Learn From Leaders With Enoch Li

Enoch Li

Founder and Managing Director, Bearapy

China Representative, Country Executive Committee of Global Mental Health Peer Network

Enoch is a social entrepreneur and founder of Bearapy – a B2B social enterprise that provides consulting and training services to organizations and executives to prevent workplace burnout and strengthen employee wellbeing in creative ways.

Enoch’s personal mission is to reduce burnout and mental health issues through helping adults access their inner playfulness. Through Bearapy, Enoch works with multinationals, governments, and start-ups across Asia-Pacific to advocate emotional and mental health awareness for resilience, emotional awareness, leadership development, and optimum productivity. Her work is widely recognized in the society: she was awarded the Social Contributor of the Year 2018 Award by the International Professional Women’s Society in China, and the Speaking Out Award by Mind HK.

She has helped tens of thousands of people through Bearapy, her writing, and speaking. Enoch has been a TEDx presenter, and featured and published in CNN, Forbes, South China Morning Post, Thrive Global, China Radio International, and CGTN, in addition to her blog, NochNoch.com. Her latest book, Stress in the City, shares her personal journey, discusses some fun ways to cope with depression, and suggests how adults and parents can be playful.

Previously, Enoch worked at HSBC with a variety of management roles in Business Development, Credit & Risk, Learning and Development in London, Paris, Tokyo and Beijing. She is also a Leadership Consultant at INSEAD. She holds an Executive Masters in Change (Distinction) from INSEAD and a Masters in Law (Hons) from University of London.

Enoch is based in Beijing, married with two children, and likes to practice calligraphy and takes wisdom from Dr Seuss.

Five Questions With Enoch

Q1: How did you get to where you are today?

With persistence – and some stubbornness.

I believe that what I am doing is good for the world. I have a streak of determination and faith that I can change people’s minds and attitudes towards mental health for progress in the world, one where we are self-aware and thoughtful in what we do and the impact we have on others. When one way doesn’t work out, I try another, and another, and another, as long as I do not lose my North Star, and if I do, I find my compass and magnet and reset. When is it stubbornness and when is it persistence or confidence? Well, that is for you to think about for yourself, but a reflection to keep at the back of your mind, always.

Q2: Something you’ve changed your mind about in your career

That meaning and purpose is what makes a career fulfilling, and that good enough, is good enough.

I know what the ideal picture looks like, and I know I can make things “perfect” or do better, and then I do not have the energy to do everything to that extent. Sometimes, despite all the suggestions from everyone (and everyone always have something to say), I consciously make the call to say, this is done and enough for now. Because, I know what the bigger picture and vision is, and that the meaning of drilling down a PPT for another hour is just to satisfy my perfectionism and nothing to do with the purpose of making the world mentally healthy.

Q3: One habit that has the most impact on your life

Not giving a f–k about what others say in the appropriate situation.

I cannot please everyone, and sometimes, the advice given is out of the others’ envy or their projections on to me. So, if I feel bad about everything people say about my work, or believe everything good people gush on about me work, I will lose my core focus and groundedness. And if I had adhered to what a coach said to me 5 years ago, that playfulness won’t work for adults and that I should try to “do mental wellness within a company’s D&I department”, I would never be where I am today. Yes, don’t believe everything a coach, or a mentor for that matter, tells you. Make up your own mind. 

Q4: Have you met any crisis/challenges in your life and how did you overcome that?

I tried to kill myself a few times in my depression and anxiety. I learnt to receive the support and help and love and care and concern from others, take it in (though still have problems with it), and use it to fill the void in me when I needed it. I learnt to talk to my pain, to understand it, and to live with it. I learnt to understand my mind, especially the thoughts I am not conscious of. I learnt to feel my emotions, and dig into what they mean. I learnt to ask each challenge, “What are you teaching me, and what in my life needs to change?”

Q5: What books do you recommend founders to read?

  • Immunity to Change, Robert Kegan
  • Seasons of a Man’s Life, Daniel Levinson
  • Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Dr Seuss
  • Lorax, Dr Seuss
  • Playing and Reality, Donald Winnicott

Bonus: Other insights/learnings you would like to deliver to entrepreneurs?

Sometimes, it’s not because you had the most innovative idea or the biggest round of funding, but because you stayed, you followed through, and you are one of the last few standing.

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