Why Starting Now Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Yourself
Starting Now is not just a decision, commitment or action but a way of life. It’s an affirmation you make to yourself to ‘start now’ instead of tomorrow or the day after. Moreover, it’s a repetitive statement that leads to habit, which leads to real changes in your life. Don’t believe us? Then you need to read the story of our life coach graduate, Darren Brookes…
The Life Coach On A Learning Journey
Darren, 39, from Stoke, is a lover of all types of music, from Elvis through to Rave. His tattoos represent the things that matter most to him, and his biggest motivator is his daughter. In his spare time, Darren enjoys reading personal development books and his recent favourite is ‘Goals’ by Brian Tracey. Why? He loves learning how to reach his goals faster. But until he was in his 30s, Darren had no real direction in life whatsoever.
Commenting on his past, Darren admitted, “I drifted through different courses and jobs, not completing anything or finding any sense of achievement. I knew I needed a change and that’s when I decided that what I wanted to do was help others.” This is the part where Oxbridge comes into the picture! Because in April 2018, Darren enrolled on our Level 3 Life Coaching Diploma. OK… there’s a bit more to the story than that…
Before life coaching, Darren was a manager at a rehabilitation unit for five years. Moving on, he began working part-time for a probation hostel, supporting people who’ve been released from prison to find the next step. Alongside this, Darren had embarked on a new mission: to set up a business with his friend called Connection Wellbeing Services. The aim was to offer a range of holistic therapy services to clients, from CBT through to life coaching. The catch? His friend was a qualified therapist, but neither had qualifications in life coaching.
Using Time Wisely
Of course, this prompted Darren to enrol on our Life Coaching course. What’s more, he leapt at the opportunity to develop his knowledge and earn a qualification that suited his vision in life.
Darren recounted, “I was fighting the clock! I needed to complete the course as quickly as possible so we could offer a life coaching service at the Wellbeing centre. In my busiest weeks, I was working 70-80-hours in total, running the Connection Wellbeing Services and then working nightshifts at the probation hostel. After the residents went to sleep, I got out my tablet and studied during every night shift while the other officers watched Netflix.” Darren wanted to use the time wisely, considering it was the only time he had!
Self-Reflection Is The Key
Harnessing his strengths, Darren focused on his ability to connect with others. After all, seeing the potential in people is crucial to life coaching. He insisted, “I truly believe in every person’s power to steer the direction of their life.” Coupled with his excellent networking skills, Darren has been able to spread the word of his Life Coaching business and generate numerous happy clients!
Darren continued, “On the flip side, recognising the things you need to work on is also crucial. I got to the point where I was taking on way too much, something had to give. I took a long hard look at myself to identify where things could be improved. The main problem was burnout and I needed to figure out my priorities. Unfortunately, the hours I was working at Connection Wellbeing Services and the probation hostel were running me to the ground, and I had to step out of the business.”
Darren’s priority was his 12-year-old daughter, but he just didn’t have time for her. Stepping out of the Wellbeing centre, Darren set to starting his private Life Coaching business, so he could earn his way on a realistic schedule that suited being a dad.
Positive Affirmations Create The Reality You Want
The key lessons Darren took from his Life Coaching course with Oxbridge have inspired the sessions he runs with clients. He said, “My main focus in coaching sessions is to transform negative mindsets with positive self-talk and simple routines. I was inspired by my favourite topics on the course, which was about overcoming limiting beliefs and learning visualisation techniques.”
Inspired to share this knowledge further, Darren set up an event called Dreams to Goals. For the first workshop, Darren found two speakers to share their journeys about overcoming personal demons and difficult life circumstances, from addiction to bullying. “These guys were real and relatable, rather than professional speakers – I chose them exactly for this reason! So, they would connect with the audience, spark empathy and encourage people to feel empowered. You sometimes have to see that someone else has done it to know that you too can rise out of difficult circumstances.”
Oxbridge began the #StartingNow movement with a similar aim – to help people set clear affirmations that would meet their desires in life and boost their drive to make it a reality. For Darren, positive affirmations like ‘Starting Now’ work if you say them to yourself as facts, as if they’ve already happened. For example, Darren repeats the following every day: ‘I am happy, I am healthy, I am wealthy.’ Believing in these things is the key to Darren’s confidence.
Before Darren became a Life Coach, he was too nervous to stand up and talk to crowds. After repeating the affirmation ‘I am a public speaker’ to himself each day, he started to believe it was true – he was a public speaker! So, when it came to delivering his first presentation, Darren felt capable. He had convinced himself he could do it and believed he was already good at it.
Darren gushed, “It’s true, I taught my mind to overcome a huge fear of public speaking. But the key thing to remember is that I also took every opportunity to speak in public and challenge myself. You can say positive affirmations as much as you like, but your actions must match them too, for it to work. You can tell yourself you’re healthy, but if you’re not eating better or cutting out bad habits, the reality won’t follow.”
Advice For Students From A Qualified Life Coach
“Simply believe in yourself. I always quote Henry Ford: ‘If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.’ Also – get a life coach! Or better yet, learn how to be your own.” The fact is that when you commit to #StartingNow, you have the power to manifest anything. The benefit of starting your learning journey with Oxbridge is that there are always people here to help you.
Darren’s experience studying with us is evidence of this and he had much praise for his tutor. “With the fast, positive and detailed feedback I received from Sarah, I flew through my course in just 6 months! Her comments were always positive and boosted my motivation! I think that home learning is a perfect solution for people who are feeling stuck in life because when you have the flexibility to learn in your own time, and expert support to help you progress, there’s no excuse not to.”
Darren is already thinking about enrolling on another course with us – our Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) qualification, which will further develop his knowledge on mindsets and better his understanding of the connection between behaviour, memories, and scenarios in the brain.
Helping People Who Want Change
“All life coaches have different clients depending on what they specialise in, and they run different programmes based on each client’s needs. Before I take a client on, I like to make sure that they what to change and want my help. Too often, I saw people in the rehabilitation hostel put up resistance because they didn’t choose to be there in the first place. But helping people who are willing to learn and grow and push themselves is the greatest reward.”
Aspiring to be a good role model for his daughter, Darren practises life coaching with her, teaching her key skills. From helping her manage her anxiety about being late for school to creating her own vision board. Even attending fitness classes together, Darren’s life coaching has made a real impact on more than just his clients.
Starting Now For The Future
Darren’s vision is to eventually have enough clients so that he can stop working night shifts at the hostel. He said, “I want more time to do the things I love, such as going to concerts and fitness classes. Mainly, I want to spend more time with my daughter. I plan to open my own life coaching space because I currently travel to meet clients in their homes or public places such as coffee-shops. Eventually, I’ll venture into big organisations to run coaching workshops too! But the big vision is for Dreams to Goals to become an annual event nationwide. My dream has always been to publish a book, and I’ve decided it’s going to be called Dreams to Goals too; I want to write it before I turn 41 next year!”
Darren is an inspiration for everyone. His journey is evidence that whatever circumstances you find yourself in, you can change them with a clear vision and belief in yourself.