Dressed for Success: Interview with Ann King

Greetings fellow readers. Today I have found some time after a very productive week of meetings with clients and honestly it was overwhelming. My IPhone was starting to run hot after the last few days of fielding calls and texts.The last few months have been a time for planning and preparation but I am pleased to say that when most people were winding down for Christmas I was in the zone full of vigour like a Ducati at the MotoGP after my 3 week stint in Jamaica. I have also joined an awesome business community who understands my goals and have been nothing but supportive. Since getting involved with them I have been firing on all cylinders.

Many thanks to Kazween Boiko for flicking me some much needed security work to keep me satisfied for the next month as well as Leah Zartz from Back on Track Coaching for the 2 hour training seminar we have organised.

Finally, I want to thank Kerry Nelson from Personal Development in Business and Carly Grossek of Cinderalla Stories for the support as well as her team. You have been nothing short of fantastic for teaching me about business, when I have felt more comfortable dealing with drunks and deliquent teens, or standing near a door in 36c degree heat.

The reason why I hold Kerry in such high regard is because she regularly throws networking events and at the Christmas event, I met a lady by the name of Ann King who I just had to connect with. She has a warmth of positivity and loves to crack a joke or two, despite dealing with serious issues in her field of study and expertise. She is incredibly intelligent and just being in her presence is enough to make anyone feel good. In my mind, she's like your favourite Aunt who comes to stay at your place whilst on holiday. Always welcome and has plenty of stories!

Without further ado, here is the one and only Ann King! Let's begin the interview!

What were you doing before starting your business Absolute Journey?

So many things! However I believe everything we do leads us or benefits us in what we end up doing. I left school after completing Year 10, as I didn’t like school, I wasn’t an academic and didn’t think I was ‘smart’ enough to go further. I Started work a week after turning 16 at Preston Council in their electricity department.

To make a long story as short as I can, I was there for 5 years then travelled around New Zealand for a few months with a friend. On returning I got a job in a Removalist Company as an invoice typist, (I wasn’t the greatest typist I might add), then after 2 months was made redundant, but the Sales Manager must have seen something in me as he hired me back into his department as a Sales Consultant quoting over the phone for the clients when moving house.

He then wanted me to go out and visit clients to quote on their packing as well as access in moving. In fact, no woman in the history of removal companies had ever done this, (I didn’t see it as a pivotal moment at that time), as I was an immensely shy person. I realised I have ‘stepped through fear’ of doing the unknown for many years, as what’s the worst that can happen? I ended up the with the highest percentage of sales in the history of the company, as the clients could tell I was truly concerned about their personal belongings and didn’t ‘push’ for sales, plus this is where I realised I was a ‘visual’ person.

After leaving here, I was Supervisor of the service department at Sony Australia, left to have my son, in the meantime my marriage fell apart so did what I could to be at home with my son as much as possible, I cleaned houses and factories, (never say never!), then was offered a casual job as Learning Support for students with learning difficulties and disabilities at William Angliss Institute. Another pivotal moment in my life. From there, I was Learning Support for International students studying at RMIT, (This from a person who thought they weren’t ‘smart’ enough to complete high school!) I was put through Cert IV in Assessment and Workplace Training, then ended up in a different department under a person who also saw in me what I couldn’t see in myself.

I went on to training in Industry, Coordinator and Teacher of Indigenous Programs, Bakery Apprenticeships (theory), Diploma in Events Management, Business Management and ended up in the Youth Learning Department and taught VCAL, Foundation, Intermediate and Senior Levels. This is what led me to the Coaching arena. These bright, intelligent young people needed life skills and self-worth much more than the curriculum.

What inspired you to create this coaching business?

While teaching my VCAL students I studied my Diploma in Life Coaching, I extended study to obtain 3 further specialities, Careers, Health and Wellness and Life Transition, as I thought these all overlap in our lives and could help my students the most. I taught in VCAL for 5 years then was made redundant with many other teachers as the government cut funding. After leaving I worked in private training organisations while slowly setting up my own business however supporting young people and adults in the meantime.

This is what I feel I was meant to do, why I was put on this earth for. Not just how I feel about supporting our young people but from the results I have had from the feedback I have been given. Many students kept in touch and 5 years after I left William Angliss, 2 of my former students asked if we could catch up for dinner, and I was so touched and said, “That’s so nice you want to catch up with your old teacher”. The student replied with “Oh Ann, you were more than a teacher”.

What better feedback can one get from someone who was 15 years old when we met and now 20 and completed her Apprenticeship under Guy Grossi, which I helped her get into. Each time I taught or coached a young person, they were my inspiration, more and more I feel strongly about what we need to do to support our youth.

What makes your business different to what other coaches are doing that work in your field?

I believe my vast experience in my background, what I have experienced as a youth myself, with thinking I was not an intelligent person, being bullied, the proven results and feedback I get. Also what I have experienced and gone through as an adult, believing I am worthy of being treated with the utmost respect, also health issues. Plus I ‘see’ the real person, not their issues, difficulties or disabilities, I see their true self and what they are capable of and work with them to find ways for them to see this as well.

You have told me that you were once a victim of Domestic Violence. Would you be able to share your experience with my readers on what you have been through?

