Career Advice with Sr. Principle Engineer Luu Tran

When considering your career path, there are multiple ways to think about it. Individual contributor of management. Tech or none-tech. Big company or start up. The truth is, there’s no one path fits all.

In this episode Luu Tran, a Senior Principal Engineer, shares some of his career ups and downs and how to think about what you want. It’s important to not only know what your priorities are, but how to make decisions to make sure you are aligned with those priorities.  

When you keep the bigger picture in mind and what you real priorities are, making decisions about your career so much easier.


What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • The 3 part framework to consider when deciding on different career paths.
  • How to go from a manager back to an individual contributor
  • How to stop dreading your job and keep your priorities inline.

Mentioned on the show:

How to keep going when you’re not motivated

Everyone has those days when you are not feeling it, but what do you do when a day turns into months on end?


It’s so hard to keep working hard when your job is not motivating. But what do you do about it?


Phycologists call it the motivational triad. Your brain is wired to help you avoid danger, seek pleasure right now, and save energy. Understanding this and how to use it to help you is the secret to being more motivated.


In this week’s episode you will learn how to create more motivation and what to do when you’re not feeling it, especially when it comes to your job.


Who’s your mentor? Let me be your mentor and coach. I have just a few free calls left. Grab some time on my calendar and let’s come up with a plan to get you feeling more confident today.

How to feel better – Episode 2

Things have been crazy at work and a few weeks ago I cried in front of my manager in my one on one. I felt so much better about it after and teach you two reasons why.

A feeling is a chemical cascade cause by neurons connecting in your brain. Your emotions are coming from your thoughts which is great news because you can’t die from an emotion and you can learn how to manage your brain and decide where you want to focus.

In this week’s episode, you are going to learn two ways to start feeling better today. If you are feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed about things, this episode will give you mechanisms to start feeling better and solve any problem you are dealing with.

If what you heard made sense to you and you want help applying it to your specific situation, grab some time on my calendar and let’s come up with a plan to get you feeling more confident today.

Data vs. Drama – Episode 1

You probably understand the importance of looking at the
data to understand how your business is preforming, but what if you applied
this same concept to yourself.

There’s data and there’s drama and we all try to focus on
changing the data, but it’s not that easy.

Data is facts and statistics collected together for
reference or analysis purposes. The drama comes into play when we interpret that

In this week’s episode, you are going to learn how to start
understand that data and drama in your career so that you can become more aware
of what areas you can actually control Awareness is the first and most
important step to all the tools you will learn in this podcast, so be sure to
listen to this episode.

If what you heard made sense to you and you want help applying it to your specific situation, grab some time on my calendar and let’s come up with a plan to get you feeling more confident today.

Why you end up doing other people’s work

Nothing is more frustrating than feeling like you can’t do your job because someone else is not doing theirs.  It feels like you don’t have time to teach them or hold them accountable so often we just do it for them.

That’s fine in the moment, but it’s not possible to do everyone’s job and it’s just adding to your stress and overwhelm.

For example, maybe you’re responsible for your teams’ monthly business review and you need each leader to submit their updates. You probably sent out a schedule, gave directions on where to put the information and started working on your part. Chances are, someone missed the deadline and another person submitted it wrong. Or maybe someone submitted information that was confusing and missing data.

We end up spending time chasing things down, but at the end of the day we end up doing their work and fixing it. We are the ones responsible for pulling it all together so we don’t want to look bad.

This happening once or twice is fine, but when it’s constant and happening across multiple projects, it’s easy to quickly get overwhelmed and burnout.

No one wants to work when they feel like they can’t get ahead. It’s not motivating to work hard on projects when no one else seems to care about doing their part. It’s impossible to micro manage and double check every detail.

At some point, you have to hold others accountable to do their job so you can do yours. But how do you actually do that?

Instead of trying to tell them HOW to do it, you have to focus on the WHAT. What do you need from them in order to move the project forward. They get to figure out how to get it, but the more specific and clear you are on the what, the less time you will spend trying to tell them how to do it.

Now be warned this is easier said than done. People want the how. They want to know exactly how to do the thing you are asking so they don’t have to figure it out, but guess what. Our jobs are to figure out how.

