“At the time, I had what I call, ‘the shoulds.’ Because our parents, managers, teachers, and society, tell us who we should or shouldn’t be. And what we should or shouldn’t do. People were telling me, ‘you work at Google, you should just stay.’ And because my husband started his own venture, my own internal ‘should’ was saying, you should be the (financial) stability. What are you thinking? And the biggest should, because I was in my late thirties was, you should just have babies,” said Amy Yip, Transformation and Mental Fitness Coach.
We wrap a lot of identity into work. Between the years of training, input to a larger purpose and warmth of society’s validation, it can feel intoxicating. And of course, there’s the financial security. But being on the inside of a career, is often quite different than it seems. Especially after kids. So, if your career no longer works, how do you unpack the emotional and practical side of what’s next?
Since Covid, most people have raised their professional expectations. Especially Moms, who are still marginalized at work. And pushed or locked out of leadership, in most fields. So, whether you crave a new career, industry, or city, now is the perfect time. Learn how Amy crafted her self-help journey to conquer indecision, shed “the shoulds” and find her calling.
Define Your Challenge
When Amy felt adrift from her purpose, despite a growing career at Google, she began to question everything. And contemplating options, to stay in corporate life, travel the world or start a family, pushed her into a self-described “black hole” emotionally.
She said, “We all hate change. And part of it is, our survival mind wants us to keep the status quo because that is ‘safer’ and so, for the longest time I dealt with whatever came my way. But that black hole felt so miserable that I knew, I needed to get out. And I needed the answer to, ‘do I have babies right now or do I pursue my dreams’ because the thing about having babies, is that you can’t really test it out.” Exactly. So, how do you find peace in the process of making life changing decisions?
Untangle What You Need
Although it was painful, asking herself those questions, transformed not only Amy’s career, but her life and outlook. At the time, she felt pressure from her family and friends. “I couldn’t just do what I used to do, which was dabble at things. Because this is not something you can dabble at. And I think that was the forcing function that made me realize, I needed to change something. My husband and I knew we wanted kids, but we also had this big dream.” Is there a path to an ‘and’ versus an ‘or’?
From What You’ve Been Taught to Want
Well, sometimes. Amy said, “Someone literally said to me, ‘your eggs are rotting. You’re getting old, and you need to have the babies now if you plan on ever doing it.’ So, we thought we were doing the smart thing by getting our embryos frozen.” Serendipity, however, intervened.
She added, “Little did we know, that shortly after, we would get an e-mail that said, ‘we don’t know the viability of your embryos anymore. Because there was this mishap at the storage facility.’ And that was when I started on my long self-help journey of trying to figure it out.”
Radical change, even when it’s positive, tends to feel jarring. So, even though indecision is excruciating, big solutions rarely come quickly. Many of us, especially those of us from immigrant families, are prescribed an achievement path. Leading us to feel unmoored without that clarity.
Amy said, “I come from very traditional Chinese household and it’s all about face.” An important part of Chinese culture, the expectation to prioritize social standing and reputation. She added, “You do not talk about stuff when things are not good. So, I went on this health journey and started by reading books.”
Build Your Curriculum
Also, like many of us from immigrant communities, Amy attempted to ‘study’ her way out of the hole she felt. And she discovered, among others, Brené Brown’s books on vulnerability. And Simon Sinek’s, Start with Why. She explained, “Although it was written for a business context, it’s important as a human being too, to consider ‘why am I doing this?’ before I start.”
Self-study is incredible. But reading about new concepts is often the first step. She added, “Although I cognitively understood those things, from reading the books, I still couldn’t do it. Because I was raised to think courage is not crying or being vulnerable. In Chinese culture, you don’t share the things, you save your face. So, something within still held me back. And after 8 months, I got a lot of knowledge but not answers to my real question, do I have babies do I go travel the world?”
