Less than two years ago, George Barr was lying on his death bed and literally thought that it was all over for him.
For a middle aged man, he has a very young outlook on life, yet on that fateful day, his heart disagreed.
That’s somewhat ironic, given that he is one of the most good-hearted guys I know.
George was working for me in both the Tourism and Cleaning Divisions of my company, Club Red at the time of his heart attack and has remained a close friend, despite continuing his travels.
This week he wrote down his story for me, to help endorse my life coaching skills for any prospective new clients, who might be seeking background information.
I hope you find it as moving as I did.
Life coaching -what is it?
This really happened to me but imagine this as being you.
You’re on a plane just taking off from Hong Kong international headed back to Australia.
Ahead is the beach and working with a mate you have known for a few years.
He owned a good business, a backpackers-that’s how I first met “Tony Inman”.
On my return from an extended overseas trip I was going to the backpackers hostel business that Tony owned at that time, ”Planet Inn” to live and do a little part time work.
I got there and started going the basic routine and eventually was driving great, enthusiastic people to the beach and generally getting immersed in the business.
Tony was keeping a watchful eye on things, and I think that he soon picked up that I was not all on deck health wise as I had been helping out with another aspect of his enterprise, the cleaning contracting.
I helped out with this occasionally too, but my standards had slipped due to something I could not personally pin down.
I had to admit I was not up to speed, I couldn’t pin it down I just was not myself, and I knew it.
Standing in the backpackers one day, I went really cold and had symptoms of a heart attack.
One of our mates, being on hand, drove me straight to ICU and WOW… all the bells and whistles went off.
I lay on the gurney signing the paper for the Doctor to go ahead with extreme life saving measures like stoppping the heart, injections of adrenalin and god knows what else.
“I knew I was as good as dead.”
I had been down this road before at age 32 and recovered.
This time I did not feel confident at all, after all how can you when red lights are flashing and half a dozen people are looking really serious and you know it’s not a joke?
Basically it’s game over.
I actually surprised myself and everyone else I think, as I walked away with this as a memory and a need to recover.
This happened twice in the space of two weeks.
So enter Tony.
He sat me down and gave me a brief talk and ahead we went, with me still working but in a supervisory capacity. I had backpackers to do the muscle side and Tony gave me advice on how to keep it organised.
He was coaching me as we went along, feeding me the information and advice as required.
“Tired and not wanting to be a burden, I actually wanted to crawl into a hole and just go away as I felt that was it, I had after all been technically gone(dead) twice in a month, and I had a new shiny machine implanted in the chest as a medal, my reward from God for not filling a seat in paradise.”
But Tony kept me inspired, mainly due to his own diligence in heading up the numerous branches of his business.
What I learned took me forward further than I could have imagined at the time.
Initially, I was not skilled in the running of business or dealing with people in that certain way that you need when working at the coal face.
I became adept at handling difficulties and difficult people, an essential quality when working with the public or supervising staff.
When Tony sold this aspect of his enterprise, I went road tripping, reasonably well recovered on a road trip to Broome.
On arrival, I headed into a life of beach, sun and surf, money of course is not in never ending supply.
So I went looking for bar work, hopefully it would workout at the local pub called the “Famous Beer and Satay Hut”.
On my CV was mentioned that I had been an approved bar manager at Tony’s licensed backpackers.
Tony had of course endeavoured to make sure that this part of the business was covered and I had done the relevant courses and studied for it.
So there I was, trained and experienced under the watchful eye of Tony, two and a half thousand kilometers away, looking for bar work.
They actually required a bar manager and I just happened to be there at that time and place.
Now that’s is a combination.
The life skills that Tony employed and his coaching under the most extreme and difficult circumstances put me there at the right time and place.
I stayed at the job until my feet and surf board were in demand on another part of the continent, that’s the life I lead, and it is a life to wish for.
Some call it ‘living the dream!’
In the last three months I have surfed more beaches than I could name, driven in excess of twenty thousand kilometers and have travelled across the Nullarbor twice in as many months.
I have great prospects and no doubt there’s a beach or point break waiting for me over the horizon.
Take the hint and get with Tony, his skills are solid and the life coaching? Well the facts of my story say it all.
If you’re at breaking point, look for your point break.
Go surf life and have Tony assist.
A short reply from me, Club Red CEO, Tony Inman:
George’s story is an inspiration to us all and I am proud to count him as a friend.
For me, business was always about the people, and always will be. It’s about helping your customers and nurturing your staff.
If you don’t look after your staff, and put time and effort into developing and training them, you won’t have a business.
I knew that the last thing George needed was to wallow and feel sorry for himself.
I also knew that George was a guy who wouldn’t sit still, so we had to keep a very close eye on not letting him overdo it. Fortunately, we got the balance right and he was able to pick himself up and find a new purpose for his new direction.
I consider myself very fortunate to have been in a position to help George through one of the most significant and challenging times in his life. The irony is that in helping other people, we learn more about ourselves.
This is one of the reasons that my mission today is now to help people with business and life coaching, and having reinvented myself on several occasions, it’s why I became ‘The Reinvention Specialist’.
So, thank you George, for your support and friendship.
I have many similar stories of people like George from the fourteen years that I owned and operated my backpacker hostel business.
If any of you good people out there would like to remind us of them, I’m sure that my readers would be really interested. They might even form a chapter of the book I plan to write next year.
Until then, if you need any help with finding your personal ‘wave of success’, don’t hesitate to call me for a chat.
Seize the day!