Know Your Worth – Journey Kan

Know Your Worth – Journey Kan

There aren’t many people that can convince you to get up at 4:30 in the morning. There are even fewer people that can convince you to do so to workout. Journey is one of those people.

I first met Journey a few years ago when she subbed the early morning classes at The Studio (mdr). Let me tell you, this is not an easy task. Not only do classes start at 5 am, but the early morning crew is a tough crowd – and Journey was a NEW instructor. This easily could have gone badly, however,  Journey passed with flying colors. Not only did she have great music, but she’s one of those rare people that can be energetic and goofy at 5 am without it seeming forced.

Since then, Journey has become a friend. She makes silly faces at me when I’m trying to hold a plank, challenges me to stay in an exercise longer than I want to and recently surprised me with a birthday card a few days before my birthday because she knew she wouldn’t see me the day of. It’s safe to say that Journey is not your average instructor and I’m so glad she was willing to share her Know Your Worth story with us. 


Walnut Grove, CA (Yes, I am totally a small town girl)

Currently residing in:

Santa Monica, CA

The first thing I do when I wake up is:

Instagram // Okay, I know that being on Instagram and opening it up when I wake up in the morning isn’t exactly the healthiest thing, but I am learning to be more cognizant of the way people portray their highlight reel on the platform. For me, I use Instagram DMs to communicate with so many people and some of my closest friendships today started from me sliding into DMs or is bolstered in strength from DM sliding.

I can’t live without:

My friends and family // I struggled for a long time living in LA to find my purpose and where I felt like I belonged. For me, the last few years has led me to realize that I just needed to open up my heart and invite people into my life in order to feel no longer alone in this city. I can say that when I started making friendships as a priority in my life, my whole world changed for the better. Additionally, I absolutely need to FaceTime regularly with my parents, knowing that relationship and open line of communication keeps our relationship strong.

Coffee or tea?:

I go through phases of loving coffee, but I’ve never been a ‘coffee or I’ll die’ type of gal. Right now, I’m obsessed with Chameleon Caramel Cold-Brew. It’s so delicious and I plop some almond milk in it and it’s absolute gold.

Dream destination:

I am so grateful to be able to travel with my family regularly to Taiwan to see my 90+ year old grandmother, but a place I’ve been dying to go to and need to look into actually making it happen is Bali. Everything everyone has ever said to me has been great and it actually looks like a slice of tropical heaven.

What I’m currently reading:

I have terrible follow-through and tend to start books and not finish them. Recently, I’ve subscribed to Audible, hoping it will help me ‘read’ more often by listening to my books instead. This was an impulse decision when I got sick recently and I couldn’t really open my eyes from sinus pressure. Right now, I’m listening to Into the Water by Paula Hawkins and while I’m only a sliver into it right now, it’s been so good!

A typical day in my week looks like:

I wake up early most days of the week… Anywhere between 4-6AM is when my alarm rings to get up to teach early morning classes at The Studio (MDR). I love waking up and seeing friendly faces of the clients who have truly become my family.

As of now, I’m working on rebranding myself and trying to re-pivot my life into something of a double agent in fitness as well as media/creative strategy. Therefore, a lot of my day is devoted to working on my website, taking meetings and working on freelance projects, and trying to workout myself!

I’m a huge fan of working out for more cathartic reasons. Growing up, I never was athletic and frankly, I was terrible at every sport I tried (though I did play high school tennis because, well, the outfits were cute). Right now, I’m obsessed with adding in different workouts that force me out of my comfort zone, like BoxUnion, SoulCycle, and Barry’s Bootcamp.

My favorite thing about myself:

My sense of humor // I’ve always been a glass-half-full, eternally optimistic person and I am so proud of that. In the past, I’ve had issues with forming my self-identity here, especially since I grew up so sheltered in a small town. I’ve found that life can certainly send you some challenges, but ultimately, it is beautiful and laughing through life is something that can make everything just a little better. It’s all about how you react to life that makes all the difference.

My least favorite thing about myself:

My constant and internal need to have people like me // Let’s be real, we don’t want to be hated, but for me, I have a deep internal worry that people dislike me and it often plagues me. Whether it’s me reeling from a not-so-positive review of my teaching at the studio or someone reacting to something I said in not a way that I expected, those things often replay in my mind over and over again and I analyze them. It’s something that I acknowledge exists inside me, and I am working to build confidence to work through it.

I feel most vulnerable when:

… I teach classes at the studio // I’ve been teaching at The Studio (MDR) for a little over 2 years, and in that time, I feel like I have really found who I am inside and outside of the studio walls. The foundation of creating change is really trusting the process, and as an instructor, I’m part of the process that clients have to trust in order to be their best versions of themselves. I have learned that in order to create that trust, it is only done when I’m honestly and 100% myself.

I feel most confident when:

… when I wear my high heels. Just kidding, the last time I wore heels was to a wedding and I definitely threw out my back. For me, I feel most confident when… I’ll tell you when I feel confident. To be honest, I haven’t exactly found that yet.

