Taking time to be present amidst this fast-paced world is something most people forget to do. Aligning your energy to your goals is an essential part of leading and communicating with others, but it’s often easier said than done. Anna Sun Choi, energy coach, TEDx speaker, and Forbes author is committed to elevating humanity’s consciousness through guiding consultants and business leaders to master their energy habits and embody their brilliance. Anna talks to Catherine Kontos about how balancing your energy is important and how our relationships are influenced by the energy we give off. Stay tuned as Anna shares with us how to achieve energy mastery and convey it into simple, practical tiny steps you can take to find peace in the chaos.
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Come A.L.I.V.E. When You Align Your Energy With Anna Sun Choi
We have Anna Sun Choi. She is an Energy Coach, TEDx speaker and Forbes author who is committed to elevating humanity’s consciousness through guiding high-achieving creative conscious coaches, consultants and business leaders, to find peace in the chaos, master their energy habits and embody their brilliance. Welcome, Anna.
Thank you. It’s great to be here.
We’ve met and you’re this bubble of positive energy. I’m impressed with everything you’ve done. Your bio is a lot longer than what I had said and it’s hugely impressive. I’m very happy to have you here. Thank you so much for being here. Tell us about where your journey started. Who is Anna, what’s your story, and what brought you into this field of energy?
When I was a broke Art major, I started my first business as a financial advisor of all things. By 25, I grew six figures and was doing well but I was exhausted and burned out. I remember collapsing in a leather chair in my office and thinking, “I’m in my early twenties and I’m already exhausted. How’s that going to work?” I ended up selling my practice to start a family and water birth my son. I pursued what made my heart happy. I was a stay-at-home mom for a while but that wasn’t after two and a half years. My husband quit his job full-time to be a stay-at-home dad.
I went back into the workforce. Now, I’ve got a house, a spouse, and a kid to support as the breadwinner. I launched the second business which is an event consulting for social impact. I was in the TEDx world for a while as an organizer. I eventually landed in the tech industry and worked with companies like Google and other tech startups. I was running the equivalent of four weddings at the same time on different timelines, which was stressful.
On the outside, it’s good benefits, good money and all that but was a little soulless. It wasn’t aligned with my mission to elevate consciousness. It was about filling the tech talent gap. I pivoted to my business now, conscious coaching, and being able to help people embody their brilliance. How do you grow in the flow versus burnout? How do you embody your brilliance and magnify your presence? That’s where I am now.
It sounds like you were supercharged in your energy to the point where you broke. You had a breakdown where you were just finished and burnt out with all of that. Through these experiences, you learned where your limits are and where you shouldn’t go. You shouldn’t go to that limit. We try to avoid that. This was your journey to finding what you’re doing now, which is energy flow.
You have that capability of overdoing it from your background of what has happened. You have the capability of having that energy. Not everybody has that type of energy like you have. You can overextend yourself. It makes sense that you’re in this world because you learned the hard way of overdoing that excessive energy inside you. What do you train yourself and others to do for them not to get to that point and be more in the flow and balance of the energy? It’s going to go up and down, but not to reach those peaks.
Go within and ask yourself the source: what’s the root cause of why you’re even driving yourself?
This is specifically to all the high-achievers, Renaissance souls, and you’re naturally good at a lot of things. I find that people are on the spectrum of the high achiever or the can’t quite get into action. There’s not a lot in the middle. It will apply to both ends of the spectrum but I’m going to speak a little bit more to the high-achievers. Go look at the yin within and ask yourself the source. What’s the root cause of why you’re even driving yourself?
What I found out and continue finding out is it’s usually some ego-based desire. Even with the pandemic, a lot of people were remotely working. Still, it’s not like they chilled out in their non-commute hours. They just work more or the hours extended. I hear this so much around the world. They’re getting up early and late working. There’s a weird middle period depending on your time zone.
This is another pattern. People would say, “I got to write that song or write that book.” They now have to do another project. They are overworking in a different way. You hear so much about giving but I see that a lot becomes sacrificial martyrdom, whether you’re on a board for nonprofit or doing pro bono type of stuff.
