GirlTalk! Interview with Author Grace Liang
We’ve been supporting each other’s efforts for years online and in the fashion blogging community but Grace Liang and I finally sat down, in person, and discussed her transformation from Fashion Blogger to Transformational Speaker and Author. During our time together, we laughed and reminisced about local events and we reflected on hard times and what it took to get us to where we are today.
Today, Grace is celebrating the launch of her first book, Finding Grace. In the book, she explains how losing a spouse to cancer was her biggest challenge and how she rose from the pain of loss and is able to enjoy life again.
Please read on to learn more about my amazing friend and her difficult but beautiful transformation. She now is in a place of peace and self-acceptance and is able to help others through the pain of their own.
GirlTalk! Interview with Author Grace Liang
Shannon: Grace, you started out as this amazing fashion blogger and influencer with a great following. You’ve been well known in the community for helping women feel good about themselves through fashion and beauty. But, I have been noticing you have been transitioning this past year and have become an author, a coach and a speaker. Tell us how fashion blogging led you to where you are today.
Grace: You know, most people have a dream in their heart. My dream has been fashion for many, many years. Even, when I was young in China with no food and no shelter. I’ve always had fashion in my head. I’ve always wanted to do something with fashion but because we were just trying to survive fashion was way far away and doing something in fashion wasn’t possible. I moved to America when I was forty and I started asking myself, “What should I do with this?” Because you know dreams don’t usually die. Dreams are burning desires in your heart. I didn’t want to die with regret without even trying. When I was young I thought I would be a designer but I don’t know how to draw and I don’t know how to sew so that was a big problem (laughing). So when I moved here, I started hearing about fashion bloggers and did lots of research and thought to myself. “I’m going to do the same thing.” So I started colorandgrace.com.
Shannon: Yes, a wonderful blog. What was your goal?
Grace: At that time, I wanted to help others look good in order to feel good through fashion. Then my husband was diagnosed with cancer. He went through the whole one-year treatment and then he passed away. Through the whole journey, I call it “life after loss”, I’ve been on a soul searching journey. A journey to figure out who I am. Why I’m in this world. And, what can I do for the rest of my life? And, through a lot of learning, reading and reflecting, I found my life purpose. I realized that it doesn’t matter how much men or women look good. If they don’t feel good on the inside. they will never feel good enough. Now, I want to go deeper to really help people so I became a Transformational Speaker and I wrote my book which is about my journey and how I came out of crisis still enjoying life. My final goal is that everybody lives in this perfect alignment that their inner world and outer world match. Inside beautiful. Outside beautiful. Generally happy. I want to help people shine from their inside.
Shannon: So let’s talk about your book, Finding Grace. Finding Grace explains this journey. Which part of your journey made you want to write it?
Grace: I really didn’t want to write a book at all! I loved writing when I was little. In high school, I tried to write my first novel but it wasn’t that good. I didn’t have enough life experience to explain situations between two people in the story. I never thought 20-30 years later, I would write a book and write it in English! So, I started my blog and wrote about the journey. During that time, I had a blogging friend that was going through the same thing. I remember the day I heard about her husband passing away. I cried so hard. I spoke with my husband and told him, “I feel like I want to say something.” He said, “Why don’t you write about it? Why don’t you share with the world how we deal with it?” Cancer sucks. Cancer is horrible. But, your life doesn’t have to be. You have a choice. That was his whole idea there. So that’s why I started writing a short blog post once a week to tell everyone where we were and what was going on. Much like a journal. Before he passed away, he told me to keep writing. Not only is it good for others but it was very helpful for me. This book comes from those times and those blog posts. The book is raw, real, and full of emotion.
Shannon: Many people today call themselves life coaches but do not have the proper education and credentials to do so. Tell us about your education and the classes you took to be a motivational speaker and a life coach.
Grace: Yes, I have! But I am not a motivational speaker. Motivation can only take you so far. I am a Transformational Speaker. I transform people. Imagine you’re driving a car but no matter how much gas you give, the car doesn’t go faster. Then you realize you have the emergency brake on. So what is going on in your life that resembles the emergency brake? What are your emotional blocks? What I do is, I help people go back to their roots to help clean up their emotional blocks and limiting beliefs. Most times, adults run on autopilot which is based on the life philosophy they created when they were seven years old. A lot of women base their decisions from what they learned around them at age seven. I take people back to their earliest memory to help them clean their roots by identifying what is holding them back. Everyone has something they need to heal from. In 2019, I read 22 books and I finished my one year of “Train the Trainer” course with Jack Canfield. The most famous book by Jack Canfield that I recommend is Take 100% Responsibility For Your Life.
