How to Choose Freedom & Redefine Success with Success Coach Ellany Lea
As a leader, what does it mean to pursue freedom?
And how can we make sure we’re striving for freedom in every aspect of our lives?
I sat down with Ellany Lea, Success Coach & Master Freedompreneur to discuss her career journey and how she keeps freedom at the heart of everything she does.
Tune into the conversation here.
More of a reader? Dig into the blog post below 👇🏾
How Ellany Got Her Start in the Coaching World
Ellany now works as a success coach, business mentor, and spiritual guide.
Her mission is to help others free their genius, so they can go out and free the world.
But she wasn’t always involved in the coaching world.
In fact, Ellany says she didn’t find coaching, but coaching found her.
You could say Ellany’s first interest in the coaching world began with a blind-date-gone-wrong.
After being set up on a blind date with her friends and getting stood up, she decided she would take matters into her own hands and take HERSELF out on a date.
She quickly figured out there was a health and wellness conference happening nearby and thought - why not check it out? She had always been into wellness and who doesn’t love free samples?
Upon first entry, a woman immediately asked her if she wanted a laser session. After a moment of confusion (was the woman asking if she wanted her eyebrows lasered?) she discovered the woman was talking about a laser coaching session.
That was the very start of Ellany’s work with coaching.
Coaching was the first of many pivots
At that point, Ellany was no stranger to the pivot.
In fact, she’d already changed careers 8 or 9 times by this point.
From aerospace engineering to banking, to working with the United Nations in Kenya and Rwanda, Ellany had already experienced an accomplished career.
Today, she’s on career number 16.
Part of her philosophy is to be available for the unfolding.
At career #1, she had no idea there would be a career #9.
And at career #9, she had no idea there would be career #16.
At this point, she could have just 1 or 2 more careers or she could continue to career #27. But whatever happens, she is ready to go along for the ride!
Reminders for when you’re looking to embrace a pivot
Ellany says she sees her career journey a little bit like she’s playing Mario Kart. When you get a leaf, now suddenly you’re able to fly. When you gain a mushroom you can jump higher. With every new pivot, Ellany found herself closer to achieving true freedom.
She noticed five elements, specifically, that helped her in her quest.
If you want to go after freedom, you first must master courage, she says. Courage can’t be purchased, it’s something you must cultivate over time.
While freedom comes with great reward, it doesn’t come for free. You have to work for it!
Surrendering does NOT mean giving up. It means surrendering to the unfolding of life.
It means trusting and softening to what life has in store for you, to the greater mystery of the universe.
The third thing that helped Ellany in her quest for freedom was getting to the truth of who she was.
If you want to find true freedom, you must stop living for other people and get real about who you are and what you desire. You must come home to yourself.
4. Reclaim your innocence
The fourth thing she credits helping her embrace her freedom is reclaiming her innocence.
She states to remember: you’ve never been bad, guilty, wrong - too much this or too much that. You are pure, good and love on two legs and your life will feel truly free once you reclaim that innocence.
Ellany expressed that she needed to rediscover what it meant to feel fireworks. She needed to rediscover her joy.
Take the time to play, have shenanigans, and make time for FUN.
These five elements helped Ellany find true freedom, and they can help you choose freedom and redefine success in your life, too.
What are the different types of freedom?
Freedom can mean so many different things to different people, and there are so many different types of freedom.
Just to name a few, there are:
- Geographical freedom
- Cultural freedom
- Spiritual freedom
- Physical freedom
- Creative freedom
- Emotional freedom
- Financial freedom
And probably a whole lot more.
Geographical freedom, sometimes known as location independence, is a hot topic in the entrepreneurial world.
For Ellany specifically, she has three types of freedom that are the most important to her.
Those are emotional freedom, spiritual freedom, and creative freedom.
She defines this as the ability to be who you are, do whatever the heck you want to do, and express yourself in the way that feels most genuine to you.
“Give yourself permission to be who you are, do what you want, and do it your way.”
We are all on a journey to reclaim our freedom.
Your freedom priorities can change
While Ellany can easily pinpoint her top three freedom priorities of the moment, she says they haven’t always been the same.
There are certain points in our lives where we may be prioritizing different types of freedom.
Ellany loves to define these times in our lives as “seasons and cycles”.
Certain seasons of her life she was very focused on achieving geographical freedom and financial freedom.
While other seasons saw her prioritizing emotional freedom; clearing the debris of shame and guilt that clouded her.
There were also periods centered around cultural freedom, and breaking the shackles of a woman of color should (or shouldn't) be.
No matter what season of her life she was in, when Ellany pushed her limits and expanded her comfort zone, she was rewarded with freedoms far greater than she ever could have imagined.
The quest for cultural freedom
Growing up, Ellany never desired a conventional life.
The husband and kids, the white picket fence with a 2-car garage, and a cat and dog.
It was never her dream.
But that was very much what was expected of her in her culture.
Ellany’s parents and grandparents are of Chinese descent. Her grandparents fled Communist China. Her parents grew up somewhat freer, and Ellany was born and raised in Canada.
Growing up, she and her siblings would jokingly refer to themselves as bananas: yellow on the outside and white on the inside.
But while as a young girl she was convinced that she was only Asian on the outside, as she grew up she realized she had inherited certain cultural beliefs that made it difficult for her to live her most aligned life.
One of those beliefs was that of filial piety.
Filial piety is defined by Dictionary.com as: (in Confucianism) the important virtue and primary duty of respect, obedience, and care for one's parents and elderly family members.
Growing up, Ellany said she often felt as if she was trying to be “the best white man she could possibly be”.
She cared for her parents and her siblings and often felt that in order to be accepted, she must carry out the provider role.
She didn’t feel she could express her true identity as a woman of color.
A quote that Ellany feels sums up filial piety well is one by Carl Jung. It reads:
“The greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of the parents.”
Throughout her coaching career, Ellany has seen sentiments of filial piety affecting her clients as well. She often serves those with unique global backgrounds.
Whether her clients are of Egyptian-American descent, Irish Canadian descent, Singaporean or Indonesian descent - they all have the scars of expectation of duty of obligation.
Children of immigrants often have the tendency to overcompensate and be very high-achieving.
For example, if you are the first person in your family to go to university, you might try to maintain a 5.0 GPA.
When we feel we don’t belong, we can try to make up for it with achievement and rewards.
Cultural expectations can be a huge barrier to finding true freedom in your life, career, and business.
Every aspect of our lives is interconnected
When Ellany began to tackle the shame and guilt correlated with cultural expectations, she began to release shame and judgment from other areas of her life, too.
Achieving cultural freedom opened doors to other types of freedom.
When you’re filled with shame and not enoughness, it infiltrates every area of your life. Not just career and business, but relationships, money, parenting, family, the whole works.
When you confront shame in one area of your life and face it head-on, you speak truth to it and it dissolves.
We don’t live in a silo. Confronting shame in one aspect of your life will diminish those shame goblins in other areas of your life and help you achieve a more holistic type of freedom.
We are here to rise
For Ellany, achieving freedom is about rising the collective.
It’s not simply about chilling out or taking a nap (although that’s great, too, every once and a while!)
We are here to rise our courage.
We are here to rise as leaders.
We are here to rise so that you can do life better together.
And freedom helps us do exactly that.
To learn more about Ellany’s story, visit her website here.
To listen to this podcast on the go, check out the full episode here.
And if you’re ready to achieve true freedom as a leader, be sure to check out my 1-1 leadership coaching services.