Welcome to my guiding practice. I wrote this after realizing from my experiences and those of many other friends that we all need guidance, not only in specific domain but also in life as a whole. The rise of the life coaching industry to me reveals a yearning for true guidance of the kind that enlivens you as a person, not just making you better in doing certain jobs, or get better career prospect. Such yearning is a good thing. Please embrace it.
So what does a guide do? I have written before in this post, ”the best teacher set you on a path that neither of you knows what lies ahead. Often they don’t even tell you to do so. Their lives speak that message.” The more valuable gift of a guide is not so much a specific direction but rather the spaciousness in which your own inner knowing can surface. As John O’ Donahue once blesses,
“May you have the wisdom to generously enter your own unease / to discover the direction your longing wants you to take.”
Maybe you are having a lot of thoughts about life, many of which aren’t quite enjoyable. Maybe you are doing fine, but sometimes you wonder if there is more to life. Maybe you are currently in or at the onset of a personal crisis, and you foresee you may need some help.
Maybe you are an ambitious, well-educated, high potential Millennial, an emerging leader in your own fields. Maybe you long for that peace of mind as you take those baby steps in making a difference in the world and living a life that is nourishing you in every sense of the word.
It so happens that I’m one of you, and I realize how much I love, admire and yearn to be of service to you. I know how hard it is to be kind to ourselves while still upholding a high standard. It’s such a delicate challenge, one that I’m hoping to help you with.
How may I help?
Please come to me if you need help to
- Practice being kinder with yourself
- Make sense of the mess called your life, and more importantly learn to appreciate the beauty in it.
- Connect to a larger sense of meaning, and integrate those insights into your daily experiences.
- Take yourself less seriously while continue doing your best work. Hint: joy and playfulness will guide you.
Here are some reflections from a few clients whom I’ve have the pleasure of helping.
“Starting to work with Khuyen through bi-weekly discussions this year has been my #1 driver for accelerating a new journey inward. Balancing personal and professional dialogue, Khuyen has provided invaluable perspectives and frameworks for how to work through different challenges. His practice of integrating innovative mindsets from the entrepreneurial world with spiritual insights from philosophy makes for a coaching practice that celebrates development and achievement. For instance, utilizing David Brooks’ eulogy v. resume self, I have been able to reflect on virtues that compound over longer time horizons (eulogy) than short term gratification (resume). I feel more centered and empowered through authentic reflection and am grateful for the personalized support Khuyen provides. I would recommend him for anyone looking to develop their practice of being and becoming as his coaching structure gratifies both the mind and soul. ”
“Khuyen has modeled much of the thought and behavior that has made me a more joyful and resilient individual today. He has taught me to see the magic in the everyday. […] I am always trying to refine my own capacity for compassionate listening, and there’s no one better person to learn this practice from than Khuyen. He is able to listen so deeply and clearly that he can inhabit another person’s experience. His perspective is always refreshing and energizing, especially for minds conditioned by Western culture and thought.”
“There is no doubt that Khuyen has my best interest at heart and that we trust each other. Secondly, he has vast knowledge of different philosophies and approaches in the self-development and leadership space. I learn something new to research and reflect upon every time I talk to him or read his newsletter.
Thirdly, it’s just a joy to be in his presence because of his bright smile and playful energy. He inspires me to be more expansive, play harder, and feel more deeply in life.”
—-Jennie Sze, founder of GiveGlow —
“Khuyen brings deep, reflective wisdom to our conversations. He is the best kind of mirror; a mirror that reflects back at you the things you most need reflected in that moment. One of his greatest gifts is as a keen observer of what it means to be human and how we can all step into a journey of transforming our own stories. Speaking with him is an exercise in learning how to converse better with yourself. “
Really appreciated what you had to say. Somehow it all made sense in a way that what I’ve heard and gathered from other people really didn’t. Something finally clicked for me so thanks for that! I wish you best of luck in your endeavor and will likely hit you up again in the near future!
You can also watch a conversation I have with Jennie above to have a taste of this: From Pushing to Allowing: playing out of comfort zone.
Ready to ease into the next step? Send me a note below. You can also schedule a free 30-minute conversation with me here.
I’m very friendly, I don’t bite humans except with explicit permission.
If not, read further. Since I’ve been a consultant in a recent past life, I enjoy making 2×2 diagram. This one is for you to know my approach.
First, I have been guided by wonderful mentors who are also excellent coaches. This is a way for me to honor and pay forward the gift I’ve received.
Second, at a personal level, I enjoy getting to know other people, and many have told me I’ve been a helpful guide in their lives. Moreover, as life keeps getting richer in meaning despite its ups and downs (or rather because of them), I want to share with you this messy meaning-making process.
