TL;DR – In the year 2019, he lost nearly everything, but he found purpose.
When I first met Jones Liew earlier this year at a networking event, he shared a card game (Emotions Run Wild) that he had devised to help people understand their emotions and build emotional intelligence.
I wondered what events in his life prompted him to develop such a game, and why he was so passionate about bringing this knowledge to the world.
It was over a simple sushi lunch that Jones opened up about the difficulties he faced as a young man, the deep dark troughs that almost made him give up on life because life was just too painful, disappointing and hurtful.
As I watched him grow throughout 2019, starting from small successes such as getting Emotions Run Wild listed in Naiise Iconic at Jewel, Singapore Changi Airport (which would increase his product’s exposure to international visitors), to larger ones such as clinching his first overseas clients in China and Australia, I observed how the power of belief and Emotional Intelligence could transform lives.
From someone who was dumped by others and faced financial failure, to a stronger man who rebuilt his self-belief and won the support of others, I hope Jones’ journey in 2019 will be a comfort and inspiration to unscrambled.sg readers who are struggling with their emotions in this turbulent journey of life.
This is an email interview with Jones Liew, creator of Emotions Run Wild, and a professional trainer.
1. How would you describe yourself and what you do?
Currently, I am working as corporate trainer, facilitator and coach focusing on People and Cultural Transformation. For the past 15 years, I have been supporting leaders, managers and individuals to be at their best and performing and living lives purposefully and meaningfully.
I am in my 30s (single and very much available and yes, I would like to get married 😊) who strongly believes that everyone in this world deserves the chance and the right to live our lives happily and joyfully.
2. What major events happened in 2019 and how did they affect you?
To be honest, my career is full of ups and downs, however, it had brought me to where I was and developed me to who I am.
In mid-2018 to 2019, things took a huge downturn.
Due to greed, blinded by my own success and poor financial decisions, I lost a lot of money (in the 6 digit range).
An example is, the loss of income due to projects that were not renewed (over-confidence and taken for granted that they would be renewed) and clients restructuring their policies, resulted in my income being just a couple of dollars for a few months.
Others included being scammed by a friend, and the collapse of a four-year-old Backpacker business losing all the capital invested and many more.
Because of those financial setbacks, and other factors too, I lost the love of my life as my fiancée left me at the same time as well.
My self-esteem and confidence were at rock bottom.
I had big doubts in my confidence, in my own ability, self-respect and to a certain extent, my reputation as a trainer. I was also judged heavily as a failure by others.
For example, I faced judgement and negative perception from friends of 10 over years telling me that if I don’t have big head don’t wear such a big hat.
I also struggled with the guilt of making loved ones worried for me, especially my mum.
That was one of the lowest points in my life.
3. How did you overcome your challenges in 2019?
As the months of 2019 went past, I realised that these negative episodes had also become a significant part of my life.
In 2019, I started to learn who my friends who truly care are, how much love I am receiving from my family and from people who truly believe and love me.
I also had the chance to look at myself once again, reflecting and reviewing who I am as a person, what my identity is, what I did right or wrong, etc. But most importantly is that I found my God, and my purpose in life.
And since then, my life is back on the recovery path.
Of course, there are many more things to work on, but this journey in the past year helped me to recalibrate myself, to look into what is really important in my life and what I am supposed to do in this life.
And I’m glad that despite the pain and struggles, I have found my answer.
4. What experiences did you have while growing up that shaped who you are?
When I was a child, I believed for years that although I was not the best academically, I was well-recognised for my leadership and having a stand on what was right, fair and just and always thinking for others.
Even though I was born into a rich family, due to unfortunate circumstances, I had to start working to support myself and the family at the age of 13.
At first, I was working hard to survive and strive but reality and circumstances started to get the better of me at certain points in my life. This led me to believe that my life was just going to be mediocre and I wouldn’t be able to get out of this vicious cycle.
I started to lose hope and accepted that that’s my life and destiny of just being a low or average income earner working in a job that I was not passionate about, and building a dream that wasn’t mine (but that of whoever was hiring me).
However, because of the exposure to performance and personal development training outside of school and traditional business organisations, I learnt that actually, I have a choice to be different. There are opportunitites to create success to live a life I thought I could only dream of. This was the start of my transformation in my perspective on life and career.
It all started when I attended a motivation and performance training workshop. During the training, and for the first time in my life, I was told that I could go out to create and achieve the life and results that I wanted, and I was not limited by my academics grades, family background or my circumstances.
This was something that I didn’t learn in school and not taught by my parents and family.
Seeing the possibilities of how I could follow my passion and have the chance to change my life and my future, I decided that it’s only fair for every single person to have an opportunity to learn and do the same for their lives. Hence I became a trainer, facilitator and coach.
5. What message do you want to share with others who are facing similar struggles you did?
The key message that I would like to give to others is that continue to have FAITH, to be HONEST, and to continue to LOVE.
To have FAITH that all things will work out eventually, that God has his own plans for you. Have faith in ourselves, our future. Things might not go our way, but it is definitely is for our way.
To be HONEST, be extremely and brutally honest with ourselves, our shortfalls, our wrongdoing, our weaknesses and what we lack. At the same time, also be honest about the truth of our talents, our strengths, our results, our abilities and capabilities. Be honest about the results that we created and learn to accept and be responsible for both the good and the bad.
Lastly, keep LOVING, love the people who have loved you, love those who had harmed or hurt you, love others who are in your life regardless if they have helped you or not.
Why? Because LOVE is the true power to overcome difficulties.
Once you understand what love is, you start to understand what in life is important to you and who are the people who are important to you.
At the same time, understand that each one of us has our own journey, and no one owes us a living. So, love others for who they are and most importantly, love ourselves for who we are.
6. What do you hope for the coming year?
In the coming year, what I hope for is that everyone can continue to find their true joy in life, and live their life joyfully.
As I continue to embark on my own joy of living, I hope that I can make a comeback and be stronger than ever in the different areas of my life.
We only live once, so let make our life worth living. To each of our own, may our lives be always purposeful, meaningful and joyful.
Special thanks to Jones Liew, creator of Emotions Run Wild (an emotional intelligence card game), for his personal sharing.
Featured photo: Emotions Run Wild Card Game is one of several Singaporean-designed products sold at Naiise Iconic, Jewel Singapore Changi Airport. Photo by Jones Liew.