From running a successful public relations (PR) agency, to building her holistic coaching practice, to her nurturing family-oriented self, Coco Chan has played many significant and, often, demanding roles in her life. Coco was exposed to the fast-paced and dynamic world of PR for as long as she could remember.
Fulfilling as it was, the immense pressure and momentum of building your own business from the ground up made it difficult for the entrepreneur to stay afloat, as she struggled with balancing her work and personal life. In a self-revelation, Coco discovered her inability to say “no” calling it “one of her biggest fails,” which more often than not had left her with more on her plate than she could handle. Driven to take action, the founder pivoted towards a holistic approach to living and took upon the role of a soul coach, opening up new scope in her career and personal journey.
A founder, soul coach, and mother to a vibrant daughter, Coco sat down with us to share more on her experiences braving adversity and exhaustion, and how the power of saying “no,” led her on a path to recognising the key instruments to balancing her professional and family time.
“Setting Ground Rules and Boundaries”
Taking a snapshot of Coco’s life, the entrepreneur treads between her corporate role as the co-founder of a leading PR agency in Hong Kong, and nurturing her holistic inner-self, from being a soul coach and healing practitioner, to managing her business, and raising her young daughter. Having come to wear many hats at that point in her life, and in between juggling clients and countless responsibilities, it became difficult for Coco to make time for herself and her family. Her pattern of “not saying no” also kept pushing her further, beyond her limits.
Coco recalled, “We started the business with nothing, so when any opportunity came, we just said yes to everyone. That very quickly brought us to a point of mental, emotional, and physical burnout. That is when we really sat down to set some ground rules and boundaries, not just for the business, but also for our personal life.”
Having a clear set of ground rules can help define what needs prioritising, and what deserves a ‘no.” Seeking alignment between her brand vision and personal values enabled Coco to select between the opportunities that came by.
The Power of Saying No
While for most companies and businesspeople, turning down a customer may be equivalent to renouncing profits, no matter the consequence, fixating on gaining customers and maximising profits without acknowledging the hardships endured by your team is unsustainable, and will only result in lower productivity levels, bearing more loss than profit in the long run.
Coco elaborated: “You just have to reel yourself back in and ask yourself if you have the manpower and the resources to service this client and provide what they are looking for. In PR, everything is reputation- you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew.”
Saying no to clients for a wrongly-timed connection would only help open up more opportunities for collaboration in the future, where one would be performing at their best, and with better resources at hand.
Seek Any Opportunity as One to Learn and Grow
“If you see and are able to shift your belief that every opportunity, whether a win or a fail, is an opportunity to learn more and grow, the energy [you put] behind [ it makes it] promising and full of hope,” shared Coco.
Challenges demonstrate our ability to learn and embrace newness in our lives, a vital attribute that demonstrates one’s willingness to strive to survive difficult situations. This builds a positive mindset towards new challenges and opportunities, making room for individual growth, and helping one become more solution-driven.
Coco added, “Our hearts are our inner compass. Tuning into yourself and finding what it is that vibe, and even if there is risk in it, you’ll still learn something from it.”
When faced with stressful situations, our natural instinct is to have a “fight or flight” response, rather than working towards a concrete solution. Practising patience has become an essential skill to successfully navigating overpowering situations.
Coco reminisced on when she first began working together with her husband, “There were a lot of arguments and differences in how we worked. It took us the first six months to see where we were not aligning with each other. And so after six months, we [decided to] regroup, divide, and conquer. So we came up with a game plan strategy to make it work, and had to put some ground rules down and then be honest and authentic to each other without feeling attacked.”
Coco attributed her husband’s patient persona to be a great turning point for the couple to work through their differences and towards their joint pursuit.
Believe in Yourself
The first step to manifesting your true potential is learning to believe in yourself, your experiences, and your expertise. This incorporates recognising self-sabotaging behaviour patterns, reinforcing positive affirmations, and most importantly, connecting with your innermost self.
Coco shared a message to her younger self: “This is not the end of the road- you still have so much to explore and experience. You are special in your own way and you should own it, speak up, and shine even brighter.”
Having a strong sense of self-belief can trigger psychological responses that ultimately enable us to see a better vision for our hopes, aspirations, and necessary priorities in our everyday life and career. Despite facing obstacles, one needs to build an understanding that failures are a big part of learning and growing, and knowing that you will only come out strong on the other end.
“Invest in Yourself”
When asked to give advice to those looking to start their own business, Coco shared, “Get a mentor, get a coach, and invest in yourself.”
Mentorship and coaching unlock numerous opportunities for newcomers; having insider expertise helps entrepreneurs navigate obstacles, and equips them better with the necessary skills to develop a positive mindset, the aptitude, and the acumen to better handle future challenges independently.
While being passionate about your venture can go a long way, it is essential to work on making consistent improvements to upskill yourself to stay on top of the curve. Investing in self-development has become an essential practice for many entrepreneurial forces to gain experience, insights, and become more adaptive.
“As an entrepreneur, one of the biggest characteristics that you need to possess is mindset growth,” concluded Coco.
For more on Coco’s journey reclaiming and cultivating her inner-self, watch the full interview (conducted by Sarah Vee) here.
Featured banner image credit: @iamcocoalexandra