“A tiny leap” and my pursuit of personal development — an origin story

I viewed the leave as a small step into unknown change and opportunity, or for me, a tiny leap.

My decision to take a year off from full-time work was tied to a handful of experiences in 2010–2011 that put life in perspective for me. The first was the passing of an old friend — a loss which made me see how quickly it can all be gone. The second was the experience of traveling with my parents to visit their hometowns in Indonesia, a trip that opened my eyes to the good fortune my family has had and to how the serendipity of circumstances that are completely out of your control can have a profound impact on the opportunities you’re given. The third was a collection of life events — my dad retiring, my brother getting engaged, my friends expecting their first kids, watching my sister’s kids grow up — all of which showed me that life goes on and on and on.

What I was moving towards was an opportunity to re-assess my values, set goals that support me in realizing these values, and refocus my energy towards achieving these goals.

When I decided to take a year off from my job, I was very deliberate in how I was approaching it — while the official term was going “on leave”, it wasn’t about what I was leaving behind but rather about what I was moving towards. What I was moving towards was an opportunity to re-assess my values, set goals that support me in realizing these values, and refocus my energy towards achieving these goals. I didn’t really know where it was all going to go. I viewed the leave as a small step into unknown change and opportunity, or for me, a tiny leap.

When I returned to my job, it felt like I had decoded the Matrix.

During that year, I went travelling, spent time visiting family, volunteered, learned new skills, connected with people across a whole variety of industries, built a digital product, launched a few web projects, delivered professional development seminars, and all while building new habits to improve my health and fitness, and making a shift in my attitude towards seeking out new experiences to fill each day with as much life as I can.

This new habit of saying yes by default led to different chains of events that have had a lasting impact on my life.

My shift in mindset also led to a new habit of saying “yes” to just about everything. My ultimate team needs some more players, want to play? Yes. There’s a meetup happening tomorrow night for digital product managers, want to go? Yes. Want to come on a hike this weekend? Yes. Want to go on a surfing trip next weekend? Yes.

Through peer coaching, I rediscovered how inherently fulfilling it is to help other people find their own purpose, passion, direction, and motivation.

Peer coaching was one of the key activities in the coaching program — the team format was set up to have each of us providing peer coaching or mentoring throughout the sessions. Aside from the benefits of receiving coaching from a certified professional coach, the opportunity to provide peer coaching was one of the pivotal lines of activities that rekindled a long held interest of mine: helping people learn and grow.

I had built something with technology that delivered true value to people in their lives.

Through no intentional planning of my own, I worked in the faculty that year as a technology coach, hired to help student teachers integrate technology into their teaching practice. It was during that year where I began experimenting with technology, trying my hand at building templates and tools, and eventually building a website for teachers to exchange lesson planning materials. The website was a little like Napster for teaching materials. Ok, definitely not as technically sophisticated as Napster, but the big picture result at the end was the same: I had built something with technology that delivered true value to people in their lives. I had a taste of what the web could do, and I was hooked.

The spark of an idea was ignited for something that has become a passion project of mine called “Ashiba”.

My experience with the coaching program led me to start building different methods to stay on top of my own personal development. As someone who is fairly analytical and methodical, I made a focused effort to keep myself organized by developing a system of my own to keep track of my progress.

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Certified Coach (COC, ACC) and digital team manager. Runner, biker, surfer, wannabe of many other words ending in -er. Passionate about personal development.

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Adrian Liem

Adrian Liem

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Certified Coach (COC, ACC) and digital team manager. Runner, biker, surfer, wannabe of many other words ending in -er. Passionate about personal development.