Episode #1509 Sarah Paiji Yoo: Embracing The Evolving Nature of Success

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Blueland Founder Sarah Paiji Yoo and Jenna chat about embracing that all aspects of our lives are in a constant state of evolution and the questions she asks herself to ensure she’s on the most fulfilling path right now. We walk through how to navigate and enjoy new life phases, the importance of allowing your small wins to be self enforcing, and a daily affirmation to elevate your confidence. 


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Sarah Paiji Yoo

CEO and Founder of Blueland View Full Profile

Embracing The Evolving Nature of Success

As we explore new ways to define success as a society, it’s still rare to hear a definition that feels truly realistic, which is why I was grateful for the way Sarah Paiji Yoo described it in today’s podcast: 

“Success is a constantly evolving process. It’s about how you feel every day.” 

Sarah’s spent the last two years leading Blueland's ambitious mission to help end single-use plastic, beginning with a line of tablet-based cleaning products that are dissolved in reusable bottles. Yet, she would have never embarked on this journey had she not listened to her inner voice whispering that she needed a new sense of fulfillment every day

Sarah has a unique ability to discuss our relationship to complex topics, from success to self-talk, in a way that genuinely resonates and encourages you to make progress on your own path. I was delighted to chat with her about some of them on the show, and to share a few of my key learnings here. You can hear more of her inspiring journey in our conversation. 

Build a long-term relationship with success 

Sarah’s parents have a remarkable story immigrating to the United States when they were just 18 years old. Though they didn’t speak the language or have any money, they figured out how to take the SATs, get accepted to college, and built lasting careers as aerospace engineers.  

With such a triumphant journey, I found it extraordinary that they never had a specific vision of success for their daughter. Here’s a brief glimpse into how they raised Sarah…

“Growing up, my parents wanted me to be driven but they were never overly prescriptive about what success should look like. 

Not having the pressure to conform to any preconceived notions enabled me to pivot based on what I wanted out of my future.

I went to college with a childhood dream of being a doctor, ended up in finance and then left that well paying job to go to business school. 

I didn’t view it as a failure or that I had to start all over again, but framed it as: This is an exciting opportunity for me to figure out what I really want to do with my life.

Being honest with yourself about what excites, drives and motivates you can help you figure out what kind of personal or professional life can make you happy.

Success isn’t any one thing or a handful of things. 

Success is a constantly evolving process.” 

Focus on today 

I was so appreciative that Sarah shared her family’s story with us. Her parents' mindful approach, and the meaningful way it influenced her, is a mentality we can all benefit from upholding for ourselves and others.

As a result of her upbringing, Sarah’s pursued a wide range of careers. From her early days in finance to becoming an executive, entrepreneur, and investor across industries, embracing her evolving definition of success often puts her in positions where she’s facing a steep learning curve. She relies on this advice from her parents to navigate them… 

“My dad used to say: 

Keep moving forward. 

Take it day by day. 

Bit by bit.

Allow your small wins to be self-enforcing rather than feeling guilty that you’re not perfect all the time,” she added. “There is no roadmap or right way you should be doing things.”

Elevate your confidence with this daily affirmation 

In discussing the power of self-talk, Sarah opened up about her experiences with imposter syndrome and how she works to overcome it. Her affirmations can be valuable for each of us as we navigate our own journeys. 

“I’m always telling myself…

You can do this. You deserve this. If anyone else can do this you can too. You’ve worked hard. You’ve put in the time. You are an authority on this topic. You deserve a seat at the table. You can do this.”