I want to leave the legacy. I want to write my own stories, especially my mom and dad, and to inspire other people to read it down, because everyone’s story is worth spreading.
Welcome to Unexpected Journey Season Two. I’m your host, and then welcome Lucy Chen to the show today. Lucy is a certified human potential coach and psychological fitness specialist about a gifted coaching, bringing with her two decades of mentoring and coaching experience.


A distinguished Toastmaster, she excels in public speaking, career development, wellbeing and financial coaching. Lucy also wrote the five star book, build resilience, live, learn and lead. listen in to hear more about Lucy’s unexpected journey.
Before we begin, don’t forget to subscribe and leave your comments below. Now let’s get started.


Lucy, welcome to the show, it is so great to finally get a chance to sit down and talk to you. It’s my pleasure. Thank you for your invitation, then. Absolutely. And, you know, I am so excited to talk to you for a few reasons. One is obviously about your book that I have right here. But also, that you have had just a really impressive career journey. And, you know, the show is Unexpected Journey, right?
So you’ve had such an impressive career journey, you transition from engineering, to finance and now coaching, and really want to understand what inspired the shift and how each phase really contributed to your current role.


So I grew up in China, and up until my 24th birthday, I never took an aeroplane. Just think about that. Back then there in China in the 1970s 1980s will report. So China was really poor back then. And of course I didn’t have the
the situation or the environment and also the work. We’re talking about affordability. But everyone was like that. And then so in 1994 When I turned 24, I came to America, just a month after my birthday, I came to America to pursue my graduate college, graduate degree in Environmental Engineering, so Bachelor’s in the environmental engineering and also master’s from UCLA. So 1996 I graduated with the master’s degree. And then I landed my first professional job, of course, environmental engineer. But four years later, in 2000, I changed my mind to become a financial data analyzed, and to your mind. Yeah, so there are a couple of reasons I mentioned in my book, first, the reason was that back then in 1999, I got married. So my husband, we got to know each other from UCLA, our years there. She studied PhD and I studied at mash masters. So I graduated earlier I got my my job. But when I moved to San Francisco, you know how it is that in Silicon Valley, everyone was talking about tech, but back then we didn’t use the term of okay, artificial intelligence or machine learning rather the buzzwords now, but back then okay, internet, the everything about okay, online e commerce and everything. So I figured, well, maybe this is something that I can jump in, given that I have a very solid math background and data analysis and so it STEM background. That’s number one. Number two was that I in terms of a professional advancement, I had some issues there. I wasn’t expecting that California had a different criteria for professional engineering. Basically, California was the most stringent state to pass the qualification because they require you to take a two additional exams one is a seismic given the earthquake, right. Number two was the land the survey in So I wasn’t able to, to pass those two exams additional, I pass the all of the exams in New York State, but because the licensed professional engineering license is state based, so I figured, well, I’m not a structural engineer and just think about an environmental engineer is totally different than discipline. It’s just but bucketed under the civil engineering. So that’s another reason. And number three was that a lot of my friends around me, they jump into tech, they said, Hey, this isn’t really a hot field and lose your smart, why not that you jump into that? So long story short, was that I changed my career. This is really the for the first time. So 24 years ago, I changed from a environmental engineer, to a data analyst, and eventually finance data analysis manually, I almost became an actuary, actually, you know, the insurance company, right, actuarial services, that’s a department.


That would have been quite the shift, right?


Yes, yeah.

What I find interesting is one of the things that stood several things stood out to me in your book, but you talk about evolving dreams and goals. And you’re the epitome of that. And what was really fascinating to me is that you at the age of 24, took your very first plane ride, and you come to the United States and within what was it 1012 years, you have gone from taking your first plane ride, to changing your career. And just the difference, your life made in 10 years, from that 24 year old individual who had never even been on a plane to living in San Francisco, which is such a bustling city, and changing careers, from engineering to finance and what an amazing and wild ride.


It was. Indeed, indeed, I was really proud of myself. But really, I didn’t, I never really expected I would go to this route. But because of all of the factors all together and worked perfectly for me, initially, I was pursuing my professional engineering license. In California, he is seven year Vironment engineer, but I switched.


