After a decade of management experience across Southeast Asia, Amy Nguyen founded career and life coaching company Happiness Infinity LLC in the US. Once Head of Employee Happiness at e-commerce unicorn Lazada, she is now a full-time career happiness coach.
Amy’s career is all about maximizing human potential and happiness with a focus on women. Every day, Amy helps highly motivated women discover their Career/Life Happiness Infinity Zone and provide them with the tools to live it.
In this interview, we asked Amy about her unique job and how to inspire professional women to be happy.
Why is happiness so important to pursue in a career?
People often believe that when we are successful, we will finally be happy. While that could be true at a certain level, I’ve found that it’s not sustainable. On the other hand, science has proved the other way around: when we are happy, we’re more likely to perform well and succeed.
Simply put, when we experience positive emotions, our brain has the resources to function well and find creative solutions that we would otherwise miss when we are stressed out or depressed. When we’re content, we face challenges at ease and focus on solutions instead of being a victim of circumstances.
Finding happiness in career is, therefore, important for everyone.
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‘Happiness coach’ sounds like such a cool job. How can I become one?
I think my background may help you answer that question. I have a background in recruitment and leadership. After getting a Master’s degree, I started pursuing a career in human resources. The reason was because HR speaks to my desire of making sure everyone’s happy and performing at their best.
Throughout my life, I noticed that my conversations with everyone, from my colleagues to strangers at coffee shops, revolve around their talents, motivations, and aspirations. Following those interests, I received training as a brain-based coach by the NeuroLeadership Institute. I’m also an official member of Forbes Coaches Council.
If you’re persistent enough in building credentials in the field that you love, you certainly own your shot at making a career out of it.
What motivated you to become a career happiness coach?
My grandmother and my mother were smart, capable women who couldn’t pursue the career and life they deserve, mostly due to social stigma. If you were a woman living in Vietnam in the 70s, society believed your career should be in the kitchen.
I wish they had access to professional help at that time so they could turn things around. Although our society has come a long way, when I look at women’s struggles today, I have the same thought. So I decided to act on it and be that help.
How does a typical female client that you coach look like?
A typical woman I coach is in their 30s or 40s. Often, they are working mothers, with some aspiring to be one. They come from different nationalities, industries with different professional experiences.
However, they share a few key traits: they are not comfortable with being stuck with a job that they no longer love just for the paycheck. They know deep down that they are capable of something more meaningful and aligned with their values. They want to use professional help to make a change in their lives.
What traits do you notice in your successful clients?
They’re typically committed to personal development. They embrace a growth mindset, and they give themselves the permission to live a more fulfilling life (without waiting for a ‘yes’ from society). They’re also willing to reach out to a community of like-minded women for support.
Without these traits and work on their ends, however great a coaching program is, we tend to not see long lasting results.
What do you love most about your job?
The part I love most is help my clients discover their unique talents with tools like the Strengths Finder, MBTI, MAPP, etc.. I love brainstorming their career options, and help them strategize their career path against a vision we craft together.
As a working mom myself, I find it extremely hard to balance among work, life and family. Is “having it all” a myth to women?
I believe we can, if we actually know what’s included in “it”, and what’s not, so we can focus on what matters the most.
In my case, the construct of “it all” includes my career, parenting, health and creativity. I often get asked why I could juggle among them all, and the recipe is no secret: I take mindful actions towards what matters, and I manage my distractions.
It helps if you work with, and for, nice people. An employer who provides a supportive system for working mothers such as maternity leave, flexible working hours, etc. is vital to our well-being, happiness as well as productivity.
Can you give a piece of advice to ambitious professional women to find joy and happiness in the careers they choose to pursue?
If you have options, be in a career that maximizes your unique set of talents, aligning with your values and giving you a sense of purpose. When you have all of these factors, you will feel happy and fulfilled, and that’s when you can be at your best. Articulating them, however, does take conscious effort and resources, so I would encourage them to see it as an investment in themselves.
Written by Huyen Tran