I left Trinidad when I was 11 and migrated to England, it was an immense struggle.
The culture change was a shock to the system to say the least. Mum and dad divorced when I was 7 and 4 years after that she decided a change was needed. Leaving my dad behind in Trinidad was heartbreaking and I cried for the first few nights in England.
I never witnessed racism before as Trinidad is a multicultural country, I never knew what racism was. You see my dad is white and my mum is black and Indian so to me I was just mixed.
That changed in England.
Whilst doing my first ever cross country run a white van drove past and called me a p*aki and spat in my face. I stopped running, finished last but most of all was totally confused.
My mum knocked on doors offering to clean houses as we struggled to eat and pay the rent. We borrowed money from loan sharks and even had a tab at the local chicken shop, PFC (Perfect Fried Chicken) not quite KFC.
I was popular at school but academically my grades were poor. I honestly thought I was stupid but later realised I never listened but heard lots of noise when the teachers spoke. There’s different levels of listening.
I worked my way through many jobs, Mc Donald’s was the first. Useless when they put me on the tills (taking orders) and burnt myself whilst flipping burgers, I was fired – Horrible. I still have the scar.
Eventually got caught up in the wrong crowd and I was partly in a gang then left, got kidnapped for a day when trying to leave but that’s another story. I survived.
My mentor the late Peter Boursnell, M.B.E, saved my life, he took me in when I had no where to stay and taught me lots but most importantly, always do the right thing. He said “be nice even on your worst days” Pete died in June 2016 and I was heart broken, I still am.
I failed to comprehend money and smoked weed. At 24, I was broke had 2 kids, Milan and Sienna with the love of my life, Emma.
Retail is a killer and with me working 12 hour shifts in central London, every night my feet would hurt. Sometimes Emma would bring the kids to see me at work and she would breakdown and cry as she felt like a single parent with me working so many hours.
When the global financial crisis in 2008 hit we lost everything, I cried every night in my car before I went home.
I had enough and with £1200 in the bank we decided to leave England and head to Trinidad with the kids.
I found a job within a week working for Converse, paying less than £900 a month, Emma wasn’t allowed to work as she wasn’t Trinidadian. She was also on the end of what I learnt was reverse racism and struggled to adapt. Emma and the kids returned to England and I stayed behind hoping she’d change her mind and return. She was homesick and I didn’t blame her.
I missed them immensely and for the first month I cried, got drunk and was depressed, I struggled.
Somehow I knew that I couldn’t continue and pulled myself together.
3 months later Emma and the monkeys returned!
A little while after I was asked to apply for a job as CEO of a medium sized organisation in Trinidad and after 4 interviews I got it and they tripled my salary.
I was 31 and the youngest member of my team was 40.
On my first day I thought what am I doing here, it’s only a matter of time before someone figures out that I’m way out of my depth.
Bobby Campbell, the owner later said that I had changed the culture and structure of the organisation. He was my second mentor.
By now Emma and the monkeys had settled and were loving life in Trinidad.
One evening whilst working late I stumbled across an article on Coaching, and after reading the first few lines I immediately knew this was it. I booked a flight to New York, hired a Coach and that was the start of me taking control and changing my life.
During that transition I was impatient, battled with the fear of failure (failed lots) and of course lots of what if’s! My head was full of doubt, every morning was a fight with my saboteur but I fought back. I’ve wanted to quit so many times but my passion for coaching is intoxicating.
I had this vision of myself beyond who I was.
Always trust your intuition.
We all know what happens when you quit, but if you keep going…2 years later and I’m now a full time coach. I’ve quit my job as CEO and we’re back in England.
I’m grateful to be part of human transformation and what really brings them alive. I coach and give speeches to, individuals, young adults, athletes, executives and organisations from around the world.
If you’re not willing to risk you’ll never grow.