What I think is interesting, as well as that, in the moment, it feels unsettling almost, to make these changes. And especially when you’re going from someplace where as you said, you feel like you have nothing, right? And then you’re getting on this big engined planes and going on the other side of the world, to this land of opportunity, yes, where there’s so much activity and it’s overstimulation in this environment. And what you’ve accomplished since then, and then you’ve changed routes, multiple times, and been successful at it, but you look back, and how much sense has it made? When you look back and you think all of the things that I’ve done, actually have contributed to the success of where I am today?


Absolutely, I totally agree with you. Just if I do a reflection, I mean, I do constantly. A lot of amazing things happen. You know, to be honest with you, for example, my friends, right, who introduced me to really move on hand to switch my career. And for several times, we only cover the first portion rather the first time that I changed from a sieve environment when engineering to finance, but also later on, I changed a lot, right. He’s really evolved in and also because of my community, my friends around me. So that’s why I mentioned in my book really surround myself with inspiring people.


Then as soon as it’s not, you, you mentioned inspiring people, but also supportive people. Yes. Because as these dreams evolve and grow, if you don’t have inspiring and supportive people around you, then because when your dreams evolve and grow, sometimes you’re pivoting as greatly as you did. And if you don’t have inspiring and supportive people till around you, they might crush those streams.


Absolutely. Yep. Yep. I totally agree with you. And I, in my book I mentioned about my mom and dad are a solid there. They just all the time and whenever that I feel okay, I got defeated and I had this moment of negativity, I call them, especially my dad. He believed in me all the time. Right. So really family, and then friends. Definitely, they are so instrumental in my journey.


There are so many amazing stories about your mom and your dad in your book. Yeah, I could not just pick one to talk about. If we’re talking about because I want to, I want to reference one really big outtake for me in a few moments, but if we’re talking about specifically evolving dreams and goals, yeah. Who do you if you had to choose between your mother and your father, who was the most supportive when it came to that? And could you tell us something? Tie in a story that really kind of resonates there? Because I can’t pick just one. There are so many fascinating stories about your parents in your


Yeah, yeah. A lot of stories that I shared with the the audience um, maybe I’ll just pick one for now. I shared about the my mom’s journey. So she grew up a busy chapter about your mother read the whole entire chapter about her from she was born. She was born in 1938. Back then, when Japan invaded China, so she lost the both of her parents during the war. And eventually her grandparents Opie’s she’s, she’s an orphan. And her survival itself was a miracle. You know. So that’s why she described herself was was little grass was really resilient and trampled. So many times is still thriving. So she’s my role model. So come back to you what your question. So one thing that I learned from her was, she always had dreams. Growing up is really hard, right? Survival itself is so she struggled a lot, right? Illness and starvation, poverty, everything. And she moved around and lived with various relatives and everything. She always had a dream. So there are a couple of things. One was, initially when she dreamed about the media, her father, she just didn’t believe at the beginning that her father passed, got killed in the battlefield because she didn’t see the body. She’s, she saw her mom died when she was four. So she, this dream kept her going. And she mentioned that a lot of times where she got really sick, and people just lost hope on her. And she felt like, okay, my father will wait for me. And someday I’ll meet with him. So I’m going to survive. So this really strong faith, very strong believe, kept her going. So that’s number one. And later on, of course, she realized that she just never showed that her father would never come home and it’s just most likely she, he already died. But then, number two was that she dreamed that her parents hoped her to have a really bright future. That’s why they sacrifice themselves for her. So that’s another belief that kept her going. That’s number two. Another thing is when I grew up, I observed when she went to Sweden, I mentioned in the book, where she was a 44 year old. She got selected to be able to work in this very prestigious, very famous research institute in Sweden. Just think about her life. Throughout her life, she was really poor. I really lived a very modest living style. She never went outside of the country. She never took an airplane. Similar to me when I mentioned earlier, but I the age of 44. She got this opportunity. She seized it. And the her dream was to continuously to put our effort and to do research in the metallurgy field. Because she’s a physicist, she studied the physics, but think have odd back in her college years, she never studied English. Russian, Russian was the language because back then China and the rational comrade the country’s, she never got out pretty. But because of her dream, it kept her going. She self taught herself the English. And she hopped on the train, took her seven days, to across various countries, right Russia and also the East European and everything arrived to Sweden is really amazing to me. And she spent two and a half years there, made a lot of achievements there. And she was recognized as one outstanding researcher. So I made this long story short was that her hopes and dreams, and everything just was like a fuel to propel herself forward. And I learned so much from her.


