Superpowers School
Superpowers School - Self Improvement Podcast Like Diary of a CEO
E102: Self-Help - Embracing your identity and uniqueness - Toni Liu (Leadership Coach/Careers Coach)

E102: Self-Help - Embracing your identity and uniqueness - Toni Liu (Leadership Coach/Careers Coach)

Toni Liu (Leadership Coach/Careers Coach)

Discover the superpower of embracing your identity and uniqueness. In this episode we delve into the problem of pigeonholing that plagues our society, where the world expects people to meet their expectations. Discover why your uniqueness is important and why you should be proud of your identity. Get to know the importance of healing your traumas and balancing your day remembering about the inner child that everyone has. 

Key topics covered in this episode:

👉🏽 Impact of earlier experiences while making decisions

👉🏽 Embracing your uniqueness

👉🏽 Things that consume your brain energy 

Buy Me A Coffee

Toni Liu (Leadership Coach/Careers Coach)

As a qualified Careers and Executive Coach accredited by the Association for Coaching and with 10+ years of coaching talents at leading international business schools, Toni is passionate about helping clients maximise performance and develop potential through raising self-awareness and clarifying tools of actions and purpose. She enjoys coaching professionals for career transitions and leaders going through significant periods of change or facing particular challenges in their personal and business lives. Her expertise lies in getting clients to unblock limiting beliefs, gain true confidence with authenticity and develop practical strategies for obtaining transformational business results and personal growth. Toni also holds strong interests in holistic wellness to enable healing and growth on a deep rooted level for personal transformation. She is a qualified yoga teacher and practices ancient techniques such as mindfulness and Jyotish.

LinkedIn: Click Here

🔥 Our Sponsors: How do you know where to invest your efforts when helping your Agile teams? You could simply ask them, but what if you need a more scalable and robust approach? One platform that I personally use and recommend is Comparative Agility. It has the world's largest Agile maturity index with over 4m data points from over 14,000 organisations. You can try it out completely FREE at the following link, and be sure to let me know your thoughts:


⚡️ In each episode, Paddy Dhanda deep dives into a new human Superpower and practical advice on how you can apply it immediately.

👉 Sign-up to Newsletter:

👉 YouTube:


If you enjoy the podcast, then you can donate a small amount here as a token of your appreciation:


[00:01:06] Paddy Dhanda: Thank you for joining us for another episode of the Super House School podcast. I'm your host, Patty Daner, and on today's episode, I have an amazing guest. I often say amazing guest in most episodes, but I really do mean that today because even our conversation prior to kicking off the recording of this episode, we were talking a little bit about what we might cover today.

And I'm super excited because I think it's a topic that I personally will get a lot of value from and I'm hoping then I'll be asking some really good questions. So for this episode, we have. The amazing Tony Le, who is a London-based leadership coach, she has been coaching at some of the leading. Educational institutes, including Imperial College, Cambridge Bays Business School, and a few others as well that I can't pronounce. So, I'd love to welcome Tony to the show today.

[00:02:02] Toni Liu: Thank you so much, Patty, for the kind introduction. Me too. I'm really excited to really impart on the knowledge and experience I had developed and hopefully we can bring something really exciting to your audience.

[00:02:13] Paddy Dhanda: I know I said to her at the start, I'm super excited about this and just hearing a snippet of what you're gonna talk about got me really intrigued. Tony, what superpower would you like to bring to this episode?

[00:02:25] Toni Liu: I'd really love to explore the topic of lost in careers and that lack of motivation in what we do in life.

Because I've really observed many of my clients currently experiencing similar obstacle when they come to pivoting careers and when it come to progressing. And navigating their life. So I feel like there is something I'd really love to explore with you together and hopefully bring some insights to our audience and for them to make better decisions and help them create a better and healthier life.

[00:02:59] Paddy Dhanda: Oh, fantastic. And before we jump into the subject matter, we were talking briefly just before we kicked off about your background and the fact that you've traveled to many different countries, you've. Had this worldly experience. So I'd love to hear more about your background and how have you managed to get to where you are today?

[00:03:22] Toni Liu: Really good question. And I think very often our decision making career is also rooted from our family values, family education and the belief system we carry in our private experience. So I was brought up in a very traditional Chinese family and as an Asian from a later age.