I met a man through friends when I was 23 years old, I was in a space to want to settle down and he was very charismatic and attentive. He lived in Sydney and I was in Melbourne. We had a long distance relationship for awhile and then he moved back here as his family were here. (they did not get on). Things moved fast (now I can see I was apprehensive), but it was all so romantic. We moved in together but after awhile I was not sure, he had not actually been abusive but I asked him to move out. He pursued me and 6 months went by and he asked me to marry him, (I thought he had changed?)

We married but even before then he began showing signs of hi abusive nature, (I thought I could help him, ugh!) Not long after we were married he wanted to start a family and I would not unless he got help and saw someone, he said he would and for nearly 2 years he was the perfect husband, however 3 months after falling pregnant the nightmare began again. I then realised that master manipulators do not change in themselves, they change their tactic until they get what they want then go back to their previous behaviour.

I was actually lucky that he preffered to go out and behave like someone who was single instead of being home. Once I finished work, he wouldn’t give me any money and after having my child I was making a plan to leave but everyone was telling me to keep the house. When he found this out the worst night happened and I knew he would end up hurting my baby who was only a few months old and I remember the moment very clearly thinking that what he did to me was my decision, I am an adult but the thought of hurting my child made me turn from a feeling of victimhood into a mother lioness protecting her cub, and I said silently in my mind “You’re out of here” and within 4 weeks he was out of the house and I never looked back.

After going through this I asked myself questions as “Why did I allow myself to be in this relationship” and promised I would work on finding out. I never allowed myself to be treated without respect again. Throughout my life I have always looked forward and thought of ways to self-improve as I believe it is a journey in itself. I look back now and see I have always questioned myself in actions that don’t support me, I look deep inside which I know many people are afraid of doing. It is an extremely enlightening experience. I never regret the past as we learn from it.

Do you feel that clients find it easier to confide in you based on those aforementioned experiences?

Definitely, although I always relate that each experience is different and also that no one will respond or react in the same way. I don’t always inform people of my past when introducing myself, which I realise now is what people do so the audience can connect with you. However even without informing people of my past experiences, I have connected with either my clients or students while I was teaching. From feedback I have been given, I have been told that they feel safe and comfortable in opening up to me.

Best success story with a client?

Oh, this is a difficult one, as I have so many wonderful success stories. I’ll give one from an adult and one from a teen.

I was facilitating in a Job Ready Program for individuals with disabilities, (severe anxiety, depression, suicidal, in abusive relationships), a lovely woman in her 40s, who couldn’t leave home without her Mother and had tried to commit suicide prior to joining the group was very disconnected and wary. Only a week later she (and most of the group) were opening up about their experiences. I embedded coaching on a daily basis around the course curriculum, (as they were in no state to begin working.) They needed to repair and gain self-belief, confidence and empowerment beforehand. After quite a few weeks, this beautiful woman told us what had happened to her over the weekend.

She went out with her Mother and was sitting on a fold out chair with a group of people and the chair collapsed under her and she landed on the floor. Now for most people this may just be a small embarrassing moment, but for her it normally would have put her back years of therapy, leave immediately and close herself off. However she said “Ann, the chair collapsed and my first thoughts were devastating like a used to always think and believe, but ‘you’ popped into my head and you said “what’s the worst that can happen?” (this is a statement I used through a coaching of the mind process, it’s a lot more involved than just one statement), then she got up, put her chair back, sat down and went on with the afternoon.

I was so proud of her I had tears in my eyes and could have cried. The whole group cheered. Not many people would realise what a massive turn around this was. We have stayed in touch and catch up for a coffee every few months. A few of the group and I do, they were special, amazing individuals. I learnt so much from them as well.

My teen story was actually aired on Channel 31, I was ‘dobbed’ in to a program and my student and I were interviewed. He was 15, dropped out of school but was forced to attend my program and did not want to be there. Hardly saw him for weeks, and then once we began to connect, he ended up completing the entire curriculum and I supported and helped him get into an agency that got him an Apprenticeship in refrigeration. It was an amazing turn around.

Do you have any plans to run any public workshops or coaching sessions this year?

Yes, I am running Job Ready Programs for Teens and I see clients one on one supporting Teens through VCE. I take them from being overwhelmed to enthusiastic and inspired. I also communicate with Parents on different strategies to support their Teens through these difficult years.

Most people have role models, who are yours?

Mostly I don’t actually have anyone specific, however they are people that inspire others, give without expecting anything in return, think of learning as fun. One comes to mind who was someone I worked for when I began at William Angliss Institute, he was a Director of the company and saw in me what I could not see in myself.

He was an extremely busy person but when I needed to see him, he gave his time wholeheartedly. He was not distracted by emails or calls. He made everyone he came into contact with feel they were valued and important to him. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I now call him my friend. I aspire to this and how he made people feel.

Do you have any memorable quotes that inspire you?

Simon, I am the queen of quotes! Here are some of my favourites!

“A river cuts through rock not because of its power, but its persistence”

“The goal of meditation isn’t to control your thoughts, it’s to stop letting them control you”

“When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is”

“Words may lie, but actions will always tell the truth”

“You will be “too much” for some people. Too loud, too soft, too this, too that. But you will always be perfect to the people who truly love you”.

Finally, what is the best way to get in touch with you and your business Absolute Journey?

You can get in touch with me by clicking the logo below. Check us out also on Facebook to keep up to date with what I am doing also.

Thanks for such a great interview and more importantly helping my protege work through her awkward and difficult situation. You have been a blessing!

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