Becoming a life coach was not Anwar Aiken’s dream. The accomplished military officer and seasoned senior level transportation professional had one goal. It “was to help people consistently show up better in life and business. Becoming a life coach was a by-product of my original dream,” shares the founder of LEAD YOUniversity.
In this feature, we bring you an incredible interview with Aiken who is a coach and wisdom keeper of many facets. A proud husband and dad, Aiken’s passion and discipline make him a force to reckon with. With over 15 years of professional experience, he’s a Community Outreach Committee Board Member for the City of Northport, Alabama, where he serves as a certified life and business coach.
Here, Aiken shares tips that will spark change in your professional life and across the community.
How do you start your day?
I’m an early riser. I get up at 4 a.m. I say my prayers and read my devotional. I’m in the gym by 4:30-4:45 and back home by 6, getting the kids ready. Mentally, that is a big boost for me. To start my day with four wins encourages me to keep going after wins throughout my day.
What is your coaching style?
I wouldn’t call it a style but more of a philosophy. Everyone is at a different place in their journey. They’re all searching for answers to various challenges for a multitude of reasons. So, the most crucial part of coaching is understanding where your client is on their journey versus where they want to be. Then, help them discover a way forward that doesn’t feel overwhelming.
Why did you decide to seek certification?
To have the opportunity to speak into people’s lives is a privilege, not a right. It is humbling to support people in uncovering personal truths, setting life goals and following their dreams. And, I will never take their trust for granted.
What books are you currently reading?
Right now, I just can’t put down The Book of Joy. I acquired it at the beginning of the pandemic, and it’s been a source of encouragement. There’s a great quote from the book where the Dalai Lama says, “People would like to be able to take a pill that makes their fear and anxiety go away and make them immediately feel peaceful. This is impossible. One must develop the mind over time and cultivate mental immunity. Often, people ask me for the quickest and best solution to a problem. Again, this is impossible. You can have the quickest solution, or you can have the best solution, but you can’t have both.”
Are you living your purpose?
I’m walking boldly into my purpose more every day.
Share five tips for young professionals entering the workplace on socializing in real life and online.
- Find A Mentor: That’s someone who can help you avoid pitfalls and accelerate your learning curve.
- Take The Hard Job: Stand out from the crowd and don’t take the easy route. Take the road less traveled.
- Keep Learning: Invest in professional development. Set a budget for books, workshops, training and formal education. Most companies will even reimburse you.
- Off The Clock Matters: What you do off the clock is your business until it disrupts the companies business. So do yourself a favor, and don’t mess up the money.
- Exceed Expectations: Get in the habit early of going the extra mile. Be excellent, not average.
What is a good motto for workplace etiquette? networking etiquette?
I have three simple rules:
- Treat everyone with dignity and respect. That should go without saying.
- Don’t gossip. You don’t know who someone knows.
- Listen and ask relevant open-ended questions. People love to talk about what they do and the things they love. Let them.
Name five books every working professional should read that encourage critical thinking and self-awareness?
- How To Raise Your Own Salary by Napoleon Hill
- 15 Laws of Growth by John Maxwell
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Andrew Carnegie
- The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
- Mastery by Robert Greene
What is in your online book library?
There’s a fantastic company called Readingraphics. It is my go-to for capturing a book’s essence. Then I can decide if I want to purchase.
What is on your music playlist?
I like anything early 90’s hip-hop and R&B. When I’m working out, Rick Ross and Slim Thug, all day.
How do you prepare for speaking engagements?
It depends on how much time I have to prepare and to speak. But, it all starts with an outline and understanding your audience. Don’t try to wing it. You have to practice your presentation until you have it down cold. Stick to what you know and stay away from what you don’t.
What topics do you enjoy sharing?
I love speaking about leadership, personal development, mindset and awareness.
How do you end your day?
I do it with food and family.