Chelsea Chen | Meet the MissFit

Meet the MissFit, Chelsea Chen

Social Media Coordinator | Niche |

What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?

Be the best listener possible. Take note of how people work together, what people’s communication styles are, and get to know who people are beyond work – what are the passions and stories of the people you’ll be working closely with? Focus on building these relationships and do the work to understand how people (and just not on your own team) work and communicate. By absorbing all the information you can and being as observant and open as you can, you will be a better leader. I also think that it’s really easy to work crazy hours when you are entering a leadership role for the first time because you obviously want to do your job well and prove yourself, but please take time for yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Establish your boundaries and learn how to say no. Also, don’t be afraid to question things. Just because something was always done a certain way doesn’t mean you can’t change it. 

How do you define success?

I used to think success was having a husband and house by the time I was 28 and that I’d be making a name for myself in the food and beverage world. HA. I’m 27, and my version of (personal) success now is if I can successfully answer yes to these questions:

Did I make someone laugh or smile today?

Did I help someone?

Did I genuinely make someone feel good about themselves?

Did I do the best that I could at work?

Do I have a strong support system of friends and family?

In short, success to me is loving who I am at the beginning and end of every day. Loving what I do and what I’m trying to accomplish. 

What’s something you did that at the time seemed negative but turned into a positive thing? 

I quit my job as a restaurant manager in Napa with zero plans, subsequently got into a serious car accident right after, and then went through the hardest breakup of my life. These were all things that seemed like the worst things ever at the time, but the best parts of my life came out of these rock-bottom moments. I learned to be okay on my own. Better than okay – I learned to love myself. I took myself traveling. I opened my heart and had conversations with thousands of people I would have never spoken to otherwise (while driving for Lyft, traveling, and through meeting people on Instagram). Those dark months in 2017 led me to dive back into my love for photography and travel, and that’s when I started taking my Instagram account more seriously. Since then, I’ve formed the most incredible friendships because of the platform, worked with amazing brands, built a blog, taught myself how to use social media to let my voice be heard, and became stronger than ever.

How have your past experiences shaped the way you work in a team today?

All of my past experiences have been in hospitality. Restaurant world is tough. It’s cutthroat, the hours are long and grueling, the work is tough, and people are crazy. It’s chaotic, and I love that. I always say that the people who work in restaurants are insane, but in the best way, and those are my type of people. People who are more like family than anything else. And I take this type of family outlook into the way I work in teams now. It’s a lot different in an office – I don’t come into work hugging my coworkers and ending a tough night with a round of shots together. But I come into work looking at my coworkers like they are family and treating them as such, by valuing them and getting to know them and showing them they can trust me and count on me.

Being in hospitality has taught me how to really read people, and how to communicate with them. Also, it’s taught me to be comfortable with pivoting on the fly and to be unafraid of anything that can and will happen. Everyone in a restaurant relies so closely on each other, from front of house to back of house, that it’s impossible not to learn how to work together and figure out ways to make communication strong. I’ve worked every position there is in a restaurant so I can better understand what each position does, and I think it’s important to have this kind of perspective and understanding in an office as well. No, I won’t know what it’s like to work as an Infrastructure Analyst, but I can get to know that person and understand a bit better what their day-to-day looks like.

Best Tip for Staying Motivated

“Keep learning and practicing your own art, and take breaks when you need to! I find that regular breaks traveling and spending time in nature really keep me focused on my goals and remind me of the bigger picture. I’m pretty sick of the #hustleculture. Take the time you need to focus on what you love, spend time with loved ones, have conversations with people in different industries, seek out the new, stay inspired.”

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