Shannon: What is it about this book that speaks to you?
Grace: How many times do we really take 100% responsibility? For example, I lost my late husband to cancer. It’s not my fault, right? The trauma is not my fault. But, my 100% responsibility is to heal myself. So many people are struggling and they blame others. Some are destructive and say, “It’s your fault, you made me do it.” Like the Taylor Swift song, “Look What You Made Me Do!” When I heard that song, I was laughing so hard. That is a classic example of 100% NOT taking responsibility. No one can make you do anything. It’s your choice. Purely your choice.
Shannon: So true. What advice can you share with my readers that are currently struggling with destructive relationships and destructive people in their lives? So many of us have people that try to tear us down by gossiping about us, calling us names, blaming us for their own negative behavior or feelings… What advice can you give to help them?
Grace: They need to get help. For me, it’s reading. But you can talk to a psychologist, or a wise friend, a coach or enroll in a course. Do something positive. Learn what the emotion is and try to heal it. Don’t just say, “Oh, they suck,” and move on. Do something with your emotions. Learn from it. Never tell yourself you just want to be happy. That is a false statement. The human body is a whole package. Your emotions are your guiding system. When you are peaceful and joyful, you are aligned with your life purpose.
Shannon: A lot of women are multi-taskers. We tend to put others first and forget about taking care of ourselves. What do you say to all the women out there that are taking care of everybody else and not themselves?
Grace: In this society, we have a misunderstanding of love. As women, we have to be unselfish and when we are unselfish we are looked at as good moms, good wives, good sisters, etc. But the truth is, if you don’t love yourself, you have nothing to give to others. Nothing. You have to teach others how to treat you. First, love yourself.
Shannon: So you help people transform their pain and mental roadblocks into happiness and contentment. Is that right?
Grace: Yes. But transformation doesn’t happen in a 60-minute speech. People have to be ready to transform. If they aren’t ready, I cannot help them. A quick speech though can give a little crack of hope. My clients and I see each other every two weeks and each time you see them feeling a little better.
Shannon: So other than speaking at events, do you have private sessions with clients to help them transform? Tell us what that course is like.
Grace: Yes, I do. At a minimum, clients sign up for three months and we meet twice a month.
Shannon: How can one sign up to work with you?
Grace: They can go to my website www.activateyourinnerpower.com or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shannon: Are you doing a book tour for Finding Grace?
Grace?: Yes! I did book signings last year, I’ve done a few workshops around the book and today, January 14th is my official book launch day! The kindle version and paperback are available. My dream is to become an Amazon bestseller.
Shannon: Grace, you’ve experienced a lot of pain and grief. Is it hard for you to help others with the same pain? Does your pain ever come back?
Grace: That is a very good question. I always tell people to think about the happy memories. The moments you treasured. I was triggered quick a bit during the holidays. I did a few workshops in Green Bay, Wisconsin. One was to help first responders deal with their personal loss and their loss at work. The other workshop was general people looking for support. There I specifically worked with a young couple where the wife’s younger sister committed suicide. When I deal with those types of situations, yes, sometimes my own pain is triggered. But, I do a lot of work on my self. At times, I will do a meditation and a special prayer. So it’s very important for me to do that to protect myself.
Shannon: You speak about protecting yourself by praying and meditating. What do you say to those who are struggling with people in their lives that don’t believe in them, or judge them and put them down? How do they protect themselves?
Grace: I love this quote, “You are the average of the 5 people in your life”. What does that mean? Be really careful who you hang out with. It sounds cold and cruel, but it’s very important to detox your social circle. We are very careful with what we eat right? What we put in our bodies. But, we also have to be careful with what we put in our hearts. What we put in our ears. What we see. Diet is only a small part of overall wellness. If people are always tearing you down, instead of building you up, don’t let that person in your life. If you quite some certain food, it’s the same thing. Remember, your emotion is your guidance system. Always go back there. Tell yourself, you derve the best people in your life.
Shannon: What do you want people to gain or receive from reading Finding Grace?
Grace: I’m an immigrant. And, I want people to know, it doesn’t matter what your background is. Just understand, everybody has hard times. We all have this built-in self-heal system. If you trust yourself. If you do the work, you can transform yourself. it’s all about how you make the best from your hard situations and your difficult times. You have a choice. Take 100% responsibility for yourself. I want people to walk away understanding that it’s do-able. I did it and they can too!
Shannon: Great advice. Thank you, Grace.
Grace: Of course! Thank you!
Grace’s new book, Finding Grace is currently available in paperback and on Kindle. Click HERE to view her website and to learn more about how to clear emotional blocks and to unleash the power of goal setting. Grace can also be followed on Instagram @colorandgrace.