How do you define your business success? by Marlous Teh

Marlous Teh

As part of my journey in training to become a life coach, I got to have an excuse to travel into the beautiful city of Hobart for an Inspiration Day and a Women In Business - The New Way event.

With excitement, I made my way to Sydney airport. Ready to be inspired on Tasmanian grounds.

I usually go into an event with an idea of what I want to learn or get out of it. I research the speakers, the topics, so I can ask some deep (or smarty pants 🙈) questions, and “immerse” myself into it.

However, in the last few weeks since deciding to go and booking in flights and hotels, I’d been SO busy hustling my butt off with a new full time job, playing catch up with my studies, two big community service and volunteering projects and other commitments. I literally did not have time to think about what I’d like to get out of the events.

On my way to the Women In Business - The New Way event and having that realisation of being “not prepared”, I was a little anxious. And thank goodness, my Beautiful You Coaching Buddy, THE amazing Miish Grixti, was there to warmly greet me. And I felt at home instantly. Love you Miish!!!! <3

As I sat myself down at the event, and closed my eyes for a brief moment, there was only one word that came to mind. OPEN.

All I wanted to be was open. Giving myself permission to be open. Letting whatever that’d come out of the session, keeping my mind, heart, and soul open.

And so as each speaker came up to share, the more I was hm-ing and aha-ing in full resonation with blows of wows of what was shared.

Every. Single. Second. I was glued to the tip of my chair watching and listening to the Beautiful You coaches sharing their freaking nuggets of GOLDEN wisdom.

A few key things I found so helpful in (re)defining my business success that I’ve translated with my own interpretation:

✨Be in communion and ceremony with our business. Know they have their own soul and are their own entity. Feel into it, take it on dates, play and have fun with it. And maybe even have healthy arguments with it.

✨There are no advanced tactics. How we shine is by believing in and being ourselves wholeheartedly and unapologetically. Showing up and putting ourselves out there.

✨Grow with grace, Surrender & let go. Go with the ebs & flows. Be human, and let go of attachment. It’s not all about us/our stuff.

✨Using someone else’s yard stick isn’t going to cut it for us. What are our non-negotiables? What is it that we truly want? 

✨There will be time to focus in, and focus out. Integrate the most important parts of our lives where we can.

A big beautiful thank you to all the coaches who shared their learnings, wisdom and beautiful energy.

Thank you to Sammie Flemming, Ellie Swift, Liz Deanna, Tash Spencer, Jade McKenzie and the Beautiful You team for so so much empowering energy, eye opening nuggets and invaluable insights.

And so, wowed during the event, at the end I walked away feeling so ready and wide open to bring my best game and embrace the next steps in my coaching journey. 

Reflections reflections.

As I’m writing this blog post, something is becoming really clear to me. I was present, exactly in the way I was meant to. I wasn’t “prepared” at all, but I actually was. Not having time to research and think about it in advance allowed or even forced me to go deeper, be more intuitive and hone in on my instincts rather than just connect to it with my head. THAT was what I needed more of.

Now that I got out of my own way, I’m so grateful that I was able to be there fully in the Beautiful You way.

Thanks so much for your time to read this.

I hope you enjoyed this post and that those success tips for your wonderful business ideas or career growth will help you too.

How do you see your success in your business and how you show up?

I’d love to hear from you so please leave a comment below!

How do we truly enable powerful learning and reflection? by Marlous Teh


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I’ve been in week three of my life coaching course with the Beautiful You Academy and I’ve had the most exciting and heart-filling opportunities learnings in the last weeks.

For our coaching call yesterday, my coaching buddy and I courageously put our hands up to be volunteers for our class in coaching training. To say we were nervous was an understatement. I was shaking and I know my beautiful buddy was too.

We knew this was going to happen almost a week out, and prepared for it. Yet before the session I almost felt like throwing up 😳😭 Practicing coaching in front of the whole class with fellow coaches across the globe and never having done or experience it...  What could go wrong right? Finally coming into it I was excited to have the opportunity to be the coach but still extremely nervous. Then finishing the coaching session,  I was relieved it was over, but also went into immediate feedback mode.

Whilst our head coach Julie Parker gave us feedback instantly, her feedback was filled with encouragement and a whole lot of positive feedback.

