Expert life guide Alice Inoue is the founder of Happiness U, a lifestyle studio located in the new Salt complex in Kaka‘ako that serves corporate groups and organizations as well as individuals interested in professional and personal self-growth through classes, seminars and membership programs. Inoue also offers personal guidance through private sessions at her Alice Inoue Life Guidance office downtown and has authored seven books on life wisdom, self-growth and happiness, six of which have garnered national awards. Inoue also has a column in MidWeek titled “A Mindful Moment,” an award-winning column in the Sunday Star-Advertiser called “Go Ask Alice” and a column in Tuesday’s paper called “Growing Positively Young with Alice.”
On what brings people to Happiness U:
The majority of people don’t come to Happiness U because they have a big obstacle or challenge, but rather because of an awakening desire to surround themselves with more positivity and develop a more positive outlook. They want to know more, understand who they are, why they’re going through what they are going through and why they’re feeling the way they do. We offer people unconditional support, fresh new perspectives about their lives and, most importantly, the tools and strategies needed to get through anything life may throw their way.
Most valuable lesson she’s learned:
There will always be those who oppose you, want to discredit you and beat you down. Someone will always have an opinion about what you’re doing or not doing, or what you “should” do and how you should do it. What I’ve learned is that if you try to please everyone and prove your worth to everyone, you devalue what you truly have to offer. I’ve learned to stand strong by my vision, even if no one gets it. The more opposition you can take, the greater a leader you can be.
Most difficult lesson she’s learned:
That receiving is as important as giving. If all I do is give, I will throw off the balance, causing me to eventually run out of energy and not be able to achieve my vision and reach my goal of serving and inspiring more people.
Do you think women lead differently than men?
Yes and no. I think that personality, awareness and experience makes a much bigger difference. I have interacted with male leaders who are very caring and lead with a softer touch and women who lead with a more “masculine,” less emotional style. Ultimately the leader creates the culture in the company and draws those who resonate with that leadership style. I think it’s wise to focus instead on unveiling what matters most in our hearts. Most importantly, how we can make the greatest amount of difference on a daily basis, whether it’s with our families, at work or in our communities.
On gender equality in the workplace:
It all depends on who you are and what you’re bringing into your life and your awareness. I have clients who feel they are paid in line with what they are worth and have no complaints. On the other hand, I also have clients who feel they are not quite equal when it comes to this issue.
What could more women be doing to advance their careers?
I believe that if your vision and sense of value is strong on the inside, you will, without fail, manifest the exact situations and circumstances to make your vision a reality. The place to start is always within. Most importantly, listen to your heart. A career as a mom is just as important and inspiring as a career as a businesswoman.