How does one with some 100 associates under his wing, a family, and a packed schedule, make time for personal growth and development?
We check in with Matthew Chew, an Executive Director of Financial Services who also helms various departments in his organisation, such as Philanthropy, Branding, Media and Technology.
Mornings begin at 6 am for Matthew, just when the Koels of Singapore are beginning their morning calls. A daily 6km morning run which lasts about an hour, is an integral part of his routine to help him reflect on the events of the previous day, conclude his thoughts, and crystalise his thoughts on the day’s activities.
“The morning run is a crucial part of my day. It allows me to reflect on what has happened the day before and conclude if there are any improvements to be done, and starts my day right as I apply the 4 Jings — 静 (Quiet)，净 (Clear)，镜 (Reflect)，敬 (Respect)”Matthew Chew
“Only when you find tranquillity can you find clarity. With clarity, you can really see the reflection of yourself. Only then, can you find a newfound respect for yourself to pursue your goals”
Matthew heads to his office at UOB Plaza to clear some administrative work before starting on meetings for the day. He is involved in 7-8 different meetings every day — leaders, recruitment, coaching and mentoring, and progress meetings. The day progresses with a mid-day lunch meeting with clients to touch base on their portfolios and review some financials.
“Late nights working till 10.30 pm are a common occurrence for me on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, as I entertain and network with clients, prospective recruits, and business partners. However, I try to block out the rest of my weekdays to spend time with my family and typically end those days at 7 pm.”
How does personal development fit into Matthew’s schedule?
With a hectic schedule, Matthew receives bite-size boosts of inspiration and creativity from social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram. His feed is filled with motivational quotes, artistic videos, and cooking videos which enables him to draw inspiration and implement it mid-day.
Reading during downtime
Matthew thoroughly enjoys reading as a pastime, and ending the day with a book is important to him as it helps to slow down the mind to get a good night’s sleep to be well-rested and start his day right. While weekends are typically reserved for family time, Matthew makes sure to block out time for personal growth by reading books, which is where most of the magic of personal development happens.
“Reading enables me to experience the author’s world. It gives me insight and helps me think laterally. I normally enjoy reading biographies, artistic books to draw inspiration, psychology, philosophy, and business books.”
One key thing that works
For many of us, we try to draw out as many insights as possible from a situation and reflect on numerous different aspects that can be improved. But Matthew emphasises that identifying one key lesson for each book he reads is crucial for him to focus on what is the current area for improvement, reflecting upon what can be improved, and putting it into action.
“I always draw out one key lesson for each book, not 5 or 10, but one key lesson. It helps me to summarise the book and reflect on what is critical for change at this point of time. If you read the same book back at another timeframe, the key lesson you draw out will not be the same.”
“What you can do tomorrow, you can do today, what you can do today, you do now. If you get an idea and you can apply it now, just do it now. Because if you take longer than 72 hours to implement it, you’ll [eventually] forget it.”
Three facets of personal development
Matthew emphasises that the key aspect of personal growth relies on three facets — the ability to reflect, be aware of the mistakes or good points that occurred, and to acknowledge and appreciate.
Reflection enables us to identify our mistakes or any good actions we have done, and only with reflection can we acknowledge our mistakes and appreciate our strengths to continuously improve ourselves.
“Most people say – Give me some time to change. But, change is instantaneous. The effects of change, however, happen over time.”Matthew Chew
“The reflection journey is important and critical to any personal growth. It cannot be done once a month or week; it must be done every day and, if possible, in every moment. Only by constantly thinking about how to make the next meeting or instance better and by applying those changes on a daily basis can we achieve consistent personal growth.”
A piece of personal advice
Matthew ends off his sharing of his personal development journey with this piece of personal advice:
“Seek a mentor, coach, or senior figure whom you can seek advice from. You either change through inspiration or desperation, and the change is activated by your environment — the circumstances you are in or the people you surround yourself with.”
Matthew Chew is an Executive Director of Financial Services at Advisors Alliance Group. He has nearly 100 associates under his wing, and he also helms various departments in AAG, such as Philanthropy, Branding, Media and Technology.
He is also the author of “Me-ssion: Getting Your Sh*t Together”, a personal development book which was launched in 2020.
*All pictures courtesy of Matthew Chew
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