Would-be-doctor-turned actor, writer, and creative life coach. INFJ. Capricorn. Foster dog mom, yogini, home chef, and foodie.

Author’s screenshot of an audition tape

Oh gosh, how I’ve been wanting to write here and dreading the whole time! Articles and listicles are not as half challenging as this one, because…well because I have too much to say and there’s no formula.

Kinda sorta like my trajectory — no formula, just guts. I trusted the roadmap would appear and it did.

Before I jump in to tell you about me, you might want to read a story about my name:

I was a medical student in China and did two surgeries on real people as an assistant. During my last year in college, I was…


I had to learn tactics to cope with uncertainty, instead of being constantly triggered into “fight or flight” mode

Person doing a one-handed handstand.
Person doing a one-handed handstand.
Photo by Blake Weyland on Unsplash

Growing up, I was probably the “most confident person” in my cohort. I aced everything, won awards, got articles published… I thought there was nothing I couldn’t achieve.

Then, in the last year of college, I started to have massive anxiety attacks. I lost a bunch of hair, couldn’t have more than three hours of sleep for over three months, and relaxation didn’t exist in my dictionary.

I was still not getting what I wanted. And the more I wanted it, the harder I tried, the more anxious I felt. …


It’s very easy to react to chaos with negativity—but you can choose to instead see it as part of leading a lively, exciting life

Signs showing people walking in different directions
Signs showing people walking in different directions
Photo by Robert Ruggiero on Unsplash

I had a “slightly turbulent” week. I booked an NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) workshop this weekend, along with an Airbnb for three nights. Then I got an audition from my agent and had to confirm I was available.

After my confirmation, my thoughts started churning:

“Oh gosh, why did I book the Airbnb? It’s non-refundable now.”

“This gig doesn’t pay much. If I got it I still have to do it for my agent.”

“When will I be able to do this workshop if I miss this one?”

I was already making up a juicy story when nothing had happened. For…


Why I Gave Up 34k Followers on Tik Tok China

Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

Last August I signed with an MCN (multi-channel network) in Beijing and became a Tik Tok (known as Douyin in China) influencer — teaching English to the Chinese audience. I invested in a vlog camera and studio lights and was posting 3–4 times a week.

Within two months I hit 10k followers. Then another 10k in the next two months. This February I reached 34k followers and was approached by business partners. I moved to a studio and thought I should monetize this thing.

In our MCN, a lot of the influencers from the same company were making 5 figures…


3 applicable lessons for building your own thing

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

OK. Let me start with a confession. I did finish half of the script in one day, but I didn’t meet my goal. My goal was to finish the entire first draft in 3 days, and I put it out there so there is no going back.

Yep, I didn’t reach my goal, but I tried and learned a lot. At my rate, I could finish the whole thing in two days. I wasn’t writing very fast — that was not the point of screenwriting. The point is to experience.


Forget the 4-hour workweek. Focus on synergy.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

I was recently cast in a theatre project with a big-name director. I hesitated — the pay was not great and it was going to take a substantial amount of time away from my coaching business. I asked myself: “Do I really want to add this to my life?”

But the offer awakened the hibernating theatre bug in me. I couldn’t get it off my mind: After 1.5 years of pandemic craziness, I still want to be back on stage. I’m yearning for the magic of live theatre.

So I said yes. I was prepared for the grind. Little did…


Freedom does come at a cost, but it doesn’t have to be at the cost of happiness

A confident, smiling young woman
A confident, smiling young woman
Photo by Vinicius Wiesehofer on Unsplash

I am a triple-threat — not really as an actor, but certainly as a human being: I came to the US by myself 7 years ago to study public health, made a 180-degree switch of career into performing arts, and now, an entrepreneur.

It’s fun, exciting, and liberating. No wonder we are seeing more triple, quadruple threats, saying hello to the Hustle Economy after 2020.

I’m going to be very blunt, though: This freedom comes at a cost — especially if you compare your life to those around you. …


It seems selfish but it will get you ahead in life. You may also need some treats.

SePhoto by Sound On from Pexels

“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.” — Margaret Drabble

About 10 days ago, I picked a new foster dog, Traci, a skittish and loud husky mix with tons of energy. Because of my theatre project, I was working 16-hour days and went to bed at 1 or 2 am.

Traci woke me up every morning at 6:30am and demanded no less than 3 walks a day.

The stress took a toll on my immune system, but I wasn’t aware.

I was functioning as if I were on steroids, only to come home at midnight on Friday seeing Traci’s bloody…


A letter to my iPhone 12

An iPhone 12. Yiqing Zhao. You’re so smart you’re scaring me
An iPhone 12. Yiqing Zhao. You’re so smart you’re scaring me
Photo by Onur Binay on Unsplash

Dear iPhone 12:

I hope you’re enjoying me so far, but if not, no hard feelings at all.

I know I bought you on a whim and now got myself in credit card debt. It was your fault. You sat there nice and cute, and I just thought: “Why not?”

I’m sorry if I didn’t manifest enough — sometimes things show up without manifestation, like my unborn brother who was aborted by my mother. That’s a different story, though.

Anyway, I guess I’m writing this letter because you’re much smarter than I thought. It’s scary. …


Nothing can take away your power without your consent

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

I hit a wall.

I felt my creativity juice was sucked out of me after writing listicles and working with clients. I know it’s never them to blame, so I decided to take my creative power back.

I set out to write that feature film script that I promised to finish. Forty pages in I stopped. I wanted to vomit.

Seriously, I felt nauseous and light-headed — which I doubt was attributed to my low blood pressure. It struck me I needed to replenish my creativity; it felt as urgent as saving my sanity.

Instead of turning to the Internet…

Yiqing Zhao

Would-be-doctor-turned Actor/Writer/Creative Life Coach. Write about life lessons and creativity. Book a FREE consult — https://coaching.yiqingzhao.com

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