And my parents expected me to achieve academic excellence. So I was basically sent to New Zealand on the age of 17 to complete my a lab. And interestingly enough, at the time I didn't thought there was quite a traumatic experience, but actually years later, identify actually was. But nevertheless, as the only daughter I just felt like, under the financial obligation as well, my parents pay high sort intuition fees every year for me. And I decided to study abroad graduated from university and started working in sales and marketing for some the corporate business in New Zealand and Australia.

And then at some point after finishing my, university and started working in New Zealand, there was a inner calling to come to Europe and I couldn't explain it, but I knew I had to leave. I knew I had to jump. And no one in my family agreed with. I think they all thought I was mad because my life was extremely stable in New Zealand, I had everything I wanted and, lifelong friends that I can always go back and really always being there for me. And so that nobody really understood why I wanted to let go of a very stable life and to come to the uk. But I followed that inner calling because I felt like, the world was, Much bigger than what it was.

And I always wanted to explore different cultures and different people. And funnily enough, as soon as I arrived in the UK I fell home here straight away and most people said, oh, subway in Cub, I was extremely busy and now I completely fell. I was home as soon as arrived in London. And I've never requested the decision, even though the start of my life in London was extremely difficult, right?

Because you had to start somewhere from zero. And I arrived in the country in year 2008, which was the beginning of the financial crisis. So I was under a lot of financial pressure and to really reestablish my life from zero. But that experience really helped me to learn letting go.

 Very often in career, I think one of the most difficult thing was to actually let go. It's hard to imagine because we don't know what is ahead of us. But I always say that if there's a piece of inner calling within yourself to do something, it's gonna be very meaningful to you.

Then the risk is definitely worthwhile because what is worst can happen. I told myself at the time, the worst could happen was just that I just moved back to New Zealand. That was the worst that could happen to me. I think I'm been always interested in different cultures and interested in exploring the world and, here in the UK and Europe just always been very dear to my heart and it has really, I felt like I met a lot of kindred spirits, if that makes sense.

Since arrived, In the UK and, many of the people I met, I feel like I've met them in my private lives, or I just know them. So it has been really a great experience for me and along the way I've learned a lot as well. I've learned that not to really, to get attached to.

What you used to do or what life used to be? When I first arrived in London I had to live in a hostel. Because I only had like 7,000 pounds in my bank account, and I knew it wouldn't last me very long. And at the age of 26, I just knew that I had to start, there while I'm looking for a job.

 I had a comfortable life in New Zealand where I work in sales and marketing for, some big brands, really. And I think just taking that risk and taking a step down to restart my life, that was a good lesson for me to learn in my twenties, and I'm quite grateful, actually, I learned that in my twenties.

[00:07:13] Paddy Dhanda: Oh, brilliant. I was gonna ask you a question on that actually, Tony, because first of all, I'm an only child, so I are, you completely relate to having Asian parents who have high expectations and expecting you to do great academic things. I don't think I lived up to any of that, but anyway we'll move on from there.

 I've got this sort of mindset now that with my kids, I would love for them to get outta their comfort zone more and more. My daughter the other day was having to do a talk in front of her class, and she was really nervous about it. There was lots of anxiety and no matter what I said, she was anxious.

But what I found from my own personal experience is every time I've put myself out there a little bit, tried something new, it's helped me build a little bit of strength or immunity to anxiety. I can't say that I'm not anxious now when I do a talk or, go to a new place. But I feel like having those small experiences has really helped in your situation, for a young girl of 17 years old, moving to a whole new country all by yourself, what were you thinking?

What was your mindset back then, and how do you think you then had changed by the time you came to England? Because at the age of 26, you would've had at least nine years of, really feeling uncomfortable.

[00:08:41] Toni Liu: I think ever since I was little, I've always been interested in foreign cultures and maybe that was a bit of uncommon thing as well.

And that's why that I talk about identity at the very beginning. Even now, even though people can say, oh you, are you Chinese or you are Kiwi or are you British? I go of that because I feel like the more you're attached to identity over identification always leads to suffering.

 You might be a fan of, Chelsea Football Club and, joking Patty, but what I mean is that, you can't always win. And the day that you lose, that's where suffering will kick in. So, I might be overly passionate about, my nationality, for example.

I could be so proud of that I'm Chinese whatsoever. But then the over-identification thing one day or another, it will lead for some form of suffering. I find it's very difficult for me to call myself a coach or a Chinese, British whatsoever.