This or That
That’s amazing. And it’s so beautiful to hear someone talk so affectionately and inspiringly about their parent. Thank you. Yeah. Now, I do want to talk about something else on the book. But right now I want to give everybody an opportunity to know Lucy. So we have a game that we play to get everybody to know each other. And that’s this or that. And the way we play it is for for our new listeners, we get two words or phrases. And both of us have to pick which one we would prefer. And the only real rules of the game are. You can’t pick neither, and you can’t pick both. So are you ready to play? Sure. All right, let’s see which words or phrases we get today. I’m going to click the button here and the first word or phrase is ballet or contemporary dance.
I’ll pick a ballet.
You’ll pick ballet. Why do you pick ballet?
I learned a ballet. You’re 9097 When I was living in Buffalo, New York and a long time ago, and let me know you’ve learned ballet. Yeah. I spent years.
Oh my goodness. So I am also going to choose ballet. I love contemporary dance. I think it’s beautiful and I love watching it. But there’s just something about watching a beautiful and charismatic just something about a ballet that just pulls at your heartstrings. Especially whenever you are witness to somebody that has been studying ballet their entire life. And you can see how they move their body with the music. It just is to use a word we’ve used frequently on today’s show. Inspiring. Which contemporary dance can be as well but they’re just there’s something about that ballet
is very classic. Yes, exactly.
Exactly. All right. Next words or phrases are what are we going to get? We’re gonna get rain or sunshine What do you choose question?
I’m fine. You know what, I actually am going to go with rain. Mine is because I’m in Texas. And we don’t get nearly enough rain. Not to mention when the sun’s out. It is hot here. So I do like the sunshine. I like the vitamin D I do and if we could keep the temperature at a nice comfortable 75 degrees I would probably pick sunshine. But here I would like some more rain make sure that our crops and our grass grow
you know I found a pattern was that you really want something that you rarely see and you wish to have in San Francisco is really we have had a lot of rents recently in the winter time ran and it’s cold and I wish that we have a more centralized There you
go there you go. All right, last question. And it is let’s see. What are we going to get? We’re going to get sushi or Thai food I’ll take a sushi okay, why are you picking sushi?
Well, first one first of all, sushi is wonderful my favorite food. Okay and also simple to make What is not as simple but some types of sushi and I frequently make at home. Number two was that I just had my lunch and is a pay tie as a Thai food. Something that I wish that I had
to and picking sushi for a little bit different reasons. First, I love sushi, it is one of my favorite foods. But for those frequent listeners on the show, I am a celiac. So there are a lot of foods that I cannot have. Sushi is one that I can have plenty of as long as we have gluten free soy sauce, and we make sure that we’re not having tempura or anything like that in there. And I will eat all the sushi all the time, all the day. Well, thank you for playing the game.
Thank you. Yeah, it is fun.


Well, now, just kind of getting a little bit more into your book, The One of the other things that stood out to me, and I like this, because your books called build resilience, live, learn and lead. And you make a point of talking about in a section about setting up a routine. And one of the things that you talk about that I don’t think a lot of people do is do nothing time for ourselves. And that stood out to me, because there were there a lot of things I’ve heard before with affirmations and making sure you have the appropriate amount of sleep and but this one, I thought, leaving space for ourselves to do nothing and help our mind, rest and relax. And that is so true.


Absolutely,I totally believe in leaving a blank space, or empty space for yourself is everything about self care, self compassion, and also be clear and focus. So I learned from my friends, and also from based on my own personal experiences, because a lot of times said my calendar was really full of packed meetings and everything. And that’s not healthy. Because each one of us has the very we’re different mental capacity, but you need to have a rest time, really do nothing time, wherever you choose to, okay, maybe read or listen to music or take a walk or something. But really, there is no purpose there just to live your life, to leave it for yourself or for your brain to take a break from constantly thinking and planning and getting ready for the next event. And I found is really effective, especially for the past 12 months or so three of my close friends and their female friends. They got burnout as got to send to the ER, emergency room. Yeah, so a lot of people learn that the hard way. And that’s why also I embedded in my book, I think is extremely important before the more than time people to rest, rest and rest.


