It never came easy. I didn’t always know exactly what I wanted to do.
I arrived in Japan at 20 years old looking for a dream. Dreams aren’t found as easy as that though and it was a tough transition. I thought I was coming to a world of Samurai and the Oriental equivalent of a code of chivalry the likes which defined Camelot. Lol – the bliss of naivete.
I was always on parallel tracks though. On the one hand I wanted to be a corporate jet-setter, on the other I wanted to scale the Himalayas in search of that snowy hamlet in which the sage who would teach me the secrets of life might be found. In the middle was this young kid who had a fascination with swords and girls in kimono. You might guess that I was rather influenced by too much tv. Well, kinda sorta.
Without going too deep into my whys, they were for me completely lucid, and valid. I wanted what I wanted, and I suppose the grace is in the fact that I knew exactly what I wanted and my naivete only served to hold a flame under my arse and tell me that I might actually go out and achieve all that I aspired to. Dreams are meant to come true after all, right? I mean, that’s why we have them, no? Anyway, that’s what I thought. So fresh out of high school I took myself into the deserts of the Middle East tracing one dream, before landing in Japan to trace another, and finally at 24 I did scale those mountains in search of yet another. Guess what. Dreams come true. All you have to do is put critical thinking aside (somewhat) and take several leaps of faith. The real kind of faith. The faith that Napolean Hill talks about. And Jesus for that matter. The faith that you don’t think about, just hold true in the deepest recesses of your innocent child’s heart.
Yeah, it takes some bucks to make dreams happen. That’s what freelancing is for! I wheeled and dealed, wined and dined; I took the odd construction job in Gaza and taught English in Japan. All the while keeping my wits about me and a half-open eye on the future. If that eye’d been all the way open I might’ve invested a little, too, while I was young enough to get into that game – but that’s another story. A man can’t be all things at the same time, can he? But I always had a way with communication and expression of the heart, and so the early days of coaching came naturally to me. I didn’t call it coaching though. I don’t know what I called it really. I wasn’t doing it intentionally. People just seemed to get inspired when they talked to me and so I dished it out like candy. And why not? What am I gonna do with all that candy by myself? Besides, I was really much too invested in my own self-discovery to even consider making a business out of somebody else’s.
So in between dreams (visa restrictions only allowed 6-month stays in India-Nepal-Tibet) I worked in Japan and put myself through school online (that half-eye open on the future). And as the years rolled forward in this way, different opportunities presented themselves, all of which I scooped up hungrily. A major trading house helped me fulfil the corporate jet-setting itch, sending me to Europe and the Americas on sales and support assignments. A management training company hired me to train their managers using a manual they’d developed – all they needed was a charismatic talking head, but these experiences gave me a peek into what ‘the big boys’ were doing with communication in the ‘professional’ world.
Then I met Tony Robbins; that was a game-changer in my life and career ambitions. You see, for about ten years at that point I’d been deep into the spiritual practices of traditional Tantrik Yoga up there in the snowy hills and the master I’d apprenticed myself to was the end-all be-all of impeccable delivery of word and teaching. I soaked that shit up like a sponge I tell you. A real sponge. I was thirstier than even I knew going in. I was receptive. But when I heard Tony, I heard a guy who had mastered his use of the word to particular purpose and began studying how he spoke to people and how he moved them. To what purpose, with what intention, with what result. I got interested in professional coaching and started to mirror his style and model his method. And I discovered I had a knack and really, really enjoyed it! I enjoyed seeing the result as much as doing the job itself. It was at least as gratifying a high as… okay, I won’t go there, but you get it.
It wasn’t easy to incorporate my personal passion for personal development with the style I saw Tony using. He spoke in very practical, pragmatic terms that spoke to the emotional body. He used business jargon in his mastery courses that I was only somewhat familiar with experientially. My own love was in Tibet, in Yoga, in the esoteric and the mystical and I still had a lot of poetry and ambiguous language to contend with. I could talk to people about lifestyle and spiritual ambitions, but try bringing that into the boardroom! It was a hurdle that I greeted enthusiastically and set myself to study the masters of this craft with even more determination. All the while modeling the impeccability of my Himalayan master as well. I found that together, the approaches of the various masters could merge seamlessly into a delivery vehicle that I could use to my satisfaction to deliver some incredible results when called upon for serious intervention and implementation.
So when the Japan Foreign Ministry called me up to enlist me in the creation of a leadership program for a group of several hundred new government officials they were bringing over for training from several emerging nations, I was ready and excited to put my new holistic approach to good test. And you know what? It was one of the most fulfilling engagements I’ve ever been privileged to host.
This was quite a long story, but what I really want to say to anybody who has read this far is this: Dreams do come true. Follow the thread of your dream while developing yourself and preparing yourself and keeping your eye on the ball. Or even half an eye. Don’t let go of your heart-held ambition and don’t be so set in your ways that you can’t see new models of mastery to take advantage of and support even further development. Life has a very interesting way of supporting all of your needs and all of your desires and all of your dreams simultaneously. All it takes is some innocent honesty with yourself and an abiding willingness to see yourself through challenges and on to your goal. I’m 53 this year, still working in Japan, both in corporate and in private practice. My personal dreams come true, it’s now truer than ever for me that living is most certainly giving and I’m still enjoying new explorations and learning every day.
You all have a great day! And follow your dreams wherever they take you. Nature’s got your back.
…is a Saiva Tantrika, Gyana Yogi and founder of Uma Maheshwara Yoga & Ayurveda. David has an MA in Semiotics, lives in Japan with his family and works as a coach in L & D, devoting his time to developing science-based tools and programs that help people reach the fullest potential of the human condition.