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With gratitude and a humble heart

My coaching journey – for that is indeed what this is, a journey fought with perils, pitfalls, love, lessons learnt in every sense of the word – actually started 5 years ago when I was looking, perhaps like many of us, for a career change

Akren Garkos

Akren Garkos

Credentialed Master Practitioner of Coaching

I am honoured, privileged and humbled to be able to write this opinion piece for TCI.

I would like to start off by thanking my mentors – SP, Johnnie Cass, my mother, Annette, my sister, Crystal, and my cousin, Cassie – and the entire TCI community for this amazing opportunity. Your support, stretches and unreasonable friendship has lead me to where I am today, and helped make all this possible. This community truly is the best on Earth.

I had worked in Customer Service in various capacities in multiple roles across a broad range of fields – Hospitality, Retail, Call Centres, Office Administration (you name it, I felt like I had done it!) - since I was 14 years old helping my mother in what was then known as Copperart (now Homemart). I knew I loved talking to and interacting with people to help them achieve their goals - whether that was buying a beautiful piece of décor to liven up their home, or providing outstanding Customer Service and helping them forge good memories and valued experiences in Food and Bev – but I knew I wanted something more, to be able to touch and shape lives in a lasting way that would encourage others to pay it forward in their own lives.

“So it was that I became interested in coaching, counselling, psychology and Human Services. I began to Google websites, learning institutions – anything I could find – to help me research and assess how I could make my dreams into a reality. All the while working nights at a local adult retail centre whilst (quite literally) dreaming of helping others whilst I slept.”

Then I stumbled upon The Coaching Institute website

I read, I looked, I thought about was on offer and I decided that I really liked what I saw. Then I procrastinated. And procrastinated. And waited. And made excuses. And I didn't sign up for TCI, continuing to procrastinate and make excuses to follow my dreams. All the while visiting the TCI website once every 3 – 6 months.....for another 5 years!

Finally, on my 28th birthday, I had had enough. I felt the fear, I sucked it up....and I enrolled in TCI's Diploma course. I attended the Foundations of Coaching Success Intake Weekend in the heart of Sydney's beautiful CBD. I laughed, I cried, I learnt and I made some amazing friends, many of whom I still keep in contact with to this day. I found it fascinating and challenging (my 1st ever coaching experience on day 3 of FOCS was both a massive wakeup call about what it takes to be a successful coach and a delightfully unfamiliar challenge!). I was nervous as hell - but I was determined to succeed. I was finally perusing my dreams, and had taken the first step into a wider world, not just of coaching but of what it means to live your best life and of the whole Human Experience and all the terror, wonders and delightfully unfamiliar challenges that entails.

Now I am not saying my journey has been easy – far from it. There have been many obstacles, challenges, unfamiliar things thrown my way, feedback, and lesson to be learnt (some harshly so) but through it all, I kept focusing on my ultimate goal, my vision, my dream of helping and serving others. I persisted no matter what. I accepted feedback, I worked hard and smart to take on board all I have learnt and have continued to learn and apply it to every single area and facet of my life.

The amazing thing that I have learnt through it all is that when I am my true, authentic self and I apply what I have learnt – and keep applying it on a daily basis – and focus on serving others. Somehow, someway, the universe continues to provide everything I need to learn and grow as I pursue my goals.

Perhaps the biggest lessons I have learnt thus far (thanks, in part to some wise words from the awesome Joe Pane) has been that it's OK to be unresourceful and selfish for selfless ends occasionally – provided it's done in a resourceful way. By that I mean feel the emotion, be silly and then get it out of your system, focusing on the lessons such things can teach us, and then get the hell on with life and all the good things that go with it! And I think often as coaches, we tend to forget that we are Human Beings too.

NLP, the power of anchors and the language we use every day has also been another highlight, as has How to Run a Successful Workshop. Both trainings have given me massive insight in the pure potential and power of the Human Spirit. If we can envision it and language it, we can indeed have it, provided we put the proper tools in place and maintain a positive mindset.

Now, 12 months in and half way to the finish line, I can finally say that I am well and truly starting to ‘get it’.

I have wonderful pro bono clients and am on my way to getting my 1st paying client very soon. I have presented to Health and Wellness Centres (and on my way to doing another), I am on the verge of publishing my very 1st book, and I am working on establishing my business and actively perusing my goals with passion and purpose.

I have confidence, self-respect and inner peace precisely because I no longer feel the need to judge or be judged by others. I have learnt to repay hatred with love and respect (you got to give it to earn it back), negativity with kindness and compassion, ignorance with knowledge and understanding, and gratitude for lessons learnt when life throws me a curve ball. (If that happens in your own life, just yell “Plot twist!” and move on).

Akren Garkos

Akren Garkos

Credentialed Master Practitioner of Coaching