Trang Nova’s Journey from the Sports Industry to Life Coaching

Meet Trang Nova, a life coach and TEDx speaker whose career took a significant turn after a small, yet impactful, incident made her rethink her path. 

Originally from the sports industry, Trang’s journey into personal development began in her mid-20s when an early morning run and a crushed snail unexpectedly shifted her perspective on life’s impact. This moment sparked a deep reflection on her actions and their consequences, leading her to pursue a career that goes beyond physical training to enhancing personal and professional lives. 

Now, Trang combines her expertise in life and business coaching to help others live purposefully and mindfully. In this chat, Trang shares her approach to unlocking human potential and the philosophies that guide her transformative work.

Trang, could you share the story of that moment in your mid-20s when you realised you needed a change from the sports industry? What was going through your mind?

Yes, absolutely. It’s a whack story though, so buckle in, lol! 

My quarter-life crisis was activated on one particular morning. I’d gotten up early to go for a run and when I stepped out onto the footpath to begin, I heard a crunch. 

I thought “What’s that, what’s going on?”

I looked down and it turned out I’d stepped on a snail. 

It wasn’t my first time, but for some reason that morning, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I couldn’t help but feel guilty. I thought “Because of me just living my own life, I’d caused such an effect on something outside of me. In this case, I’d killed something!” 

This got me thinking and I started to see the bigger picture – Here I was, feeling guilty about this one snail, yet in many other ways, my lifestyle choices were already causing many other atrocious consequences.

I started to see how every decision I made had a real consequence. I finally recognised how much of a footprint I had, and could have.

As a Personal Trainer and Physiotherapist, I worked between four walls to teach people how to squat to shape their booty and do wrist rehab. This work was needed, but this wasn’t enough for me anymore. Given the devastation in the world, I knew I had to become more and do more.

I spoke to my life coach at the time, and asked what I should do? Should I become an activist? Should I start a charity? And what he said was so profound. 

He said “Trang, you want to make a difference right? What if you don’t have to work on the front lines to make a difference? For example, if you were in wartime and wanted to help injured soldiers, could you make a difference by becoming a nurse working in the hospitals, as well as stepping away from the action, and ending the war?

So what was the war that I needed to end? Well, I thought people weren’t trashing the environment or turning a blind eye to mass suffering because they don’t know about it.

Like me back then, we all know, but are we conscious of it? When do we intentionally stop to think about our footprint? Or is it more common that we unconsciously go through our days managing our own lives?

And that’s why I made it my lifetime mission to expand my work from the sports industry to work with people not just as athletes, but as human beings. I decided to go into life coaching, and eventually business coaching, to raise the levels of consciousness of people, so they can live out their purpose and potential, and thrive in their lives.

Ultimately, I believe that when enough people thrive, then humanity will thrive. Then when humanity thrives, the world will thrive for all forms of life and future generations.

I’m really interested in how you guide people to tap into their potential. What’s your approach to helping others unlock their greatness?

The thing is, I’ve lived multiple lives: I’ve been in the trenches of 60-hour work weeks & now I run the spacious business that I love, living my purpose, while getting to travel half of each year!

What that means, is I can help people with ALL of it. My strengths are in:

✨ Intimate coaching & empowerment so you can overcome all odds

✨ Personalised & proven strategies so you can achieve business success AND sustain it

WHILE living an extraordinary life of freedom & fulfilment!

These are my guiding principles:

1. Transforming the core of who you are

Your results will only ever reflect your true self that you constantly think, feel, and act. Therefore, it’s a priority that you first overcome any of your unresolved beliefs & wounds so you can pave the way to more possibilities and take action on your personalised strategy

2. The high-performing woman

From here, we’ll then run a fine-comb through your personal routines & management so you can do business SPACIOUSLY. Trust me, it doesn’t have to be a grind – There’s another way without getting burnt out

3. Bespoke business strategy

Then, I’ll help you craft your personalised business strategy from branding to your offers so you can dominate and become recognised as the best at what you do. Skip years of trial and error, and fast-track your business goals!

Living a life of legacy is a powerful concept. What do you think are the first steps someone should take if they want to leave a meaningful impact?

Every single decision we make has a flow-on effect, whether positive or negative. 

Which is why even though living a life of legacy can seem like a really big, intimidating thing that is far away and out of reach. But it doesn’t have to be a big elusive idea that we put pressure on ourselves to live up to.

Our legacy starts with every small decision we make. It’s in how we show up day to day. It’s how we are living today. Practising patience with a colleague. Picking up 3 pieces of litter on a walk. Extending empathy to a family member. Giving someone a compliment. Having one extra plant-based meal a week. Speaking up against discrimination. Not enabling a friend to self-victimise.

