Ivy Ge

Self-Help

Author Profile

Ivy  Ge

From an aspiring actress to working for airline executives to becoming a pharmacy professor and a multi-genre author, Dr. Ivy Ge has transformed her life while balancing her role as a working mother. Her writings and interviews have been featured on MSNBC, PBS, ABC, Fox, CBS, CW, Telemundo, Thrive Global, Working Mother magazine, Parentology, and The Times of India. She writes to inspire women to design their own fate. Her thrillers tell the extraordinary tales of ordinary heroines caught between personal conflicts and national crises. Her self-help books empower women to pursue self-growth outside the role of caregivers. Visit her website https://ivyge.com/ for more information on how to create the life you love. Besides traveling, she enjoys practicing hot yoga, horseback riding, and skiing in the mountains in Lake Tahoe, California with her family.

Books

The Art of Good Enough

Self-Help

★ 2020 Readers' Favorite International Book Award Silver Medal Winner ★ What if there are proven methods to prevent you from feeling depleted, anxious, and unsatisfied in times of crisis? Imagine you become confident about your ability to handle stress and pressure, know how to make wise decisions, and find solutions to your problems. From an aspiring actress to becoming a pharmacy professor, Dr. Ivy Ge has transformed her life while balancing her role as a working mother. Using her life lessons as a new mom juggling work and school, she helps you navigate the complexity of motherhood in simple, meaningful ways. Read the reviews from working moms and see how they have benefited from Dr. Ge's real-life examples, great advice, and steps for applying that advice effectively. If you have trouble handling difficult emotions or improving your situation, read this book to discover the answers featured on PBS, Thrive Global, Working Mother magazine, Parentology, and The Times of India. In this book, you'll learn: *How to overcome difficult emotions and make wise decisions *How to handle adversity and overcome your obstacles using your hidden strengths *How to simplify your life and get more done in less time *How to raise self-reliant children and resolve tension in your relationship *How to reverse engineer your life by going from where you want to be to where you are now... and much more. The secret to living your best life is to focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses.

Book Bubbles from The Art of Good Enough

What to Do When You Can’t Stop Worrying?

Worries are the punishment delivered before a sentence. Once you get in the habit of worrying, you’ll live like a caged bird, flying only so far before the invisible string of worries pulls you back. Here is how you stop worrying: One, set a time to worry. Assign 15 minutes each day to worry. Anything about yourself, your family, job, car, house, you name it. Make a list. Next day, open your worry log and cross out those no longer concern you and record your new worries. This will help you identify a pattern of unnecessary worries you carry around. Two, do something about it. When you can’t stop worrying about something, try to identify one thing you can do to lessen that worry. For example, if you worry about the upcoming presentation, run it by someone you trust, and make it better. Three, have a Plan B. Having a Plan B can help prepare you for the unforeseeable future. When you weigh your situation and come up with a Plan B, you not only avoid making hasty mistakes, but also set up a safety net for yourself. Last, remember, you always find what you’re looking for. Focus on the thing you can do, rather than the thing you can’t, makes a big difference in the long run.

Prioritize When Everything Is Important

We all have so much to do and so little time! The golden rule is to eliminate, automate, and delegate. For the remaining tasks, use these steps to prioritize. Step 1: Which one of your tasks is the most urgent? Do it first. (Think of how the consequence of delaying can be severe, even irreversible) Step 2: Which one of your tasks is the most important for the day? Do it second. (Think of how the cost of incompletion can lead to serious consequence) Step 3. Which one of your tasks is important in the long run? Do it next, but in small doses. (Think of starting small, but do it daily. For example, you need to clean up the garage, instead of waiting until the last minute, set the goal of cleaning for 15 minutes a day only, and do it over the course of two weeks. Step 4. Rank the remaining tasks in terms of enjoyment. Rule No. 1 - Do fun tasks first in short spurts (set alarm for 15-20 minutes per task). Rule No. 2 - Insert a bit-size important task (from step 3) between two fun tasks to prevent stressing out. Rule No. 3 - For difficult tasks, think about them in the shower and watch good ideas pop up like wild mushrooms.

