“When my mum passed away two years ago, my perspective on life changed. I took care of her and wanted to give her the best life. But to do that, I couldn’t really spend time with her. I had to work hard to be really successful. It felt like I was trapped in a vicious cycle.

I’ve always been a career-minded person. I came to Singapore from Vietnam to study and start my work life here. I’ve been in the hospitality industry for 16 years. For the past 12 years, I’ve had the chance to open six hotels and was involved in nine reopening projects.

But after my mum passed away, I realised that you don’t need a lot to survive. You can be happy and fulfilled in whatever you’re doing, without compromising the time you have for yourself and your family. You don’t have to work yourself to the point of a burnout.

It sounds really simple, right? But it’s not. Being mindful is actually really hard. If I offered you a cup of coffee, would you take your time to enjoy it? Or would you down everything in one gulp because you’re in a rush? It feels like everyone’s busy and in a rush these days.

Being mindful is the same thing. It’s a journey and we have to make a conscious effort to constantly be mentally present. If we don’t practise now, it’s going to be really hard and we’ll most likely just forget to be mindful.

So that’s why I left my old job four months ago and started my own consultancy called Trinhique Consultancy. I felt that it was time for me to do something else – to pursue my passion and my purpose. And my passion is in mentoring and coaching.

I have always loved dealing with people. People development is what makes me tick. When I see people happy at work and living their best lives, it makes me feel fulfilled. Even when I was managing my own team in my previous company, I did a lot of mentoring.

I remember someone who held this belief that as long as you are the boss or manager, you have the power to rule by fear and authority. I was able to change this mindset because for me, I believe in nurturing and inspiring people. That’s how a leader builds a great team.

Of course nothing comes easy. Building my company is going to take a lot of hard work. Apart from mentoring and coaching, another aspect of my consultancy deals with helping companies bring their brand to life through service. That ultimately boils down to people.

Every company has a brand name and a logo, but I believe that it’s more than just your logo that people will remember you for. Nothing beats human interaction. Guests or clients will remember you for a great experience; for how you make them feel.

So I will curate their service experience – from when the guest arrives to the time they depart. I will also spend time with a company’s team – from management to ground staff – and provide training and coaching so that I can help them build a service culture that lasts.

Throughout these past few months that I’ve been working on building my company, if I feel like I’ve put in too much time and I’m burning out, I will remind myself why I left my old job in the first place. That kind of gives me a bit more perspective and balance in life.

I’ve been a workaholic my whole life. For someone who’s been working the way I have for the past 16 years, it’s a bit hard to adjust, right? I just love working. But I also realise there is more to life. I should enjoy myself more and take care of the people around me.” – Trinh Tran Chau, 36 

 Interview by: Arman Shah