Hi, my name is Davis Wandera Jr, and I will take you through my journey of becoming a Life Coach, from the beginning. I was born in the coastal town of Mombasa, Kenya, where I grew up until the age of 14 before moving to the UK with my parents and four siblings.
The purpose of the move was predominantly for the children’s education and better job prospects for my parents, as the last few years in Kenya were pretty rough due to a recession. As a result, my parents had no stable work and we moved house a lot. We were living in a spacious house with a large garden in a lavish neighbourhood with five cars, a maid, gardener, watchman, and a couple of dogs, needless to say, life was wonderful, but eventually, we were forced to downgrade. And we ended up living with friends and family often sleeping on the floors; at times living in separate cities with different relatives. I was also kicked out of school when I was 11 for being unable to pay school fees, this not being the first time, I was not surprised and expected to be back in a couple of days joking and playing with my buddies. But this time was different as I was out of school for around 3 years, without ever saying a proper goodbye to any of my friends.
During this time, I explored my creative side and started building detailed cardboard cars using old office supplies. I even attempted making at a remote-controlled car using components I had salvaged from damaged toys and equipment I found around the house, all this at the early age of 12. I eventually got back into some sort of education through tuition by my auntie’s associate’s company; I studied Maths, English, and Science. After a couple of months this was no longer affordable, I was the home-schooled using my cousin’s school books, even though she was a year below me.
Unsurprisingly, my parents decided to move to the UK, which after numerous attempts and rejections at the British High Commission in Nairobi, waking up at 5 am to try and get visas (even though my mother is British), we finally got them. I was filled with euphoria and relief like I had yet to experience, and the excitement of a better life.
I arrived in the UK in March 2004 and had to adjust to the new culture and weather, I still remember my first experience of snow…it was Brrriliant. I swiftly joined a school that happened to be behind our house and resumed my education. At school, I settled in well and made friends quickly as many were migrants like me. I gained 11 A-C GCSEs before going to a sixth form college where I attained three A-Levels in Electronics, Maths, and Physics achieving grades B, E, E respectively; I was extremely disheartened as I wanted to study Engineering at university, due to my curiosity of how things work along with the enjoyment of fixing and building things, and these results were not good enough. Not to mention the humiliation of telling my parents and younger siblings, who I was supposed to be setting an example for. I recognised that my journey in getting as far as I had had been tough, so, I never let my embarrassingly low grades stop my dreaming of being an engineer, but instead, I used them to motivate me to prove to everyone I felt I had let down, especially myself, that I was way better than this.
Once I found out that I was accepted to study a BEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Sussex University I was over the moon and even shed a tear or two because of my relief, even though I was required to do a foundation year. Nevertheless, I knuckled down at university, and did so well that I was offered and accepted to do a Master’s degree, as I wanted to be free from education once and for all… not to even mention getting on a PhD.
Thanks to my hard work and determination I accomplished my goal of proving myself and achieved an average mark of over 68%, graduating with a Master’s degree with honours in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. I even secured a job working for the American giant General Electric (GE) well before submitting my thesis. Feeling ecstatic and full of enthusiasm I looked forward to the next chapter of my life, and being a certified engineer.
The Rat Race Begins.
My career started on a one-year graduate programme before I eventually joined the commissioning department, as I preferred hands-on practical work as opposed to a being stuck behind a desk and screen. This department, however, was known to be extremely challenging and lonely as it involved working away from home for weeks or even months at a time. But even with all the prior warnings from my peers and colleagues, I was still thrilled about the job. I was working 10 hours a day and alternate weekends, staying in hotels (not as satisfying as it first seems), with no friends, no family, no social life. However, I knew it was down to me to take control and make time for social life and enjoy my time…which I did.
I primarily worked on the QEC aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy, but I eventually grew uncomfortable working on warfare projects and it became harder to ignore. I tried justifying it by thinking of the positive aspects like humanitarian missions that the aircraft carriers could be used for but deep down I was never completely at ease working in this industry. Therefore, when I was transferred to work on the T45 destroyers I could no longer justify my role in the warfare industry and accepted that what I was doing was not in tune with my soul. I had also awoken to the fact that money did not equal happiness, as I accumulated a gratifying amount from my relentless work routine. So, after working for GE successfully for nearly 5 years I felt unfulfilled, depressed and desperately needed to take a career break to travel and find a higher purpose. By this time, I had gained an interest in self-development, I was keen on reading and applying newfound techniques and insights to improve my life.
My typical workday involved waking up at 6:45 am going to work until around 6 pm, going to the gym before getting back to the apartment or hotel for dinner. I would then work on improving myself by learning a new skill (python programming) or language (Spanish) and reading a book for 30 minutes before bed. After almost a year of procrastinating and making excuses without doing anything about my situation, I decided to take drastic action and resigned from my job; although my employer offered me better opportunities to stay, my mind was made up, so I left. I was filled with different emotions, nervous and excited about what would emerge from my new adventure, while also reassured due to the fact that I had enough savings to live comfortably for a while.
During my time off I spent time at home with family (previously I would visit around 3 times a year due to work) and went solo travelling around South America for 8 weeks, an item on my bucket list, as well as visiting Iceland. I also took time to soul search and think deeply about what I wanted to do next; I knew I wanted to help people but I was not sure how I could do that using my current skills and experiences. My thought was that I could only do something technical given my engineering background, only when I changed my perspective and reflected on my life journey, I realised that I had much more offer.
I searched for various disciplines from teaching to mentoring, eventually, I came across life coaching which had been staring me in the face as my Uncle who is an established life coach, was already mentoring me. I came to the awareness that what I had been through in my life, was a perfect match for helping people improve their lives by becoming a life coach. Since I was already regularly helping my friends and relatives with sincere advice and inspirational insights to improve their mindset, which proved to be helpful and effective for them and gratifying for me. I knew I had found what I was yearning for, my purpose.
And as a result, I decided to undertake a Diploma and become a certified Life Coach. As well as setting up my very own company, TRYumph Coaching, to positively impact people’s life journeys; holistically.
Moral of my story, I hope you can appreciate what sort of challenges I have been through. And when you choose to invest in yourself and work with me that I am not just going to talk about and use theoretical approaches but practical approaches from genuine life experiences that I have personally endured.
Thank You, Davis.Jr aka Coach Tryumph.