And think what is it one of the reasons that this stood out to me is because one, I never used to do this. But when I would accidentally do it, not with purpose. The reality of how creative I felt after a small break was astounding. And it didn’t really click with me initially of all you just let your brain rest and now you feel refreshed and you’re alive in your brain has all of this energy to come up with ideas and is just energized with fruitfulness. It didn’t cut it wasn’t I wasn’t aware of it. And it took a few times of this happening before it just smacked me upside the head of saying and your brain needs to relax. You just need to chill out and give it even a 15 minute cat nap every now and then. And then the amazing things that would come out of that session. I was able to reorganize things and think of great ideas for employee engagement and come up with brand new, I just, it was so amazing I came here, I’m just getting excited about it. Guys how important it is,indeed, I totally agree with you, I think it’s especially for nowadays everyone is so attached to the social media, and the phones and our gadgets every day, we need to really block your calendar to say, Okay, this 10 minutes, I’ll just do nothing, even I just sit here, you know, and sometimes I do meditation, sometimes I just daydream, we
said, we weren’t gonna talk about our kids, but you, I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna do it. Mine cannot even come out of their room, go to the kitchen, and take dishes out of the sink and put them in the dishwasher without watching YouTube. And they’re just one handed doing things like this. And I’m sitting there thinking, put that down, it would go so much faster, if you just focused on what you were doing, and use two hands. But there’s always an attachment right here. And they’re always focused on this. Right? And then hopefully, the stimulation, and then they complain that they’re overstimulated. What is wrong with this picture? Right.


I mean, to be honest with you, I think a lot of issues, you know, related to mental issues are because of the social media, because of too much time and too much emotional impact from the social media. And just yesterday, I know that I hoped that my daughter would not really hate me for saying that, that she complained, right? She was happy woman at a girl. But after seeing some fantasy, she’s totally just the opposite that emotional status, as I said, Okay, what’s going on? She wouldn’t say, but keep on typing and keep on probably commenting on some posts or something. And I was like, you gotta really take a break. So she wasn’t happy. And of course, she has some didn’t feel very well in some coughing this morning. So I said, Okay, stay at home. But around 930. So let’s do just five minutes meditation. Not only that, five minutes are probably with we took a seven minutes or so not only help her, but also help myself. And she felt much calmer. Me too. So I feel okay. Yeah, this is really useful.


So you’ve moved from engineering to finance now you’re in coaching? Yeah. That is another big shift. And how do you use some of the insights or strategies that you have laid out in this wonderful book, which we’re going to put up a link at the end? To help professionals navigate challenges in their career in your coaching sessions?


Yeah, absolutely. So right now I call myself resilience coach, but he couldn’t really cover many aspects, right? We’re gonna talk about, okay, career advancement, self development, self compassion, self care, and also cultivating relationships, including with your kids with the younger generations and everything. So there are so many areas there. And I’m learning to apply what I have learned from the past and follow my career and also region raising children, all of the principles that I mentioned in the book, and to my coaching sessions. So say, for example, the relationship building and networking, and also paving the paths for the younger generations. So I gave a lot of speeches or topics or workshops about okay, how to raise resilient children were child and a lot of the parents approached me, especially from my community, who immigrated from China and really exposed the from both cultures, right Chinese culture and American cultures and raising their kids in America. And it’s really quite honest with you, it’s really quite challenging, because how we grow up is really different not only because of Hey, Internet technology changes in the environment, but also culture wise, very different here. So based on my values and my experiences, I really I love to pour out my knowledge and experience to them. And not mentioning that a lot of college students or career wise how to build more, expand the network and advance to your next level in career, I give a lot of advice and utilizing the seven principles that I wrote in the book. You know, say for example, growth, mindset, adaptability, keeping your hope, and a spiritual ality and living a simple life, everything all together is about, okay, how you shifted your mindset, how you reframe your narratives inside, and keep on growing and learning. And really, with the dreams and hopes in your heart.


So let’s see what made you this is such a big step to write a book. And, you know, we a lot of individuals, I know, talk about it. A lot of individuals I know have been told, oh, you should write a book. Actually doing it is another thing entirely. What helped you or kind of pushed you over the edge to say, I’m really going to do it? I’m gonna write that book.


