2023 marks the 10th year since I started career coaching!

Back in 2012, I was awakened to the fact that I had no further interest in climbing the corporate ladder after my early roles in international HR and talent development. Then, confirming my life’s direction during a life-changing trip to India & Nepal, I started career coaching initially at a University coaching young adults. Then, I continued pivoting and growing into an independent coach since 2017 to support and empower individuals like myself: Freedom-loving rebels, creatives-at-heart, and old souls curious about the spiritual aspects of life!

It is the longest “job” I have ever had, and I won’t trade this experience with anything else! Having accumulated 10,000 hours in my craft, these are what I’ve learned so far:

10 Lessons I’ve learned from 10 years in career coaching –

1. Most people know what they are NOT good at (and obsessed about them) but have trouble owning their strengths and talents:

And this is NOT your fault! Blame it on our failing education system that only measures and defines success with rigid, limiting benchmarks.

What we focus on EXPANDS – You are doing yourself (and the world) a disservice when you choose to focus on your shortcomings instead of cultivating your talents and using your strengths to improve your life daily!

My heart breaks a little every time I see someone so dedicated to improving their weaknesses while ignoring the obvious gold and diamonds they already own.

That’s why I love using Quantum Human Design to kickstart a coaching session – because if you are born with these talents and natural strengths that a total stranger can see so clearly, can you still (unconsciously) sabotage yourself?

2. There won’t be just ONE dream job that fits you for the rest of your life:

The world is evolving rapidly. WE are evolving rapidly. What felt like a dream job 3 years ago could feel like a corset you’ve outgrown with that you can hardly breathe.

So stop having unrealistic expectations about finding ONE perfect-fitting “Right Job” that’ll make you happy and fulfilled ever after. You are not Cinderella, either!

On the other hand, if you can bring the passion for life & curiosity to whatever you are doing at the moment, whatever you do and wherever you are, you can turn every task & job into a dream job 🙂 This Zen way to flow through life focuses on BEING, without over-identifying with the WHAT and HOW you are DOING.

3. Attaching your Identity + Self-Worth to your job titles is a surefire way to an identity crisis later:

Who are you if you are not what you do for a living? That’s an important question to ask.

You might not understand why you (and many) think like this – because there is a subtle hint in our culture that suggests our labour is like tradable goods in the market, and as we productize ourselves as if our values are only recognized via the lens of our “price tag” aka how much we earn, we enslave ourselves in the rat race.

YOU ARE NOT YOUR JOB – You are the soul living in a body that carries out activities throughout your lifetime to fulfill a) the needs of the human in you, as well as b) the desires of the soul in you. Your work is just one of the many canvas through which these activities can be expressed. You can also express your soul essence by being a mom, a monk, a volunteer, a good friend, a bird-watcher, or following what brings you joy and excitement.

Most people come to me for career coaching support when they are in an identity crisis and at a crossroads. We spent quite some effort untangling this aspect because our identities are deeply attached to hidden, usually limiting beliefs around money, self-worth, social status, gender stereotypes, family and cultural expectations, and the definition of success. And when we unravel that spider web of correlations between beliefs and unsatisfied feelings, so much CLARITY will emerge regarding the next best steps to take!

4. Our expectations of how our employer/boss/supervisor/any authority figures SHOULD treat us = how we wish our Ideal Parents would treat us:

This is a subtle one – but it is soooooo common when we dig deep!

If you see repeating patterns in any relationship dynamics, you could be the one projecting the patterns outward.

And when we finally realize this correlation and the absurdity of it, we can adjust our expectations and take back our power! You are not a helpless kid anymore – you offer your service at work, and in return, you get supported with resources and financial rewards to honour your contributions. You and your supervisor stand on equal bases, somehow in a codependent state in the projects you are working on. Therefore, you can negotiate for what you deserve and stand up for yourself to get your voice heard!!!

Also, if you find yourself repeatedly having personal conflicts with a supervisor of a certain gender, healing your relationship with your parents would be the route to tackle the root cause of the pattern. When we reparent ourselves, all our relationships will be dramatically improved because we can finally see them as WHO THEY ARE without our projections onto them.

