'˜I created a vision of my dream job and went for it'
From toiling behind the scenes in the Lancashire Post '˜s mailroom to running his own motivational speaking business, Lateef Badat tells Charlie Smith how to follow your dreams.
Looking for his first job – sorting mail in the post room of the Lancashire Evening Post – Lateef Badat used the technique of visualisation.
Now nearly 30 years later he is a succesful motivational speak, and continues to use techniques such as visualisation to inspire others to reach their goals.
From humble beginnings in the newspaper mailroom, he now gives speeches and coaching sessions across the UK with his own company ALB Coaching.
Self-dubbed ‘confidence catalyst’, Lateef says he is inspired by martial arts, Blackpool Pleasure Beach and just a little bit of Italian football.
But his success came relatively late in life, and at school he was a rebel who did not take the classroom seriously.
He said: “I enjoyed playing more, talking more, messing about more. I didn’t take education that seriously.”
On leaving school at the age of 16, he recalls seeing the old Lancashire Evening Post building in north Preston as he passed by on the bus, and remembers fondly the flags blowing and people streaming in and out.
He said: “I thought, I wonder what it’s like to work in there”.
He calls this the power of visualisation – a technique he uses with clients today.
After job-hunting Lateef was invited for interview at the place he dreamed about on the bus each day,
The company took him on in the mailroom and despite promotion opportunities, he enjoyed sorting post so much he stayed there.
“Do what you love,” he says, “because it never feels like work.”
Full of positivity, Lateef’s confidence is infectious, but he’s not big-headed.
“I’m about confidence, that’s what I do, I’m not about arrogance.”
A Preston North End fan, Lateef also watched Channel 4’s Football Italia on Sundays.
He loved the way players would point to the name on the back of their shirt after scoring.
Lateef feels the same way about his company, ALB Coaching, whose focus is pitching, presenting and public speaking.
He said: “I make no apologies for screaming about myself and about my services.”
Lateef always feared white-knuckle rides, but using his neuro-linguistic programming skills he set himself the goal of conquering them.
On the Ferris wheel, he says he thought “for this to be a proper challenge I need to stand up.”
By setting small goals, working his way up the rides, he eventually went on the Irn Bru Revolution and then even the Pepsi Max Big One.
Lateef did Lancashire Catch Wrestling and Thai Boxing. But it was Bruce Lee who inspired him to take up Wing Chun and train in Preston under 1970s Wing Chun legend John Darwin.
“Martial arts are really good for mental discipline. I practice martial arts all the time because the philosophy of martial arts is about self-respect and respect for others.”
After gaining coaching experience and the necessary qualifications, Lateef took the plunge and 13 years ago set up his own company ALB Coaching.
After a break to have children, Lateef resurrected the company two years ago. Lateef set the company up on his own and continues to run it.
Lateef is prolific on social media and ran the LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for UCLan’s Northern Lights Business Incubation Programme.
In 2015 their team won the Best Business Enabler of the Year Award and were shortlisted for Best Social Media Presence of the Year two years running.
Despite his triumphs, Lateef remains humble and says he still values the simple things.
“Success to me is about enjoying what you do, spending time with the family and helping people.”
He says becoming a father gave him new perspectives and responsibilities.
Lateef, 47, still lives in Preston where he was born and bred.
He and his wife have three young girls together.
And he reckons he is still learning all the time things which help him in his everyday work.
“You’re an empowerer, you’re a motivator, you’re a confidant.
“You can learn stuff off kids because they till it like it is.”
ALB Coaching provides one-to-one confidence building. They serve professionals and non-professionals alike and can build the confidence of individuals or groups.
They focus on delivering a great pitch, overcoming public speaking fears and the art of the perfect presentation.
He added: “If I was going to help you learn to swim I can give you enough videos, I can give you a manual, everything, but at some point you need to get wet.
“You need to dip your toe in the water, you need to get in, and you need to learn.”