We had the good fortune of connecting with Agnes Chau and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Agnes, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Taking risks are part of life, and are needed to live a life beyond what one could ever imagine is possible. It’s a risk because there’s a level of uncertainty involved that is beyond our natural comfort level. There are different types of risks: the simple risks like trying a different type of food; the daredevil risks taken for exhilarating fun; the calculated risks that stretch our comfort zone and come along with potential for greater rewards and happiness. The risks that we take can expand our worldview, change the course of one’s life, and impact the lives of many.
When I chose to go into Engineering, it was a huge risk as my parents were against it. They thought it was a man’s profession, that I wouldn’t get a job, and that I wouldn’t do well. I understand now that they were trying to protect me based on what they knew at the time. I was rebellious at the time and I decided to show them that the paradigm that they grew up with was changing. Women represented 15% of my engineering class. Taking that risk paid off as I had a successful 26 year career in aerospace engineering and became an Engineering Executive.
My parents took a risk when they left Hong Kong before it was returned to China. Their decision to move to Canada was the best decision they made for our family. They started over again with 2 young children in a foreign land. Growing up in Canada gave me opportunities that I would not have had if my parents had not taken the risk to leave when they did.
Joining the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Women Empowered Program at 46 was a risk. I was at a low point in my life, going through a divorce, not physically fit, and had many fears. This was an empowering decision I made, and my self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-love all increased significantly. I earned my Pink Belt by demonstrating mastery of the 20 techniques that represent the defensive strategies against the most common attacks against women. There was more risk in not learning self-defense as statistics show that 1 in 3 women may be attacked in their lifetime. This empowered me to share what I learned with others and gave me the confidence to incorporate self-defense for women as a significant program of The Empowered Heart, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit.
Leaving the corporate world and starting The Empowered Heart, Inc., was a risk. I am blessed to have the life I have. There have been many challenges along the way, and every challenge was an opportunity in disguise, even when I didn’t realize it at the time. To leave the security of a corporate job, a steady pay check, and the familiar behind was a risk. It required entrepreneurial thinking, a passion for helping others, and charting a new path. The Empowered Heart, Inc. has made a positive impact in many lives, including my own, and continues to educate people with strategies, tools, techniques for physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The Empowered Heart, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization, whose mission is to educate people about strategies, tools, and techniques for physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Self-defense for women and Empowered Heart Circles are programs that we offer to the community. Empowered Heart Circles are community gatherings for self-love, self-compassion, and self-care. Through activities such as breathing through the heart, Dear Universe meditations, chi kung exercises, kill the ANTS (Automatic Negative Thoughts), and chakra art, we teach people to tap into heart, mind and body intelligence to release fear-based emotions and embrace love-based emotions, develop resilience, and unleash the creator within. These community building events are free and any donations received are directed to self-defense empowerment activities sponsored by our 501(c)(3). The volunteers of The Empowered Heart, Inc., donate our time, to teach women and girls, self-defense techniques through the Gracie Jiu Jitsu Women Empowered Program at Certified Training Centers (CTC). For women who cannot afford the fee to train at a CTC, we ask them to pay what they can and The Empowered Heart would pay the CTC the balance.
I am also a Transformation Coach and work with individuals in my for-profit business Agnes Chau LLC. I am a lifelong learner and enjoy learning the most efficient and effective techniques to help clients tap into their Divine Intelligence to remove limiting beliefs, let go of drama stories, and be the best versions of themselves. The services offered by Agnes Chau LLC are tailored for the individual; whereas, The Empowered Heart’s services are geared towards groups in the community.
Every challenge is really an opportunity in disguise. When I was younger, it took me a lot longer to realize this. Now, I can see the drama story and the empowerment story in every situation, and help others see they have a choice. When I tap into my Divine Heart and guide others to do the same, what seemed difficult becomes a lot easier.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m a foodie, so we would try out a different restaurant each day. Some great places to go to for breakfast/brunch include Prep & Pastry, Brunch & Sip, and The Breakfast Club. Sugar Jam is great for southern cooking. Seoul Korean BBQ and Sushi has an extensive menu. The Original ChopShop, La Grande Orange, Ingo’s, Buck & Rider, and Flower Child would all be on the list. There are so many more restaurants that I have not tried that we would go to, as well.
I also love diversity and variety in activities.
We would definitely visit the Gracie Jiu Jitsu Phoenix and Glendale schools for a Gracie Combatives (co-ed) class and a Women Empowered class. We would go to the Scottsdale Gun Club where I would make sure my friend would learn how to safely handle and shoot a gun, and let go of any fear and feel empowered in the process.
We would go for a hike up Camelback Mountain and explore many other hiking trails in the area. Yoga and dance classes would be on the itinerary.
OdySea Aquarium, Butterfly Wonderland, and the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit would be some of our stops. I would also want to visit places I haven’t been to yet, including the Phoenix Zoo.
We would also do a spa day at The Phoenician, and I would also want to try out the spa at the Omni.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are many people who have been instrumental to my success. The book ‘The Power of TED – The Empowerment Dynamic’ by David Emerald made a significant impact in my life. It helped me to see the antidote to the dreaded drama triangle (with the roles of victim, persecutor, and rescuer), is the empowerment dynamic (with the roles of creator, challenger, and coach). When we are aware of the drama playing out and can choose a better story, we can live an enriching, empowered, and joyful life. I am grateful to David and his wife Donna Zajonc, for the enlightenment they have brought to the world.
Images of myself can be credited to Devy Walker, except for the last one, credit goes to Alisha Olson.