Story Telling – I’ve Finally Decided To Share My Journey
The art of story telling is a skill we all need. To be able to share and tell people as a means to connect, help, and inspire others.
I’ve been coaching for 28 years, and in all that time I’ve never really told my story of everything I’ve been through to get to where I am today.
When I start coaching clients, I always tell them a little about my journey, but never the full picture.
Today, I thought I would share my story, which I truly hope inspires and ignites hope in you.
“The day I tried to end my life, was the day I started living…”Amit Sodha
Being the black sheep
I was born and raised in Wales, and with the exception of one other mixed race child, I was the only other brown kid in the whole school.
For me, being called ‘P*ki’ and even ‘N*gger’ was the norm, and most of the time, I just brushed it off.
The bullying didn’t bother me, I somehow developed the knack of being liked by people which kept me safe.
Not only were we not a ‘normal’ family, I was most definitely not a normal kid. I was the youngest and the black sheep of the family, but in many ways the community too.
We grew up quite poor but out parents did everything they could to provide for us. At times they both even worked two jobs after the family business didn’t work out.
The move to the big city
By the time we moved to London, I was more assimilated into Christian culture than my Hindu roots. I was part of Boys Brigade, Sunday School and even the Church choir.
To say London was a shock to the system, is an understatement.
The very first day my brother and I were taken to Sylvan School. (Now known as Harris Academy.)
Upon entering the gates, there was a huge fight in progress at the front of the school, both kids with bloody noses, which had drizzled down all over their school shirts.
For some reason, we were still sure this was the better of the two schools that were local to us, and so the choice was clear where we were going to study.
We owned an Off-Licence (or Liquor Store as called in the U.S.A.) in what I would then consider a rough neighbourhood, probably more chic and trendy now though.
The first time armed robbers tried to rob the shop, I was there and I froze with that gun to my face. My dad, an absolute badass, fought off the two men, and even kicked one up the backside on the way out for good measure!
The second time it happened, I had adopted my dad’s trait, jumped up on the counter and was ready to launch myself at one of the men.
Together my pops and I vanquished the robbers and they were never to be seen again.
My spiritual beginnings
Although I knew how to fit in, I was one who generally never did. At the age of 15, I joined a spiritual organisation and essentially lived a Yogi life. I would wake up at 4am, meditate, live, eat, and be like a Sadhu. (Sadhu being like a Monk.)
Within a few short months I was teaching adults meditation, which must have been pretty odd to be getting lessons from a 15 year old, (who probably looked more like 12).
I went deep into meditation, into what they referred to as ‘soul consciousness’. I was no longer feeling the world.
Through my spiritual practice, I was attaining higher spiritual states, but outside of it, I got very depressed seeing what the world was like.
I totally lost interest in school and left with 1 GCSE.
My 18th birthday I spent by myself and I took myself go-karting as a treat to me.
Wanting to end it all
I lost interest in pretty much everything, and was overweight, and unfit. Bad choices resulted in a pile of debt, which meant I was only working to pay it all off, and by the time I was 22, I wanted to end it all.
There I was, with the knife at my wrists, looking forward to the release, but before I could, a voice said to me, one more day, just one more day.
I decided to follow the advice of the voice and just live one day at a time.
That was the moment, the moment where I wanted to end my life, but the day I really started living.
Things did not turn around overnight. It took years. It took years of inner reflection and spiritual study. It took years to clear my debts, and it took years before I started to understand my purpose in being here.
In 2004 I was at work and tried to stop someone from jumping out of the 21st story window of the office. I was just one and half meters short of stopping them.
The image of them jumping has been seared into me. Something I will never forget and something I don’t want to.
I hold it as a reminder of what I was going through, and what he was going through, and use that as the basis for helping others.
Losing loved ones
In 2008, my sister’s cancer had ravaged her body.
On the morning she passed I was at the hospital but my sister was in a coma.
I decided to pop home to get a book we both loved to read to her.
15 minutes before I arrived back, she was gone.
Luckily my sweet, gentle dad was with her, and had given her, her last sip of water, and was holding her while she slipped away.
A few weeks prior to her passing, my dad moved into her home, and was taking amazing care of her, and I had seen it bring out the most gentle and loving side in him.
The not so normal family life came into play when we postponed the funeral twice. When it finally did happen, may people were not able to come.
Whilst planning the funeral, I was thinking about what to say for the eulogy and what song to dedicate to her.
Then whilst looking through her phone I found one called ‘Joy’ by Blackstreet – so beautiful and perfect for her.
I did a short eulogy for my sister for the small number in attendance, and then we played the song as a way of giving her a perfect send off.
Learning to laugh
What got me through that deeply sad time, was a funny video on YouTube, which was the only thing that had made me laugh in 2 whole weeks. I wanted to make others laugh too.
Shortly after, I was coaching a wonderful comedian who wanted to organise his first comedy night, and he said, ‘why don’t you do it with me?’. Before I even had a chance to think, I said ‘Yes’.