I, however, immediately wanted to know.. What did I do not so great and especially what can I do better next time? I could hear myself going through it, waiting for the negative feedback, critiquing where had I missed the opportunity to ease my client more, where did I not pause long enough, what questions could I have asked better?

My head coach made me realise something really profound for me. She didn’t ask this, but I reflected on where are those questions coming from and what is it doing?

I realised I was discounting the good stuff and I didn’t stop to celebrate the amazing fact that we freaking did it! We had the courage to be the first, and we got very positive feedback overall and there were so many things that did go well!

Who can resonate with this?

I don’t think it’s bad at all to reflect how we can do better. But the profound realisation comes that

my questioning to “have to be better” was coming from a place of fear. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of judgement.

Was I good enough? Why didn’t I do that? Did I do okay? How did it come across? I should have done this there and this here. And I was subconsciously kicking myself for the missed opportunities in that call that I know I could’ve done better. I was feeling small and was telling myself I should’ve been ashamed for having done “badly” as I was running that tape...

Why do we beat ourselves up? And what good can we find in being sooooo hard on ourselves?


My head coach pointed out something that resonated deeply.

Are we reflecting from a place of love and compassion?

And that hit me. In that moment right after our coaching call, I absolutely wasn’t. So I took the rest of the day off from coaching stuff, shared with a few loved ones how awesome it was and how grateful I was for the experience and sent a high five to my buddy.

Because what truly matters to me is that I do celebrate the small wins. And with that, I can now go back to our recording and listen to our coaching call from a place of love, not to criticise how bad we did or “are” right now.

I will go in imagining we were to encourage our best friend, and helping them unfold what we could even do better next time, genuinely out of love. For ourselves to be and do better, for ourselves and others.

How much more powerful and intentional could we learn if we were to treat ourselves with more love and compassion, as we would our best friend? 

Thanks so much for reading my blog. Please leave a message if sharing my learning and reflections have helped you in yours. Wishing you lots of learning and reflecting that’s coming from a place of love!


Marlous :) xoxo

What have your experiences been in learning and reflecting? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this!

Know thyself - Your personal SWOT & limits by Marlous Teh

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You are the only person who will truly be able to make yourself happy. And if we want to be happier, be better at anything we do, we have to know our starting points. I love the SWOT in general because it’s a great framework to do a quick assessment for career, personal and relationship directions and changes. I highlight the SWOT approach here more in the context of direction setting for your career and personal growth, however, it can also be used for relationships. It works well when you have set your goal or direction first. E.g. “I want to be a professional paid coach and speaker.” I’ll highlight more about setting the right goals later.

Your personal SWOT

When you’ve set your goal, look at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

  • Strengths - What are my gifts, strengths, skills, talents, abilities? What empowers and energises me? What do I like / enjoy / find rewarding?

  • Weaknesses - What discourages me? What do I dislike? What are skills that are not at the level I want them to be?

  • Opportunities - How can I further develop my skills, talents, or improve my weaknesses? How can I make use of my gifts, strengths and skills to be of value to others in a way that it fulfils me too?

  • Threats - What rewards/expectations/fulfilment/essentials/imbalances do I have to mindful of?

Setting personal limits

If you’re anything like me, this is one that I always need to remind myself off. As a striving high performer and passionate opportunist, setting boundaries to ensure I can keep giving the best of me to the world and myself is always something I have to be mindful of. Six honest serving men have been my best help, where I highlight three core ones when it comes to setting personal limits; the what-why-and-how test.

  • What: content - what is the opportunity/project about? What is the content, the context, how many hours will it require? In what area of my life does it apply? Career? Personal? Relationships? What is expected of me? What do I need to prepare or what is involved from my end?

  • Why: motivations and needs - on both superficial and a deeper level. How does it meet my psychological, social and emotional needs? Are there challenges? Are there opportunities? Why should I do it?

  • How: resources - what does it require to do it/take it on? Three levels: Time Management, Prioritisation, Organisational skills. Do you have the time for it? Is it important/relevant to you right now? Does it fit your other priorities in your life right now?

Consider Limit Setting:

  • Alternatives - maybe after two months / revisit later?

  • Mix and match - Voluntary work? Or part time? Freelancer? One off project?

Goal motivation and achieving it

Set a destination/goal

  • Why does it suit me/Why am I doing this? What does your heart feel/say and what is the contribution you want to make?