How to Attract Good Luck?

Research shows that being curious can maximize your opportunities and bring you more luck. In our culture, we elevate intelligence and think it’s so important. The reality is intelligence is incredibly overrated. Being curious means exposing yourself to ideas, to books, to places, and to people. Since childhood, the human brain had always fascinated me. When I had a neurosurgical rotation in pharmacy school, I asked a surgical resident to take me to watch an Awake Craniotomy, a procedure performed on the brain while patients are awake and alert. The surgery took eight hours. When the surgical residents went to have lunch, only the attending surgeon and I were left in the O.R room. He asked me to help position the microscope to identify the exact location of a brain tumor. After a while, he began explaining what he was doing, and how he decided where to cut. It was such a memorable experience. By the way, the human brain looks like Japanese tofu, and a tumor looks like spoiled tofu, in case you wonder. When I graduated, I got my first job at a neurosurgery medical center. Because I spent so much time with the surgical team, I learned valuable knowledge to stand out in the applicant pool. You see, just being curious can bring you good luck.

What to Do When Things Don’t Work Out?

Are you disappointed with how your life turned out? You’re tired, stressed, and anxious. What should you do when nothing seems to work out the way you want? First, acknowledge the fact this is not the time to aim for perfection. You can’t have everything, so focus on the most important things first. Once you get them under control, you can move on to other things. Second, try a new coping strategy. Your old defense mechanism isn’t working. It’s time to learn from others, either from someone you know or admire. If one strategy doesn’t work, try another. Adjust the ones that work to fit your unique situation. Third, make a plan. There’s no perfect plan when everything evolves so fast. Even an imperfect plan is better than no plan at all. Having a plan lowers your anxiety and motivates you to take action. You can always refine your plan as you go. The farther along you are, the clearer everything becomes.

How to Get Your Kids Excited to Learn?

Homeschooling has proven to be one of the most difficult things yet on our 2020 to-do list. Your kids sit in front of a computer with that glazed-over look, as if they had an out-of-body experience. You worry about their future, but nothing you say can motivate them to learn. Now, let’s take a step back and figure out why remote learning isn’t effective. The school's focus has been teaching kids knowledge—the 'what', not the 'why'—the importance of learning that knowledge, or the 'how'—ways to use it in real life. If you want to get kids excited to learn, they have to understand why they are learning it and how to apply it in real life. It doesn’t help just tell your kids they’ll end up living on the street if they don’t study well and go to college. Find a more pertinent way to show them the difference between an educated person and an uneducated one. If you teach them age-appropriate life skills, such as money management, cooking, cleaning, and folding laundries, they'll realize they can change the outcome if they put in the effort. They’ll become more confident in their abilities, and want to do better in other areas, such as learning at school.

The Silver lining in Everything

My son turned sixteen. For the first time, he celebrated his birthday without me. When he cut the birthday cake with my husband, I was a hundred miles away at a trauma center after being brought in by helicopter for multiple fractures and a gaping wound that wouldn’t stop bleeding. Between the debilitating pain and medication-induced mental fog and nausea, I thought about the future. How long would it take before I could be active again? Would I experience all the negative consequences of this injury the surgeon had told me about? With only one good arm, it was a tedious affair to peel and eat even half of a banana. Between each bite, I noted not just its smell and texture, but also the funny little things about banana that had happened to me in the distant past. Suddenly, all the unimportant things I had pushed aside during my busy career seemed so precious. I wondered how I could have lived this long without missing their presence. The nurse came in and asked how I was doing. I said, “I’m in pain, and it’s a good thing.”

