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I'm Quitting Engineering and Taking My Next Big Leap

Edmond Lau
Edmond Lau
5 min read
I'm Quitting Engineering and Taking My Next Big Leap

The conversation that would change the trajectory of my life's work happened just before the pandemic hit.

My dear friend Elenna and I were celebrating at E&O Kitchen and Bar in downtown San Francisco — we had just finished running a workshop for leaders in tech on reprogramming beliefs.

That's when she planted the seed.

I'd run almost 50 tech leadership workshops by then, and she said that the next big focus of my life would be on my impact.

I began to wonder, ”What is the impact I want to have with my one precious life?”

For the past 15 years, being an engineer has defined my identity.

The more successful I became, the easier it was to continue.

I'm proud about self-publishing a book — The Effective Engineer — that’s generated almost half a million dollars in revenue.

I'm honored to have been the twelfth hire at an early stage startup that got acquired by Salesforce, leading to at least a million for most employees.

I'm excited to have built an engineering leadership company that created workshops and programs that were so impactful, teams would pay $60k for 3-day experiences.

It feels vulnerable to share these numbers.

My family upbringing (and tech culture) heavily emphasize humility, so I never celebrated any of this publicly.

Now, I recognize that the more vulnerably I share, the more human connection I can create in my life.

I thought I’d work on engineering leadership for the rest of my career.

But after that one conversation, I couldn’t stop thinking — maybe there’s something more for me.

That's when I started to notice a deep desire to teach about the art and science of human connection as a way to find fulfillment and freedom in our lives.

Venturing Into a World Beyond Engineering

The past few years, I'd been discovering a world filled with non-traditional events like ecstatic dances, intimacy workshops, tantra festivals, and plant medicine ceremonies.

It was a world centered around human connection and intimacy, a world that took me out of mainstream culture.

And I loved it.

Each time I deeply connected with myself and with those around me at these events, I found a freedom that I’d always wanted — the freedom to be me.

Something fundamental started to shift in my day-to-day life.

I felt excited to wake up every day.
I felt more alive than I’d ever felt.
I felt powerful.
I felt free.

And when I was honest with myself, I realized a new truth:

The work that made me feel most alive wasn’t engineering anymore — it was understanding how to create and experience true freedom in life.

No amount of money could buy me the freedom I’d found.

No amount of success could create it.

My greatest joy became learning and deconstructing how to move through my biggest fears around intimacy — so that people could see the true me. That, beyond anything else, was the most powerful pathway to lasting human connection and freedom.

Dreaming a New Dream

A part of me mused, "What if I started guiding others on how to find that same feeling of freedom?"

I dreamt of teaching the tools and frameworks that had helped me create the most fulfilling relationships in my life.

I dreamt of sharing everything I learned about emotions — how they moved through the body, what messages they held, and how to leverage them to create the outcomes I wanted.

I dreamt of sharing the shifts that made it possible for me to leave a 17-year-long relationship (and 9-year-long marriage) — so that I could attract and propose to a goddess just four months into dating (she said yes, and we got married in Hawaii last year).

But the momentum I’d built in my career made it hard to do something different.

I told myself that the transformative experiences in the dances, festivals, and workshops I went to were too "out there” to share with the tech audience I had built.

So I’d teach a workshop on emotions — but I’d reframe it as a "Rise Through Tension" leadership workshop to make it work-friendly.

I’d trojan horse ideas about intimacy into courses I marketed as "Building Alignment" — because I told myself that it was the most I could do.

Late last year, I was feeling burnt out after months of back-to-back workshop deadlines.

It became clear that something needed to change. I needed to be spending my energy on what made me feel most alive.

I’d stumbled on a source of freedom and joy and had been hoarding it for myself, instead of sharing it with the world.

Starting now, I am committing 100% of my life's work to teaching about the power of intimacy and human connection to create true freedom in our lives.

Doing anything else falls short of my intended purpose in this world.

You're Invited to Join Me on a New Adventure

I’m taking all the systems thinking, engineering brainpower, and high-leverage frameworks that I’ve cultivated to tackle problems that are at the heart of what it means to be human.

Now this might surprise you.

It turns out that our beliefs — about money, success, attractiveness, relationships, and even love — are actually systems that can be reprogrammed and re-engineered like any other.

It turns out that our behavioral patterns in relationships — our anxiousness, our avoidance, our fears — can be clearly modeled and our triggers resolved, if only we apply the right set of emotional resolution tools to our minds and our bodies.

It turns out that trust and intimacy in relationships — with partners, friends, family, and co-workers — can be created intentionally in moments not in years.

And by taking that type of systems-oriented lens toward our life and relationships, we can create the life experiences we've always dreamed of but didn't think were possible.

That's what I've internalized after investing $175K+ in the past five years — training with some of the best teachers out there on neurolinguistic programming, emotional resolution, embodied connection, and leadership development — and 10,000+ hours practicing, embodying, and integrating what I've learned.

My life has shifted in ways I couldn’t even have imagined possible years ago.

And now it’s time to distill all of that learning and pass on the most potent lessons.

Going forward in my writing, I’ll be tackling topics and questions like:

  • How do I stop repeating the same patterns that hold me back from what I want?
  • What are the most effective ways to regulate the emotions in my body?
  • How can I grow a nourishing and supportive web of life-long friendships?
  • How do I create closeness and trust with my partners, my friends, my family, and my co-workers?
  • How do I discover what makes me truly feels alive?

I'll be creating online and in-person experiences — to be announced later this year! — around powerful ways to transform your life and relationships.

If you've been with me on the engineering and tech leadership journey so far, thank you for being with me. I appreciate you.

If this share touched you in some way, it would feel wonderful to hear from you. Find me on social media or email me at hi@edmondlau.co.

This is a big leap for me, and I’m excited to bring you with me as the journey evolves.

Thank you to Candace Sauve, Henry Kimsey-House, Simone Silverstein, Jimmy Song, Natasha Tynes, Adam Saks, Ben Weiss, Arthur Plainview, Janahan Sivaraman, and Charlie Bleeker for reading early drafts of this post.

freedomintimacylife purposepersonal development

Edmond Lau

Entrepreneur. Bestselling author. Engineer. Leadership coach. Dancer. World traveler. Adventurer.


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