5. Are you working with, working at/in, or working for a person or an organization?

Prepositions could change our perspective drastically 🙂 An empowering perspective for every employee is to see yourself as a one-person CEO of the company of YOU. If this is your business, how would you think, speak, do, and prioritize differently? An entrepreneurial mindset goes a long way, no matter what kind of work you are engaging in now. Having sovereignty in your work is ESSENTIAL for you to own your career that begins with the right mindset.

Flying the Firebird
Flying the Firebird – Phoenix Rising

6. Our Nervous System Strength is the key differentiator when diversity of income sources is the new norm:

Carrying on with the company of YOU rationale, how can we feel secure enough to leap if we don’t have the confidence or have built a safety net that supports us? Whether it’s starting a business or a side gig, pivoting into a new profession, quitting your job for further studies, migrating to a new country to start from scratch etc – it takes bajillions of courage, faith, and discipline to show up every day nonetheless to make things happen!

However, when we get into a “crisis” mode, our nervous system feels overwhelmed easily; even if we try to push through with willpower, it is too much of an ask, expecting us to be able to make empowering, forward-thinking decisions. Why?

When our STATE OF BEING is in survival mode (as if a tiger is chasing us), our bodies drain all resources OUT OF THE BRAIN to our limbs to prepare us for running from a tiger. No matter how smart and educated you normally are, a person can only operate with instincts in this mode! What makes matters worse is that since your self-preservation mechanism is turned on, you can’t be as compassionate and generous as you normally are, which makes intimate relationships even more challenging❤️🩹.

This is also why having someone who believes in your visions and potential to hold space for you (vs your close ones who tell you to “be practical” ) while you are leaping into an exciting yet freaking nerve-wreaking new opportunity is so essential in your process of a major change. When we are around other people whose nervous systems are healthy, with the support of somatic tools like breathwork, HeartMath, and EFT, our nervous systems can co-regulate. How I wish I had this person when I started!

7. The quest to find your mission and purpose in life is a beautiful journey – yet it doesn’t necessarily have to be your career:

Because our life’s work is not a noun, but a VERB – it’s not WHAT we do, but HOW we express it. Trying to define our purpose via a job title is too limiting, to be honest!

8. The FASTER we can unlearn our student mindset, the easier adulting can become:

Most of us in our 20s to 40s are navigating how to become mature adults like throwing spaghetti onto the wall to see what sticks. But adult life is an entire plot twist from our 18 years+ of school life!

The straight-A students feel frustrated because they soon realize the game rules in school are so different from those in the workplace. Alternatively, I see so many who still bring forward their low confidence from bad grades in their student era and cannot shake it off, thinking keeping their heads down can compensate for not being “smart enough”, hoping that hard work alone will get them the attention and recognition they deserve.

That’s a hopeium!!! Lovely humans – Can you look up and observe how the world works in your CURRENT game? Your trophies or scars from the past are no longer valid here 🙂

Unlearn what is obsolete, adopt new ways of thinking, update how you see yourself, then experiment, adjust, pivot, and repeat the process!

9. Burnout is a pandemic that is yet to be recognized (or admitted) by the authorities:

I innocently thought as long as I left the corporate, I wouldn’t get into burnout again. I was terribly wrong – the burnout is even worse amongst self-employed individuals! Plus, the pace of our culture is getting more anti-human: there is always too much to catch up on, and respecting our own rhythms and seasons of life is becoming more complex. Eventually, learning how to manage our energies is becoming an essential life skill for EVERYONE so we can flourish with the precious life force we all have! (This is what Quantum Human Design can give us profound insights on!)

10. Career is one of the tickets to our self-actualization and spiritual journey; Entrepreneurship is the accelerator of it:

We cannot discuss our natural talents and strengths without first answering the million-dollar questions, “Who am I? What am I here for?”

As we enter AI era, there is an ever more urgent need for us to reclaim what it takes to be human, not soul-less robots!

As entrepreneurs, we start out to be our own boss, our own staff, our cheerleader, our critic, our VC, our user etc etc all at once. Definitely one of the most intense personal development “programmes” one can ever sign up for!

😮💨 What a list! There are actually more than 10 lessons, but this is long enough for now!

I’m forever grateful for everyone who has been with me in the last decade – your trust in me makes this journey possible and worthwhile – Thank you!

>>> I’m curious: When you read this list, what thoughts come to mind?


Feeling ready to refresh your career in 2024? Join me in this free workshop!