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Julia Chung, PhD, PCC, ACCG

September 2, 2013


Embrace and Celebrate the Unique YOU

Once upon a time, there was a little bamboo tree living in the forest. It was not the tallest or the thickest tree in the area, not impressive at first sight at all. Its green hollow truck was disproportionally small compare to the massive root system underground. When the other trees were busy growing tall and fighting for the sunlight, it cannot help to wonder,

“Why am I different from everyone else?”

One day a storm came, brought strong winds and pouring rain. Other trees were severely damaged or uprooted, while the bamboo tree did not even lose a branch. Its deep roots firmly hold the ground, and the hollow truck was incredibly strong and yet resilient. After the storm, the bamboo tree started to grow tall rapidly, so fast that you can literally hear it grow.

“I am glad that I am not just like everyone else…”

That’s right.

You don’t want to be just like everyone else, even if “everyone else” said so. All roads lead to Rome. You have a unique path. All you need to do is to find it.

And if you care to have a tour guide for the journey, a copilot to read the map, a partner to strategize with, a buddy to celebrate together,

I’ll be honored to join you.


Contact me if you are ready to make a difference in your life. 312-772-5024 or


Soft Skills Don’t Have to Be So Hard!

August 9, 2013

If you are one of the scientists I’ve worked with over the years, you must have strong intellectual curiosity to understand why the world is as we see it and how it came to be, and the passion to apply scientific knowledge for the benefit of the world. However, you may also be tired of office politics, tired of hearing the constructive criticism on your people skills, or tired of taking yet another three-day intensive training on “soft skills” (and what does that even mean?). How come it is still not enough after all the classes and trainings all these years? “Perhaps this is just not my thing”, you may be wondering.

That’s so NOT true. Those trainings don’t work well because most of them are not designed for scientists (probably not designed by scientists either). They make you wrong so you’ll follow their ways. Their strategies are not in sync with who you are. They are not arm-twisting while not far from it. They sound good in theory, but seldom work in the real world, your real world.

Being a scientist myself, it’s nonsense to do things the hard way. You already have all the skills you need to be a master communicator. The key is to acknowledge and expand on what you are already good at:

  1. You are an excellent observer: What information do you receive through your senses?
  2. You are naturally curious: What’s important to your audience?
  3. You make decisions based on data: How do you make decisions based on what you see, hear and feel?
  4. You are intelligent: You learn fast and can quickly evaluate which tools work the best for you.
  5. You are committed: You work hard to put your skills into practice and to drive results.
  6. You are with people: You don’t have to do everything alone. Teamwork creates synergy and accomplishes more.

In our coaching partnership, we will focus on:

You: What do you really, really want? What’s important to you? What’s driving you? What are you passionate about? How do “you” work?

Tools: once we understand “who” you are, we can better select the right tools for the job. For example, you may have noticed that I speak in many stories and metaphors in my bio. For someone who likes structures, NLP language patterns may also be useful.

Actions: where the rubber hits the road. We will creating an action plan to get you where you want to be. We will also evaluate the progress as we go and make course corrections if needed.

Contact me if you are ready to make a difference in your life. 312-772-5024 or

What’s Your “Why”?

August 9, 2013

Have you ever paused and think about how are your actions (how) and results (what) connect to what do you stand for (why)? Or, do they?

If the world were to end tomorrow, how does that shift your why, how and what?

Start with the why. When your “why” is crispy clear, you will find a way to get what your heart desires.

A Miracle in Disguise

November 27, 2012

This morning I was watching a youtube video of Nick Vujicic, a man without arms and legs and an inspiring motivational speaker.

“I stand before you as a miracle of God that you cannot argue. You cannot argue with my smile. You cannot argue with my joy. You cannot argue with my victory. You have seen that I have real pain, and I have real victory. The last thing you would have thought this morning is you are going to be jealous of me!”

Every time I watch Nick, I am always so moved by the amazing look of peace and love on his face. This is a man who found his purpose.  He is able to introduce God to millions of people; many of them are in countries where religious gathering is not necessary welcoming. People want to hear him maybe simply because of the curiosity of a limbless man, and then they are inspired and irresistibly attracted to him seeing how well he embraces his life, his purpose, and his disability, or a miracle in disguise.

Is ADD/ ADHD a miracle in disguise? I think so. Nobody would think having no arms and legs is a miracle, until Nick makes it so. ADD/ ADHD is a paradox of often intense opposites. Many ADD/ ADHD traits are situational. They may be perceived as weaknesses, until you put them in the “right context” and make them strengths.

