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Garth Sam

​​garth@manpowercoaching.com

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MPC is committed to providing life enhancement services from coaching professionals like myself who “walk the talk”.

About...

Garth Sam


As a Man in his youthful mid-50’s, I am confident but not arrogant, inspired but not idealistic, & empowered by my expertise, even as I remain humbled by my ignorance.  I have much to teach & to share, but I am also a lifelong student who is eager to continue learning from everything & everyone.
 

For me lifecoaching is not just a job, it’s a calling that I have been actively preparing for since I was a teenager with a passionate interest in human potential development & personal growth.
 









 

My full bio below has more details but in a nutshell, with me you get the rare synergy of a very fit, happily married, evolutionary Man whose romp down the road less traveled includes time-well-spent as...a teacher, actor, rapper, dj, law student, entrepreneur, writer, global humanitarian, black belt martial artist, renaissance leader, former Buddhist monk & international traveler who has been to over 40 countries.

Garth Sam I am: a mini auto-biography

My journey was different than most from the git-go.  I was born as a lovechild of the 60s in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and raised until 18 in three distinctly different locations: Edmonton, Ghana & Toronto.  Moving from a frozen hockey-loving city in northwestern Canada to tropical West Africa was understandably a dramatic transition for a 4-year old, but moving back to a blue-collar, not-so-ethnically-diverse neighborhood in Edmonton as a brown-skinned 8-year-old kid with an afro & a funny African-British accent was even more “interesting”.  No one looked or sounded like me & bullying was definitely not the red alert buzz word it is today, so I quickly learned the value of both friends & fighting skills.  

 

Thankfully Bruce Lee had established himself as an action superstar at the time, so like millions I was inspired to study martial arts as soon as my parents could find somewhere for me to train. At first it was judo which I didn’t really like because there wasn’t any striking & my instructor was a racist, but next I found a style of kung fu with a cool young sifu named Arthur who was like my very own Bruce Lee.  When I was 12 my parents got divorced & I went through a bad boy, delinquent-teen phase with nunchucks & switchblades for the next couple of years. Luckily I didn’t get into too much trouble before I segued into competitive sports & life got better.

High school was all about football, wrestling, martial arts &… dance? My girlfriend in grade 12 was a dancer whose dance instructor recruited me as a strong, straight, athletic male who appreciated that Bruce Lee was a former cha-cha champ & was impressed - like everyone at the time - by Leroy from “Fame”.    When I graduated from high school I wrote in our yearbook that my “future ambition” was to be a “psychonaut”: someone who actively explores the full potential & esoteric capabilities of their mind. While this may seem like a somewhat uncommon aspiration for a 17-year old biracial teenager living in Alberta – especially compared to peers declaring they were keen to “Marry a Playboy bunny” or “Buy a Ferrari by 25” - it speaks to a curious interest in human potential development that has seen me hiking happily down the road less traveled since then.  For me life was never just about making money or satisfying someone else’s expectations of who I was supposed to be: it was always about the desire for self-development & self-actualization, whatever that ultimately looked like.  

To jumpstart my uncommon journey into adulthood I bought a one-way ticket to Asia in 1983 and spent the next 1.5 years immersed in a series of exotic adventures on the other side of the planet.  Backpacking alone at 18 on a shoestring budget, before cell phones, ATMs or the internet, definitely provided me with an exceptional & empowering learning experience. From teaching English to businessmen in Korea (remember, I was only 18!), to studying kung fu in Taiwan, hustling in Hong Kong, spelunking in the Philippines, trekking in the Himalayas, and dodging bullets in the notorious Golden Triangle, I returned to Canada with precocious confidence in my ability to thrive almost anywhere, & a deep sense of my connection to a global human family.

