Ada Leung says, “Just keep moving and don’t worry too soon.”
The 42-year-old Torontonian has come a long way through professional and personal struggles to a feeling of fearlessness.
Ada is a new entrepreneur and she’s living this advice everyday, not wasting time worrying over whether or not her business (AdaLeung International) will be a success, and instead focusing her energy and time on what she needs to make it one. Sure everyone worries, she says. Just worry later! But right now, you get down to work.
Ada wasn’t always able to live those words. One of the biggest hurdles she has had to overcome has also been one of the most life-changing. A few years ago, confident, bubbly, optimistic Ada found herself struggling with depression. Following the end of her relationship and the sudden tragic death of her father, she was overcome with feelings of helplessness and loneliness. Being the eldest child in her family, Ada was always the person her siblings turned to for strength and guidance, and after her father’s death was no exception. But no one seemed to notice Ada’s own need for support and her growing struggle with depression. She didn’t know what to do or who to turn to and it seemed no one understood what she was going through.
A pivotal moment in her depression came a few days before Christmas. Ada was at the movies, unable to find any levity despite the comedy she was watching. As she was leaving, it began to rain, and Ada felt an overwhelming moment of helplessness at her situation. Though she’s not a religious person, Ada looked up at the sky and said, “I don’t know what to do. This isn’t me. I just want to be myself again.” It was the most terrifying moment of her life. Surely there must be someone out there who could help her, she thought. So she decided to break her silence and ask.
Ada began talking about what she was going through. She started seeing a psychologist, she opened up to her friends who had been through depression and she shared her experience with her brother. She started volunteering with mentorship programs and walkathons for Alzheimer’s research and her perspective began to change. She saw how grateful people were for her help, even for something as simple as getting up at 5am to lend a hand. She saw that she wasn’t alone, unappreciated or invisible, and it started her on a path to recovery.
Now, Ada says she lives appreciation every day. She appreciates whenever someone does anything for her: she appreciates the people she knows and the strangers on the street. She sees that she can learn something from every person who walks into her life, and that her learning is a continual journey. And she’s learned so much. Ada says we should never underestimate each other. Everyone has knowledge and life experiences that could be helpful to others in times of need.
Ada appreciates the knowledge others have offered her and gives of her own knowledge without expecting anything in return. And yet, she’s seen the payback for living this way time and time again. Now, as she starts her business, the people she helped are helping her in turn. And that’s how Ada thinks we should all live.
Depression was a difficult time in her life, but Ada feels it’s made her a better person and changed her perspective in keys ways. First, she’s done with shame – it’s like a disease and everyone’s sick with it. Following her recovery, Ada talked freely with others about what she’d been through and encouraged them to reach out if they ever found themselves in a similar situation. She’s learned to take it easy in life – to keep moving and not worry so much! Things will work out. And she’s learned that we need to care more for each other. Ada was always a people-person, but depression showed her that even the most outgoing person can have trouble asking for help. Ada thinks we should all express our love and concern for each other more freely: you never know what might be going on beneath the surface and what a difference you can make by asking, “How can I help?”