The Pandemic First Aid to the Burnout Moms

If you’re a mom with school-aged children, you’re likely experiencing exhaustion daily. It’s both mental and physical. You feel powerless in this fight against an enemy you can’t even see. No one has answers for you. You have to search for solutions yourself. The thing is, you can’t use your old way of thinking to solve a new problem. Start with listing things you can still control, no matter how small they are. Use them as the backbone to build your new way of life. Move on to the things your partner and children can help you maintain control. Have a family meeting and talk about everyone’s responsibilities and expectations. Assign projects to your five-year-old, so he/she has a ‘job’ to do while you working on yours. Learning life skills and engaging in creative ‘project’ help prepare kids for real-life challenges later on. The more confident they’re of their abilities, the less dependent they’re on you, and the more motivated they’ll become to learn, even on Zoom. The last step is to dig deep into your strengths and think about a third option (that isn’t all or none) for the things you have no control. Take a walk, or a shower can usually get your creative juice flowing.

The Quickest Way to Beat Listlessness Now

Come on, you know what I’m talking about. Everyone feels it nowadays, even the littles ones. Everything we do seems pointless. Why bother keeping trying when nothing matters anymore? True, but not entirely. The coronavirus is a new threat. No one knows how long it will stay, how soon we can find a cure, and how fast we can rebuild what we lost. One thing we do know—is that we can’t use our old methods to tackle this new problem. We need a new strategy to get what we want. But how, you ask? Here’s a hint: study those people, businesses, or institutions that have changed their approach in getting what they want during the pandemic. Instead of swimming against the current, they pivot to go with it. I call this reverse engineering. Figure out their reposition strategies and apply them to your own problem. You’re listless because you don’t see a way out of the maze. Reverse engineer others’ successful strategies will point you in the direction out of the mess. Study, plan, and apply. This is how cars beat fast horses, and airplanes took the sky. The time is changing, and your coping strategies must change with it.

If Only This Happens, Life Will Be So Great

How often do you wish for something to happen, so that you can be smarter, stronger, happier, more successful, and attractive? If only this or that happens… The truth is, that thing will never happen unless you do something about it. “But it’s impossible! It’s too hard! I can’t do it! I don’t have the money, the willpower, or the stamina? I can’t!” Well, you can’t if you never try. Start with something very small that you can do right now for five seconds. For example, clean your room for just five seconds, or do one push-up. Do it every day. You’ll see a big result. It’s called the compound gain. A small thing can snowball into something huge. The key is consistency. As you get comfortable with that small effort, gradually scale up your commitment. That is how people accumulate assets, write their best-selling books, become professional athletes, and be the CEO of their own companies. What is that small thing you can do right now for five seconds?

Want to Be Good at Decision-Making? Read This

We make countless decisions every day. From what to eat for dinner to what show to watch on TV, we rely on our gut feeling to choose one option out of all the possibilities. When it comes to making critical decisions, however, we’re stuck. Questions like What career change should I make, or Should I move to another city can torment you for months without a clear decision in sight. Fearing for the worst outcome, our minds are tangled up with all the pros and cons, unable to decide what is our best option. Here are the seven secrets that can help you make better decisions in tough situations. 1. Identify the core problem you’re solving – eliminate unnecessary information. 2. Focus on gaining rather than losing – set your eyes on growth. 3. Know what is important to you – don’t be pressured to follow others’ advice. 4. Aim for good enough – learn to make decisions based on imperfect data. 5. Quantify the pros and cons – use standard criteria to weigh each option. 6. Consider the cascade of consequences – know what to expect from your decision. 7. Evaluate the outcome of your decisions – learn from your past. Check out the entire article at https://www.ivyge.com/decision-making/

Is Your Relationship Holding Up to the Test?