  • Think about your SWOT. What skills, qualifications, experiences do I have now?

  • What further training / experience do I need? How do I obtain these? What steps do I need to take to become it? How do I get in?

  • Who can help me/connect me?

  • What timeframes do I need to consider?

  • What are the KPIs for my happiness/health/wellbeing/overall fulfilment at what markers of time? What criteria will I use to assess if things are on or off course? (Heart, hands, head)

  • When am I planning to take each step towards it?

  • Review every two months. If unhappy, what is the plan?


Hope you’ve enjoyed this! I’ve found this very helpful in my own journey when I was setting goals/limits, considering a change in career or deciding on taking on projects and still use it to date! Would love to hear if this was helpful to you and let me know if you have any other tips! Happy learning :)

Framework for the old fashioned cover letter by Marlous Teh

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This is a framework my mentor Albert Lim gave me in 2012. Although the whole scene of applying for jobs and career prospects have completely changed and the content might be a bit dated, I find the principle questions are still relevant for a necessary cover letter and I’ve added some new thoughts too. Note that this is more for the body of the cover letter and doesn’t highlight other necessary headings.


1) Address the position.
E.g. “I am very pleased to present my application for the position of.. as advertised in... on... My [name recent, passionate and strong achievements] have proven to be my most recent achievements that strongly qualify me as a [name of position title and maybe even in your own words without losing the exact same meaning of the position] or that make me a qualified candidate for the job….”

How does the position align with your experience and/or what you want to do in the future? What are things you would be looking forward to in the role (including challenges and things you’re good at)


2) Why I am good for the job.
Why are you the right match for this job and what skills / attitude are you bringing? Match your skills to the work requirements in a practical statement - show confidence without being overly confident. Exemplify where you demonstrated your skills that are needed in the job. E.g. your daily / weekly responsibilities or actions/achievements in certain projects.


3) Why the company is good for me.

Do some research here and find angles that really align with your own values/interests. E.g. “Being a passionate advocate about X or Having a high regard for X etc is highly in line with my developed interest in X for the last ten years. Or The exposure the company can provide me, Is a great learning platform to develop more knowledge about an area I am passionate about.”


4) Why you’re both good together.

What are the mutual benefits for each other. How are values / approach / cultural fit aligned.

E.g. I feel that I can positively contribute to ..., because of my experience in X and in return this could lead to an increase in engagement/diversity of experience/enthusiasm/energy/connections/etc..


5) Follow up response.

E.g. I am very keen to be in touch with you in two weeks/four weeks (depending on what the ad says) time to follow up on the progress.


6) Conclusion.

“Thank you for your time etc. etc.”


Would love to hear other ideas and suggestions for a cover letter framework. Please leave a comment below. Thanks so much!

When I grow up, I want to be... by Marlous Teh

Do you remember those good ol' class mates books or what we in Dutch called "vriendenboek" (friends book) in primary school? The book in which you had to write all your personal details in including your colour of eyes, height, favourite book, band, why you liked the friend whose book you were writing...? One of those questions was what you wanted to be when you grow up.

"♪&nbsp;♫.....when I grow up... I want to be famous.... ♫♪"

"♪ ♫.....when I grow up... I want to be famous.... ♫♪"

Other than the obvious pop singing, heat swinging Pussy Cat Dolls envy, I was one of those kids who'd go through phases simply based on the cool people I'd meet. One week, I noticed how fabulously skilled my hairdresser was, so I decided I wanted to be an amazing hairdresser. Then I'd see my mum sparkling and being so dedicated to service and happy chatting to our guests in the restaurant and I'd decided wanted to be a restaurant owner too. I'd notice how amazing it was that my school teacher would help us learn new things and the amount of respect my school mates and I had for him, which then made me I want to be a teacher. 

Did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up? Would you say you wanted to be in the career of what you are doing today?

Even though some of those careers were quickly out of sight, out of mind, one idea seemed superbly glamorous and followed me throughout primary and high school into University was the life of travel across the globe.. Quite possibly through the influence of a migrant family, cultural concepts of "success" and western tv..

...When I grow up, I want to be... "An international business woman"

I wanted to be working and flying across countries, utilising my love for languages, cultures, and engaging with people.