Seek Experiences that Challenge You
Amy said by this point, she felt desperate. “My best friend, one of the few people who knew what I was going through, asked if I had heard of ayahuasca. She said, ‘it’s supposed to give you clarity’ and I’m like, sign me up, that’s what I need, clarity! And I flew down to Peru for a five day ayahuasca ceremony.”
She didn’t have her answer yet, but the insight she gained was moving her closer. “It was life changing, that was where I actually discovered the power of vulnerability. And that it takes more courage to ask for help and receive help, than to have this armor on.” When you’re trying to solve an internal problem, how can you get unstuck?
Find Your Guides
The hard work of personal change is often iterative, slower than we’d like, and may require multiple forms of support. And a lot of what we learn happens faster with a great teacher.
Amy said, “When I returned home, I was getting more and more desperate. And a coworker told me about coaching. I was honestly skeptical at first. I thought, how can somebody else just ask me a bunch of questions and then get me to an answer, when they don’t even know me?” Finding an amazing coach accelerated her progress. And led to her professional calling.
Leap Towards Your Truth
She said, “She helped me figure out what was at my core and that’s what I needed to make two decisions. One, that I had to go pursue my travel dream because if I didn’t, I wasn’t guaranteed kids, even if I stayed. At the time, I knew so many women who had miscarriages or went through IVF. And you know what happened with my frozen embryos! So, the second decision was to become a coach. I went back to school for my certification and then right after I finished, I left Google, New York and took off for Ghana.”
Embrace Vulnerability as Strength
This was in fall of 2020. In Ghana, despite the Covid-driven uncertainty, she embraced a new way of living and being. And after years of frequent work travel, she felt rooted. And free to establish new self-care routines, despite being on the other side of the world.
Amy said, “At first, I was like, wait we’re going to be stuck here? And we had no clue for how long. But then I started to embrace it. Because during my time at Google I always wished I could be somewhere where I didn’t have to get on an airplane. To just have beautiful surroundings and quiet to meditate, do yoga or whatever my heart desired every day.”
Reset for New Priorities
Amy and her husband returned to the US when they learned she was pregnant. Before her son was born, working nomadically and entrepreneurship, liberated her to open up about her experiences. “Honestly, it led to the growth of my coaching business too. Because I started putting my truth out there on LinkedIn. And not trying to create this facade of who I thought people should see.” Bravo!
She added, “I started writing about being a child of immigrant parents, who never say I love you. And started creating groups for women to come together. Because I realized it’s kind of lonely, especially if you’re a Mom, and you’re trying to do everything for everybody else. And you don’t have a space for yourself.”
And Prepare for Your Wins
Amy said, “…During this journey I really learned that your mindset not your circumstance makes all the difference in your happiness. And success.” So, if you’re wistful about a different career, lifestyle, or environment, pay attention to your desires.
Many thanks to the talented Amy Yip!
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Amy is a Life Transformation and Mental Fitness coach who works with high-achieving, ambitious AAPI women to build their mental fitness, quiet the inner critic, and let go of all the ‘shoulds’ so they can be the author of their own life story. Because if you aren’t authoring your story, someone else is.
In January 2020, after 16+ years of building and leading global teams in organizations like Google, Clorox, and Booz Allen, Amy left the corporate world, sold everything, and took a 1-way flight to Ghana with her husband to volunteer at a breast cancer non-profit and travel the world. COVID shifted their plans; they got stuck in Ghana for 7 months.
One of her greatest learnings: Your mindset, NOT your circumstance, makes all the difference in your happiness and success.
Through this lens, she works with clients to find their voice and the courage to speak up, build self-confidence, navigate change, and discover what they REALLY want next in their life and career.
And now for the boring stuff: Amy is an ICF PCC, Certified Hudson Institute Coach, and a pioneer Mental Fitness Coach certified through Positive Intelligence. She holds a MBA from Anderson UCLA, and a BS in Computer Science, BA in Communications from University of Maryland.
Tags: Career change for Moms, Career development, Change management, Entrepreneurship for Moms, learning, professional development