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Conversations with the Inspiring Emily Liou

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Liou.

Emily, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
After 6 years of recruiting and headhunting, I knew it was ready for a change. I just didn’t know exactly what that change was. I started to think about what I could do with my recruiting expertise and HR knowledge, 100 clicks through Google searches later, I determined becoming a career coach would be an exciting yet challenging pivot.

As a recruiter, I’m not really able to provide advice and help candidates who keep getting rejected. But as a career coach, I realized I not only can tell them all of the strategies and techniques, but I can help them professionally and personally develop. It wasn’t apparent then but I later realized, I have officially discovered my calling in life. To me, a calling is at the sweet spot and intersection of where your strengths, interests and purpose beyond yourself intertwine.

Getting here wasn’t an easy journey, but I now am so thrilled to have coached and taught hundreds of ambitious professionals who are wanting to understand what their purpose is and how to make a career out of it. I am also lucky to be able to design my career to nurture my creative outlet through Instagram and blogging.

I believe everyone can achieve a life they dream up. It takes championing, positive resiliency and above all else, action!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Definitely not a smooth road. As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned so much and I’m learning every day. Back in the corporate world, I sat in one department and I had a very narrow set of tasks and responsibilities given to me, primarily, business development and recruiting. But now, as an entrepreneur, I’m trying to learn how do I cut through all of the noise found online in what’s becoming a saturated market? How do I differentiate myself from other career coaches? I’ve devoured and applied so many new sales and marketing tools and principles I have never had to learn before.

Aside from the external obstacles of time, money, etc., the biggest obstacles I had to overcome were probably internal. Recently, I had a company reach out to me to ask if I would want to return to a similar position I held before. He dangled the 6-figure salary, bonuses, 4 weeks vacation, etc. and a voice popped into my head. At first, It sounded really nice, it told me it would be the easy and safe route. It took a lot to make a confident decision that I’m in a long-term game to succeed and chart my own path.

Trusting your intuition is huge. My biggest advice is to not make decisions based out of fear, but instead, make conscious decisions which start with: “I want to…” and “I choose to…”.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into CultiVitae’s story. Tell us more about the business.
I am really passionate about helping others design a career and life that they love. When I graduated from college, I had no idea what to do. To my parents’ dismay, I knew I didn’t want to be a doctor or a lawyer.

In many ways, I relate to the clients I attract. We all know there is something better out there, but unsure of what. We’re scared that it’s unrealistic or unattainable.

But what I’ve learned is, it’s because we haven’t asked ourselves the tough questions. We’ve been playing on society’s definition of success.

That’s why, through private 1:1 coaching, I guide my clients to finding clarity and putting in strategic actions to obtain whatever their 1-year future self looks like. It’s not an easy process, mental blocks often come up such as lack of confidence, limiting beliefs and that obnoxious inner voice of, “I’m not (blank) enough”. Crushing those voices and overcoming the mental blocks is what I’m really excited about. Because, once my clients move past those, it’s a game changer.

I also teach an online ecourse program called, The Happily Hired Formula, to teach everything a jobseeker could possibly want to know about the job search process. This covers gaining career clarity; crafting resume, LinkedIn profile, elevator pitches; to how to network and find jobs 8 other ways other than hitting apply online; to effective networking and negotiating; to setting yourself up to win office politics in the new position. I feel honored to guide such ambitious professionals and love the supportive insights and breakthroughs in the group coaching calls!

Looking back on your childhood, what experiences do you feel played an important role in shaping the person you grew up to be?
I’ll always be grateful for my parents who pushed me to focus hard on my academics. Growing up Chinese-American, you can say, I had the typical “Tiger Mom” that made me strive for straight A’s. Because of this, I was able to attend college on full-ride scholarships and didn’t have to worry about student loan debt that I know looms over a lot of people. I also know so many lawyers who wanted to go to law school to work on public policy, but instead, took the big law firm corporate job so they could pay off debt. I think people let finances handcuff them from doing the things they really want to do and that’s why I am also incredibly passionate about personal finance. I believe we can all create greater wealth and reduce material spending… helping people create healthier budgets and increase their net worth is a topic I also am very passionate about!

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