Great question. I am so glad that you asked me this question. And of course, a lot of my friends asked me the question. There are several reasons number one, two years ago my father passed away and I as I mentioned to the book in the my book, that he’s the most influential person in my life, and he loved me the most. So when he passed away I almost quit my job. I said, Okay, I’m I want to walk to a camino. Camino right, so that in Spain, and this is, a few years back, I spent a week just really walk to the Camino. And I want to go back, but because of is in the middle of the pandemic, I couldn’t. So took me a long time to heal. Meanwhile, I started writing about my father. So from the eulogy, I started writing more. And I’m my daughter is three that they really liked my writing said, Hey, Mom, you have a lot of good stories. They inspire me. So that’s number one. My father’s a story. I think he’s really, he’s one of most amazing people in my life. So I want to wrote about him. And number two was, while I was writing, I found, oh, I have a lot of good valuable lessons and experiences I learned from him. And also myself, because I have a side hustle, I have been coaching and mentoring other people. And I feel okay, a lot in my experience, maybe it will benefit for other people, especially for those who immigrated to this country. And also women, if you think a benefit, right, got inspired. So that’s another reason. And I started kind of categorizing and summarizing all of the principles and to come up with okay, this is the Seven Principles of building resilience. Number three, I wanted to inspire people, as you mentioned, okay, inspiring is the theme or the word of the day, it’s a word of the
day, I will do what I have. It’s like every time we say inspire, I sure hope something came up.
Right. So I really, I believe everyone has amazing stories. And I want to inspire people who’s with a similar background, women, right AAPI Asian and I want to inspire them to tell their stories. There’s one thing that I mentioned to my friend was that just think about 150 to 100 years ago that Chinese laborers helped to build a trunk transcontinental railroad in America, right so many lives lost or damaged where family isn’t. There’s a lot of amazing things happened. But at the end when they celebrated there’s no Chinese got invited to do the celebration. If you look at the historical document, three or fewer more, were photo is hardly that you can see any Chinese face. I’m sure they are flesh and blood, you know they are they’re real people, right? I Wish there are a lot of documents, a lot of stories, a lot of books about those people. And I said, I don’t want to become number I want to be, I want to leave the legacy. I want to write my own stories, especially my mom and dad, and to inspire other people to read it down. Because everyone’s story is worth spreading. So that’s another purpose.


I love that. I love that. So for everybody who hasn’t really seen it yet, this is this is Lucy’s book, build resilience, live, learn and lead, and there will be a link to our Amazon store so that everybody can order it. Everybody needs a copy of this book. And Lucy, who would you say is your ideal? Like, who needs to update? I mean, everybody needs to read it. But who would you say? If I’m looking at this? Who needs to read this? Who are you targeting? Who were you thinking about when you wrote it?
Absolutely. I think number one people would love my book was that someone has similar background, immigrated to this country. But I mean, just think about around yourself, and how many people did not have immigration stories, right? I’m sure that you have, you know, not even if not from your parents, maybe your grandparents, who are your great, great uncles, and you know, all of people would love my story, because I really share a lot of common themes, how we uproot everything, and then come to this country, and to pursue our American dreams, is really my book is about. Yes, so that’s number one. Number two, even that you are far away from immigration and families. If you feel that your lives are stuck, right, you feel like, okay, I got laid off here, and I have the financial burdens, and, oh, I have a breakup or, you know, marriage problems or health issues. My seven principles will give you some ideas, to restore, to believe in yourself and to cultivate yourself and to say, hey, I have my inner strength, I have my innate intrinsic value, and I can overcome those obstacles and to get out of the troubles and challenges. So that’s number two. Number three, I think I mentioned about inspiring the younger generations. And actually, a lot of my friends, they support me by purchasing books, and they send another copy to their children, adult children, and even the high schoolers, and the youngest was only 16. And the my, my friend said, Oh, his child, you wanted to cry? Because a lot of the stories that are like, Oh, that’s how you survived the war. And that’s how you struggled with the food, the lack of food and in the starvation and everything. Yeah, so even my friends and then the kids. So the, I think the book is really a for younger generation, not only from the historical perspective to look at, okay, China’s changing half century of the war 80 years ago, how China was doing back then and during the war, but also to help understand that, really, in the context of a human survival, you know, humans are indeed resilient. So, I hope that this is a really inspiring people to, to really learn more, and to do the self development. Keep on learning.


