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Life Story: From Vietnamese Refugee boy to Executive Leadership Coach

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How to avoid the 100,000 dollar college blunder!

Am I on the Right Bus? How to avoid the $100,000 college blunder!




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Without a father or mother in my life, there were no guides for me.  I was left to fend for myself.  Without much direction, I simply attended college because all my friends around me were attending.  And being poor most of my life and living on food stamps and government assistance, I knew I wanted a better life and that a higher education would lead to it. I had no idea however what I really wanted to study.

So what happened?  I changed fields of study not once, but 5 times.  I attended 4 different universities within my first 4 years, and took a total of 9 years to finish my first degree!  On top of that, I funded my education on student loans and was left with thousands of dollars of debt by the time all was said and done.

The sad fact is that I don’t believe my case is unique.  Kids more often than not, go into college blindly, or best case, on a gut feel. Eventually many realize the initial path they chose just wasn’t right for them.   Often times however, it’s after they graduate and hundreds of thousands of dollars later.  How can this be avoided?

Here are 5 invaluable tips to ensure your kids are  “Getting on the Right Bus” BEFORE they go to college

1) Pursue a course of study in both what you love AND what you are good at.

In the realm of executive leadership, I get the privilege of working with hundreds of leaders from many different walks of life.  All bring many talents and strengths to the table but there are two characteristics that clearly separate the great leaders from the good ones. One, they love what they do.  Two, they are really good at what they do.  The bottom line is that just loving what you do is NOT good enough.  You are going to have to swallow this pill; you MUST be very good at it as well.  The love will feed your passion, which is very important, but it is your superior talent that will separate you from the pack. Especially by college age, you should have a very good indicator of things, topics of study that come very naturally for you.

2) Identify 5 people who you admire the MOST whether personal or professional, past or present and write down their common characteristics.

If you are not aspiring to become great, then you are missing the mark before you event start.  I don’t care what your income level is, what your race or gender is, if you have any disabilities, I just care about what you are aspiring to become.  It is impossible to become what you’d like to become without a vision, without a target.  Often times, people think about careers but very few think about the people who they actually admire.  There are no excuses in this area.  Dream big, think big, and shoot for the stars.

3) Create a life map for yourself.  A life map will engrain into your sub-conscience your goals and mentally set you up for success.  Your life map is your personal commitment of ownership.  Literally, your life map will serve as your compass moving forward. Like drawing a cobweb, simply identify the 5 key areas that you want to focus on in your life and expand it out.  Your life map’s key areas should ALL complement and NOT contradict whom you are and where you are going.

4) Treat your degree as a “vehicle,” a means of how you will ultimately live out your passion and purpose NOT your ultimate purpose. The reality is that most people go through an average of 5 career changes before they settle into a final career path.   Though some of you might be the fortunate few who hit the mark the first time around, most will be finding a new and/or different career within the first 5 years they come out of school.  Make sure your degree allows you a lot of room for flexibility and growth both short and long term.

5) Take the DiSC assessment to determine your leadership strengths and weaknesses.  There are thousands of great assessments out there that give very accurate readings on individual’s leadership styles and also on where your strengths and weaknesses naturally exist.  The DiSC online assessment is one of those tools that I have my clients take prior to working with me.  It’s simple, it’s short, and it’s very accurate. Choose your field of study that lends itself to where you thrive and plays to your strengths.


Rubi Ho is vice president of Sherpa Executive Coaching in Cincinnati, Ohio and author of Confronting My Elephants He is a master executive coach and has personally directed over one hundred executive coaches, who work integrally with Fortune 500, non-profits, and private companies. He works with senior executives and organizations on leadership development and the integration of leadership and coaching into their cultures. Born in Vietnam, he and his brothers and sisters escaped from Saigon in 1975, the day before it fell. He lives with his wife and family in Cincinnati, Ohio.


What is “True” success?


“Society teaches us to want that great car, great title, great house, great image and great sex.  Yet there in not one obituary that says he was known for having a great title, great house, great image and great sex.”- John Ortberg

Jesus did not strive to have gain great title, great wealth, or great material.  Instead, he focused on becoming complete in mind, body and spirit.  That doesn’t mean the latter can’t be attained, it just means it shouldn’t become the primary goal.  When all is said and done, internal nourishment feeds the soul, which is infinite and eternal.  External nourishment feeds the body, the senses, and is finite and limiting.


