As a young boy and teenager I was a responsible, and heavily involved teenager. I was practically on every youth board you could think of and didn't really have to study through highschool, so naturally I truly believed that the world was my oyster and I was going to achieve greatness in my life.
At around age 16, when I was just entering Grade 11 I noticed something change in my friends.
I was away for the summer staying with my extended family in Montreal, and upon returning to school in September I started to hear about all of the 'new experiences' my close friends had been exposed to while I was away. Casinos, Gambling, Drinking Alcohol at Barbecues, Smoking Cigarettes and Weed.
I was glad that I wasn't with them over the summer, but I definitely felt a deep split in our value systems. As a practicing Muslim, I vowed to never, ever, ever drink any alcohol. Smoking was taboo, and gambling was out of the question for me. In my head, I had to make a decision and I decided that I would not be influenced. This decision resulted in my friends and I growing apart.
This was especially difficult for me at the time because in highschool, your friend circle is what brings you status, which means - they are everything.
I gave up my high status and ended up spending lunch hours in the library reading and finding some other people to hang out with who were not as popular.
Looking back, I realize today that I was lucky enough to have made that choice.
I was lucky. I was lucky I had VALUES. Strong Values that grounded me. These values were so strong that I gave up STATUS which meant everything, in order to uphold what was IMPORTANT to me.
It feels incredible to me that today that one of the most central aspects to the coaching, consulting and personal development trainings that I run have to do with CORE VALUES & IDENTITY.
Without these, we are lost. Without these, I would have been lost!
Today, I am a Leader Developer. I work with youth, young adults, professionals and business owners through talks, facilitated programs, retreats and one-on-one coaching to enhance mindset so that they always see the glass half full, to understand themselves - their core values - their purpose in this world - their unique gifts - so that they can contribute to the people around them in the most beautiful ways, and set their direction and course to lead a fulfilled life of self actualization.
The work that I do is my gift from God and His gift to humanity.
I always pray to God to make me a conduit through which His goodness is shared with the world, and He always answers my prayer.