A Venture into the Unknown

(Gill Wang, Student)

A soon-to-be family awaited me my second year of high school when I decided to join the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) organization. I was placed on a team with two other girls, both of whom I did not know. We competed in a prejudged competition named Business Plan. Through countless meetings, our trio quickly became a close-knit group. But this transition also came with its own challenges as we became unafraid to express our opinions. When the other two members of the team disagreed over what our new business idea should be, I soon became the mediator between the two parties. I reminded them that in a team, each person brings different strengths to the table. We complemented one another’s talents, each person an invaluable subset to our greater visions. If we listen to each other and resolve our differences, then the power put together is unimaginable. Looking back on this experience, I realized that these are the values I’ve learned at Tai Ji Men through volunteer work and practice sessions before a cultural performance. Quarrels happen but oftentimes the root problem is misunderstanding or miscommunication. When we remind each other that we’re all here to make Tai Ji Men a better place and hear each other out, then we can all work more effectively in unity.

After months of practice and revisions, we arrived at our state leadership conference. Anxiety built up as the three of us continued memorizing speeches, making sure we knew every aspect of our business, and helping each other with the presentation. As we waited for our turn to present, I thought of Shifu’s “One-two-three philosophy”. The first step is to go in and present, the second step is to answer questions, and the third is to walk out with confidence. I told myself to face this challenge with courage, happiness, and willingness. Shifu has said to always be prepared to go on stage, and I had to do just that at that exact moment. During the Q&A session, judges were allowed to ask anything and I had to make sure I was calm enough to process the question and answer clearly. We walked out the room thinking we’ve done the best we could. For a team that has two newbies and one rookie, we placed top 3! This was incredible news. I was very grateful for my team, my FBLA family, and most importantly for Shifu and his wisdom.

In the years to come, high school only became harder, but with Tai Ji Men and Shifu as my backbone, I had nothing to be afraid of. I was able to embody Tai Ji Men values in my daily routine, shaping how I think and act. Through cultural performances, I’ve learned to incorporate the essence of each performance into my life, allowing positivity to transform moments of sadness or doubt; I am an Energy Girl who dances to radiate happiness, a chorist who sings lyrics of compassion, and a drummer who strikes with unwavering confidence to impart courage. Teamwork has continued to be a foundation in my life; each individual of a team contributes their own stroke of color, in the end giving rise to a vibrant masterpiece. Tai Ji Men has become part of my identity and during the period of college application, I had the opportunity to write about my story with Tai Ji Men as my main essay, which eventually helped me land a spot at Johns Hopkins University. Thank you Shifu, Shimu, my parents, and all the brothers and sisters who provided support, comfort, help, or even presence–– every step of the way.

Photo Caption:
Gill Wang (2nd from right) and her teammates received the 3rd Place Business Plan in 2016 FBLA (Futures Business Leaders of America) State Leadership Conference.