“When companies launch a product, they often get together at the end to reflect and share lessons learned about what worked and what needs to change. So why do we as human beings think we don’t need to do that on our journey? Figuring out what’s working and what’s not, just helps you do better and be better,” said Amy Yip, Author, Transformation and Mental Fitness Coach.
Self-reflection can become an important temperature check through life. So, how often do you gift yourself that time? Most of us are overworked and drowning in mental load. So, it’s tempting to ‘set it and forget it’ with our routines. Even if we’re wildly uncomfortable. So, our infrastructure remains still, while our responsibilities increase. Then, when very little that fuels us fits on the calendar, we’re forced to revisit everything. And it doesn’t feel good. So, what can we do to shift it?
Don’t Wait Until Your Schedule is on Fire
Amy said, “I used to let the world around me shape my days and how I showed up. I was frantically running from one to-do list thing to the next.” We’re not socialized to value our own time as women. So, we stumble across the landmines from pleasing others later. Often, after having kids when we can no longer barter with discretionary time.
When it was clear that she wasn’t fulfilled by her so called, ‘dream job’ at Google, Amy went into a deep period of personal and professional reflection. But you don’t have be unhappy for reflection to be valuable.
Think of What’s Ideal for You
Many of us are inspired to change when schedules, moods or relationships feel unsustainable or hollow. Basically, by the time you stop wanting to do something a certain way, there’s likely some suffering involved. But this can become part of your emotional toolkit. In Psychology Today, Dr. Tchicki Davis describes the benefits of reflection. “…As you build new habits through self-awareness, you can become more balanced, healthy, and happy.”
Amy decided to quit her job at Google, travel the world and become a life coach. She began the process by thinking about how she wanted to spend her time. “One of the exercises I did a long time ago was to design what my ideal week, month, and year would look like.”
And Move Towards It
The ‘ideal calendar’ isn’t a new concept but it’s an underutilized strategy to build more ease and joy into your routine. And you may not need to make drastic changes. Amy explained, “I said, ‘I’m going to wake up and dedicate the first two hours of my day to X, Y and Z. I’m not going to take any calls and I’m going to block my calendar.”
Although it took time and a big career shift, her days now mirror that early reflective exercise. Amy perfected a series of prompts in her journaling practice to keep self-awareness and renewal an active part of how she lives.
So, Choose Your Lane
How do you pick your first topic? Amy said, “With my clients, it depends on what they’re working on. Because that becomes ‘the thing’ to reflect on. And then we create the right prompts because everybody does it differently. So, it’s more about what serves you.”
Amy explained she had to “launch then iterate” her approach. “So, I journal every single day. In the morning I spend 5 minutes and, in the evening, 10 or 15 minutes. Some things I tried didn’t work and I fell off the wagon. Or prompts didn’t resonate with me, and I found myself bullshitting the answers just to check the box, rather than having it be useful.”
And Become Rigorous About Pruning
Amy said, “So, that was something I reflected on too, ‘are these reflections working for me?’ Sometimes they were not. So, I was constantly playing with it to figure it out. And the prompts I use now are ones that I’ve used for the last three years because they’re the ones that worked.”
She adjusted both the structure and the prompts themselves. “I would Google, ‘what are good journaling prompts?’ and I tried them out. A lot of people say to journal about what you’re grateful for. But for me, it became the same things every single day. So, I was like, ‘am I really grateful for this? And what does it really mean to be grateful?’ I felt like I was just faking it.”
Find a Method That Holds Meaning
Amy said, “In the morning I have two prompts. One is, ‘what are the three things I’m most excited about today?’ Like speaking at a large conference or trying the new coffee I bought. There’s a huge range. And the second prompt is, ‘how do I want to show up today?’ For example, I know today we’re going to be moving and I’m going to be stressed. So, I want to show up with presence, adaptability and be a patient, loving wife. Because I know I’m probably going to get upset with my husband for something.” At night, she reviews each day.
And Learn to Be Proud of Yourself
Amy said, “I journal about what I enjoyed most from the day, what I could have done better and then what I’m proud of. Because I also realized that for most of my life, I’ve struggled with celebrating what I’m doing well.”
Pride transcends acknowledging what went well. It conveys a sense of agency and recognition. “The proud list doen’t have to be, ‘Oh my gosh I got this big contract’ it could be celebrating that I was not feeling well and let myself take a nap.”
Savor Your Changes
Self-reflection has countless benefits. And not only for your career, it’s also transformed Amy’s energy, outlook, and relationships. Many of us from immigrant families inherit a linear view of achievement. So, as part of her professional reinvention, she wanted to better understand her upbringing.
Which inspired a deeper bond with her parents and led to her new book, Unfinished Business: Breaking Down the Great Wall Between Adult Child and Immigrant Parents. She said, “I’ve been reflecting on a lot on how it’s not just my relationship with my parents that’s changed, but how I’ve changed and they’ve changed. And it’s just so special.” Beautiful!
Many thanks to the talented Amy Yip!
Check out her amazing new book, Unfinished Business: Breaking Down the Great Wall Between Adult Child and Immigrant Parents. And follow Amy’s great adventure on her website, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
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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. She is also the author of Unfinished Business: Breaking Down the Great Wall Between Adult Child and Immigrant Parents.
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.