There are many ways that overworking can happen. If you get to the source and go within to understand why and what’s driving it, typically, three desires are at play. First, it’s the desire for safety like, “If I don’t do this, I’m going to be homeless,” or it’s that do or die kind of feeling. Number two is the desire for recognition. This is not like selfies on Facebook. This is about being liked, approved and loved. We will go to a far end of overworking to get that. We got recognition, safety, and then number three, control. That’s a big one.
We work to make sure things are in place, especially with business leaders as well, to meet those metrics or numbers we’ve arbitrarily set with that. We get ourselves in this mode which isn’t bad. We need that yang energy with the yin, which is a little or a lot overbalanced with the yang. We have to swing far to get to the yin to be able to balance out.
One of the things that can happen is trying to keep that balance can also be very stressful. Sometimes in life, energy has to go more in one way like during a crisis or a deadline at work. People are like, “I’m out of balance.” That could cause them strengths, but you need to be out of balance for a little bit to achieve that goal, whatever it is at that moment. Do you agree with me on that?
Yeah. Balance is a total myth. It’s something that takes work. I always imagine a ball with a lever. It takes work to keep it centered and balanced. There’s never a static there. That’s a lie. The question is not how do I balance, but how do I be 100% present with what I’m doing, whether it’s on one side or the other. Normally, we are on vacation and thinking about work. We’re not 100% relaxing, or we’re working and beating ourselves up for not relaxing more. Mind is past or future. The more we can stay present, that will cause the balance. The reality is that spectrum is always oscillating, and how quickly can we make it instead of huge volatility. Perhaps we can work on a little smoother volatility by consciously raising our awareness in whatever present moment we’re in to a higher frequency.
Whether you’re a leader leading a retreat or you’re in a company or leading whatever it may be, it’s very important for that energy to be aligned at the moment of the leadership, let’s say you have some type of meeting. That energy feeds off to the group. What do you do when something goes off in the group? Maybe it’s a client or a colleague that is creating negative energy which is impacting you, which in turn impacts the group. It’s a vicious circle and it could be a beautiful circle. How do we turn it from a vicious and bad circle to a good and balanced circle, where we’re thriving instead of trying to control, be safe or avoid those types of leadership roles? What do you suggest in taking that type of energy and switching it to becoming positive, flowy and all of that?
There is so much here. The lawyer’s answer would be it depends on the situation. If you have to cover a particular amount of material because there are some sort of consequences, this is more a Corporate America situation. What we normally see is a facilitator who’s willing to say, “Thank you so much for what you’re contributing.” Maybe it’s someone who’s going off about something.
We want to make sure that everyone has a chance to share. It’s like, “Why don’t we table that? Let’s talk on the break,” or “Who here can help this person?” I have always loved outsourcing and crowdsourcing. Phone a friend or, “Who will be buddies? Why don’t you discuss that on the break and let’s hear how you’ll resolve it when you get back?”
You need to be in that move on mode because you want to deliver some objectives in a particular amount of time that you promised would happen. If you have more freedom and the objective is more about bonding as a group and less about content material to get through, then embrace it. It’s a super moment for a super bonding moment.
It’s a tenuous line because if you don’t do it right, it could turn off a lot of people that don’t come back. They’re like, “Why didn’t she put more boundaries?” If there’s enough trust in the group, which on a retreat, that’s normally what you’re cultivating. This is a golden opportunity for how you respond as the leader-facilitator. I say facilitator because you’re creating a space versus didactically telling someone something. You have 100% context creation of how you’re going to frame it for others.
If you are annoyed by the person, everyone will be annoyed. If you’re genuinely like, “This is annoying,” as long as it’s a thought and then you let that thought pass, and you’re center into your heart and love them, have compassion and empathy, guess what shows up in the room? In that, there’s active listening that you can set up properly at the start of any program, not just a confidentiality container, but 100% active and passive listening, “What can I get from this,” versus “What’s the gold?” Even in the crappiest thing, someone says, “What’s the gold?” If everyone is listening that way, what comes out of that person’s mouth even if they’re cranky is brilliant. It’s in the listening. Create your listening through your intention and that will ripple out.