Absolutely, absolutely. So why would somebody reached out to you Lucy, and then how would they reach out to you?


A couple of reasons. Based on my experience, when people that who don’t really know me, right, four, one is a seeking advice. When they got stuck in life, as I mentioned, a lot of them are particularly seeking advice and coaching. When they got laid off. last job or switch careers, as I mentioned, Okay, a couple of times, I switched careers successfully. And I had many cases that I helped people to find their confidence and to land a job. Especially someone that either at the beginning of their career like a college students, or the midlife crisis, rather just really a spectrum, various reasons. And number two, I would say a lot of parents reach out to me, as I mentioned, okay, how to raise a Resilient Child. So they want to understand because what you’re if we’re talking about 3040 years ago, not is totally different. I mentioned a cassette, you know, recording cassettes, to my children, they had no idea what is cassette? What are you talking to?
I mentioned in a traction, right?
Yeah, so a lot of things like you had no concept, right? Like remember the dial the phone? They saw it from the TV where the
even doing this? They’re like, what are you doing?
Exactly? Exactly, yeah. So culture wise. And also, for now, time was so different. And people are struggled with, okay, the major theme is mental health. You know, because a lot of immigrants parents like myself, we consider ourselves okay, very resilient. We don’t need to learn. But how can you cultivate the relationship help your children to acquire this? That’s another different topic, you know,
now they’re a different topic. Well, yeah, I’m surprised with you mentioned, people who have been laid off, reaching out to you on how to pivot their careers and find new careers, with as many layoffs as are happening right now. I’m surprised your phone’s not ringing off the hook. Talk about a reference that people don’t understand ringing off the hook. I mean,
another saying right, and other people, like scratch their heads, what
do you mean off the hook? I mean, they hear it and they know what it means. But they don’t understand where that came from. ringing off of the hook.
Exactly. Yeah. But really, actually, a lot of people reach out to me, and seeking advice, and especially high tech, right? So recent, from a year or two ago started just waves of layoffs, from the Silicon Valley, just recently, two weeks ago, a friend of mine, ping me through LinkedIn and say, Hey, Lucia, you know, I have this news. And if you have any, like contacts, or we’re referral, so So I tried to search from my network and help him. But really the nowadays, there’s a lot of pressures I could see. From the young people. I mean, even people, like a similar age as me. So I have the passion to help out.


Yeah. And what is the best way to reach you?


Yeah,so I have a My website is called a giftedcoaching.info. And people always write
that right down here so that everybody can see it.
Yeah. So yeah, so give coaching. So I’m not sure. Are you asking me to write it here where it’s
down here? We got up here for everybody to
see. Right. Okay. Wonderful. And another way is, I’m really active on LinkedIn so people can reach out to me. Okay, especially knows, of course, right? LinkedIn is a must so and I teach people how to modify their resume and how to uplift their LinkedIn profile. So a lot of people reach out to me via LinkedIn.


That is wonderful to know. Because I know a lot of people right now who are looking just for that. So now all of you who are looking to update your LinkedIn profiles, really make sure that you’re standing out in today’s world of layoffs and looking for jobs. Now you know who to who to reach out to. And Lucy’s LinkedIn information is going to be below as well. So you can reach out to her and make sure that you tell her that you saw her on unexpected journey, so that she knows as well. And Lucy, thank you so much for joining us today. It has been such a joy talking to you, and really appreciate you coming on the show.


Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to share my experience with everyone really enjoy this discussion. Absolutely.
And everybody else. Thank you for joining us as well and we will see you again next time.

As we wrap up the episode we would like to take this time to thank you for joining us this week on Unexpected Journey. Our guest’s information will be linked in the episode description along with a link to our hosts website, and bibb.com and our sponsors websites, remoteevolution.com, ethossupport.com and yourcohort.co Please don’t forget to like subscribe and share on your favorite podcast app and on our YouTube channel so that you never miss an episode and we can continue to bring them to you let us know your thoughts on what we discussed in the comment section and once again thanks for joining us we hope to see you again next time on Unexpected Journey.

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