What would you tell your five-year old self?

Eric Ho
Table of Contents

I know what you’re thinking.

“You, Eric, were the height of “fashion” in the early 80s!”

Am I right?

I came across this photo of me the other day. My phone offers up photos once in a while that I might want to look at again. Why it chose this one out of the 20,000+ photos, I don’t know.

Maybe my phone is trying to tell me something?

It got me thinking: what would you tell your five-year old self?

Here’s what I’d like to offer.

1. Be more aware

At the start of 2022, I didn’t set myself new year’s goals. In my mind, they’re a foolproof recipe for easy failure.

Instead, I chose a theme for the year to focus on: awareness.

In one sense, it’s about noticing old things with a new perspective.

For example, that white socks and sandals are not sexy. In any decade!

But it’s about noticing new things with intention – trying to embody what mindfulness is in the eyes of Jon Kabat-Zinn, the pioneer of the Western mindfulness movement:

paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and without judgment.

In our “always-on” environments with devices (like the one you’re on) swallowing our attention, being purposeful about what deserves our attention is a skill I’ve found valuable in maintaining a steady state of equanimity, of effortlessness.

2. Be present

One of the most valuable offerings you can give someone is the gift of listening.

It takes awareness and discipline.

  • To slow down.
  • To turn off your instinct to offer some advice, or a suggestion or a sentence starting with “well, at least you …”.
  • To remain silent.

In coaching psychology, the way in which we are present with a client – the”ways of being” – is one of the key factors in the effectiveness of a coach.

It’s the same for how we lead others. How we show up – with presence and intention – directly impacts the behaviours and actions of those around you.

3. Be good, not perfect

As a lawyer, this is a difficult one for me.

A lack of perfection can have serious consequences from:

  • a missing “not”, or
  • saying”and” instead of “or”.

But the rest of the time, it’s okay to leave perfection to one side. Particularly if you’re a high-achiever.

It allows for a more colourful, interesting journey through life that looks like this:

Instead of this

I’ve not been perfect with you, dear reader. Many of you signed up eons ago to my newsletter because you wanted to hear from me.

It turns out you’ve not heard much from me at all, until now! I wonder to myself if that is something you’ve been aware of?

Now, I could be a “clever lawyer” and say “I was being present, remaining silent, letting you be heard”.

But frankly, it’s time I stopped being so selfish.

When I think about the clients I’ve worked with, and how they’ve transformed like this:

  • a high-achieving lawyer rediscovering the joy of being in a dynamic, high-pressured, high-stress role so it feels like a calling instead of just a job
  • an entrepreneur prioritising their health, losing over 20 kgs and having clarity about where next to take their business

then it’s time I shared some of the “how did they do that?” with you.

If what I write and share can spark a transformation in you, no matter how small, that would make me smile. Just like this:

So that’s what my Effortless Thursdays newsletter is about. You can subscribe using the form on this page. If you prefer reading my newsletter on Substack, you can find that here, and subscribe if you wish.

Sharing with you the things I’m aware of, the things I notice, so that you can tell your five-year old self the things that make leading and living that bit more effortless.

I’d love you to continue on this journey with me.

I invite you to share what you like, what you don’t, what you need. I’ll do my best to share back in ways that serve you.

But if you want to press the button on the bus to get off at the next stop, or at any time, please feel free to unsusbcribe.

Thanks for reading.

Over to you!

What would you tell your 5 year old self?

I’d love to hear from you about what this email sparked in you – including if it’s about some fashion tips for the future.

To your health and success,


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