About Fei Hsia
Born in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, Fei Hsia (pronounced Face-Ear) was brought up in a multi-cultural family. During her childhood she lived in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. These experiences gave her an early appreciation of the cultural diversity in our world and opened her eyes to different ways of life. Fei Hsia was encouraged to pursue musical endeavours, so took flute and singing lessons throughout her childhood. She obtained a Bachelor of Music and Postgraduate Diploma in Secondary Education at the University of Otago and went on to teach high school music. Since marrying Phil and the subsequent arrival of their children, her focus in life became her family. Her desire to be there for them as well as lead a life of impact and influence, where she could make a lasting difference in her community and beyond, drove her to explore other avenues in which to invest her time.
Born and raised in Southland, New Zealand, Phil spent his formative years on his family lifestyle block. Like Fei Hsia, Phil was also encouraged to pursue musical endeavours, so took lessons in violin, guitar, cornet and singing. He obtained a Bachelor of Commerce in Management, minoring in Music at the University of Otago and went on to work in positions relating to technology and leadership. Having been through two redundancies within the first decade of his career, Phil has always been on the look out for other opportunities that would provide freedom of time and money, as well as the long-term security he has always desired for his family.
Our unlikely introduction and the merging of our two stories began through a shared love of singing when we both successfully auditioned for the New Zealand Secondary Students’ Choir. While our shared love of music is still a galvanising force in our relationship, it is our faith and vision for life which now guides us as a couple and a family.
A number of years after meeting one another, our friendship blossomed and several years of dating followed before we were married.
A couple of years later, just as we were beginning the opening chapter of our “happily ever after” story, life threw us a big curve ball when Phil was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
This shocking news came at a particularly hopeful time in our lives, as we were expecting a double blessing later that year; twins – a welcome signal of hope for us after a number of other health issues. At the time, we had been feeling optimistic for our future following an improvement in life circumstances. Suddenly we felt like we were in a constant tail spin as our life as we knew it was whipped out from underneath us.
As both of us were medically unable to work, we faced an uncertain future. We clung to hope and supported this fragile emotion by nourishing a positive mindset and building a positive environment around ourselves as Phil underwent surgery and treatment.
Just a few months later, our twin boys were born prematurely into the centre of a very surreal and emotionally charged world, about halfway through Phil’s course of chemotherapy treatments. Caring for two babies with very high needs and health problems presented numerous additional challenges which required us to dig deep into the reservoirs of our emotional resilience as we battled extreme fatigue and exhaustion for the first 18 months of their lives.
This period of our life not only tested our strength, faith and capacity but also gave us a much needed wake up call. It called us to question what we really value in life and reassess how we how we were prioritising our time. It also highlighted to us that while an active income is very good at providing a deceptive sense of security and comfort, no one is actually safe. In fact, everyone is at risk of losing their job or source of active income at any point in time, irrespective of the “stability” of the role.
While Phil’s diagnosis meant we lost sight of our long term plans in favour of living solely for the present moment, it also made us realise that we needed to change some things in our life going forward. Not knowing how we would initially pay our bills, ongoing living costs and support our growing family during the year which followed Phil’s diagnosis, created a great appreciation for the importance of financial security during times of adversity. It wasn’t a quick or easy journey back to health for any of us, so during that time this seed lay dormant within us.
It wasn’t until we had our third child that a friend challenged us to stretch our thinking. As we began to look more long term again, this seed to take proactive action toward creating a secure future for our family began to take root and grow. Instead of thinking small, we were encouraged to return to our pre-cancer vision to live a life of purpose in alignment with our values. In a serendipitous turn of events we had a door open for us to surround ourselves with a number of highly successful individuals who had all created amazing holistic results in their life. What truly blew us away was their generosity of spirit in paying it forward by giving their time and sharing their expertise to help perpetuate their success in the lives of others.
By leveraging an earned mentoring relationship, a personal development program and a unique environment of growth, we are now unravelling our thinking on how to pursue “success”. As we follow the path laid out for us to change the results in our own lives, we have begun to follow our mentor’s example of taking our eyes off ourselves in order to help others reach their own potential, so that collectively we can create lasting impact in our world.