Unlike him, I was not a natural born comedian. But, I had discovered my love for reading and learning. So, I bought 3 books about stand up comedy, and got myself ready.
The venue was for 100 people and yet we had over 150 people attend. The evening was a huge success and all profits went to charity.
Making people laugh became part of the way I aim to bring healing to those who needed it.
Living is giving
I was working with disabled children, I was taking most of my holiday from work to do voluntary work. In one year I used 22 of my 25 vacation days to volunteer, speak at schools and do various workshops. Some of which were at an institution called the PRU. (Pupil Referral Unit).
It’s where kids get sent who’ve been expelled from school and it’s the last chance they have to get educated.
The first time I went to speak there, one of the kids fruitlessly tried to mug me for my watch, when he found out I was the speaker there, he wasn’t quite sure how to react.
I did everything I could to give something back and help those who were feeling lost, as I had once been.
Dealing with grief
In December 2013, we received the phone call we were dreading at 6am in the morning. Hurry to the hospital, your mum is unlikely to make it.
After my sister passed, mum never was quite the same.
For any parent, to lose a child is like losing a baby because that’s what memory stays with them.
Her diabetes got worse and a trip to India nearly ended it all. In 2010 I spent a month in India desperately trying to get her back home. It cost us nearly £25,000 to repatriate her.
The day we finally made it back, when I crossed through customs with over 6 suitcases, I dropped to my knees and cried.
I had barely slept in a month and was exhausted. I was able to rent a car and headed straight to the hospital to meet mum there.
She was thereafter in and out of hospital frequently.
On the morning of my dad’s 75th birthday, mum left us.
The picture below for me captures my parents well. My mum smiling and laughing and dad holding her hand.
We were all devastated.
Shortly after I told work, I got a call from the office manager saying ‘are you still coming to the Christmas party?’… Some people just didn’t get it.
Once again, it was my job to write and speak the eulogy for her.
2 weeks after mum passed, my mum’s last living brother was so heartbroken he also came down with cancer, and 3 months later also passed.
In some very strange way, even though I wasn’t incredibly close to him, his passing affected me even more than my mum.
3 months after that, my then fiancé and I, parted ways. It was one of the worst years of my life.
Filling my cup
I took time out to try and heal myself and even took a break from coaching so that I could be in a position to help people. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
In 2015 I was so determined not only create a wonderful life, but to also help others do the same. I ramped up my coaching and took things to another level.
In the latter part of 2015 I met a woman who a year later, said yes and we have been together for nearly 5 years and married for 3.
She has been the most incredible thing to come into my world and together we’ve worked hard to create a life and a home that we love.
She embodies all the qualities of my mum and sister and she truly cares for others.
Starting with WHY
Through everything I experienced, I found my calling. I found why I am here, and that is to uplift others and to help them feel inspired to find their own ‘WHY’.
With all the pain that I’ve had in my life, I use every single thing I’ve learned to help others find their calling and their highest power.
To me, a life purpose is not something which is decided for you by a higher power, it is what you choose it to be using your highest power.
In my time here, I’ve been a Professional Magician, A Professional Stand-Up Comedian, I’ve written a book, built an app, worked in I.T. for over 20 years, Been a Life Coach for over 28 years, been a Radio Journalist for the past 15+ years and continue to push myself every day to see what is possible for me, that I can pass onto others.
Steve Jobs said: ‘You can only connect the dots looking backwards’.
Looking back over my story I can see how everything fit together. I see why the challenges, the pain had to happen to build me into the character I am today.
The journey thus far
Now, I wake up daily at 5am, read veraciously, train daily and live what I teach. I coach people only on those things I’ve done and continue to do in my life daily.
I help others to:
Turn their Pain into Power,
Change their Struggles into Strength,
And let their Challenges make them into a Champion.
All that I am, I owe to my amazing parents. Without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
My hope for you is that each and every day have moments where you feel inspired and take action.
It doesn’t matter how small or big, what matters is that it is yours.
I’m Amit Sodha This is my story. I know it’s long, but it came from the heart.
If you’ve decided to read all the way until the end, I would like to say thank you.
I hope this story inspires you and that you find your purpose in life.
I invite you to share your story.
Whether in the comments below, on your blog, to your friends on Facebook, or even just for yourself. Write and share your story.
Not only can it be immensely cathartic, but give you a better understanding of your own journey.
Amit totally heart wrenching but empowering and inspiring- you must be incredibly proud of what you have achieved. Your story has totally moved me and wish I could share, articulate and stir tell my last 30 year journey as well as you.
Thank you so much Bharti – truly appreciate it.
Thanks for sharing, you have come so far in your journey. It is true that by giving and helping you can find solace, keep it up, well done,need more people like you in this world.
Thank you Amit, that’s so kind of you!
(great name by the way! :-D)