Why I became a coach

Why I became a coach

Ever since I was young, I always felt as though I had the ability to feel what another person is feeling and act according to that intuition. I never knew what it meant, how to describe it and what it was called, I just knew it was there and it became increasingly powerful as I got older. Then I discovered I loved to “get deep” with people, in other words; I really enjoyed deep and meaningful conversations, where I could be vulnerable, intuitive and connect at the same time.

I remember when I just finished high school, I was 18, I was officially an adult, I got my drivers license, free to go where I want and was finally legal to go out to bars and nightclubs, although legal age never stopped me before this! During this period a good mate and I would sit in his car at night into the wee hours of the morning and just “get deep”, we would explore the highs and lows of life, relationships, sport, career and what it all means to us. I discovered I enjoyed this activity far more than the mischievous and thrill seeking adventures the average 18 year old would do, fresh out of high school and into the real world.

I never really understood why I loved it so much or what purpose it served, but it was my thing. My friends would often say “Spargs, let’s get deep” or “Geez, Spargs is a deep unit”, and this felt powerful to me, I felt as though I had something to offer people for once in my life.

When I was growing up as a teenager I was lost, I didn’t have an idea of my identity and I wanted to fit in so bad. I was an innocent, shy and chubby half Filipino boy, who was lucky enough to go to an elite private school in the suburbs of Melbourne. The school was full of boys predominantly Australian and of English descent, and I was one of the very few Asians or Eurasians in my year. I felt different to everyone else for some reason and wanted to be like them so bad, so I started acting like them, I liked what they liked and I even chose my favorite football team based on fact the majority of my friends barracked for them. My mum was Asian and my middle name was Santillan, when everyone else’s was John, Colin, Keith, and Michael etc. I begun to neglect the Asian side of me and fully adopt the Australian side of me, just so I could fit in and have friends.

In the process I lost whom I was, where I came from and essentially my authenticity. I battled with this through to high school and developed an incredibly low self-esteem. As much as I tried to fit in, it just never felt right, I was so desperate to make friends because I had a fear of not being liked, which led to a fear of being lonely and ultimately, feeling worthless. I gave the power of how I felt about myself into the hands of this fictional character I was playing and into the approval of others. This attitude held me back from so many things I wanted in life; such as voicing my opinion, liking the things that I actually liked and not feeling ashamed about it. To be the polite and hardworking student that didn’t seem “cool” at the time, and ultimately enjoying authentic relationships where I felt I didn’t have to constantly seek the other persons approval to validate myself as a valuable person.

I was an identity shifter, I tried everything under the sun to find my identity, this included attempts to be a surfer, skater and punk rocker, which all didn’t last very long. It wasn’t until I found my passion for fitness and sports, where I begun my transformation. I finally found something I loved to do, expressed myself authentically and developed the skills I always wanted to build such as communication and leadership skills. I went from a chubby self-defeatist to a fit and strong footy player that could finally puff his chest out, until all my insecurities hit me again. Although that’s another story.

The main takeaway from this transformation was the growing of belief in myself. This belief turned into an increase in self-esteem, self worth and value.

Going back to “getting deep”. The fact I was the guy to have deep and meaningful conversations with, made me feel valuable and it felt powerful. This power was a power I had never felt before, more than the power I got from building the size of my chest and arms. For once in my life, I felt I could genuinely add value to people’s lives.

Photo by Korney Violin on Unsplash


As I continued my journey through life taking up a career in fitness, it has been an incredible path. I have managed to help many people along the way to reach their fitness goals and for some, build a healthy self-esteem and avoid depression. I have always had in the back of my mind this ability I had, this love I had for exploring the deeper complexity of life and us. The sensitivity to feel strong emotions of myself and others, a willingness to be honest with oneself and develop a deep awareness that would scare many people away who weren’t ready to face it.

The turning point for me was when I attended a seminar called breakthrough at the age of 28. It was a seminar for self-development and leadership. It came at a time when I was again lost, unmotivated and dissatisfied with my life. I had no real goals and my ambitions weren’t meaningful enough to get me out of bed in the morning. I was living paycheck to paycheck and lived for the weekends, where I would binge drink to a stage where I couldn’t remember most weekends.

I suddenly met an incredible life coach previous to this course and he helped me change the way I looked at life, I took so much out of the sessions and wanted to use this energy to change my life. So from his recommendation, I took this course and was warned I would face my dark side and it would be very confronting. It was three days of ‘in your face’ exercises and coaching, there was no where to escape and you were forced to be completely truthful and honest with yourself. They brought out the worst in you but turned into ultimately the best in you. During this course I was able to recognize all the baggage I was carrying and boy, were there some heavy bags! I cried more in those three days than I did my entire life and released everything I was ever holding onto as a child such as belief systems and the story I was telling myself.

Miracles happened during this weekend, not only for myself but for all the other participants. You could see the evident changes in each and every person from when they walked in on the first morning to when they left on the final night. It was when I saw the transformations of these amazing people combined with the power of transformation I felt for myself, where I decided I wanted to this for the rest of my life. I wanted to inspire transformation in others and so they can feel the power and freedom I felt, my batch mates felt and to give this gift to someone else would give me nothing but joy and fulfillment. This is the way I wanted to live.

From that moment, I decided to continue on the path of receiving life coaching and at the same time continually growing myself with the intention of helping others. The more I grow, the better I equipped I am to support others.

I finally discovered my purpose in life.

A purpose of supporting others to become better versions of themselves.

A purpose where I feel valuable and powerful.

A purpose that leaves me fulfilled.

A purpose that helps make this a better world to live in.