So if you are feeling overwhelmed because you feel like you have to do everyone else’s work so you can do yours, focus on being more clear and direct with WHAT you need from them and encourage them to get creative on figuring out HOW to do that.

If you want help figuring out how to do this with your work, let’s jump on the phone and figure it out together. Grab time on my calendar to connect.

You got this.


The secret to letting people judge you

One of the key elements to being confident is learning to let other people judge you because no matter what, they will.

What other people think about you is none of your business.

Some of my clients push back on this because they think it sounds aloof and arrogant, but that’s not what I’m saying.

It’s kind of like going paintballing. If you get hit in the leg it hurts. You will probably get a bruise and if you get hit enough times, you might need to sit out for a bit. But if you get hit in the chest where you have protective gear on, you notice the impact and feel it, but keep going. You make sure you aren’t hurt and go back to playing the game.

It is the same with people’s judgements of you. If you are not confident and lack the gear to have your own back, it’s going to hurt. What they think about you is going to impact you. You are going to take it all in and use it as evidence to believe your already crappy thoughts about yourself. If the judgment gets back enough, you might even bow out and stop trying.

But if you are confident and know how to trust yourself, they are still going to judge you. You’ll notice it, but it won’t leave a lasting bruise and stop you from moving forward. You get to decide if you want to take that judgement and learn something from it or leave it by the wayside because it’s not true. When you know how to trust yourself, you are all in the game, but fully prepared to keep moving forward no matter what others think.

What would you have done differently today if you were truly confident? What would you have said no to? What would you have said yes to? What would be different if you really knew how to trust yourself?

Learning how to let people judge you is one of the most liberating skills you can learn. If you want help figuring out how to do this with your specific situation, grab time on my calendar and let’s figure it out.

You got this.

How to commit when you disagree

Disagreeing is easy and something we do all day every day. Don’t commit just to let leadership have any easy excuse to get their way, but commit to keep moving forward quickly. Delivering on the project and failing fast gets you to your goal so much quicker than spending time making sure everyone agrees. There are so many variables to your projects that we’re never going to be 100% aligned.


Learning how to commit when you really don’t agree is easier said than done. But when you do, you can still enjoy your work, help deliver on the project, feel like you are adding value along the way.


In this week’s episode, you will learn how to commit not just at work, but when it comes to your career as well.


Items referenced in episode:

2016 Amazon shareholder letter –


Who’s your mentor? Let me be your mentor and coach. I have just a few free calls left. Grab some time on my calendar <> and let’s come up with a plan to get you feeling more confident today.

2 ways to succeed as an introvert

One-half to one-third of all the people you know is an introvert.

Being an introvert does not mean you are shy. People are shy because they are worried about being judged. Being an introvert means you’re most as ease and have your best ideas when you are not overly stimulated in social settings. An extrovert is in their zone of genius working in groups or places with lots of social interaction.

Culturally in the US we are biased towards extroverts. When I went to school, we sat in rows and had some autonomy. Now my kids sit in groups and constantly do group work and are seen as outsiders if they want to work alone.

At work we often sit in open seating areas with limited privacy and numerous social distractions. Some places even have completely open seating where you are not assigned a desk, but pick a different one to work at every day.

So how do you succeed at work when it seems like extroverts are at an advantage?

First, remember that how you receive inspiration does not determine how valuable it is. Knowing how to get that inspiration and being able to draw out ideas is what will make you a great leader and able to reach your goals. Your ideas will speak for themselves. Stay focused on adding value and less worried about saying it louder than the person next to you.

Second, create an environment that enables you to do your best work. Find your own “space” at work that allows you to quietly get your work done. Find a rooftop deck, a comfy chair in a quiet corner, or an empty floor in another building. Create your own private work place if needed. Additionally, purposefully plan quiet thinking time in your day. Schedule a daily meeting with yourself where you get outside or go to your “space” and just think. Don’t try to get things done, but spend the time thinking about your project to get that inspiration.

People get promoted based on data around the results they drive. Not on who is the most outgoing. Stop believing you are disadvantaged because you are an introvert. Ghandi, Rosa Parks, and Eleanor Roosevelt did not let it stop them. Don’t let how you get inspiration hold you back from reaching your goals.

