636: You Can Improve On Anything With Emily Liou

Emily Liou is a former recruiter turned career coach at CultiVitae, a play on words for cultivate your life. She strongly believes You Can Improve On Anything With Emily Liouthat life is too short to NOT wake up happy on Mondays. Through coaching and her signature e-course program, Happily Hired Formula, she helps career transitioners figure out what a dream job really looks like and then helps them actually turn that dream into a reality with proven strategies. Emily’s career advice is regularly featured in outlets such as Forbes, Inc., and Fast Company. When not helping her clients make amazing career transitions, you can find her eating her way through Los Angeles.

Emily shares how learning how to cold call clients helped her gain confidence in herself by realizing that she can improve on anything she put her mind to.  She also shares tips that you can use in your own journey to confidence.


Emily Liou is a former recruiter turned career coach at CultiVitae.

Cultural Background

Emily is of Chinese descent.

Favorite Self Confidence Quote

Be unembarrassable.

Be unembarrassable.

Definition of Self Confidence

Self confidence is really found in self trust and self love. When you can fully trust and love yourself, you naturally feel more confident. Even if you don’t entirely know how to do something well or feel comfortable doing it, you recognize that the only way to get better and comfortable at it is to do it.

Her Life Before the Discovery of Self Confidence

Emily was the least confident person growing up.  She remembers when she was young, her mom put her in piano lessons and she would tell the teacher that they were going on vacation coincidentally when every recital was scheduled! That fear of being in the spotlight or center of attention definitely manifested all the way until college.

Because of this, Emily always played it safe,  blended in, not outshining and was just playing so small.   She remembers hearing a stat once that said people only use about 10% of their full potential and that really resonated with her.  She remembers thinking, “Yeah!” but still wasn’t really sure how to tap into her fullest potential.

The “AHA” Moment

Emily’s AHA moment is kind of two fold…

  1. Emily graduated in 2009, not the best year for job searching, but ultimately landed a job as an Assistant Director of Admissions for an online university. It sounds fancy but it was just a glorified title for sales person. Worse, it was cold calling 300 people a day that did not want to go to college. Anyways, despite hating that job, she was actually really grateful for it because cold calling people is something she never would have thought she could do but she actually became really great at it.  This taught her a really important lesson. You can improve in anything, it just takes practice and diligence.
  2. The second AHA moment was when she became a coach. After coaching hundreds of people she started to realize EVERYONE has imposter syndrome and an inner critic.  She thinks when you can start to realize that everyone experiences fear, you start to be able to feel more confident like, “OK I got this.”  She is a big fan of Stephen Colbert and feels like he’s so charismatic and natural.  He can command any audience’s attention. But she was listening to one of his interviews with Oprah and he said he was REALLY nervous to go on the show. His honesty really shifted things in perspective for Emily and made her realize even people who look confident on the exterior have nerves and doubts. It’s kind of cool actually when you see that perspective, Emily thinks a lot of us look at people at that level and just think they were always born with it because we see the finessed version of them but if we looked back at their early and mid career we could see a difference! And even when they have made it, they still are pushing through nerves!

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Her Life After the Discovery of Self Confidence

Just knowing these two things: you can always improve and everyone experiences self doubt, it has really allowed Emily to play bigger in life.

She never would have thought 10 years ago that she would have left the safe corporate life to start her own business. What’s more is she is basically her own marketing team.   She is constantly doing Facebook livestreams, and even started a Youtube channel.  Again, she never would have had the courage to do this in her early 20’s!

Emily feels like having built confidence to just go after what she wanted has made her realize that when you can play big, the rewards are so much bigger! She would say she is absolutely the happiest she has ever been in her life because she is not doing things to try to please others.  She is really doing what she truly wants and not letting anything hold her back from obtaining it.

The One Self Confidence Tip For the Listener

Just begin. Do something that scares you a little bit everyday. Start small, you don’t need to conquer it all at once.

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