For example,

  • Distractibility vs. Creativity
  • Poor working memory vs. Out-of-box thinking
  • Impulsivity vs. Authenticity
  • Hyperactivity vs. Enthusiasm
  • Mental restlessness vs. Idea machines
  • Rumination vs. Realism
  • Procrastination vs. High expectations
  • Time insensitivity vs. Living in the present
  • Hypersensitivity vs. Empathy

Coaching is about finding, shifting or creating the context where ADHD shows up as a strength more often than a weakness. It does not mean we ignore the challenges of ADHD (just like we don’t ignore the fact that Nick has no arms and legs). It is not about changing the unique wiring of ADHD brains. Coaching is about designing the environment to pull you forward, to uncover the miracle in you and allow it to shine.

Contact me if you are ready to make a difference in your life. 312-772-5024 or

Lessons from Improv classes

November 27, 2012

If you ask me today, “what is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?” I’d say, “Taking improv classes!” Although I am proud to report that I survived my 30th improv class tonight, the class performance is coming up on August 26, and I just registered for the next term, i.e. another 8 weeks of “fun”…

The process hasn’t been easy. The first 4 months I was struggling to even be able to follow the exercises. I suck at games, I had zero interest and knowledge in pop culture, which lead to countless “dear in headlights” moments. My default life skills, hard working and analyzing with my left brain, were totally working against me. Many nights I went home feeling drained, frustrated and defeated. Cannot help to wonder: why am I paying $300 every other month to torture myself?

The second 4 months things start to turn around. I still suck at games and still am caught by headlights, while occasionally I do have my “spotlight” moments. More importantly, I realize the “lessons” and how to apply them to my life:

  1. “Yes and…”: accept the reality created by my theme partners, add to it and move it forward.
  2. There are no mistakes in improv. Everything is a gift.
  3. Focus on “who”: characters matter, relationships matter, emotions matter, what we are doing with our hands does not matter!
  4. Here and now: the most important people are my theme partners right in front of me. Present is way more interesting than past or future.
  5. Improv attacks always land: what’s my authentic reaction when I am hurt?  Acknowledge it!
  6. Allow my body to lead: don’t “think” or try to do it “right”- get out of my head and just be!
  7. Create a “system”: what’s “my way” of improv?

It dawned on me how similar these lessons are to coaching principles. Perhaps that’s the reason I am still in the game. Bonus: I get to be on the stage of a real theater!

So much for a statistician to be in show business, isn’t it…

Love the Accent! Sofia Vergara

November 27, 2012

The other day I was watching ABC’s sitcom “Modern Family”, and I was immediately captivated by “Gloria” who is played by a Colombian actress Sofia Vergara. I love her character and I just love her accent!

People Magazine said,

That accent is real!

Sure, it may seem specific to her character Gloria’s outsized personality but Vergara says her accent is the real deal. “I go out to a mall or restaurant and when somebody hears me they’ll go, ‘Oh my God, it’s your real accent,'” she says. “I tell them, ‘Yeah, I guess I’m not that good an actress!'” Still, she admits, her comedic instincts may, at times, cause her to emphasize certain pronunciations. “I do make the accent a little stronger,” she says. “I understand English; I read and write English perfectly, but the accent won’t go away.”

I was born and raised in Taiwan. I didn’t speak fluent English until I moved to US in 1999. And yes, I speak with an accent in English. I used to secretly wish one day I would be able to speak without a foreign accent. I worked so hard to learn the language. I cannot stop beating myself up over mistakes in grammar and pronunciation. I was so upset, “the accent won’t go away”, no matter how hard I worked!

Then I realized, “the accent won’t go away”, because it is part of who I am.

I mixed my Chinese accent with the Thai accent from my best friend in graduate school, the German accents from my dear roommates, and an Alabama accent from a co-worker of mine. I love it when I recognize the different accents when they pop up as I speak. They remind me about my dear friends, the precious moments I had with them, and how the interactions with them have shaped my life.

Instead of spending endless time and energy to fix something that’s not required fixing, I’d rather spend time to embrace and celebrate who I am.

“I know I have an accent, but people understand me just fine!”

What’s Their Story? Compassion & Forgiveness

November 27, 2012

“It’s important to remember that forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning bad behavior, or that we need to interact with people who have hurt us. Discriminating wisdom clearly sees when an action is harmful or maladaptive, and when we need to protect ourselves from those with bad intentions. However, it also understands that all people are imperfect, that we all make mistakes. It understands that people often act out of ignorance, immaturity, fear, or irrational impulse, and that we shouldn’t judge people for their actions as if they had full conscious control over them. And even in those cases where people are cognizant of the harm they are causing, the question still needs to be asked—what happened to make them lose touch with their hearts? What wound occurred to lead to such cold and callous behavior? What’s their story?”

Neff, Kristin (2011-04-19). Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind (p. 199). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.