Anne Ye is a mid-thirties professional, and mom to two children. She grew up in South Africa, speaks Mandarin, Cantonese and English, and spent much of her career working for an international retailing group. She currently lives in Sydney, having relocated within the group to Australia a few years ago. Here is her career story so far:
“As a child, I remember wanting to be a teacher when I grew up. Later, it was to be a doctor.
In high school, as I excelled in accounting, I chose to become a Chartered Accountant (CA) upon the recommendation of many well-meaning relatives and teachers.
Planning my career path
Based on this choice, I planned my sensible career path as follows:
1. Study finance & accounting at the top university in my country
2. Serve my articles at one of the big 4 accounting firms
3. Qualify as a CA
4. Become a CFO (Chief Financial Officer)
Over the first decade of my career (including my university studies), I achieved the first 3 goals with total focus and relative ease. After qualifying as a CA, I joined the corporate world and began working steadily towards my final goal of becoming a CFO. The company was awesome, colleagues were wonderful, my role was interesting, the pay was great and the potential was promising. On the surface, life was peaceful, stable & looking good!
However, as the years passed, my original ambition of becoming a CFO seemed less and less appealing. Instead, a sense of emptiness set in and grew stronger and stronger. While my accountant friends around me were still working fervently towards the same CFO goal (and some began to reach it), I just couldn’t summon enough energy or focus to propel myself towards that goal. I realised that my original goal just did NOT interest me! I thought there must be something seriously wrong with me! I felt confused, but as I was not sure what to do, this feeling lingered on but was bearable. I suppressed it until the birth of my son brought on the urgency to re-examine my life. I felt a strong need to live a more fulfilling and meaningful life for me.
Exploring my future
This is when I decided to see a life coach to help me find a solution (upon the suggestion of my wise husband who was seeing a coach and benefited from the experience). Being an accountant, I am sceptical by nature, so it took me a few months to do tons of research to feel comfortable with this novel idea of life coaching and another few months to find a coach that I felt would be practical as well as resonate with me personally. I found her! A Chartered Accountant turned life coach; she was very gentle yet insightful. She asked such powerful questions that empowered me to find myself. Just 3 sessions in, I was able to have a clear look at my true self which I had been unable to do on my own after more than a decade!
My light bulb moment
She used the analogy that I was an apple tree among orange trees: that’s why becoming a CFO was of no interest to me and there was nothing wrong with me. It was a huge light bulb moment for me! The profound impact continued after I left that session and one day I had an epiphany! “Why not become a coach myself?” popped into my mind while I was in the middle of a financial meeting. Having understood myself better, I examined the various aspects of being a life coach and how it fit in with my interests and natural talents. The ability to work anywhere anytime was also very appealing to me, especially with small children. Having benefited immensely from the power of coaching myself, I felt I would be able to help other people in similar situations as me and help them find their apple tree selves.
Orange Grove Photo: Rolf F. Katzenberger ; https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfkatzenberger/7595759332
Putting my plan into action
So, I researched more about how to become a coach and decided to give it a try to see if it was really what I wanted to do.
I love it! I feel more energetic and happy when I am coaching and I get to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives which is priceless!
Although I haven’t changed to my specific childhood aspirations of being a teacher or doctor, I am back on the right path for me, as the essence is the same i.e. to help other people. My new, inspired journey has just begun!”