Over the last 7 years or so, somehow I tried let go of that idea, because every step I tried to take towards it, didn't quite seem to fall into place. Actually, it was freaking hard on many levels. Then fast forward to now, I recently took on a role that came rather unexpected, but basically incorporates everything I wanted to do as an international business woman and more..

Hello from stunning Hong Kong :)

Hello from stunning Hong Kong :)

Woohoo! Whilst I've done my little celebration dance on these new and exciting changes... I want to share what I learned upon reflection..

I didn't get to where I am today by simply going through a smooth linear path of success starting with the right choice of studies.

Simply choosing what to study in high school, let alone in Uni, was horrifying and felt like my life was depending on it. And that's not even accounting for the fact that I changed studies half way through University and, like I couldn't get enough of studying, then graduated with two more diplomas after I completed my Masters.

The truth is that after graduation, I had a very hard time settling into a role, especially being a foreigner in country. A lot of people around me would always tell me: "someone like you, should easily land a job with the big corporates, in this space, etc etc...".

The truth is that it wasn't easy. It was either timing, visa restrictions, not enough experience... And a good dose of imposter syndrome didn't help to motivate me to aim high either...

I went from temp job to temp job, doing call service, hospitality, recruitment, receptionist jobs.. Then taking internship roles for a few hours a week just to get the experience. Very often I was working two or three jobs at a time to be able to pay for my studies, Sydney's ridiculously expensive rent and cost of living... Going into most jobs, I didn't know how long they'd last for. All I knew was that I had to do my best and make the most out of them while they lasted.

It was often trial and error, bad and (mostly) good people, false promises, grateful recognition of my talent, and lots of luck... Riding the waves that life would throw at me created this journey. Not actually with the goal of being an international business woman, but simply to trust that I will, and work to, where I need to be, one step at a time.

Whilst at the time I sometimes really felt the world wasn't fair, thinking why I wasn't landing that job, or wasn't given what I was promised... I now look back and see that I was so so lucky and blessed, and it was exactly how things were meant to be. As a vivid planner, I think plans are great, but also think life is meant to "get in the way" of your success...

So rather than asking myself, have I become who I wanted to be... Have I been successful, have I made it yet... I'd like to ask myself..

How can I make the most out of this situation? What can I learn from this experience, right here and right now.. How will this serve me, others and the world around me? How can I use the experiences that I will gain to get closer to how I want to live my life?

These are the burning questions many of my coaches, mentors, friends and beloved have planted with me and I hope they serve you just as well as they've served me.

The other exciting thing I've discovered is that all those fabulous things I noticed from people around me in different professions, is that you can carry those out in simply being human. My hairdresser who was amazingly skilled, my teacher who was highly respected, my mother who loved to serve and be an excellent host.

Can I build a little bit more skill in learning about myself, languages, dance, yoga, business, building teams, collaborations? Can I learn about respect and character from the teachers, mentors, the greats that have come before me? Can I adopt the passion and dedication in service to others? The answer is yes :)

How do you want to define success and how do you want to live your life?
Have fun while you're at it :D

Have fun while you're at it :D

Marlous xoxo.

Working hard was simply survival.. by Marlous Teh

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I started writing this blog post as a way of reflecting on the many nuggets of wisdom I'd taken away from Arianna Huffington's Supersoul session, including finding her mentioned four pillars of life (wellbeing, wisdom, wonder, giving) which I found to be very similar to my personal framework for life harmony (learning, vision, curiosity, community). But I found myself reflecting more on the concept of work ethic and where mine came from.

The first time I heard about Arianna Huffington was probably on the Oprah show where she talked about her incident at work where she collapsed from exhaustion onto the table, waking in a pool of blood and having to go into hospital whereafter her life drastically changed. What goes through your mind as you imagine this happening in your environment? 

I think that moment I saw the video and how Arianna spoke about her tragic incident but magic awakening, I saw my family's multiple generations of rice-field-workers's and restaurant owners's work ethic reflected in that same kind of thinking before she collapsed, including my own.

From when I was young, there wasn't a thing more important than work, making money, which meant sacrifices.

Fun time? Family time? Other than school time, hm not really. I think I was lucky to just get an hour with Mum making a speedy trip to the shops to get stuff (often for the restaurant) to then head back to get ready for the restaurant rush. Dad was always in the kitchen from day to night and there was no questioning about his presence.