Cause I feel like these days we're extremely complex. For example, you are that you are the only child you are very loving son, and you are loving husband and you talk about some of the amazing, things you're doing simultaneously.

I think it's extremely difficult, to do that. I think that kind of understanding early on maybe my interest was, the foreign culture and the fact that my mom sent me to learn English when I was seven. That I've. Always been interested in western pop music, since I was very little.

I think all those early experience authentically from my interest had really led me to step outta my own country. A lot easy because I was genuinely interested in this. So people think immigrants move to another country, you get a better life. I don't agree with that.

I think it's not about, getting a better life, but it should be extremely interested in their culture. Just a natural sort of interest towards learning more about why they do what they do and, why people would actually, Talk to each other in a very polite way or why would they shake hands differently or why certain cultures will kiss us on the cheek and they'll shake their hands or they'll give each other hugs.

 All of these human aspects just interest me in a very kind of deep way. And I felt like I've always follow that. In a way that I think my mom wanted me to pursue my academic excellence but for my own, sort of interest it was slightly easier for me to leave my home country because.

Genuinely I had that interest. Similarly to my experience moving to London as well, I was genuinely interested in the British culture. I was interested in exploring the amazing arts, theaters and cultures and exhibitions and just all the creativities that London has to offer. And I knew that, to seeing the rest of Europe, London would be a really amazing base.

 That was something I really wanted to do in my twenties. Similarly when it come to careers as well, is very often I think people make decision based on the fact that, oh, I learn math, or I learn business analytics and therefore I should be an analyst, or I should work in a bank, or I should deal with numbers.

 Actually I was reading something really interesting by Dr. Arlene Taylor. She is a brain function researcher and it's really interesting, she said that in life in order for us to be content, you need to fund your band. Bent is every one of us has something very unique giftedness, so extremely positive aspects.

 Some people may have one. Uniqueness and other people have many uniquenesses basically. It is really just about the fact that we can identify the uniqueness and hold it. And the wisdom is that she said if you can match 51% of the tasks, you do align those with your uniqueness and you live.

A happier life, than the majority of the people. It's proven that you'll be healthy and happier and, live a longer life. But unfortunately I think most of us are actually adapting in life. Most of us have learned very well in certain tasks we are trained at.

 I think if we wanted to train to be investment banker, consultant to a certain degree, I think we can all. Not train pretty well to do that. But the differences are that if the tasks don't really give you energy, because our brain consumes energy, right? So our brain constantly consumes energy because it really relies on the bloodstream.

So what it does, the amount of the nutrition, the brain consumes, Basically fees a consumed energy. If we understand that the brain consumes energy, then the brain recognize the best on the things we naturally good at. So when we adapt to the task, the danger of that is the brain consumes more energy.

 But if we tap into the things we naturally good at, Then that we saving energy for the brain and therefore actually it will create a more healthier and immunity toward US wellness. Whole thing is really around that, it's not really about doing things that we are trained to do or we are trained From our educations or, whatever there is.

It's really about combining that with our uniqueness and without seeking the external validation. And as parenting, I think one of the things you mentioned really interesting as well is to really want to give our children the best. How do we do that?

I think one of the things we should also do to ourselves is that we should treat ourselves. Many days everyone talks about inner child, right? Inner child healing. If we can treat ourselves as our own kids, our own children, How do we then make decisions differently to identify the uniqueness of ourselves and what naturally drives us energy, and it's not difficult to identify them.

So if I can ask you, think about your day, what are the tasks you like to procrastinate. Because if you identify them over a period of time, there is a pattern patty, and you'll be able to identify those things. And you see them as things that I guarantee you those are, things are not, the things will naturally give you energy.

For example, I'm really bad at accounting side of the things, like doing my tax return is just driving me mad as a result now I just outsource them. It's really important to recognize those things And if you can let go of those things and focus on the things that really gives you energy naturally if you can only just do 51% of them, this is what this doctor says, right?

51% of them you can sandwich the tasks between and naturally it will give you a much better satisfaction at work now.

[00:15:32] Paddy Dhanda: Oh, that's so interesting and fascinating because I do some crazy things outside of my day job and. Part of that is podcasting. Part of it is some of the visual thinking work that I do as well.

And my close friends and family are always saying like, why? Why do you do that? What are you getting out of that? And yes, there are intangible benefits. Like I meet amazing people and we have great conversations. But I think thinking about what you've just said there, I think that there's definitely an element of truth in what you're saying because I don't feel that takes a lot of my brain power like running this podcast ab absolutely, I have to think of the questions, but often it's a natural conversation.