I Strive to Focus On The Nourishment of My Soul

When you pray: “Thy will be done…” Do you really mean it?

Many people know “The Lord’s Prayer,” but how many actually live it out or believe in it whole-heartedly?  Are people just going through the motions?  Besides, what is so challenging about “Thy Will Be Done” anyway?  Frankly, everything about those words is challenging.

I am not ashamed to say that I am a control freak.  I have trouble giving anyone any kind of control over me.  Said differently, I don’t trust too easily.  I have a saying that I operate by; “I trust you completely until…” You can fill in the blanks.

You would think it would be easy or at least easier to give up my “Trust” component to God right?  I mean He’s the one who ultimately created everything and “knows what I need before I even have to ask” right?  So what makes it so hard for me to give up my will and embrace God’s will?

The simple answer is that I have more ‘ego’ than the Titanic has room for.  Though I don’t want to admit it, I have a fear of losing myself.  If I give over my will to God and ask Him what His will is for me in my life, what might happen?  Besides, what if His will doesn’t coincide with what I might want in my life?  Shouldn’t I have a say in that?  What if I lose who I am in the process of giving over my will to God?

And yet, when I put it from the perspective that THE all knowing God created EVERYTHING, and knows even the number of hairs on my head, how can anything that He wills for me be bad in any way shape or form?  How could He spend so much time creating everything, including me and will anything bad for me?  Why wouldn’t I want to say and commit to anything but, “Thy will be done” in my prayer?

I have a beautiful 3 year-old son who I love with all of my heart.  There are at least 3 instances out of every day where I am having him do things against his own will.  Not because I want to hurt him, but because I know what’s best for him and his growth and development as a human being, as an individual, and eventually one day, as a father himself.   Now if I know what is needed for my son’s growth and well being, how infinitely more does God know that for me?

I have found time and time again, that those who give up the will of their life in exchange for the will of God’s get it back ten fold.   I am no exception.  There is no way I could have ever imagined the places I have traveled, the hundreds of people that I serve, because I have been sincerely trying to commit to “Thy will be done” in my life.

To be clear, this is a daily challenge.  As long as I am “in this world,” those temptations that might provoke and tug at my ego to do “my will,” will always be present.  That’s a reality, but so are the wondrous plans that God has brought to fruition for me and will continue to do so in the future as “I lay down my will” for His.



To commit to “thy will be done” for my life

“Life Happens”: the ultimate God obstacle


“Life Happens”: the ultimate God obstacle

If there is one thing that gets between me and God, it’s life. Right after church on Sunday, my head gets into football! As soon as the evening approaches, I’m already thinking about the next day’s tasks. I’m planning out what I’m going to do during the week, who I’m going to see, and where I’m supposed to go. It’s all on my weekly calendar. I’ve become a “Stick to the calendar” expert. Bottom line, if it’s on my calendar Its going be done, guaranteed! The things on the calendar, whether I’d like to own up to it or not, are a reflection of my priorities. I’ve developed a discipline around them.

What’s the irony of it all? There is no time allotted for prayer. Not even a blip. I have things like exercise, date night with my wife, a round of golf, a meeting with the accountant, but no actual time with God.

God doesn’t actually need one on one time with me anyway right?  Besides, He’s some mystical, spiritual being who doesn’t have a hectic, crazy life like I do…EXACTLY!  Connecting with Him will re-center me where it counts.  Candidly, its going to be tough, because prayer requires me to do practically nothing active, be silent, still,  and quiet my mind, SLOW DOWN.  Who wants to do that? What is the value in that?

If I’m honest with myself, I know that there would be nothing greater and of more benefit for me than finding time to connect with God. Can you imagine your child not having time for you; Your spouse, best friend, or anyone else who’s relationship you might value? Without a doubt, God values a relationship with us. Being of pure love, He cherishes it.  You’ll find that those who disciplined enough to have daily prayer, time in silence, to connect to God are some of the most centered people you will ever meet.

Admittedly, I have fallen off the horse in the past couple of  weeks.  And it’s time to climb back on. Agenda item number one: 15 minutes of prayer, starting this evening and daily from here on out. I put it on my Calendar.


I make time for the important relationships in my life

Perfect job? Not likely…Perfect Service? Much more realistic!