Use these two quick markers to gauge your relationship strength. One, how often do you talk to each other about your feelings? Two, how often do you express love and appreciation through intimacy? Too busy to talk to each other? Hmm, I wonder if you have set the right priority in life. If nothing else, this pandemic has shown us how much family and health mean to us. Always put people first, then things. Too stressed for intimacy? Are you aware of the happy hormones flooding your brain during and after sex? Welcome your partner’s inviting hands in bed and take the joy ride together. You’ll feel so much better afterward. If you’re stressed and worried, don’t hide in a corner and suffer alone. Give your partner a chance to show support even if he or she can’t solve the problem for you. Having a frank talk about your feelings builds the much-needed trust in your relationship. By discussing your problem with someone who loves you, you’ll feel less alone and more optimistic to tackle the challenge. In return, express your love and appreciation through intimacy, so he or she will love you more. Deep down, we’re all creatures of feelings. Touch each other’s heart and be touched.

What Is Your Forgotten Dream?

So far, I had made four career changes (Business -> Engineering -> Pharmacy -> Author), and now I'm working toward the fifth one. People ask me, how do you find time to learn new things? What if things don’t work out the way you want? Wouldn’t that be a waste of time and effort? Well, honestly, if something interests you, you’ll find the time. You’ll re-prioritize your life to nurture that interest. Because it makes you happy doing it; feel good about yourself when you get better at it. Will I succeed? I don’t know. It’s the same uncertainty I faced with all my previous changes. So far, my record is good, but it doesn’t mean I’ll succeed this time. I have muscle memories from countless trial and error. I learned to look for patterns, be flexible, kind, and open. We were born with nothing and will die with nothing. It’s the experience that counts. Give your grandchildren a reason to look up to you, round-eyed, in awe. Think of life as a train ride. We’re all heading for the same destination, but everyone sees a different view. Stop looking at life through others’ lenses. Find your own horizon. Make your ride the most splendid and memorable.

What Career Change Is Right for You?

Have you lost a job recently or have second thoughts about your current position? Are you too old to switch careers? Do you need another degree to move into a different industry? These are all valid questions. As someone who has made four career changes in different fields, I want to make the process easier for you by breaking it down into 8 steps. 1. Understand your strengths and transferable soft skills 2. Identify various industries that can use your strengths and skills. 3. Go to LinkedIn or social media groups to find people who are already in your desired positions. 4. Study their educational background, credentials, work experience, etc., to identify the easiest industry/position to break into. 5. Ask the insiders for 5 minutes of their time to answer your questions. Offer help and be courteous. At least one of them will help you out. 6. Take free online courses from top universities on sites like edX, Class Central, and Coursera, to boost industry-specific knowledge for a standout resume. 7. During interview, showcase your strengths and soft skills through storytelling. Be likeable. 8. Negotiate additional perks, even if salary is non-negotiable. That is the entire process. Need more motivation and details on the topic? Read my book!

How to Save Your Relationship at Home? (3/3)

How A Timer (Part) I), A Calendar (Part II), and A Trash Can (Part III) Boost Your Relationship During Quarantine? You’re feeling trapped, anxious, and lonely at home, next to your partner who is equally mad and sad. What if you can win back the love and passion that bought you together in the first place? Clean up the house together! Working with your hands eases mental stress. The process of going through old stuff helps bring back memories of the old times, reminding both parties why they were together in the first place. Deciding what to toss and what to save as a team unites the couple and confirms the common goal of the relationship. Once you clean up the house, you not only rekindle the love between you but also give yourself a peaceful environment to be productive at home.

How to Save Your Relationship at Home? (2/3)

How A Timer (Part) I), A Calendar (Part II), and A Trash Can (Part III) Boost Your Relationship During Quarantine? You’re feeling trapped, anxious, and lonely at home, next to your partner who is equally mad and sad. What if you can win back the love and passion that bought you together in the first place? Seeing each other 24/7 is way too much exposure. You’ve got to give each other the room to breathe. Divide up your living space into sections; each party takes a section as the home office. Decide on the time and duration of this NO CONTACT period, mark it on your calendar, and stick to it. This way, you both can have a life of your own at home. Next, divide up household chores based on each party’s preference and expertise. Write down who is going to do what, at what time, and keep your promises. If one party fails to do his or her share, there will be penalties - whether it’s a flat $10 each time, or an escalating scale. If you have children, let them be the judge. They’ll get the job done. This way, you are sharing the responsibilities together. Pick one day each week to switch office space and house chores, and appreciate each other’s effort.