I believe that our legacy is something we fulfil as we go through life

Your TEDx talk touched on some sensitive themes within the personal development industry. Could you tell us more about the inspiration behind it and the kind of conversations it sparked?

My TEDx talk is titled ‘Is the Personal Development Industry Racist?’

Yep, it’s certainly a hot topic.

After multiple years as a life and business coach bringing out the best in people in the personal development industry, my family still asks me ‘Trang, what exactly is it that you do again?”

It’s no wonder, as when I look around I am left asking the question – “Where are all my fellow Asians in this industry?‘’

The thing is, the face of the personal development industry – like so many industries – is white. 

At the same time, a significant portion of theories and practices used in the personal development industry were founded by the East, by philosophers such as Laozi, Confucious, and Buddha. 

That’s likely something people don’t know. Or if they do, they don’t acknowledge it.

Asians are the inventors of many revolutionary things, carry incredible resilience from wars and refugee journeys, and as immigrants, live with the confluence of multiple cultures to bring in fresh perspectives to help people live their lives to the fullest.

Despite this, Google’s list of the top 25 Personal Development coaches in 2023 failed to feature even in Eastern Asian. There’s underrepresentation on world stages, best-selling bookshelves, social media, and more.

The conversations this TEDx talk has started include exploring how ALL of us take responsibility. It’s not hard to support and buy from coaches, healers, facilitators, and speakers who are Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian, and people of colour. Those who work in the Personal Development Industry can make the effort to collaborate and hire all people. Us people of colour can empower ourselves to break existing cultural norms, and step into the spotlight.

Imagine if everyone involved with the personal development industry made just one decision that invited more inclusivity; how much of a ripple effect that would create. Over time, we could reach a tipping point of normalising the industry to equally celebrate people of colour on world stages. 

Balancing a budding business with a full-time job sounds incredibly challenging. What practical tips can you offer for managing both without getting overwhelmed?

Oh, I could go on and on about this – I love this topic.

The main thing is understanding that burnout isn’t caused by overworking, it’s caused by under-recovery

Humans are capable of very high workloads. We didn’t evolve over 500,000 years for nothing!

Think about Olympic athletes, they train for crazy hours every day and sustain it by ensuring their recovery regime is equally as serious.

On the other hand, we could be doing nothing all day every day, yet still feel burnt out if we only sleep for 4 hours for a few consecutive weeks

With that in mind, I encourage people to schedule their recovery into their calendar first as a non-negotiable, whether it’s sleep, lunch breaks, or weekend downtime. From there, they can allow their schedule to fill up as much as needed, as long as it doesn’t compromise that rest.

Something else that is extremely powerful is seeing ‘time’ as a game of Tetris and using every minute and hour productively. We don’t have to work around the clock, but we can certainly utilise free momentum and energy during the day when we are already at our sharpest.

I used to work on my business during my work lunch, quiet time at work (Depending on your role), or stay back an extra hour or two at work to do business tasks. That way, I could free up night time as much as possible to still be present with my partner, and keep some separation between work and my personal life.

What are some common hurdles you see people face as they strive for a more purpose-driven life, and how do you coach them through these?

Something that people can face when striving for a purpose-driven life is feeling guilt or thinking they are a failure when they put in so much effort and care into a particular cause, and the outcome isn’t what they desired

When this happens, I always encourage people to realise this: We can never completely control the outcome, so we can’t get attached to outcomes and base the worthiness of our actions on how things turn out.

However, it’s worth understanding that our efforts are NEVER a waste. Everything we do, no matter how small, says something and means something. 

Imagine if everyone in the world had put in the same amount of effort and positive intention that we did. The world would never be the same again. Not even that, imagine if everyone showed up even 1% more than what they are doing now to contribute towards change. They would still change overnight.

What that means, is we are doing all that we need to do, within our power, to be the version of ourselves that the world needs. Keep shining that light. And don’t ever stop!

As you look to the future, what new goals are you setting for yourself and your mentoring programs? How do you plan to adapt and grow with your audience?

Oooh! So…

Authenticity is always going to be relevant.

The future is only lived in the present.

As I look forward to the future, I have one primary goal: To continue showing up as my highest and most integral self, while being the free-spirited woman I am to soak up each day of new adventures and experiences.

At the same time, I cannot wait to continue expanding my brand and reach so I can spread my message further, and reach all corners of the world by continuing to run my revolutionary group mastermind and retreat (Life of Legacy), while doing 1:1 coaching and speaking on stage to thousands of gorgeous people!


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