- Shulman Advisory G.K.
Hometown: Lansing, Michigan
Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 6 (as of March 2020)
When I got too old for summer camp, my mother was determined to find another way to get me out of the house for the summer. She suggested that I apply for a sister state exchange program and visit a new country. I found myself staying with a lovely host family in Shiga Prefecture. I was 17 at the time and the experience completely changed the direction of my life.
I believe that, boiled down, the only things I really have in life are time and energy. The way I use these is what defines how fulfilled I am and what I can contribute to the lives of people I love. Reminding myself of this helps me make good decisions even when navigating life's toughest trade-offs.
I’m proud that I’ve been able to quickly pull myself up several steep learning curves and thrive as my work has shifted into new areas over the course of my career.
However, if I were to pick a single specific achievement, getting my own energy consultancy off the ground feels like the pinnacle so far.
My guiding strategy has been to acquire combinations of skills and expertise that are unusual for a single person to have, and to leverage the value of those combinations, like expertise in the energy industry and fluency in Japanese, to do interesting and satisfying work. Today, my mission is to help accelerate Japan’s shift to a greener and more resilient electricity supply system.
Even if some of my original romance with Japan has faded over the years, I’ve settled into a beautiful equilibrium where I still feel a sense of wonderment and joy when I wake up every morning and look out the window, rediscovering that I’m in the middle of Tokyo and that I get to live my life here.
I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t continue to experience some ups and downs in their relationship with our adopted home country even after many years of living here. Don’t dwell on the lows, but don’t try to avoid them — the sooner you walk through the fire, the faster your feet will stop burning. Enjoy the highs, but don’t be dependent on them either. Focus on the happy medium that you carve out for yourself, and you’ll find that you can spend most of your time there.