Tell us a bit about yourself and your family?
I’m a Christian and I live in Singapore although my parents and family are in Malaysia. I met my husband when we were studying in the U.K. He’s a Singaporean and I moved to Singapore in 2003 when we married. I now have 3 children – a teenage son of 18 years and two daughters, age 11 and 13.
Have you had any formal training or family business?
My first profession is a lawyer. I’ve been practising law for 26 years. I worked in law firms and was also in-house legal counsel for MNC and banks for the past 15 years. I started my coaching business at the peak of Covid-19 pandemic in April 2020.
How did you come up with the idea for your business, and what was the process of turning that idea into a reality?
My company is called River Life Coaching Pte. Ltd. I came up with the name of the company from the coaching model that I formulated during my coach training in 2019. I see the river as the analogy of our lives. The river source is where your values and core beliefs lie. From the river source, your river flows.
Does it flow freely, empowering you to live life to its highest potential?
Or does it meander, often winds back and forth?
Does your river feel like a long journey that is at times, misdirected and blocked by obstacles such as fear and disappointments?
At the end of our lives, our river flows into the ocean. Think of the ocean as the legacy that you are living behind. I anchored on my purpose of being a coach to help individuals, especially introverts as I am one, to reach their highest potential in life, to find their higher purpose meaning and to define success on their own terms. This is the anchor that keeps me focused when starting, building and growing my business. This anchor has helped me stay focused despite the challenges and uncertainties of being a solopreneur.
How have you grown as a leader since starting your company, and what have been some of the key lessons you've learned along the way?
I’ve grown to be more comfortable with the uncertainties. Given that I am a perfectionist and also a planner by nature, I’ve never been comfortable with uncertainties and things beyond my control. In running a business, a lot of things are not within my control. I now focus on doing what I know is aligned with my purpose and going with the flow in situations that are more fluid. I’ve also learnt to put myself out more in social media and in my writing. This has always been my challenge given that I am an introvert. The shift happened for me when I started focusing on how my work can help other introverts like myself and this thought alone has helped motivate me to share my thoughts and views. If just one person can benefit from what I have to say, that is a great success for me!
Can you tell us about a time when you faced a major setback or failure in your business, and how you overcame it?
In the first year of my business, I was struggling to get clients. I had a lot of self-doubt and was also losing confidence as to how effective I am as a coach. However, with support from my husband and children and also brainstorming ideas with my fellow coach friends, I stuck with the business and kept anchoring myself on my purpose. I also kept a more open mind and experimented with new ways of doing things and not just confine myself to one-to-one coaching. As a result, I grew in confidence and also grew as a more experienced and masterful coach.
How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals, especially during challenging times?
I believe this is what God has called me into during this season of my life. I spent time reflecting how blessed I am to have this journey and how I can continue to support my clients and my community. I also think about the legacy that I am living behind for my children – I want them to see how meaningful life can be if they live for a higher purpose and pursue their passions and dreams.
How do you balance your personal life with the demands of running a business?
Taking time off to recharge and spending time with my family helps me maintain that balance. I know I’m off-balanced when I am cranky and stressed. That is my signal to stop and spend time to unwind, rest and reflect.
What are your plans for the future of your business, and how do you see yourself evolving as a founder and leader?
I want to continue to empower introverts, to see their introversion as a strength and not a sign of weakness. I am also growing the mentoring arm of my business where I mentor coaches for the purposes of credentialing and to support them to hone and gain mastery of their coaching skills. I believe that given the changes AI brings to our world, it is crucial that coaches continually learn and grow their coaching skills, be innovative in the way they run their coaching businesses and foster a strong community and network of support.
If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
To quote from a famous author (now deceased), Richard Carlson, “Don’t sweat the small stuff…and it’s all small stuff!” I would tell my younger self not to worry and to live in the moment. To be grateful for the present day and to cherish the moments with my loved ones.
What's the most unconventional thing you've done to grow your business, and what was the result? It may not be unconventional to most people but for an introvert like myself, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to appear in podcasts, to promote my business, to share my thoughts on introversion and also to increase my visibility – I’ve appeared in over 50 podcasts and you can find them on my Media page at https://www.riverlifecoaching.com/media
What's the most important lesson you've learned from a failure, and how have you applied it to your business?
I’ve learnt to see setbacks as growth opportunities – what can I learn from the setback and how can I apply my learning going forward. I encourage my children to adopt this perspective as well. I still face setbacks in my business but I’m building my resilience muscle along the way in my personal growth journey.
What's the most meaningful compliment or feedback you've ever received from a customer, and why did it resonate with you?
I’ve received a lot of generous and encouraging testimonials from my clients and you can find them on https://www.riverlifecoaching.com/testimonials - the common theme is that they felt understood and truly heard by me, that I do not judge their present circumstances and that I support them by really walking alongside them in their respective life journeys.
If you had to choose one thing that makes your company truly unique and sets it apart from the competition, what would it be, and why?
I would like to continue to support introverts to make their unique mark in this world and to let them know that they can be successful on their own terms.
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