I'm not having to really try hard, it's not something I've studied for and I really enjoy it and it feels really natural. Whereas my day-to-day work is obviously a different story and I feel it gives me balance. It gives me that balance because sometimes I do want to be intense and go, real deep on work stuff, but then I want to be able to balance my day with other things that I really enjoy, and I think it gives me that.

So I really do relate to what you've just said there for myself anyway. I don't know how other people out there feel, but I think when you're in just solid work mode all the time, it can be really tiring as you mentioned.

[00:17:02] Toni Liu: It's really interesting. I've got some data here as well and it's all about energy consumption at the end of the day.

 It's actually another research by Dr. Richard Care. It says that, the brain consumes oxygen already. It's 20% of oxygen constantly we need from our bloodstream. And if you force yourself to do things or adapt yourself to do more things you are not interested in, or you are not naturally talented of or good at, the brain needs more, glucose to function.

So naturally you get exhausted. So another interesting thing is really interesting to notice yourself. What tasks do you do? Really exhaust, you you recognize your energy level. Sometimes it could be just, something that you can do them really well as in society that we trained to perform.

But if we simply perform and without noticing, The somatic side of things and how our body feels. We are working against our brain, against our system. And as a result, that's how people get sick because it's a clear correlation and research there by UCL and the National Health Institute really on the physiology side of the things and our emotional wellness.

When we suppress our emotional energy, what happen is that it impacts our physiology side of the things, and it is directly I impact on immune system. That's how people get sick. To me it's even a small topic and to say well I want the pivot to my career, but actually, we need to think about holistically, re choosing our life in a light.

 That a allows us to live longer and a healthier life. That is a fundamental our life, isn't it? It's not just about the material side of things. Think our society focus so much on that these days. It's about the material success and our identity. It's like if I'm not a banker tomorrow, or if I'm not being seen as X, Y, and Z, then I'm no longer having a position in life and then I'm lost.

 What I would challenge you to think is that try to let go of that piece of identity. Cause. As soon as you identify yourself there is probably a limitation there. And Buddha will say it is a illusion. And one of the things to pursue enlightenment is to think that I'm nothing.

Actually, that's a good way to start. See, if you think about, I'm nothing. Then there's no kind of this energy to please anything or to seek external validation, isn't it? If somebody wanted to shoot a deer in the forest, the deer is too big, so it can be shoot very easily.

But if I'm very small, I'm a worm. If I'm a aunt, then I might the one that can to target me. So that's a nice thing. Best place to start for someone who really had to go of their identity to just not, to take themselves too seriously for a little bit and ask themself to just relax.

And actually, you know what? People don't really care about what you do in life. If I say to people, tomorrow, Patty, I'm gonna quit my job and I'm gonna just be a housewife for a little while, do you think people really care? Not really. And another really interesting piece is also between the parenting as well.

 Another thing to find our place in careers in life is to heal past trauma, believe or not. We talked about puppy before, right? I share the story with you that when I lost my puppy I was really traumatized because for a little kid, you can imagine it's actually a traumatized experience.

And as a parent, maybe sometimes we like to comfort them. So we'll say, oh, stop crying. It's okay. We'll get you another one. What happens there is that a lot of the emotional validation is missing in a child earlier childhood. Sometimes people zoom, all a five year old, two year old don't remember anything.

No, it's not really true. I have clients who can remember. Very clearly the incident happened to her when she was six months in her court where she mom refused to give her a bottle of milk. Imagine that. So actually, the earlier experience has a huge impact in the decision we make later in life.

 As parents, you of course, we try to protect our children. We make the best decision for our kids, but along the way without knowing we are hurting them. Because as soon as we project our own fear and insec and I met these on our kids, they start suffering.

So I didn't make a my university and therefore I want my children to do that. Or I really wanted to play instrument, but my mom told me I shouldn't be doing that. Academic excellence is more important, so that part of me where I felt unique and gifted was suppressed.

Big time. My emotional needs are not answered cuz I've always suppressed, how I truly felt. Even though my parents tried to comfort me, all the puppy diet is okay. Don't worry about it. Don't cry like big girls don't cry. Like no tears needed. You are stronger than that. What happened is over time our subconscious become numbs by our emotions.

