• Nasreen Variyawa

How I ignited the champion within and inspired others to begin

Sometimes there is just so much more wrong than right with you. Sometimes so much more just goes wrong with your life than the right things do. Sometimes there is just so much more weighing against you than for you. Sometimes it’s easier to make that your reality and use it to do nothing and to be nothing. That would have been MY story had I not had enough self-worth to recognize that my purpose was to help people and that I could teach them to do that if I just knew enough about how to do it.

The only thing I ever wanted to be in my formative years was a teacher. Even as a student, I helped my class friends to learn lessons they didn’t understand. I understood the power of teaching for myself very early on in my life because through it I stopped having to learn so hard. The more I taught my classmates the better I understood each subject. Although I graduated with excellent results from high school I did not go to teacher training college. Through circumstances beyond my control, my life took a small but life altering detour and I lived some of toughest days of my life. It was character building and though I survived I faced health, financial, social and other challenges I wasn’t prepared for. Days were rough and my future appeared bleak but I persevered.

Fate smiled at me when I bagged a job at a leading distance education institution as a dispatch clerk. Surrounded by academic professionals, I dreamed of the day I too would be able to deliver a lecture or write a book. I resolved to learn from every source available as I explored everything from minute taking and strategic management to dissertation writing, event management and travel. I said yes to every instruction , learnt how to do it afterwards and then taught the same to others after mastering the science myself. I began formal studies in the education field and steadily built skills in training, coaching, mentoring, skills development facilitation, assessment, moderation and public speaking until I achieved my first Diploma in the field.

I later got headhunted by big education brands and started writing learner guides for colleges and training departments. I lapped it all up as I gained momentum leading in the field and achieving better things every year. The accolades poured in. However, success wasn’t in my accolades. They were in the first letters written home by gold and diamond miners who learnt to read and write from me. They were in the many learners who said they couldn’t but eventually did. They were in the many aspiring teachers and trainers who turned out to be better than I ever was. They were and still are in the many students and colleagues who get in touch from time to time to tell me where they applied what I taught them and how they are doing right now. There is no better feeling than that for it is in their accomplishments that I see my own success.

Wanderlust soon grabbed my attention so I did a quick TESOL programme and enrolled for a Post- Graduate Diploma in Education Leadership and Management. Unstopped, I loaded my books into my suitcase and travelled to teach English in Turkey. Brave, I went against the grain and taught in schools in the East of Turkey where the possibility of terrorist attacks hangs over your head like an axe but where people respect and hold education in such high esteem. Nothing was sweeter than going home to graduate at the very University I helped establish and receive my diploma from the very professors who were my mentors when I worked as a junior clerk.

Many see my role as an English teacher as a step down from the ladder I appeared to be climbing rapidly. I don’t see it that way. I maybe teaching English to children but I use my coaching and mentoring skills to affect their lives in ways that I hope are positive. They may understand very little of what I teach daily but I feel the impact when I observe them demonstrate love, kindness, respect and a can do attitude to difficult things.

Through online coaching and mentoring, I have been able to network with people who have a similar mindset. Together, we influence people to set goals and go after them step by step. Then we teach them the importance of doing the same for others so that the circle of light, empowerment and upliftment is spread far and wide.

I have been blessed with the gift of writing and through 3 published works on Kindle have been able to teach people to lead themselves and others, to understand the power of love in all things that they do and how to ignite the champion within and inspire others to begin. I consider the ability to have written these books amongst my biggest blessings because they are the legacy through which I will live long after I am gone.

I have always believed in the power of teaching and to this end I once wrote, “1 thought, 1 vision, 1 book, 1 dream, 1 willing student and 1 willing teacher can change your entire world. Whether you are the willing student or the willing teacher or both, your world changes for the better, irrespective.” My whole life and career are the cornerstone of teaching and whenever I want to remember my WHY, these words in which my belief is etched, remind me that my role is unequivocally the most powerful yet most humbling and most loving in the world.

Challenges are a given. They will come and go and sometimes they will leave a little damage but remember that it’s when the damage is at its worst or when your life is at its darkest , that you must nurture your dreams and goals. They hold the power to keep you together and give you a reason to keep yourself intact. Just as when you have lost your spouse and you are told to be strong for your children so too when your world is falling apart, you must tell yourself to keep strong for your dreams. They are, after all, the children that you must live to nurture.

Anything and everything you want to achieve in your life depends on your ability to lead yourself. Remember that just like all leadership begins with self-leadership so too must you ignite the champion within before you can ever inspire others to begin.

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