When I set up Kocoon Spa more than 10 years ago, I had no experience at all, but I was full of passion. Everything was created from scratch; the name, logo, website, menus, the team, the standards, and procedure manuals etc,.
MINDFUL COFFEE Q&A
I like my coffee...
With chocolate in it.
What do you have for breakfast on the good days?
I'm very naughty, I don't eat breakfast. The only time I eat breakfast is when I'm on business trips as the hotel has breakfast. I like sausages, hash browns, soy milk, and sometimes plain Chinese porridge. Sometimes, I do have breakfast at home and I like multigrain cereal with yoghurt.
You worked 7 years for HSBC in management roles. When did you make the decision to become Play Consultant and pursue this direction full time?
I took some time off work as I got ill. The company was very supportive and helped me a lot. However, in the end I decided I needed some more time for myself and also I went through clinical depression at about the same time.
So I decided to do some "soul searching", learn to take care of myself, and also to get to know myself, especially the bits of me I did not like. After I got better, I did an Executive Masters in Organizational Psychology, and through the research in my thesis, I started to understand more about the psychology of play and objects, and made sense of my experience of being playful again to get out of depression. So I decided to use this experience to help others and to pursue this direction full time - though I guess "full time" was for a while, very slow, as I had 2 kids during the time of my Exec Masters and starting my business.
What was the best piece of advise you were given when you started your consultancy?
I was reminded of this quote by George Bernard Shaw:
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
I suppose we need to add "woman" too to the quote haha. But this was one that I go back to when the going gets hard, then harder, and then staying persistent (and stubborn) to stay my course and my belief that what I am doing will help the world, or at least a few people
What inspired you to name your consultancy "Bearapy" and how do you market it to your clients?
Actually my husband helped me coin the term "Bearapy", it's like "bear therapy", and came about because I collected stuffed toy bears and played with them during my depression -- I attributed and projected different aspects of my personalities onto the bears, gave them names, and was able to distance myself from myself, so that I could confront all my inner selves, including the fears, the dark side, the shadows, the bits that I do not like. It was playful and non-threatening, a safe space I created for myself. It also goes into the psychology of objects and our emotional attachment to them, helping us think, create, relax, de-stress.
Most clients are interested in the name itself, because most have not heard of it. So in some ways, I do not need to market it too much, because people are curious. However, I do need to be able to explain it in 30 seconds! "A fun way to prevent burnout and destress is usually the answer."
You have been seen in Forbes, Asia Spa, CCTV, Vogue to name a few. What tips can you give to someone who is starting out and wish to be featured in well established media platforms?
Start doing what you are doing with modesty and hard work. I wrote my blog for a year or so before I got a successful submission to some of the larger publications. They want to see a good track record, that you are not just someone who is impulsive and want to be "famous" through their platform, but someone who continues to do what one does.
As I gained more traction with my work, I started to get some invitations for interviews or quotes - and I think it is important to know what the journalist or interviewer needs and wants from you.
Don't go into a long speech about oneself, but think about what is helpful for them in their article or interviews, and give them the direct, short answer, so they do not have to do much editing.
Who is your target audience? How do you find your clients?
Targeting adults who have forgotten to play, particularly executives in the workplace. At the moment I find my clients by word of mouth, and already I cannot handle all the projects, so I am looking to build a team and also expand into online offerings. Also, I was surprised, a large corporate client found me on LinkedIn by searching for mental health!
What is your secret to keeping peace of mind and clarity when running your consultancy and coaching clients?
Believing in my purpose and mission: To make the world mentally health.
Making life bearable and playful is what I have lived and breathed through, my own life depended on it when I was suicidal and depressed. So I believe in the good of it and that there is value in it. When I start to doubt myself, I go back to my mission, i.e. the "why" am I doing what I'm doing, and I find peace of mind again.
But don't get me wrong, there are times of really bad self-doubt and I sink into the low cycles, which I allow myself to fully experience because I think those are also messages to me
If you had 2 extra hours every week, what would you do with it to grow/optimize your business?
Sleep! And sleep more! I tend to push myself too much and that's counter productive to growing the business, because a lot of my work involves thinking and creating.
If you were to go back in the past, what advice would you give to Enoch who is studying law?
I would tell that Enoch to chill out, go have a drink, and dance with friends, instead of being too worried about the future. I enjoyed my law studies and still think one day I may go back to international criminal law, but for now, I have had no use for my law degrees haha!
I’m thankful for...
My husband's belief in me, and staying with me whenever I go through struggles and down moments.
Hi, my name is Enoch and I help people who suffer from burnout and depression with finding their inner playfulness, so they can feel liberated from themselves and expectations of the society.