 People walk into the career option and goes, actually I don't need to feel cuz I'm numb. Because my emotions never need to be validated. Those are not important. It's about survival. Therefore people choose careers based on, the material level, right? And the social expectation, the external validation.

But deep on the inside is past trauma, which really needs to be looked at. The trauma may be quite a strong word, but actually It's nothing, everyone has traumatic experience. Because it's life. At some point we have loved, we have, lost our loved ones, lost our puppy, or lost our, grandparents.

At some point it's inevitable experience. It's not about really dwelling too much about what happened in the past. It's about. What is emotion in the past or emerging for us now doing to us and what is available to us now and how I can respond to this differently.

 I think when I come to career pivoting, these are the pillars . The self one is peace and obviously, If you're really not into kind of diving deep there, there's 360 s questionnaires that you can use to identify your strengths ask your friends and families and just stop observation.

What are the things I like to procrastinate on and what are things really naturally giving me energy of it? These really can give you lots of information, data about who they are and, what you naturally good at. Another pillar, as I mentioned, is really funny of your motivations.

It's sometimes interesting when we speak about motivations. People think, oh, what am I motivated about? I'm motivated, by achieving X, Y, and Z or by money and. Again, I think motivation sometime, believe it or not, is strongly related to purpose and some, the negatively emotional trait can be a strong factor for motivation and identifying purpose in life.

Some of these things come from shame vulnerability. Past trauma, it could be that we've seen a lot of successful people have actually come from very traumatic past experience, and therefore they wanted to change their outlook, and to do that thing to help other people to achieve the opposite, to heal others.

 Sometimes the negative traits in whatever happened to our past can be. A brilliant gift and present. So I would say never disregard on a negative face. Obviously we don't want a kind of freedom, but some of them are very interesting to look at. Really funny, all the motivation and purpose.

Then next layer, I would say is really to heal. To heal our trauma. Understand means the famous psychologist Eric Burn and his work on transactional analysis. The parent, adult, and the child is really interesting. Research I found where he found actually a lot of. Adults behaviors is actually based on the childhood experience.

 We don't realize actually we were around as an adult, but what we do is actually from the unmet knees or from our inner self in inner child the past. It is really about identifying careers, but partially it's about growth. And finding out our vulnerable path, because when we identify that and there's a room for healing, there's a room for growth.

 Once we heal that piece of trauma and then we can actually say I know why I don't choose to do the things I really love. I know why I keep self-sabotaging my behaviors. Of not waiting to let him go of my identity or, not waiting to allow myself to live a happy life. What is that stopping us?

A lot of this is really deeply embedded. Behaviors, beliefs, and, parenting styles habiting us to flourish in life. last layer I would say is really around the whole kind of healing bits and, self-confidence.

We all have confidence issues and self-esteem issues and there are some tools in leadership coaching that we do, so of excellence is actually similar to the work you love to do around visual work. And I love that so of excellence tool. Could

[00:26:46] Paddy Dhanda: you tell us more about that, Tony?

[00:26:47] Toni Liu: So I suffered a big time when I had to deliver a presentation in front of 109 bas at London Business School. This about 10 years ago. I had to deliver a topic where, I don't have any expertise in. L B S is a top global, top three rank to B school.

And they've got some of the most intelligent people in the room. And I've never done n mba, I've just got bachelor degree and I was never really into. Intellectually, like, a high achiever. I was never seen as that regard, and I had to deliver that presentation on the topic in finance, imagine I wasn't a finance students but I had to provide a sector introduction to those people.

 I was really struggling and I've always been very shy. I never liked to talk in group settings or whatsoever. I don't like to be seen. I really found experience extremely challenging, therefore, that I had to seek help. So I came across these techniques is neurolinguistic programming, NLP approach, and one of the tools is called the Circle of Excellence.

What it did basically is to allow you to tap into a past experience where you had confidence before. Probably not in public speaking, but it could be when I was feeling really confident, once when I was playing piano or whatsoever, and I was performing, in a.

Audience and I was just really in our, with myself and my audience and everything, and I really enjoyed that. So it's about the typing into the qualities and the emotional state feeling the confidence. And then we'll get you to visualize. It's a bit of somatic experience as well.

Tap into your body where in the body you feel this confidence in. I feel my chest is uplifting or I feel my tummy some sensation there. It feels warm, and it could also take colors and people get different things, and to me, the color of yellow is very strong.