I wish I were better at:

… putting myself first // I really and truly struggle with making time for myself, as I’m always forward thinking and hustling from one thing to the next. Since I got really sick after a second round of antibiotics recently, I’ve been doing my best to prioritize my health (mental, physical, spiritual, etc.) first.

Something about me that most people don’t know is:

Literally there’s nothing because I’m a habitual oversharer. I’m such an open book, so come on over – talk to me and I’ll tell you about anything… from my recent yeast infection to maybe a terrible date that I went on.

When I was younger, the thing I worried about the most was:

Not being normal // When you’re a teenager, the last thing you want is to be “different.” Growing up in a small town where the Asian population was basically just my family, I always felt that I wasn’t good enough (or white enough, frankly) and that lack of confidence seeped into my identity as I grew older. It truly takes time to realize who you are and exactly what makes you special.

The advice I wish I could give my former self:

Don’t let the details cloud you from the bigger picture. // I often would get in my head or let little things cause a huge internal panic, when all I needed to do was to take a step back and realize that everything happens for a reason and that we are all in exactly the right place at the right time for us.

The accomplishment I’m most proud of:

Right now. This exact moment in time. Getting here and following my dreams. // I have always loved fitness but I never thought that a non-linear career path to some kind of office job would be mine. I’m still learning to accept that maybe I’m not meant for a desk and a 9-5 and I am so proud that I took a leap of faith and found myself teaching the workout I love the most. I’m not sure where my life path is leading, but I know that I’m going the right way.

For me, having self-worth means:

Knowing your worth. // I know, I know – it’s kind of cheesy, but it’s taken me a long time to learn my worth and how truly capable I am. When it comes to work, I have a long standing history of agreeing to everything, including pay that doesn’t compensate me fairly. I was always scared of asking for what I want, but then I realized… no one will know what you want and how they can help you get there if you don’t tell them.

A person who inspires me is/my idol is:

Amanda Chantal Bacon, the founder of Moon Juice. Just kidding. I find her food diary on to be literally the funniest thing on the Internet.

Honestly? Every single person who I am grateful to be in contact with, be it an acquaintance, friend, or family member has inspired me in some shape or form. I’m so grateful for the good people around me that I can’t simply pick one particular person!

The best advice anyone has ever given me:

“Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy. Both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.” – Michael Scott (The Office, Season 2: The Fight)

Has there ever been a time when you felt like an imposter? If so, how did you get through it?

All the time. There’s a very thin line between ‘faking it until you make it’ and just actually faking it. Sometimes, I’ve oversold my skills at a job and I’ve had to ferociously Google things to help me figure it out. Sometimes, I didn’t sleep well and 5am is wildly early for me to be energetic and convince clients to workout but I’ve summoned something deep (maybe the wisdom and energy of my ancestors) to do so. There will always be times where you don’t feel 100% yourself, but it’s how you handle it (and that you actually handle it) that counts.

When do you doubt yourself the most?

Every single moment of the day. I’m currently in a place where I’m not sure what I’m doing with my life and my career path and there’s a lot of negative self-talk that stems from that. What I’ve started to realize is that everyone feels like they have no idea what they’re doing and that allows me to normalize my discomfort.

How do you overcome the doubt?

One step at a time, as well as a lot of self-talk and journaling.

What is (or was) your biggest insecurity?

I’ve always been insecure about my physical appearance and it’s still something that I struggle with today but work through it day by day. I come from a small town and back in the day, there weren’t a lot of Asian role models for me to look up to. When I was younger, it led to a lot of insecurity about my ethnic background which led to insecurities about my physical features. Now that I live in quite diverse Los Angeles, I’m grateful enough to see and physically have a melting pot of friends and family to look to, but those insecure voices in my head from my youth occasionally plague me today.

Talk about the biggest failure you’ve had. What did you learn from it?

I don’t know if this is my biggest failure in my recent memory (since I have a terrible memory), but it certainly is one I remember. My first interview for an internship in college, I missed the in-person interview completely and just never showed up. Luckily, they took a chance on me and called me and set up another interview time, which panned out well. It simply slipped my mind, and I still remember it today. What I learned from that is that I function best when I calendar out and organize my time. Therefore, all my friends receive Google calendar invites when we are saving time to hang out during the week. And while they are annoyed they have to plan weeks in advanced with me and RSVP ‘yes’ via Google calendar to hang out with me, I haven’t missed an event because of that.

Do you have a mantra? If so, what is it?

I feel like my mantra that I say to myself often varies from week to week or month to month depending on what I need to remind myself in life at that time. For me right now, it’s “trust the universe.” Life (or any higher power depending on what you believe) would never give you anything you can’t handle, so the challenges that you are facing are certainly there for a reason. If anything, they’re there to show you exactly how strong you are. Everything presents a learning opportunity… unless you’re bitten by a poisonous snake and then you may die and not learn anything if you don’t know how to remove the venom. Maybe I should Google that…

Is there anything else you think is important or that you wish people would know?

I’m so grateful that you wanted to interview me and I’m so glad I can share my story and a little more about myself. Thank you!

Want more Journey? Follow her on Instagram – maybe you can even slide into her DMs 😉

Check out this post for more on what the Know Your Worth series is all about.

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