In the years that followed, I earned a BSc (Hons) in psychology from the University of Toronto, was a Deans List scholar, held leadership positions in student government, worked through a painfully crippling medical condition & went on to attend the prestigious Osgoode Hall Law School.  A near-death experience during these post-grad law studies however, led me to re-evaluate that conventional direction of my life with it’s “guarantee” of a successful career etc & I decided to place my faith in an uncertain but more soul-satisfying destiny instead of becoming a lawyer. The rest, as they say, is “his-story” which includes: labors of love with grassroots community service organizations; years well-spent as an adult educator; adventures as “talent”  in the tv/film & music industry; work as a counselor with the Ministry of Corrections; and international consulting assignments in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. As an avid martial artist I also became the “Tiger Balm International” middle-weight fighting champion for the 2 consecutive years I competed, and ran my own successful martial arts club.

Then in 1999 I applied & was chosen to be the National Leader of a Canadian delegation invited to participate in a 2-month-long traveling conference/goodwill mission hosted by the Government of Japan under the auspices of the United Nations. Based on my successful performance above in 2001 I was subsequently invited by the Japanese Government to deliver a series of empowerment seminars to several hundred international delegates participating in the latest version of the program I attended 2 years earlier.  This was a unique honor as I became the first non-Japanese ex-delegate in the 14-year history of the program who was recruited to be one of the keynote presenters (the rest being established university professors & United Nations representatives).   

The next 2 years saw me deepen my eclectic education with further travels, uncommon training with Eastern mystics, and steadfast, ongoing studies/self-experiments in human potential development.  Ready to share my understanding of what was working for me, I officially launched my professional life coaching practice in 2003 & have been providing supportive & inspirational services ever since.
 

Fast forward past various other exceptional life experiences & Destiny saw me return to Thailand in early 2008 where I became the first foreigner to be ordained as a Buddhist monk & live at the Na Pramane Temple monastery in Ayuttaya.  I lived at 2 other Thai monasteries as well during that special time as a renunciate, until I was called to take off my robes & re-enter the world of laymen. I am, it seems, the monk who didn’t buy a Ferrari.

Upon returning to North America I assimilated my monastic education into my efforts to model excellence in overall mind-body-spirit well-being & resumed my work as a professional lifecoach.  From celibate to smitten, I met my beloved yinmate T’ameaux in the fall of 2009 & gratefully began a wonder-full new chapter of life, proposing to her exactly one year later in fact. Our romance has never been about “completing” one another however, because we were both on our own uniquely empowered journeys of self-actualization before we forged our precious union.  Instead, as we celebrate a truly blessed decade together, it has been all about savoring the joy of a precious synergy.

Among other destinations our shared passion for travel took us back to my soul home of Thailand as well as to West Africa for T’ameaux’s first experience of the proverbial motherland. Our 20-day visit to Ghana expanded into a 3-month odyssey that saw us forge deeper links to my father’s birth nation than either of us expected. From visiting orphanages & teaching random youth martial arts classes on the beach, to exploring the jungle rainforest canopy & leading hand-to-hand combat workshops for Ghana Police officers, our time was very well-spent.  Moreover, since that 1st trip we have been organizing annual humanitarian aid initiatives for Ghana & have also become foster parents for 9 disadvantaged Ghanaian children living there. With a focus on youth education especially, it is our ongoing goal to help as many young Ghanaians as possible acquire the academic tools they need to escape the multi-generational cycles of poverty they were unfortunately born into.

In 2011 I started an international fraternal organization called The Universal Brotherhood aka TUB (see: www.theuniversalbrotherhood.org)  with the simple intention of creating a platform for “evolutionary Men” to build bonds with one another & better themselves regardless of race, creed, age, nationality or economic status.  Little did I realize at the time as I assembled a humble handful of guys in my living room, that years later, with hundreds of TUB members across the planet, running TUB would earn me an informal PhD in Men’s studies & redefine my professional coaching focus. 

Now, at 55, I am humbly grateful for the rare synergy of exceptional experiences that have made me the uncommon Man that I am.  My life to date has been a truly dynamic dance featuring peasants & presidents, monks & millionaires, celebrities & sages, plus artists & athletes too.  My learning never stops but the wealth of understanding I have mined so far from my adventures on every continent except Antarctica has empowered me with the insight to help others enjoy happier, healthier & more fulfilling lives…so that’s what I do.