The biggest achievement in 2023 for me is not achieving, and I feel deeply happy about it.

Amy Nguyen
8 min readDec 31, 2023


After having had a good meal with my beloved family at a table in the back.

The biggest achievement in 2023 for me is not achieving.

Having a 4-month-old baby, my 3rd child, I walked into 2023 with one word: GROW. An achiever, I am deeply wired to conquer goals, with seemingly impossible results my biggest source of motivation. A helper, I am also wired to give to others, particularly those who aspire to uplift their lives but struggle to do so, not just a helping hand but also all of my heart. Coded in my DNA are the traits of a dreamer who could spend hours sinking into life’s wonders and talking to strangers about their stories and their dreams. All these mean I could eloquently deliver a talk, commanding the audience (words from a fellow speaker) for one hour, and I could curl up on a couch and sob for one hour as well. All these mean I could quickly become one of the best in my chosen field, and be seen highly successful in many people’s eyes, yet when hit by a certain trigger on top of the piled up pressure of being a woman, a mom, a wife, a professional, I could feel inadequate, hearing “never enough” constantly echoing through my mind. All these mean I could invincibly work on a goal with every ounce of my energy and passion, and when feeling my values are rejected, I could easily break into tears, feel widely devastated and deeply hurt. All these mean I could be generally a positive, determined, strong, empathetic person yet I could be at times very fragile, sensitive and vulnerable. Yet, this broad sketch of my interiority and the multi-layered and seemingly contradictory natural tendencies unique to me as an individual, just like anyone on this planet earth, don’t come to me in the palm of my hand so easily.

Indeed, it took me a few personal crises to get to know who I am. It was first a career crisis at 32 that prompted me to make a career pivot that was more in tune with my natural talents, life purpose and calling (this is also my work with my clients). To my own surprise, I became unimaginably successful. It was a relationship crisis at 35 that forced me to make a few major shifts within myself by facing the major blind spots that interfered with our running a family as a team that I had vaguely seen, or denied to see, or chosen to ignore before. Thanks to it though, I became savvier at running not just our life together but also my own life. It was an emotional crisis at 38 that brought me to a place where I could take a truly closer look at my childhood wound in order to better heal it. As a result, I became at peace with myself and really embraced self-love.

So if the past eight years were about overcoming these challenges and doing a good amount of inner work at the same time, this past year was about taking a big pause, bringing the different parts of my story together and growing from it. To do this could have felt like to endure a punishment: I am not wired this way. It’s not how I am naturally made. I was wired to tackle goal after goal and I am made to immerse in changes and challenges. Being a woman, being a mom, being an Asian, being an immigrant, living in New York, the city of achievement, just heighten that. But it was the guiding value of family and love, which guided me through the crises, that made this year of GROW possible. Choosing to nurture my beloved baby during the first year of his life meant I had to give myself the permission to slow down, pull away the weeds and cultivate the soil in which my life would later grow further.

So here is my list of not achieving:


1. I learnt to say no more often. I still feel guilty after that but I also learnt to accept whatever people think of me and my feelings.

2. I said yes more selectively, to the things aligned with my work and life focus (uplifting career-life happiness for women/mothers), and to people more fit with my little universe. When I do so, I am able to help more effectively.

3. I raised my standards and set better boundaries without worrying others may think I am asking for too much or feeling upset that I didn’t give people the chance to be good. This comes from the understanding that how people do their work reflects who they are, and this, I can’t change for them.


4. I radically prioritized and paced myself more, allowing myself much more room to breathe. I still have the morning mindfulness ritual but I feel the gentle breeze throughout the flow of my day and overwhelm finds it harder to knock on my doors.

5. I was more aware when I was hard on myself — like being too strenuous during a workout or a yoga posture — and learnt to relax. It’s OK not to do anything at all and to take it easy once in a while.

6. I dropped the balls more, from work priorities to household responsibilities. Sometimes, all I need to do to make my family happy is to sit down and watch a movie with them without worrying that lunch would be late, as we can always order pizza or be in the kitchen together.