How to Save Your Relationship at Home? (1/3)

How A Timer, A Calendar, and A Trash Can Boost Your Relationship During Quarantine? You’re feeling trapped, anxious, and lonely at home, next to your partner who is equally mad and sad. What if you can prevent your relationship from going bad to ugly during quarantine? What if you can win back the love and passion that bought you together in the first place? Discover how these three items can boost your relationship in this fun and informative three-part series. Set 15 minutes for face to face communication. Really sit together and look at each other. Each party gets 5 minutes to talk about whatever is on his or her mind. The other party can only listen, no comments. When the 5 minutes is up, switch to the other person. When both parties have a chance to speak, you spend the next 5 minutes talk about what each party can do for the other person based on what you just heard. Start small, be specific, if you don’t know where to start, focus on the things you can easily do but often forget. You do this every day, 15 minutes at a time. Within a week, you will begin to see each other in a new light. We all want respect and acknowledgment in a relationship.

It’s Time to Rethink the Meaning of Life

For a long time, we train our mind to get more from life—more money, better cars, bigger houses, and expensive schools for our children. We are what we have. That is how others see us. That’s how we prove it to ourselves. Now the quarantine takes away the value we give to these material things. We stopped commuting, and our children learn at home. No matter how much assets we own, our future is as uncertain as everyone else’s. How to find meaning in this new reality? It’s time to stop using material things to give meaning to our lives; instead, we seek meaning within ourselves, in our body and mind. What really makes us happy? What are the things we absolutely can’t live without? It’s time to re-prioritize things, and do the most important ones first, and always. We’re what we believe, what we do, and what we choose to keep in these crazy times. Take care and take it easy, my friends.

I'm Imperfect, So What?

Perfection is like infinity, a great concept but impossible to reach. Don't let imperfection stop you from living the life you want. Stop playing all the worst-case scenarios in your head. Start doing the things you always wanted to do. You don't need the entire map drawn out before taking the first step. It's like driving at night, you can only see as far as your headlights allow. as the road extends before you, you find your way to the destination. #artofgoodenough.

What Kids Need to Learn From This Crisis?

Kids need to learn and grow while schools are closed. However, academic learning is NOT the only thing kids need to learn in this crisis. Many of us are anxious and angry. There’re many things out of our control. How to process the negative emotions and still maintain our focus on what we can control? Explain to your kids how you are handling these negative feeling, so they learn to be strong and wise. Teach them how to cook simple meals, how to do laundry, and what is the best way of folding clothes. Encourage kids to be resourceful by thinking outside the box. Include them in the decision-making process on family matters. Listen to their points of view and explain to them why their opinions are sound or not. This crisis gives us the perfect opportunity to start those life lessons. If you're stressed by the economic crisis, include kids in the conversation. Explain to them the value of healthy spending, and calculation of return on investment. There are eBooks on money management for kids that you can check out from the local library to improve their financial literacy. There will be a time when they have to meet such challenges alone. These life skills and lessons are what benefit them in the long run, not algebra 2.

What We Need vs. What We Want

Do you ever wonder why we are getting more and more anxious and stressed out? Why do we do the things that don't matter to us, spend the money we don't have, buy the things we don't need, and impress the people we don't even like? Because we have been chasing after the things we want, instead of the things we need. Needs keep us in harmony with our nature; wants distract us, drive us away from our purpose. It's time to take an inventory of our needs and wants, shed the unnecessary weight, and live simply.

What Makes Us So Angry?

There is so much anger around us nowadays. The invisible and the unknown are changing the way we learn, work, travel, and communicate. We're forced to develop a new routine. We're angry because we lost the order that held our old lives together. We're angry because we have to process things differently when we are not ready. We're angry because we are scared. Fear is our enemy. Learn how to handle fear is the first step to take control of our situation.