When I was in my confidence, Visualization exercise. And what you do is once you identify the things impose the quality of confidence for you, then you're gonna take that state into this future state where I had to present in front of this a hundred, mba. So what you do is that you step into the future and you visualize you are in that lecture room.

And you wanted to throw all of these quality together and make them into a metaphor. Or you could just, infuse the yellow color all around you. Or you could just type into the qualities and just visualize that you are in that state. It's almost like we are putting a vessel on ourselves.

You're typing into this superpower. Of confidence and then you deliver. Another techniques is something that I learned from the West End performer. I was reading into clowning performance and that type of thing. And it all, the West End performer, when we go to watch a show, it is interesting, isn't it, because it's such a big stage, but then when the actor and actress locate themselves in a Pacific spot on the stage, they could still engage with the audience in a very powerful way.

Now, how do they do that? They use visualization to do that. What they do is all about setting the stage. So when you walk into a meeting room, for example even in a Zoom setting before I come to session today, I would pick a color or I could set my intention of, I really wanted to engage with Patty really well.

What color would that be? Pink, right? I would just visualize that, fill the color in my room and in your room as well. So that's how the West End performer for decades of how to setting up their stage and engage with the audience in a live setting. So I combine those two techniques to help me with my public speaking and.

 That's how I got through it really. And that's, how I really believe in coaching and the techniques sometimes really can help people. You can argue it, confidence building is a long-term thing, which I agree with. But I think temporarily are there techniques?

Definitely there are techniques. Because what it does is that it shifts your focus from fear and nervous away from your intention setting, from manifest to manifestation, and that's very powerful.

[00:31:13] Paddy Dhanda: Tony, there's so much there that we could unpack probably, three or four episodes worth, but I wanted to take you back to when you were talking about.

Identification and identity. Yes. Now, I love that for most of us, we are told, especially if we're doing some kind of social media work or we're trying to build our personal brand, people say you need to niche down on your specialism. So then people know what you are good at and what you're famous for.

So if somebody out there is a coach or they are visual thinker or whatever the title is. How should they then market themselves, I guess is if they don't have a very defined identity, how could they still, see success but without being labeled as just one of these?

[00:32:11] Toni Liu: That's a good question because I think the identity in Latin means sameness. I think the most important thing is not to go against your authentic self to be the same with someone else. That's first of all. Because as soon as we do that, then you lose your authentic self. You lose your uniqueness, and you stay away from your giftedness just to fit in or just to be part of something.

And that shouldn't be the pure intention of doing what we do, right? What we do is because we enjoy the creative processes of creating any, podcast. This is what we love to do. I think the more that you can find your zone the more you can find your energy flow.

Where helps your energy flow. And where that is, your true power, your superpower, I like your brand by the way. And I think that is my tip because the lot of thing is about like family identity and stuff, but again, to me that's very a economical and, social thing really for us to believe that we are someone.

But underneath the little girls and little boys within ourselves are traumatized. Not really pleased with the outcome, not typing into our superpowers. I think it's like dead zombies walking straight with the big, thing written on their forehead and go, I'm a banker.

Do you think people really care? And this one precious life at the end of the day is ours. I think at the end of the day, the person are responsible for number one is ourselves, isn't it? So I feel like if we can sort ourself out, kind of let go of the acts to validation slightly and to type into our own authentic self then we can certainly, Go beyond to secure a brand identity even.

But I think brand identity is slightly different from identification, right? Brand identity itself is a marketing tool, and it is important that, we are professional when it come to marketing perspective, keep everything consistent and how we execute the marketing side of the things. To me, that's really a marketing branch and branding branch.

But I think when it come to our individual self, our individual identity is. Probably important to get hold of our authentic self and not to be threatened by our own superpower, to create something that allow us to be in the zone of flowy energy.

[00:34:45] Paddy Dhanda: Just before we kicked off, you were telling me a story about how some of the students that you have been coaching on, some of the prestigious MBA programs, they all have the dream of becoming a banker or working in finance.

And then you mentioned. They feel a bit disappointed. Could you tell us more about that? Cause I thought that was a really interesting insight.

[00:35:10] Toni Liu: Even now, I still have students come to me and you see somebody studying something, let's say that they studying act actual management and they wanna get insurance and that line work and they go, oh, actually I don't have a passion for it.