7. I listened to my body more closely and well healed from the delivery of my baby with the 3rd level degree of tearing.

8. I was more honest with myself on what matters to me most, even when it’s not recognized, and spent my limited time and energy on them accordingly. When I give what matters to me most during a season in my life what it needs, its value will be finally recognized and embraced by those it’s intended for, as after all, it’s not for everyone anyway.

9. I added so much more fun into my life, from parasailing to paddling to ziplining (yet my 14-year-old said it was not fun enough ;) by turning them into a challenge so my challenge-loving and zest-embracing brain helps me do it. This will indeed help prepare my brain to achieve better.

10. I connected with my loved ones and my good friends more deeply. I took time with them and enjoyed their company.


11. Outside of work, I planned better and estimated the preparation time more practically, so I could be on time or early without rushing and with grace.

12. Also outside of work, I followed a process when I should, instead of purely going with convenience or with my feelings. This has not only given my life so much relief but also, surprisingly, brought me some joy.


13. I learnt to be friends with the mundane yet necessary logistics of life. I realized that they are indeed the foundation for my family to create lasting memories and for me to work on my dreams, so in a way, they are not mundane at all (except for those I could outsource).

14. I knew better when to engage in a conversation and when I did, I knew better when I needed to stop, so I didn’t run late for the other things marked important in my day. I could get my priorities done without feeling exhausted.

The results of this growth were not shiny yet they truly matter to me. I could hire great babysitters, general contractors, lawn mowers, and housekeepers (well, interviewing nearly 10 women for the babysitting jobs with my baby also helped the writer in me learn more about the whole new world of au pair). I fixed my withered lawn making the house look alive again. I had a memorable camping trip as well as meaningful conversations and experiences with my high school friends and their family. I had a wonderful trip to Hanoi that helped me to connect with my story and to heal further, and also to show my baby his other families (ah, spending two days dealing with a travel agency was worth it after all). My baby is so loved, happy, healthy, enjoys his food and many wonders. My teen son and elementary school daughter have strong mental health and enjoy working on their goals. My husband was highly recognized for his work. As my family reviewed our best memories of the year together, it was hard as we had so many. And I think I have nailed 90% of one and only one professional focus that matters deeply to me.

Beyond all these more or less tangibles, as a mom, I further see my children for who they are and leaned into their natural talents and the kind of support they are wired to need, instead of being subconsciously impacted by my patterns. As a wife, I no longer feel hurt, or unloved or not understood or not supported like before, and I know very well that we have always been trying out best for each other, for our family and for our future. If I do, it would be like a breeze, coming and going swiftly. As a daughter, I finally figured out how to love my mom, the way she wants, not the way I think she wants. As a daughter in law, I could clearly see my mother-in-law’s stories so I didn’t take the past sayings personally, empathized with her, zoomed into the endless kind things she did for us, and loved her more deeply without that in-law border. As a member in an extended family, I forgave those who I believed had hurt me as a child in the past and welcomed the connection as I now know better that everyone has her own wound and patterns. As a being, I learnt to be hurt less as I once was, and to love more, which helped unravel another layer of my calling.

Now looking back, I feel forever grateful for this opportunity of a lifetime to see myself for who I am, to love her more and love her enough so I could have more space to love others and bring my Happiness Infinity Method to the world in a more innovative and meaningful way. Approaching a new year, I feel it deeply in my heart that happiness and success will still be with me, but there will also be a greater sense of gentleness, of peace, of elegance, even when I am still a work in progress. As I penned my goals and intentions month by month, I believe 2024 would be really beautiful: the non-achieving soil is ready for another PIVOT.

Onwards to Happiness Infinity,

Amy Nguyen

P. S. What’s your word for 2024? I am here to cheer you on and I believe in you.



Amy Nguyen

I write about brain-based happiness for moms to have our all. Seen on Business Insider, Forbes, NCB, Thrive Global...