Today we’d like to introduce you to Annette Wong.
Annette, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started my mindfulness coaching business two years ago after leaving the full-time practice of law. For me, the daily stressors of working as a lawyer—the constant deadlines, the nonstop emails, the pressure I placed on myself to perform—put me on a surefire path to burnout. At its worst, the sense of overwhelm I felt began to manifest physically as a tight, gripping sensation in my chest. When this started happening with some frequency, I knew I had to make a change.
That change came in the form of learning how to meditate. Once I started, I noticed how setting aside a few minutes each morning to focus on the sensation of my breath in my body helped alleviate the tension in my chest.
Wanting to deepen my understanding of meditation, I signed up for an eight-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) class at InsightLA. During the eight-week program, I was exposed to a variety of mindfulness practices and learned how these practices help foster particular aspects of well-being. When I saw and experienced how these practices were making a tangible difference in the quality of my day to day life—at work and at home, I wanted to share them with others.
Last year, I became certified to teach meditation through the Warrior One Mindfulness in Law Teacher Training Program, a program designed to help lawyers teach other lawyers how to meditate.
Today, I use mindfulness and narrative-based techniques to help burnt-out professionals and blocked creatives make positive, lasting changes—be it a career pivot, or learning how to better relate to work stress. I also design and facilitate group sessions for organizations seeking to improve the well-being and retention of their members.
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?
Deciding to take the leap from the full-time practice of law into the murky abyss of starting a small business took a lot of soul-searching. First, I had to let go of my hangups about leaving a “safe”/”conventional” career. I had to get comfortable with people looking at me funny when I told them I was quitting my full-time firm job in order to start a mindfulness coaching business and to write (I’m currently getting an MFA). I realize now that this has a lot to do with how risk-averse we can be as a species, how unsettled we are by uncertainty. Giving myself permission to venture into the unknown was a process. First, I had to understand my fear of the unknown and acquaint myself with it. By acknowledging it, and allowing it to be there, I could then tune into that still, small part of myself that knew working a conventional 9-5 (or 9-9) wasn’t going to cut it for me, and that I wanted to help others take similar risks in the hopes that they too might find more fulfilling careers.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
My one-on-one coaching is tailored to the client. It’s a collaborative, interactive process where we work to identify the client’s needs and desired outcomes. Some clients want traditional career coaching, where I help them revamp their resumes and refine their interview skills. Others are looking to learn meditation techniques that will help them develop resilience in the face of work stressors. And some feel creatively blocked and want to learn (or re-learn) what it’s like to make something simply for the fun and joy of it. In all of these scenarios, I see my role as helping clients recover a sense of possibility for their lives. As grown-ups, it’s easy to stop dreaming. We let our obligations and responsibilities dictate the horizon for what’s possible. I see coaching as a way to remind clients that the horizon is vast if they’re willing to set their sights a little higher.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
It’s always good to have luck on your side. But I’m not one to rely on it. More than luck, I believe timing and persistence are key when it comes to growing a business. Timing in the sense that opportunities have to align. And persistence in the sense that it’s important to maintain the pluck to keep going, even (and especially) in the face of uncertainty. This to me feels a bit like faith: the willingness to trust that things will work out, even if the end-goal isn’t clear or well-defined.
- $175 for a one hour private session
- Website: www.annettewong.com
- Phone: (310)980-8268
- Email: email@example.com
Headshot by Brooke Mason Photography.