Chat soon,


P.S. Want help being a successful introvert? Let’s jump on the phone and come up with a plan to get you there. Sign up for free coaching HERE

What to do about that project you are dreading

My daughter is learning to play the piano. This week her teacher asked her to play a song and covered her hands with a sheet of paper so she couldn’t look down at her hands.

She was super uncomfortable at first, but she played the song faster and more accurate when she did not look at her fingers. It felt strange, but when she relied on her muscle memory and trusted what she knew, it worked so much better.

It literally blew her mind that she could play the song and not look at her hands.

It made me think, what areas are we looking at our hands when we should focus on muscle memory and trusting what we know.

Most of the time we are so worried about getting all the steps in our project identified and perfectly prioritized that we don’t trust what we know and start moving forward as quickly as we could.

To trust what you know and move forward without all the stress and anxiety, follow these 3 simple steps:

  1.     Clearly define what you are trying to accomplish.
  2.     STOP thinking about the unknowns or things you are not confident in.
  3.     START trusting what you do know and focus on the ONE next thing to figure out . Do that thing and then focus on the next ONE thing.

Maybe you need to write a doc and present it in a few weeks. STOP thinking about how hard it’s going to be to write.  START creating the basic outline all docs follow and focusing on getting metrics to drive the insights and suggestions.  

Maybe you’re to-do list is a mile long and growing. STOP thinking about how long the list is. START thinking about the one thing that needs to be done next.

Or maybe your manager is dragging their feet creating a plan for your promotion. STOP thinking about where your manager is lacking. START focusing on how else you could get clarity around a path to promotion.

The next time you find yourself annoyed, stressed, or anxious, ask yourself what part you could stop paying attention to and start focusing on the one next step to get you moving forward.

Chat soon,


P.S. Want help learning how to feel better and stop dreading work? I offer a limited number of free coaching sessions so let’s jump on the phone and get you there. Sign up HERE

How to keep going when you lack motivation

Last week we talked about motivation and how we tend to lose it as our thoughts about reaching our goals change.

If you have a goal you really want to reach, knowing how to keep moving forward when you feel overwhelmed, burnt out, and confused is the key to reaching it. So many people make progress, but quit because they don’t know how to keep going without it feeling like a grind and wearing them down until it’s no longer a goal they even want.

For example, if you really want to start a side gig, but you’ve hit a few bumps in the road, work has gotten extra crazy, and you are just tired, most people will stop working on it until they are feeling better.

But that time never comes. There’s never enough time. There’s never the right time. There’s never the perfect situation. Waiting for all of that is just an easy excuse out.

Learning how to feel the stress and overwhelm and fatigue is what you need to do, but chances are no one taught you how.

How many times do you think about how stressed and anxious you are?

Now tell me, what does stress and anxiety feel like? Physically in your body, how do they feel? If you had to explain these feelings to an alien that had no concept of physical feelings, how would you describe them?

Where in your body do you feel it? Does it have a color? Does it move? Is it a mass or shape? What does it make you feel like doing? How do stress and anxiety feel the same? How do they feel different?

If you are like most people, you are probably struggling to describe the physical feelings of these emotions. How crazy is that! We all tell people how stressed and anxious we are, but we don’t even really know what they feel like. We just know we don’t like it.

To keep moving forward when you lack motivation is learning how to feel your emotions. By describing it, you are actually feeling them. Emotions are chemicals in your body and the more you “feel” them, the faster your body processes them and releases them.

When we have a negative emotion, our primitive brain wants us to run away and do something that feels better, but if you turn into that negative feeling, take a deep breath, and start becoming familiar with it, you will no longer live at its effect. When you are good at feeling your emotions, you are able to keep moving forward because you are not wasting time try to feel better. You just feel the negative and keep focused on what you want to spend your time on.

So the next time you are not moving forward and doing the things you want to be doing, stop resisting those negative emotions and practice feeling them. It will take some time and you will want to distract yourself with food, the internet, or other things on your to do list, but practice feeling the negative and start taking back control. You can’t die from a feeling, but you can learn to live an amazing life no matter how you feel.

Chat soon,


P.S. Want help learning how to feel better and stop living at their effect of your emotions? I offer a limited number of free coaching sessions so let’s jump on the phone and get you there. Sign up HERE.