Human Being vs. Human Doing: Lessons from My Tiger Mom

Alice Tang
inspiring, compelling, energetic financial advising expert

As I sit down to write this article, I’m flooded with memories of my upbringing and the invaluable lessons my Tiger Mom taught me. At the time, every lecture, judgment, and strict rule felt like a burden. However, looking back now, I understand that no lesson was wasted.

Brene Brown once said, “The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable. But our wholeness—even our wholeheartedness—actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences, including the falls.” This quote resonates with me, highlighting how true wholeness and authenticity arise from embracing all of our experiences, even the tough ones.

Today, I am embracing courage, vulnerability, and authenticity. Courage to face challenges head-on, step out of my comfort zone, and chase my dreams. Vulnerability in accepting my imperfections, embracing my flaws, and connecting deeply with others. Authenticity in staying true to myself and honoring my unique journey despite any pressures.

In a recent conversation with Ivana Poloniji and Theresa Conti on their podcast, “Step into the Pivot,” I reflected on childhood moments that shaped my outlook. Growing up with a Tiger Mom, excellence went beyond expectation; it was a lifestyle. Each achievement only set a higher bar, instilling a competitive spirit within me. Yet, amid this pressure, I found comfort in moments with my Dad, who provided a judgment-free space to simply be myself.

A pivotal moment came when I learned to balance my mom’s focus on outcomes with my Dad’s emphasis on the journey. This balance became especially important in my first job, where I struggled to adapt to different mindsets. My first boss and mentor, Joana, taught me to pause and consider the impact of my words before speaking. Through this, I learned to be more adaptable, realizing that I could be driven and ambitious while also appreciating the journey.

A dear friend, Rachel Beohm, once challenged me to reevaluate my priorities. She asked, “If you were stranded on a lonely island, what value would you bring?” Initially, I responded with resourcefulness, but Rachel urged me to consider a more profound meaning—one rooted in the inherent gifts I offer to those around me that go beyond performance. Just because someone’s 80-year-old grandparent is too old to work or contribute in traditional ways, it doesn’t mean their worth is any less than that of a young person achieving goals. Our society often equates value with productivity, but the wisdom, experience, and love people gain and give are invaluable.

My career trajectory mirrors the values instilled by my Tiger mom—drive, determination, and discipline. Yet, I’ve come to understand that success alone doesn’t equate to happiness. True fulfillment emerged when I balanced ambition with introspection, self-care, and meaningful connections.

As I continue my journey of self-discovery, I’m reminded that in a society obsessed with performance metrics, it’s easy to overlook the intrinsic value of simply being. We call ourselves “human beings” for a reason—it’s a reminder of the richness of our existence beyond mere actions. We’re not “human doings.”

I invite you to reflect on your journey. What lessons have you learned? What values are you embracing? Remember, every experience, setback, and success contributes to your growth and development.

Did you find “Human Being Vs. Human Doing: Lessons from My Tiger Mom” insightful? Check out a related blog post here. 




About Alice Tang

Alice Tang, ChFC® is a Financial Advisor, Speaker and Educator. As an immigrant to the United States, Alice faced the reality of starting a career from scratch, forcing herself to become self-reliant. Self- discovery became her life-calling, and she has since made a name for herself as Financial Advisor, Speaker and Mentor, led to inspiring others, especially women, to be courageous, confident and successful.

“Step into your power courageously. Your deepened relationship = Your Wealth.” – Alice Tang

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