It is a teaching opportunity at that point because not everything always goes smoothly. We’re dynamic people. When we’re in a group of people, maybe not everybody is going to be loving of each other. There might be some conflicting personalities. It might even be with the leader or with you. The thing is not to take it personally.
This is my motto in life when it comes to interrelations. If there’s an issue with somebody like I’m seeing something going on in somebody that comes from a place of anger or whatever it may be, and I’ve done nothing to exacerbate that type of behavior, I think to myself, “Something is going on with them. I can’t take this personally.” I’ll just love them and try to deal with and see if I can help them in some way to get past this little stage that they’re going through.
I love how you’re like, “It depends on the situation,” because it does depend like if it’s a business situation, we could deal with this after. That’s what’s good about you being in both industries where it was very business-financed. It doesn’t get more business-oriented than that like hardcore, and then going into the complete opposite of love, heal and transform. You know both spectrums of how to deal with people. That’s what makes you great.
Balance is something that takes work. The question is not how to be balanced, but how do you become a hundred percent present with what you’re doing, whether it’s on one side or the other.
I find that multitalented people like yourself can tune into whatever they need to. It’s like a little library in your head and your soul where you’re like, “I’ve been there. I know how to deal with this.” Let’s take out that file. Do you have any energy techniques that you would implement either at a corporate retreat or even in a transformational retreat to get them in the zone of their energy field?
Let’s put you in a situation. You have seven days with a group of ten people. Your goal for your transformational retreat is to get them to learn how to always go back to the core of who they are. Is it embodiment? What techniques would you use daily or on a routine basis? Every morning you would wake up and do what with them? How would you realign their energy at the end of the day? What would be the daily routine of something like that?
What is a nice framework? I can start there. Each step has different short tips and exercises to do in between. It is what I created called the ALIVE approach. It’s an acronym. It’s five steps and not in chronological order necessarily but they are more principles. The A is how do you Allow more yin to your yang? Typically, this is about rhythm and flows.
From a macro picture of taking at least a week per quarter is my recommendation, down to each day, are you taking sufficient personal time to be in the soul first? It also refers to energy. If you’re always like, “Go, go, go,” it’s harder energy and more masculine. Allowing more yin is where you maybe listen more or you let yourself do nothing. You give more buffer times between meetings. There are a lot of yin energy things you can do throughout the day.
The second is Listening within. This is learning to master the voices in your head, and which ones to trust or not. Which ones do you let flow because it’s just egos and fear-based thought? Which ones are quiet, sometimes a whisper, that you give more power to? The more you can listen to that intuition and your soul’s voice, the more you can live a life aligned true to yourself and your whole.
The I is Inspire soul first. This is about that morning routine or the first thing that you do. Is it checking the news and your email with Alexa? Do you read something? What are you feeding your brain or not? I meditate the first thing when I wake up, which I recommend for anyone. A lot of people don’t know how to do that yet.
The easy step is to go outside, whatever is going to connect you to your soul. Some people like to work out, but they’re still scheming as they’re running or in masculine mode. Unless you can clear out and it’s something that gets you centered in your core, it’s not about the activity but the intention that it gives you. Does it connect you to your soul? Inspire soul first.
The V is Valuing your fears. I used to have it called vanquishing your fears until I realized, “Your fears are like little children,” as my music teacher would say. You tuck them under your wing. That’s all around. When you get triggered, how do you let it flow through energetically versus hold it down, suppress, fix, overcome and resist how you flow? I have lots of exercises around that.
The last one, E is Energize your daily flow. This is about moving mindful meditation movements. Eight hours a day, we’re like this mostly. It’s bad on the body and the spine. Suck your belly button into your spine. Don’t worry about how you’re breathing. Pump it like a crunch sitting up. If you keep doing that, even after 5 or 10 pumps, it gets pretty hot. Are you feeling the heat? What I love about this one is you can do incognito while you’re driving, at the checkout stand or on a Zoom call. You’re exercising while you’re on Zoom.
