Submitted by Florence Huang, PhD for the Positive Living Newsletter (July 2017). Read the rest of the newsletter here.

I used to be a global executive who worked 18-hour days in multiple time zones and countries. Having spent almost 20 years in the corporate environment, I have witnessed the negative side of competitiveness, the cutthroat industry norm to what is considered success, and the price to pay for maintaining a winning culture. A career in banking, finance, and management consulting was exciting, fast paced, and challenging. My job satisfaction came from a combination of the excitement, sense of achievement, and direct results from financial rewards. However, overtime, stress, burnout, life challenges, and a major health setback out-weighted everything. Time and time again, I questioned the worthiness of “staying in the game” and whether there was a slightest chance that a purpose still existed. At the moment where my values conflicted with what I experienced, I realized that I was further away from a life of meaning and purpose.

Values create the foundation for being, while purpose provides the direction towards our goals. Our values are our guiding principles that help us prioritize, make, and challenge our decisions as well as stay true to ourselves. Goals, targets, objectives, and visions may change over time along with life experiences, but values should never change. I left the corporate world a few years ago after obtaining my doctorate in psychology. I was studying for my degree alongside a hectic executive career, knowing that my ultimate purpose was pursuing a meaningful life that I aimed for—one that not only would solidify my perspectives towards life satisfaction with meaning and purpose, but one that could also contribute to a greater social good.

I am Dr. Florence Huang. I am a Psychologist, a Professor, and a Certified Positive Psychology Wellness & Well-Being Coach. I work with organizations towards a holistic approach on well-being. I help organizations and their people understand the true value of culture (both people and corporate) and purpose. I develop emotionally intelligent leaders as individuals and within an organizational system. I also help people find meaning and purpose in their lives. Being on both sides of the fence, as an executive in the corporate world as well as being a coach and an academic, I understand the importance of applicability, turning theories into practical actions, as well as the true notion of behavioral change.

Having a meaningful life contributes to our overall well-being, and yet purpose and value play important roles. Therefore, the search for meaning in life is not a single task but rather a continuous effort that involves meaningful work, meaningful living, and meaningful relationships that consist of purpose that is in line with our values. I work alongside my clients, both individuals and organizations, in partnerships to help identify purpose and create value-based meaning throughout the journey toward positive growth and well-being in their personal and professional lives.

Outside of client work and teaching as a faculty, I also spend time at a local non-profit organization where I provide services to children and youth on life coaching, building self-esteem, building resilience, developing self-awareness, and providing opportunities for these underprivileged children to compete in the real world outside of the orphanage. I hope to guide these children through a process of value clarification and self-awareness by recognizing, appreciating, and applying their strengths towards a meaningful purpose.

A wise person once said to me during my doctorate internship experience in Brazil, “People say that children are our future, but to me, children are our present.” I truly believe that. If I say the meaning of such work is self-awareness and building resilience for these children, then its purpose is to create the opportunity to provide tools that can help them build a brighter future that every child deserves.

As a Positive Psychology Wellness and Well-Being Coach, I believe in holistic well-being which includes emotional, physical, social, and intellectual well-being. One important element that guide us towards well-being is the existence of higher purpose. I attended my first INPM conference in Toronto last summer. I am delighted to be part of this network where we work together towards a common purpose. I am also honored and humbled that I belong to a network of many esteemed researchers. I aspire to continue my research towards well-being and human flourishing. In the last 20 years, I’ve sharpened my unique worldview through assignments in Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and North America. As a member of the Work Division of the INPM, I hope to contribute toward a perspective from outside of North America towards a truly Global outreach.