Perfect job?  Not likely…Perfect Service?  Much more realistic!


The weekend is winding down.  Football games, golf, time with the family, sleeping in a little, and checking the mind out of work was nice for a few days.  But now it’s time to get back to work.


And even if you have a job that you love, it takes work to shift back into gear, take on the challenges of the work environment and give it your all.  No job, no matter how wonderful it might seem to be, is perfect.


You might love what you do, but that doesn’t mean everything is hunky dory all day long.  There are always difficult people to deal with, tight deadlines, hundreds of different project needs to complete, and not enough time in the day to complete it all.  No matter what, realize every work environment, regardless of how perfect it might seem, will bring challenges and test your abilities.


So let go of the Monday blues, NOT by wondering if you belong in a different job.  Rather, make the most of your situation and work environment by focusing on perfect service.  Focus on bringing the best of what you have to offer to the table, always.  Bring the best attitude, the best mindset, the best energy and willingness to give your all at your place of work.  Leave at the end of the day with no regrets, no hard feelings towards anything or anyone.  Leave knowing you gave perfectly of yourself.  Be a person of service, complete service.  You’ll sleep way better at night!



I will give of all that I have, my very best, the entire week


When you ask, “Hi, how are you?” Do you really want to know?

When you ask, “Hi, how are you?”  Do you really want to know?

 How often have you asked the question to someone; How are you today?  What are you really looking for in terms of an answer?  “Great, just fine, good or miserable or awful?”

My question to you is this; do you really want to know?  How often memory, instinct, and habit take over our conversations?  Said differently, would you wait around to dig a little deeper, hang there with someone, really find out how he’s doing if you ask him the question?

I fall into the same trap as everyone else, instantly asking a question like “how are you?” without really expecting or wanting any type of earth shattering answer.  God forbid when someone replies, “God awful.”  What do I do then?  “Oh, sorry to hear about that.  Well, I guess I’ll see you later.”

Do we really care or want to know how people are really doing?  Will we be there for them if they really need us?  Conversely, would they even tell us the truth?

Here’s my challenge for you:  Care… about the type of question that you ask someone, really mean it or don’t ask it at all.

Don’t ask a question just to spark a conversation, just because you have nothing to say.  And if you aren’t really interested or just don’t have time to listen, simply say, “I just wanted to say hi.”  And then stop.  Nothing else.  Yes, it might be an awkward moment, but what’s worse?  You asking a question that you really don’t want the answer to, or them believing you really don’t care anyway?

If you can, be as sincere and genuine as you can.  People will know the difference.



Mean what I say, Mean what I ask, or don’t say or ask at all

Waves don’t have hands, yet they perfectly mold shells. What can you do with yours?

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If you don’t believe you can move mountains…you are not there yet..

Jesus said, “if you have faith the size of a mustard seed and said mountain move out of my way, it would move.”

Wow! Really? What type of person would make such a bold and almost un-imaginable statement? I’ll tell you…only a person who fully believes he is connected with our Creator.

I don’t know about you, but unless I’m watching a superhero movie, I’ve not been privy to actually witnessing a human being move a mountain. It doesn’t mean it can’t be done however. In fact, I believe it is possible. With man, we are full of limits. With God, we are limitless. When is your spiritual journey complete?  When you believe  and can actually move mountains!

I strive to move mountains in my life
With God, anything is possible

Rubi Ho: Author of Confronting My Elephants and What’s Your Impact on Business

In the beginning…

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

Ultimately, that is all one ever really needs to know. There was God and then there was a beginning. And before the beginning, there was God. Nothing else. From God’s breath, creation began, literally. Everything came AFTER God, the beginning, the universe, the planets, the earth, and ultimately us…and God said, “and it was all good.”

In deep meditation and prayer, where time slips away and thoughts disappear, you discover something beautiful, there are no boundaries, there are no limits, there is no concept of identity, no titles, no religious affiliations, just peace, just clarity, just one-ness with God. God lies beyond all of our definitions, all of our titles, all of our boundaries, and all of our limits. The “I Am” that was, is and forever will be, exists in you. Pray and meditate in deep silence, clear your mind, remove yourself, literally, and connect.


I am complete as God is in me and completes me.
I have a real, personal connection with God, always.
One-ness is what I want, nothing more, nothing less.

Rubi Ho: Author, Leadership