My Story

 

Fortunately, I got a great start to life. Although I grew up in a single parent household, my mother always made sure that she did whatever was necessary to create a comfortable lifestyle for my two older brothers and I. She worked two jobs, often times back-to-back shifts, cut back on sleep and somehow found time to build strong-minded young men. I honestly don’t know how she did it, I just know that she did and I have two amazing brothers and myself as solid proof. Looking back on this now, I realize that it was her belief system that gave her incredible strength of character in the midst of everything. Although, I would go on to have many inspirational mentors throughout my life, she is my first and by far my greatest.

 

Growing up, my mother always instilled ideas of strength within me. She gave me confidence and provided me with the educational opportunities I would need to succeed in life. Though she did succeed in setting the appropriate groundwork, just like every teenager, I lost my way. In hindsight, I would have to say that not growing up with a male figure in my life played a big part in my confusion as a young boy. I often thought about what a real man should be, what he would do and how he would treat people. Without a clear example in life, these questions continued to be unanswered for quite some time or at least until I became more self-aware.

 

Then, there was high school – I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. These years; my teenage years, were definitely my toughest. They were filled with experiences of insecurity, anxiety, low self-esteem, and emotional negligence yet you would never see it from the outside looking in. The reason for this is because I always took great care of myself, indulging in the latest fashion trends and maintaining an active social life. I laughed a lot and I knew how to have a good time. The issue however was not how I treated others on the outside, but how I treated myself on the inside. The truth was that my internal experience of life was filled with negativity, despair and frustration. I was frustrated with who I was, how I viewed myself and how I believed others viewed me. Deep down on the inside, I wanted to change but I didn’t know how.

 

In my late teenage/early adult years I came across some literature that changed me forever. This was my first introduction to self-development concepts like self-awareness and emotional intelligence. From that point on I was hooked! This information helped me to misidentify with many of the negative beliefs that I held about myself. It equipped me with tools to reflect inward, become aware of my emotions and learn how to process them for the first time in my life. It allowed me to be more flexible and creative within my own life experience. It empowered me to transition from self-victimization to self-empowerment. It allowed me to become free and this sense of freedom felt incredible, it still does. Moving into early adulthood, I experienced many adversities and although each challenge was difficult and unique, I always managed to understand how I could use the situation to build inner strength and character. I realized the true power of perspective as well as the ability we all possess to build a psychology of success. This was the secret. 

 

After some time of practicing the life strategies that I read about, I started to cultivate a very positive internal experience of life that was not dependent on external situations, imagine that. As my private practice continued, I fine-tuned it to meet my own personal needs. It eventually internalized as a strong sense of emotional balance, happiness, joy and passion for life which belonged to me at any moment.

 

As I had conversations with other people I began to notice that my perspectives were drastically different from theirs. I also noticed that how we experience life is mostly a result of our own personal perspective as opposed to the actual situation. This intrigued me because it suggested that we are not what happens to us, we are how we respond to what happens to us. My internal process of self-development started to become a life-long study of people, behaviors, motivation and ultimately, fulfillment. Although I did not know it then, this would eventually become my life-long passion and purpose.

 

This process of learning continues to unfold for me each day. More recently it has motivated me to become a certified trainer and professional coach. Learning about facilitation and coaching has allowed me to create and deliver workshops, training programs, talks and coaching sessions to a variety of different people. It has allowed me to support others in discovering their own personal empowerment as I did but in their own unique way.

 

I strongly believe that in order to truly empower a community, we must first empower the individuals within it. By doing so, an empowered community is a natural outcome. This is the core guiding principle that inspired me to establish PARADIGM Community, a non-profit organization dedicated to this cause. I also volunteer as an executive member of the United Way Peel GenNext Council. This provides me with an opportunity to be involved with incentives focused on bringing people from poverty to possibility, empowering kids to be all they can be and building strong in our communities. It is truly an honor to be involved with the peel region in this way.

 

As a personal coach, I meet with several clients each week to help guide them through their own process of self-discovery and empowerment. I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of many coaching conversations both professionally and personally. What I enjoy most about what I do is seeing positive change in the lives of others. I will always be a strong believer that there is no end goal in personal development, there are only higher and more sophisticated levels of becoming our greatest version. We owe it to ourselves to experience the fullest extent of our potential, this is why we are here. My wish is that everyone experiences this within their own lives. It is our birthright.

 

My experience

 

I have been in the professional field of learning & development for 9 years and counting. Over the course of this time, I have facilitated a variety of community workshops as well as corporate training sessions. I have also completed thousands of personal coaching hours to support people in achieving their goals by becoming leaders in both their personal and work lives. Throughout my experience, I've had the pleasure of working with such a wide variety of people and I have found that there is one common element which ultimately determines success - emotional intelligence or E.I.

It has been my life purpose to build skills allowing me to inspire others to learn how to apply E.I. to their lives. As a result, I have become an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) through the International Coach Federation (ICF); a coaching organization best known for representing the gold standard for professional and ethical coaching worldwide. Additionally, I am also a Certified Training Practitioner (CTP) through the Institute for Performance & Learning (Formerly The Canadian Society for Training & Development). Lastly, I have also become a certified emotional intelligence professional and leadership coach through the Certified Coach Alliance (CCA). These skills provide me with the tools I need to be an effective trainer and coach in personal development.

Although I always take time to learn more about coaching and development on a professional level, I find that the ability to do what I do is mostly based on my own personal experience. Essentially, I only teach emotional intelligence because I have spent years learning it by applying it to myself first. This process continues for me even today and has no end; it just becomes more and more refined over the years. This learning process of self-discovery is the most essential piece in what I do. I have an endearing love and passion for all people and I believe that everyone deserves to live a life lead by them.

This is our birthright.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and I hope to meet you in person soon.

JL