Relationship Checker During Shelter-In-Place

With more and more people following shelter-in-place orders all around the world, couples are spending a record amount of time together--good news for some, unbearable for others. Love is a practice, a discipline to focus on the good, and work with the rest. Instead of reacting with anger out of frustration, find out why your partner suffers from extreme anxiety and stress. Talk about their childhood, any event happened in the remote past, unhealed, still haunting their memories. Give each other space to cool down and reflect. Ignore the imperfections. They're always there, you just haven't had the time to zoom in on them. For the sake of your relationship, learn to understand first before criticizing. It won't do anyone any good. Remember, you can't help someone if you don't understand them. So today, practice love with discipline.

Facing Imminent Danger, Real and Imagined

After working in hospitals for over a decade, I have witnessed the extremes of human emotions over deaths and second chances. Now the virus is testing everyone's ability to cope with the perceived pending doom, the gut-wrenching uncertainty, and powerlessness. Learn to process your emotions by writing it out. Let words bring clarity to your thoughts. Let constructive thoughts bring forth the actions you need and leave behind the destructive ones. We can't control everything, but we can control our own thoughts and actions. Do you have any destructive thought that serves you no good? Write it down to unload your burden, then toss it away, literally and figuratively.

What to Do When You Can't Stop Worrying

Most of our troubles are manmade, caused by worry, hurry, and curry. Anxiety turns us against ourselves, traps us in the imagined danger, confines us in the shadow of doom, forever tittering on the edge of control. When we can’t stop worrying, we stop living. Here’s what to do when you can’t stop worrying: the first is a temporary fix followed by a permanent solution.

The Mismatch Between Needs and Wants

Do you ever wonder why we are getting more and more anxious and stressed out? Why do we do the things that don't matter to us, spend the money we don't have, buy the things we don't need, and impress the people we don't even like? Because we have been chasing after the things we want, instead of the things we need. Needs keep us in harmony with our nature; wants distract us, drive us away from our purpose. It's time to take an inventory of our needs and wants, shed the unnecessary weight, and live simply.

Stop Taking Yourself So Seriously

Do you worry about making a fool of yourself while others look on? Have you ever stopped trying new things just to avoid judgment and embarrassment? Well, it's time to stop taking yourself so seriously. Who cares what random people think when they see you struggle with two screaming kids and a heavy bag of groceries. You do what is important to you. If they judge, they've forgotten their days wearing diapers. Use your strengths and values to anchor your life, not others' opinions.

The Fit Between Your Strengths and Your Life

Every one of us lives three lives simultaneously: public life, personal life, and private life. Your sense of happiness depends on the level of harmony among these lives. Take a moment to reflect on these three lives: which one of them makes you yearn for more?

Your Happiness: Pleasure or Pain?

There are only two types of goals in life: moving toward pleasure or moving away from pain. Those who move toward pleasure know what they want and make efforts to reach their rewards. When they encounter pain on their journey, they see it as necessary before their favorable outcomes. Those who move away from pain live their lives passively, letting fear guide their courses of action. Although they minimize the risk of failure, they’re far from success. Which one of these are you?

A Mother's Struggle

We have all faced the internal and external pressure to be perfect. The bar is set so high that it's impossible to reach. I advise new parents to focus on one thing at a time. When you become comfortable with that one thing, move on to the next. Celebrate your small wins. We’ll be parents for the rest of our lives. There’s no hurry to get everything done right this very moment. What matters is you love your children and communicate that love. They’ll love you back. Being a new parent is like learning to driving a car. You know all the rules, but there’s constant distractions - other cars zoom in and out of your line of sight, the pedestrians, the traffic lights, and the weather. You have to learn how not to freeze when something unexpected happens. That takes time and experience. Don’t beat yourself up for something you’ve no way of knowing.

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