At a societal level, doing this work is my contribution to an ongoing issue reflected in the vast number of personal crises I’ve witnessed in myself and my friends. Our lack of meaning and purpose is often a symptom of three larger divides, ecological, social and spiritual. Such prevalence of crisis also means a tremendous opportunity to step in and contribute.
Credentials: I’m getting a Coaching Certification from MindKind Institute whose lovely and powerful coaches have been mentoring me. I wrote about my encounter with them here. I don’t really know what credentials do you need to believe me in doing this work: a master in Psychology? A PhD in philosophy? I’ve got none of those, but if you care about prestige, there you go.
I believe a more useful piece of info is that my dad passed away when I was three, and my mom recently became a Buddhist nun to continue her spiritual practice. She has a lot of good karma, and I can help channel some to you 😉
Lastly, I’m somewhat young, which used to be a liability in the coaching business. It is no longer true: with youth comes vitality, openness, a dedication to possibilities and their realizations. It maybe a wise thing to surround oneself with younger friends who see emerging potential as often as their smartphone 🙂
My intention: to help you first do it yourself, then do it for other people.
Many would describe my approach as spiritually playful, theoretically fluid and personally enjoyable. You can get a sense of it from reading my Enzyme for Thoughts or some blog posts on happiness, meaning & money, anger, fear, kindness, judgment, resentment, the pain of passionate work.
The metaphor of enzyme works quite well here: You digest your experiences better, and as a result, your life becomes more fertile, generative and holistic. Sometimes it results in more meaning too. I hope with some good starting enzymes, you can cultivate a healthy culture for yourself, so that you can turn whatever shit life gives into nourishing fertilizer.
Our work mostly at the level of being. Here is a blog post from New Venture West that explains. Here is a picture from that.
While everyone differs case by case, many find it helpful to have some experiences with introspection, meditation, therapy or physical training. I can help, although I’m not the best with those. You can see the resource page for ideas and sources of influence.
Alternatively, think of me as a guide, and what we do as practice, or a co-exploration of a new aspect of you that you may not yet know. I use myself as a case study a lot. With good reflection, many personal truths can have much wider applicability.
As human being is messy and complex, guiding is often not to solve any problem but to explore and sometimes enjoy the mess of being a human in the world. A conversation doesn’t have to solve anything, but a good one always reveals the next step. It’s like a dance: there is no goal, but if you dance well, it feels good.
A good guide, in my experiences, don’t need to go through the same thing you do. The key traits to cultivate are what Edgar Schein calls as the 3Cs: Curiosity (about everything that is happening), Care (about the person) and Commitment (to be truly helpful).
Guiding Practices Principles
- You are enough, and you can be more. Even a lot more if you desire.
- You already have the answer you need. With time and pleasurable nudges, it will come. You will know it when you see it.
- I can suggest, but I don’t know the answer. Catch me when I prescribe you anything.
- The best guide sets you on a path that neither of you knows what lies ahead and then encourages you to walk on.
What is success, and how will we know?
- For the experience: is it satisfied but not finished?
- For you: I aspire to Robert Greenleaf’s best test: ““Do those served grow as persons: do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will they benefit, or at least, not be further deprived?”
- For myself: am I doing what needs to be done with joy and ease?
Compensation (or gift exchange)
For now, the first 30′ is a diagnostic conversation is free. Then it’s Pay-What-Feels-Right (which is different from free) We’ll figure out what you need and how to move forward.
Money is an important component of living a meaningful life and has a lot of potential for meaning as I’ve written before. My money philosophy as of now is:
- Money as a measure of trust: you give and receive money not only to those whom you trust but also those whom you wish to trust more. Overall, the amount of trust should increase with monetary transaction.
- Money as stimulus of gratitude: When I pay you, it’s not merely an impersonal entitled transaction (“I pay you, therefore I deserve to have what you give me”) Think of business not as one-off interaction but ongoing conversation. When we pay each other, we acknowledge our ties and feel grateful for what we have done for each other. I’d rather slightly undercharged in money to stir more gratitude.
Also, I’m in for economic experimentation and bartering. Let me know about that.
Thank you for you time. Even if you don’t decide to work with me, I hope you find this page pleasant and somehow useful for you. Send me a note expressing your interests and questions for life anyway. We will take it from there 😀
OH, and if you have read until here, you may as well see some of the tools I’ve developed to help my wonderful friends who work with me.
1) A check-in tool with people when we are feeling uninspired.
2) Parody trend in the life coaching industry. I’m clearly leaning towards the Blue 😜
3) Some more testimonies: (Left) A dear friend who asked me to deceive her; (Right) another friend got interested in my work.