Amy Jin

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35, Coach & Speaker

Tell us about a time when you felt cared for?

Last night I was exhausted and my tummy hurt, and yet I had a bit more work to do on my laptop after dinner. My fiance quietly made me my favorite Sleepytime Vanilla tea, cut up watermelon (my favorite fruit!), poured a tall glass of water, and set it up on a stool next to me.  It was such an expansive gesture of care, empathy, and thoughtfulness. It made my heart smile.

How do you provide care for others?

I physically show up as much as I can by making trips to be with them, I love to cook and feed them, I listen and hold space, and I send articles / books / stories / poems / ideas that might help them be with whatever they are going through.  I also love to send metta to friends and strangers alike. I believe care can be provided by both intention and action, that both can be felt, and both have impact.

You speak openly about burning out while at Google. What happened?

I was highly motivated, in a bigger role than ever before, and working on a demanding project.  I worked all the time -- at my desk during lunch, on email as soon as I got home, and I thought it was my job to take care of my team.  I didn’t know to ask for help. I thought that if something couldn’t get done, it was my fault, rather than a lack of resources. I had no idea what self care was, and I never fully replenished my energy -- it just kept draining.  My body broke down from the chronic stress and I ended up in the ER. I hit rock bottom physically and emotionally, and realized all those micro decisions to put work above my wellness was sacrificing my health for emails. I had unconsciously put my life on the line, and I will never do it again.

Why do so many companies, even well intentioned ones, struggle to take care of employees?

You want the real answer?  Because the bottom line is (pun intended):  taking care of employees is not what many companies want or need.  Public companies in capitalistic societies need to show one thing: growth. So even where there are vibrant wellness programs, what is valued is what the company measures.  Employees are rewarded and promoted for performance, not wellness. And so, even if wellness and care are funded and accessible, many employees know what matters:  productivity and growth, and they behave accordingly (one example of a company that’s doing a great job of taking care of employees is Patagonia).

Second, I think we struggle as a society to understand how much work requires of us from an emotional, energetic, and spiritual level.  We don’t understand the impact of chronic stress on our nervous systems. We go home and put on Netflix, or out for dinner, thinking it’s our play time, when in fact we are merely recovering from what our work has zapped out of us.  If we spend our down time merely recovering, then are we not “working” all the time? We haven’t yet figured out the formula for efficient recovery.

As a coach, what do you find yourself saying to people the most often?

I help people experience what it’s like to trust themselves fully, to align to their inner truth, and be their highest selves.  This gives them access to the reserve of power and peace that exists in all of us. It’s not so much something that is said, it’s more something that is uncovered.  The message is this: Go and listen to your truest inner voice. Give that voice space and time. Stop running away from yourself. You’ll find that the answers, love, and everything you’ve been craving all along, has been there this entire time.  Go home.

Last guilty pleasure wellness purchase?

I finally caved to the whole bluetooth earbud thing (they still look like stalactite boogers dripping out of ears to me) because I learned about the harm that jet engines can wreak on our bodily functions (i.e. our nervous system, our saliva production, etc.)  I went with these because I think AirPods are a rip off and apparently these do a better job of noise cancelling, especially for phone calls.  So far, being able to reduce noise from loud environments (I fly a lot, and live in NYC where the subway is horrendously loud) has been quite the wellness commuting upgrade.  Plus, who doesn’t love a little music therapy and guided meditation?

Who is a hero of yours?

My mom.  She is the definition of resilience and can find joy and laughter in almost any situation.  Oprah, because she wasn’t always Oprah (listen to her own origin story on her Masterclass Podcast), and because of her courage, dedication, and heart.  And Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, CEO of 2020 Women on Boards, for being a trailblazing pioneer who got California to pass legislation requiring all public companies to have at least one woman on their board by the end of 2019.

Catherine Spence