He has shared stages with presidents, celebrities and global icons, and coached Fortune 500 executives and world-class speakers. Voted a Top 100 Business Leader in the World to Follow on Twitter (with a following there of over 200,000), he has trained and spoken to over 200,000 people in over 200 cities in 25 countries on five continents – including his homeland of Africa, where he headlined a recent tour.
Pa Joof continues to build his far-reaching empire of inspiration in multiple ways. Serial entrepreneur, business strategist, personal development facilitator and international speaker, Pa Joof is renowned for helping people achieve their potential and helped people create revenues (not profit) of over 1 million in as little as six months from nothing. Time for an interview with this international icon!
Tea or Coffee?
No thanx. Just water.
How did your journey start?
Born to immigrants in the UK, my family and I went back to my native Gambia when I was just a child. We lived in a one bedroom appartment which was very crammed for 8 years. Life was hard. I knew that life would be difficult if I ever returned to the UK. But that’s exactly what I did. At 17, I came back and my parents later sent me my younger brother to take care of. Determined to carve a better life for myself and my family, Failure, quite simply, was not an option.
Money is a silent applause for adding immense value to people’s lives
After graduating from University, I rose through the ranks in the corporate world, eventually holding position as European Head of Banking for a Fortune 500 company. Overseeing sales and corporate training initiatives in several other blue-chip companies, I was responsible for over $1 billion in assets.
You reached financial freedom by the age of 30. Why didn’t you stay in your comfort zone?
I could have created many excuses, remain in my comfort zone and settle for the ordinary. But I had this desire to share my story and to bring hope to people. To let them know that, with the right mindset, they also can accomplish anything in life.
Right now I am busy on a new programm that I am creating, called “Ignite Your Fire”. It is all about getting to meet your true self. Because a lot of people go to different seminars, searching for an answer. But the person is the answer. So I would say, come meet your true self for once. You don’t have to be busy searching all the time. Just meet your true self.
What are typical mistakes people make when they start a business?
They start the business for the wrong reasons. More money, more time, or proof that they are good enough. They want to fill a void in their life.
So what are the right reasons?
Create a legacy. Do something that add values to people’s life.
What is a typical day/week like for you?
I am not a very routine person. I like to do what I want, when I feel like doing it. But I can tell you how I started 2016. How about that? Because I do have some sort of routine that I have started in 2016.
I have done a lot of things, I achieved and obtained a lot of things. But to me they don’t really mean anything. They mean a lot more for other people. On the outside I have a lot, but I am also suffering inside. This time in 2016 I want to be more naked to the world. With the line of work I do, sometimes it can become a routine and it can look like some type of performance. It’s one of the things I want to step away from and (re)connect with people I haven’t spoken for years. And connect on a deeper level. I already called more than 50 people this week. They were in shock. Couldn’t believe that Pa Joof called them and I got a lot of love back. So I really want to keep it 100. Getting more connected with people. Without any type of agenda. So I really will like to connect authentically with a 100 people this month.
What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?
Being a father for my three beautiful sons. My oldest is gonna be 7 at the end of this month. His brother is gonna be 6 in April and the youngest one is gonna be 3 in May.
I believe everyone has something on earth that they were born to do. The whole point of what I teach is that we all have something unique to add to this world, and I want to help you discover and unleash that one thing you will leave behind.
What is your favorite thing to spend money on?
I am a gadget freak. You name it, Apple gadgets, Mac computers, video cameras. Any type of new gadgets. You name it. I got it. That’s my only addiction really.
At the moment we are building a couple of schools in Gambia and I had a reality check during my last visit. At one the existing school they don’t even have one working computer. It makes you realize, sometimes you have so much and you are still not satisfied. And some people have nothing but they always have a beautiful smile on their faces.
What is the weirdest thing about you?
I got this from home but I lot of people find that it is weird: I still handwash my underwears. When I was growing up in Gambia, you handwash your clothes. We were too poor to have a washing machine.
My mom would do everything else, except for washing my underwear. So till this day I handwash my underwear.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
I was 25 at the time. Playing in a basketball game. And I was wearing these tearaway pants. But I forgot to wear my shorts. There were more than a thousand people watching the game. So I came running with my swag, I took it all off and everybody started laughing ofcourse cause I was butt naked.
What is the biggest risk you have ever taken?
I am a risk freak. So nothing really sticks to my mind. I think marrying my wife. I asked her within 7 days to marry me and we were married within less than 6 weeks. That is almost 10 years ago.
Who are your rolemodels?
My younger brother. He prepared me for life. He gave me the opportunity to look after him. He was 11 years old and I was 17 years old. That is not a thing a 17 year old wants to do at that stage of life. And my wife. She is an incredible soul, because it is not easy to live with me. But she has been putting up with me for nearly 10 years now.
Do you see yourself as a rolemodel for the black community?
I strive to be an example of what is possible. I am not colourblind. But as Martin Luther King says: Humanity before race. I like to be a role model for the Gambian people, for the fathers, for the youth. Bridging the gap between cultures. I like to be the bridge between different cultures. I was recently in South Africa during the xenophobic attacks and I had a profound experience. The country has only been united for 25 years, but you can still feel the pain between the black and the white people.
How would your friends describe you?
Somebody who always has an answer. Intens, stubborn and very determined. A great leader. I go places where people would not go.
Pa’s unique style, infectious laugh and natural charisma propelled him to the heights of self-development. He now trains and coaches tens of thousands of people worldwide on wealth creation and personal development. He is an “Elite Trainer” with the esteemed Robbins Research International, and a part of various charitable efforts the world over.