I do this. It's because my parents will ask me to do it. Or like my father owned this business and they expect me to run their business after graduate and they carry huge amount of expectation from their parents. I think one thing I would say is obviously we're not perfect, but I think as.

Modern parents. We gotta be so careful with not to project our unmet needs and our kids because it is manipulating, because on the surveys we'll be like, oh, I love you so much. I love you. I'll do everything for you. And then underneath you go, oh yeah, if could get into Cambridge or if you can, do this degree, then you make me very proud, or I think that's a better path for you.

But who are we to give any and solicit advice to anybody? And the word should itself is dangerous. No one should do anything. It's like, oh yeah, you should listen to your parents. I agree. To a certain degree. You should listen to your parents. It depends when you cross the road, there's a dangerous car coming.

Yeah, of course. But when it come to making life decisions or connecting our true, authentic self, should we listen to our parents because we carry on a lot of the family traditions genetically as well. How we think, how we behave bloodlines and that type of things really into our presence.

And I think the more we can be aware of who we are by unlearning some of those expectations, being forced upon us and having the courage to truth differently. Having the confidence. A lot of it's really about self-esteem as well. People can't let them to be who they are cuz they feel like the power is gone, the superpower is not there.

 It's really kind of rebuilding that, allowing themselves to realize the dynamics of relationships. And how entangled it gets, but how we then regain the clarifications by peeling off all these layers to see who we really are in naked eye. Recognize actually, these are my true qualities, my talents, and I'm fully accepted.

I give myself the power to be who I am, not to be afraid of being judged or being seen differently. That's not a scary thing because if you're not the banker, who are you if you're not the lawyer or if you're not gonna be becoming this and that.

[00:38:04] Paddy Dhanda: Oh, I just reminds me of when I was starting my.

Sort of journey beyond high school, and I was super creative. I used to love art, and my art teacher even sat me down and said, please make sure you continue this subject beyond school. And I left high school with this kind of dream of becoming a creative, and very quickly that dream was destroyed because everybody around me was constantly.

Criticizing and saying, why on earth are you gonna become an art person? How are you gonna earn a living? That's not a real career. And at the time, technology and, it was becoming a really big thing. And I then decided I needed to earn proper money and have a proper career. And I moved over to a technology career and the creative side just got suppressed.

But that was my authentic self. I feel just hearing what you are saying there, and it's only probably the last like , 6, 7 years. Is when I've rediscovered some of that creativity and now we live in a world where creativity is embraced. Like everything we see on social media, it's all about creativity. A lot of, organizations are trying to be more creative and innovative and all of these good things.

It feels like we've gone full circle and now creativity is having its day, but. I have to say from what you're saying is I definitely were one of those people who suppressed this true, authentic self for many years. And I can't complain, like technology has been great as a career, but it wouldn't have been nice to merge that with all of these other great things as well that I was passionate about.

So for me very relevant what you're saying there, Tony. As we are running outta time, I'd just get. You to give us maybe one or two bits of advice. If you were looking back at your younger self, what would be one or two bits of advice you would've given yourself?

[00:40:09] Toni Liu: Oh, I would say don't give a damn about what other people think of you.

And don't be afraid to be yourself and don't be that good girl. Don't do that to please other people. I felt like I've just always been pleasing other people a big time, right? From because I was extremely sensitive kid, I think I was very intru of other people's emotions as if I could read what I wanted.

And therefore, I think as a result I did things to please other people because in my culture and in my family being the good girl is seen as to be loved. If you want to be loved, then be the good girl. You know what I mean? So I think, I never actually, like you, I was reading into arts and creative side of the things, and in fact, I never liked the school.

 I've suffered many years in school because especially the schools in China, it's very academic driven and is very rigid, hardcore and I never understood why I had to go to school. For all those years. Crazy. And I did, it was because, it's about survival, right?

Again, it was about survival. It was about what my parents wanted me to do and I needed to be that good girl. For years I had to play other people's games, and I'd say that please. Be honest to yourself. Be honest to your feelings on the inside and having the courage to rero your life again. Cause it, it is never too late.

I have a friend who's amazing glass artist in the uk and she started making glass and amazing glass dresses. When she was 62? No, she's 78. I just thought this never too late in life. Only just have this one life to explore. And if you can even, discover, just that one uniqueness and giftedness and Be there to use that to enrich your life and to bring more joy and positive vibes into yourself.

