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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

7 Questions With an Author: Alice Chan, Ph.D.

This is my weekly series titled 7 Questions With an Author... where I pose seven questions to an author and then share their unedited answers here.

Today's author is Dr. Alice Chan, a former professor at Cornell University and current inspirational speaker, author and coach. Her most recent book is titled Reach Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life.

Here is 7 Questions With Author: Alice Chan
1. Tell us about your book?
REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life outlines my five-step system for helping you get clear on what you want, eliminate barriers on your path to your desires and take inspired action toward creating what you want. It guides you to leverage both your rational mind and intuitive wisdom to create the life of your dreams. Most of all, REACH is a process that works for you, no matter where you are in your life and what you are ready to do.

2. What led you to write it?
This book is a step toward fulfilling my life’s mission to inspire and help empower others to live passionately and joyfully in love and grace, always honoring who they are and where they are in life. This book came to me in 2008 as a “Divine download” at the height of my own existential crisis, when I was objectively successful but dying a little inside every day because I didn’t feel like I was fulfilling my life purpose.

At the time, I was also overwhelmed by the vast amount of personal development tools available, and wished there was an integrated system. Then, after almost dying in a car accident in the same year, I want to live out my second lease in life to help as many as possible, who are struggling with finding their purpose, to awaken more joy and passion in their lives. Serving with the message of REACH is quite literally why I’m still alive and breathing.

3. Who is a writer that inspires you and why?
There are many writers I admire, but if I must pick one, I’d say Dr. Gay Hendricks, the author of many books, including The Big Leap, which was one of the books that changed my life. He is simply brilliant and a deeply spiritual man with a heart of gold, a shining model of someone who loves helping others and is extremely gifted at doing so. He has a very authentic writing voice, and he’s masterful at taking New Thought principles and turning them into everyday mainstream speak that appeals to everyone, including corporate executives (whom he charged $1000 per hour in coaching fees). He writes and speaks with intention and purpose to serve his readers, something that any writer would be wise to do.

4. What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this book?
Credibility – who did I think I was to be able to write a book on conscious living and self-empowerment? I was paralyzed by the terror of failing, that no one would want to read a book from an unknown author. That’s why I couldn’t truly commit to writing this book in earnest until January of this year, almost four years after the idea came to me and three years after a brush with death. But once I got over myself and surrendered to Divine guidance, I finished my book in three months while working in my daytime consulting business. Writing this book was the most exquisite experience I’ve had to date in co-creating with the Divine, so much so that I went into withdrawal when my book was done!

5. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Always be who you are, write what you love, and do so from your heart – even if your subject matter is business, policy or any topic that’s objectively dry. When your work comes from the real you, what you truly believe in and feel passionate about, the creative process is an absolute joy you simply can’t get enough of, and you’ll grow from the experience. Besides, when your readers see your work, they’ll be able to feel your love and passion for what you do and that you really know what you’re talking about. Your writing voice will engage them, build affinity with them, and get them to trust you. If your subject matter is inspirational or motivational in nature, you’ll also touch and inspire your readers.

6. Where do you get your ideas?
They mostly come in the form of inspiration from what I personally experience and what I observe in others – and contemplations about these experiences, along with continued spiritual study and practice. I believe that who we are, how we show up in this world and the paths we take in our lives all serve unique purposes. Our experiences, therefore, are vignettes of Divine expression, if you will, and are great case studies for exploring the human experience, what we want to make of it. Every day is a creative expression, and as such there’s an endless supply of ideas, big and small!

7. Anything that you'd like readers to know that I haven't asked?
Since you asked, Tor J, I’d like to take this opportunity to showcase one of the most important messages in my book (from Chapter 6) – I urge everyone to take an aerial view of your life holistically as a labyrinth (i.e., a meandering path that connects a start and end point). Instead of focusing on where you are specifically in the mysterious maze, which may trigger feelings of being lost or off your path, an aerial view of the entire labyrinth shows you that, no matter where you are in it, you’re never truly lost, nor can you ever be off your path; everything fits, even if you can’t see it at this moment.

Moreover, the pattern of your labyrinth is distinctive to your life, unlike anyone else’s. Embrace and honor your distinctive life pattern, and don’t let someone else’s pattern set expectations of what you’re supposed to do and where you’re supposed to be or do at this point in your life. In short, you can reframe any harsh judgments you may have made of your decisions and actions in life to date. They all fit into the grand scheme of your life.

About the Author: Alice Chan, Ph.D., a former award-winning Cornell professor and seasoned business consultant, is an inspirational author, speaker and coach. Her mission in life is to inspire and help others empower themselves to live passionately and joyfully in love and grace. She’s the author of REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life. Learn more by visiting

If you liked this interview and are interested in learning more about Dr. Chan's ideas and writings, you can visit her web site and download a FREE copy of her companion workbook.

Question: Have you ever had a near-death experience? How did it change you?
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