Our gut is our second brain with the number of neurons and the serotonin and dopamine produced. Our organs that we don’t exercise much are internal, but that’s where all the emotions and the crap get stuck. You can do calf raises or push-ups too for the E of Energize your daily flow, but the point is continuously moving somehow.
I love your ALIVE. That’s a great way to tune in and listen. I always say the first thing you do in the morning sets you up for the rest of the day. We know it about food. I’ve eaten a cake in the morning, and then all I do is crave cake all day long, not cake but sugary. I want carbs and sugar. It’s crazy how our behavior is like we want more.
If I start with eggs and something a little less sugary and more protein-based, everything slows down. I’m not as hungry. I stretch it out a little longer. It’s the same thing with the mind because it’s very easy. The phone is next to you. You pick it up. Look at what’s happening on Facebook, emails, and you’re already running even before you’ve gotten out of bed. That sets up your day. Thank you for that. I will practice all that. I’ll keep going ALIVE. Let’s go with the acronym and follow that routine.
There’s a book coming out about it. You can get your copy of it there.
Is it going to be called ALIVE?
When do you see it coming out?
The more you can listen to that intuition and your soul’s voice, the more you can live a life that is true to your whole self.
It’s probably a year. We signed on with the publisher. I finished the draft but it will take a while.
Make sure that I’m going to be informed when it does come out. I’ll be happy to extend it to my friend base and whoever else is there to read it. What’s in the future besides the book for you? What’s coming up? Is there anything you want to announce or let us know if people want to learn more from you and follow you? Let us know.
I’ve been doing an ALIVE party and micro-concerts. You got to come. It’s free. It’s sharing some excerpts from the book ALIVE. I’ll also sing a song. It’s a multimedia experience. That’s going to kick start in March 2022 for my network community group for conscious leaders.
Is this an online event?
Yes. That announces things which we’ll also share about, starting in March 2022, our soul community launch as well. We’ve had a community group for a while but this is a place for this council of conscious leaders, creating together what’s next in the safe container where you are free to explore creativity in a way that you normally wouldn’t. There will be music jam sessions. There will be courses as well, but the meetups are going to be a little more creative than normal. Maybe we’ll cook together. We can let the community decide some of the ways that they’ll creatively consciously connect. We can go to nature and take hikes. This is all virtual but that’s going to be amazing.
Initially, when you first started this podcast, you said how you’re trying to get people off of the grind of being on Zoom and online all the time to moving and realigning their energy. You’re bringing it to the next level with this event. This is what it sounds like to me.
It’s not getting off Zoom because we have to be online in some way, but it’s about how you’re engaging online. Imagine everyone got their little selfie sticks poise in their kitchens and we’re all cooking, talking and chatting together. That’s pretty cool. You’re not just staring at the screen. You’re cooking, enjoying and sharing like, “Look at this,” especially for all my foodies out there. We’re jamming together to work out acoustics. You can still share audio sound in a way that other people can hear it well.
Technology is always a little surprising sometimes. You think you’ve got it all figured out and then suddenly, something happens and you’re like, “I’m not connecting. My voice can’t be heard properly.” Where can people reach you? Where can they find you online?
They can go to my website, www.AnnaSunChoi.com.
Will your book be promoted there?
Yes. I can also give you our link that goes directly there for the launch party and then get updates about the book.
Anna, thank you so much for being part of our show. Energy is super important in a retreat in every aspect, for the solo, group and everybody. It’s very interesting, especially for the leaders, how to navigate that whole situation of the energy flow of the group. I appreciate having you here and taking the time from your schedule to be with us. Thanks a lot. I wish you lots of luck, prosperity and all of that with your upcoming book, all of your events, coaching and everything you have planned.
- Anna Sun Choi
About Anna Sun Choi