When I was nine, Mum and I were out to the shops again and as we were walking back to the restaurant, I upsettingly asked why we couldn't stay out longer. (You could say I was throwing a little tantrum.) It was 4pm then, which meant just an hour or so before rush hour, and we were in the middle of the streets in the city centre.

Mum stopped walking and looked at me very upset and almost conflicted.. I can still remember how I felt and I could see the pain in her eyes. I knew it was not an option and from that day, I didn't go there anymore.

I'd accepted to put the task/work/business over our family time and had the expectation that others would do the same. I followed Mum closely in my training and therefore also in this work ethic and mentality, and we were like a dream team working together.

I think the luxury I grew up with is that at least I knew and tasted that there could be a different life. At least I knew what real family time looked like, what a family vacation was, what play time was. I couldn't see my mum asking for those things when she was ploughing away at the rice fields back in the days merely to have the family put food on the table..

"Working hard is a status thing", according to Arianna's talk and I agree we've very much adopted the 'busy-ness as a life style' applicable to our generation. However, for my family, the belief was that working hard was simply survival.

Having my great grandparents and family being born in a country where scarcity was the norm, and not abundance, does that to you. Having a family that were the first generation to be doing something different in a foreign country, meant that we needed to work harder to "get there". It meant we had to work so hard that we sometimes "didn't have time" to eat or drink throughout the day. We also had to scout out the biggest savings on supplies (without sacrificing quality and value) because to make money we had to know how to save money.

I volunteered to scout all the supermarket deals every week and reported back to Mum what we could get cheaper, when and where. For some reason, I loved contributing in this way.

Even though I accepted that this was my life growing up, I still questioned and compared.. Why didn't we get the family time or dinner time with desserts together like normal kids, rather than the pre-rush-hour chow down of our foods in the restaurant. Why didn't I get the help with my homework like my friends in school? Why didn't I get to spend Christmas together lighting candles and signing cheesy Christmas songs whilst we stuffed ourselves with way too much food? Well, because we were always working. (I also later found out that this was a classic case of the grass is greener...)

Upon reflection, I really feel that all those things and many more, including being the first generation to be a University graduate, have been my privilege and the origin of my appreciation for resourcefulness and opportunities. And I wouldn't want any of it to be different.

What I find beautiful now is that with the years, letting go, and the ability to have an adult conversation with my family, I can say, I'd love to spend more quality time with you because it's important to me, rather than throw a tantrum and say "I want this now!".

I think the other side of the equation of working hard is that we look a the results we are trying to produce. The simple > If, then... < And how the belief is that hard work equals the (deserving) result. Whilst I want to reserve the self worth conversation in another post, I always want to make stuff happen and so I do stuff. I'm one to often say "you get what you put in". But the truth is that my biggest awareness to date has been to constantly realise that my efforts don't always equal my desired or deserving result. Sometimes I invest so much time and effort into something that I truly believe is to be valuable and important, often to find myself be disappointed. Sometimes shizzle just hits the fan and things don't work out... Whether this is a battle between my ego and faith in life.. I think this ties in well with what Arianna shares as the lesson that has taken her the longest to learn...

"I don’t make everything happen. Life is a dance between making it happen and letting it happen. I do my 100% and the rest I leave to faith and go free. We cannot be attached to the result, cause is not up to us. As long as we do our part, we have done it." - Arianna Huffington

I've found this to be more true for me too. It doesn't mean that I'm going to give up sooner just because I know things aren't in my control. But it means that I'm trying to be more conscious.

The more I try to be present and choose to ride the waves and paths that life throws at me, the more trust I put in the dance. And that's scary sometimes. (AKA Freaking not-being-able-to-sleep terrifying sometimes)

As we're talking dance, it reminds me how much life actually is like dancing. When I started doing salsa dancing and ballroom dancing, I was always one to try and "control" (where normally the man leads the dance), with the result it always feeling clumsy and not natural or flowing. As I got better with letting it go free, I started loving dancing so much because I truly experienced the flow and the dance.

As I experience more of life (and its dancing!), I'm also appreciating more that mistakes and so-called failures are part of that dance that sometimes make it a fun learning experience.

Happy dancing.

Can you relate to my reflections? Have you ever thought of your family's work ethic and how that's influenced your life? What were your grass is greener moments when you were younger? How's that working for you now? Please drop me a note :)