Then what it does is actually it transmits and it actually creates more joys around you. One of the things I always say to students, cuz they're like, oh yeah, but that's what my mom want me to do. One of the things that I always ask them, if you were not happy and if you did what your parents do and you're miserable.

Two or three years down the line, how would your parents feel? They would be sad. Like the immediate also be like, oh, I think they'll be sad because they want me to be happy. There you go. So what is really missing is the communication piece between the kids and the parents to express their emotions in a very honest way.

And that requires vulnerability. They require us to open up and to be vulnerable. To be vulnerable, express our emotions, and to say how they make us feel. Validating our emotions, validating our children emotions are extremely healthy. Cause if we don't do that, then the chances are the kids gonna carry those emotions and behaviors into their future relationships and gonna go run down the family line.

And that's not what we wanted for our future generations. So it's about stopping here. Think about it, it's about that responsibility first layer of responsibility towards ourselves, but also to protect our families and to our future generations to see it in the broader sense. If you can't love yourself, some people find it or I just can't do it, what whatsoever?

But then think about in the broader sense and how your decision would actually impact your kids and or your parents' wellness. And those ones around us.

[00:43:37] Paddy Dhanda: Oh, great advice there, Tony's. Thank you for that. And as we wrap up, I'd love for you to tell us how people can stay in touch with you if they would want to continue the conversation.

And if you could also share one or two resources that you would recommend for anybody who wants to seek further support and help in this particular subject matter we talked about today.

[00:44:01] Toni Liu: It's a really interesting point you touched on Patty, because I'm in the process of thinking about writing a book.

It's a very early stage. But I would hope to bring more interesting content out there to the audience. Should I be ready? But in the meanwhile I have my email address tony do love that people can, get in touch with me. If there any questions or areas you like to explore, I'd be very happy to continue the discussion.

Some resources I would say that, don't be afraid to seek help. If you need a therapy, find a good therapist. If you need coaching, find a good coach. I've seen all sorts of instruments over the years and nothing has wasted my time cuz it's all about drawing information about ourselves.

It's all about the growth. And it's all about healing. Life is very much part of that. I will say try different type of things and sometimes people say, oh yeah, I try that, but that never works and perhaps it's just not the right therapy or perhaps was with a coach maybe you didn't have much chemistry with.

But I would say just keep trying, keep experimenting it as long as you hold intention to, and to heal yourself, you will come across the right person I would say. So that's number one. Never be afraid to seek help if you need, and I really think that in our society, somehow it's being seen as a shame to seek help.

Especially therapy support and that type of things. But I think it's so not. It's like we all have trauma within ourselves. Like I said earlier, I mean my puppy died when I was little, was a very traumatic experience for me. And I went to New Zealand on my own, was a very traumatic experience for me.

And even sometime when I lost my grandpa, it was extraordinary. I couldn't go to school and, because he was very dear to my heart. But as a little person, that you needed support and we haven't worked on that. And we just build up into the adult life. So we all have loss and if you have loss, and then there is.

Some parts of you that perhaps, can be healed. And another thing I would just say said that there are lots of good talks on YouTube. Obviously I love your channel. It's really amazing some of the techniques that, you share. It's really good platform. But there are others.

I follow This therapist is a family, family therapist called gaba. You probably know him. I really like him. I think he, some of his work and research is extraordinary. I really love his work. So I'd say that will be a good starting point to explore family therapies and the correlation between the parent child and adult systems and figuring out herself better.

[00:46:42] Paddy Dhanda: Oh, fantastic. And we'll try and post some of those links in the show notes as well. I will try and get those from you afterwards. So thank you so much, Tony. It's been a real pleasure hearing your story, your experiences, your background, and it's got me to really reflect as well on some of the things that I'm doing well and not so well.

So, that's always a good thing. Thank you so much for joining me today.

[00:47:06] Toni Liu: Oh, thank you so much Patty it's a really great pleasure and thanks so much again. You're a fantastic host. I really enjoyed myself as well. Oh,

[00:47:14] Paddy Dhanda: thank you so much.

Superpowers School
Superpowers School - Self Improvement Podcast Like Diary of a CEO
Do you want to future-proof your technology career? Building human skills (soft skills) that AI can't easily replicate is what makes us unique and stand out.
Join Paddy Dhanda for a weekly dose of self-improvement. Each episode focuses on a different human superpower at work, helping you upgrade your soft skills and beat AI anxiety.
If knowledge is power, then make learning your superpower!