)
- Lost our firstborn (Naomi) at 34 weeks
- A lot of disbelief and grief
- Questioned our faith in GOD
- Wondered what went wrong
- Marriage grew stronger
- Determined to have children
Gave up 10-year career with previous insurer, to move to AIA
- 2 young babies and wife to support; wife was working in a charity organisation then (Habitat for Humanity)
- Decision made not 100% by choice, due to external circumstances (personal & professional reasons)
- Tough decision, I took pride in the fact that I was in the same company from 2003-2013, which was due to the trust and faith placed in me by my clients
- I made a promise to my clients that I would be around to service their policies
- Felt like I was not keeping my word
- Financially, it meant giving up all my renewal income
- There was a chance that some clients may not want to continue a working relationship with me
3. How did you navigate yourself out of this change period? (Any tools, resources and advice that you may have used or read)
- Our church community was crucial. (Prayers, friendship)
- Went to Israel for a "healing" trip. Needed to see the bible come to life, and that God was real, and really good.
- Ultimately had faith that God was in control, and believed to conceive by June 2010. God was faithful and indeed we delivered Rebekah the following February (one year anniversary from the stillbirth).\
- Blessed to have very supportive and understanding clients.
- They reassured me that they purchased their policies because of me, and not because of the previous company.
- Believed in myself and that change is good
4. How has the change impacted the way you approached life and work today?
- I've never had to deal with death ever.
- This experience made me appreciate my wife and my children even more, and when my wife and I get into a fight, we remind ourselves of what we have been through, and that nothing is really worth fighting about anymore.
- I have a fresh appreciation for my work.
- Made me understand that what I do really impacts the lives of others, and allows me to build lasting relationships with people
5. What one thing do you wish you had during this time - or what one thing was missing during this time that could have helped you?
There doesn’t seem to be a community in Singapore that brings families together who went through a similar experience (and that hospitals can tap on to channel these grieving families to).
It was so crucial for us to actively seek out couples who had experienced the same loss, and to see that they had been restored with child(ren). We had friends come along, who asked us, “did you know so-and-so also lost their firstborn?” and we are so thankful for those friends and families who opened up and shared their journeys with us.
I wished I had worked harder in my younger years, so I would be more financially stable, and not have to fear as much
6. What are your 3 main take aways from this change period?
1) life is unpredictable and precious
2) do not take having a child for granted
3) marriage is complete with or without a child
1) if you can, choose your leader carefully (he/she must have character and integrity)
2) be nice to people, live honestly, do your job well and you will reap the tangible and intangible benefits
3) believe in your self-worth
7. What one piece of advice would you give to someone going through a similar point in their lives?
Seek out and speak to people who have been through the same experience. These are the people whose words will carry the most weight
Don't blame each other
Believe in yourself
Embracing "unwanted" change can lead you to greater things
8. If your change could be represented by a colour, what would it be?
Gave up 10-year career with previous insurer to move to AIA: GREEN