A Life Reworked is a coaching platform designed to support individuals from all walks of life understand, explore, and manage their burnout their burnout with confidence, clarity, and class.
Launched in 2018 by Nurhaida Rahim, this space is a product of experiences, and lessons learned from humanitarian work, commitment to supporting the community and a belief that coaching can be a powerful tool to support individuals through transition and transformation.
Given today’s hectic lifestyle, the value of coaching to help individuals address various life stresses, personal and professional growth and manage life-changing transitions is becoming increasingly evident. Many prolific leaders in government, business and arts work with coaches to further their ‘step-up’ their game and further their potential.
Hey Nurhaida, can you introduce yourselves to us?
Hi! I was born and bred on the tiny island of Singapore, and as a young adult moved abroad to study and work, and haven’t looked back since. I’ve been working in international aid for the past 10+ years with the UN and non-governmental organisations in Sierra Leone, Sudan, and Turkey.
More recently, I’ve just set up on my own coaching space called A Life Reworked – totally psyched about that. I help individuals heal from their burnout, and start living that life they’ve always wanted. I’m all about making the world a more compassionate place and I drink a lot of tea.
You have been working in international aid and development for over 10 years, can you take us through your journey as to how you arrived at where you are now?
As a young kid, I read the biographies (the children’s version) of Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr. That really inspired me to want to do something good. Growing up I didn’t know anyone who does aid work. By a stroke of luck, I started out at the World Bank in Singapore and that jump-start my journey into humanitarian work. I’ve loved the work I do, the people I meet and the stories I get to hear. About two years ago, I was teetering on a burnout and felt this innate desire to want to do something else with my life and so after a long back and forth, I decided to train as a coach. And that’s where I am today.
What is a day in the life of you like?
So by day, I work in aid and by evening I work on my coaching, be it attending to calls, writing, doing short courses to further my knowledge and skills, or reaching out to people and having conversations about what I do. I love to cook – it’s my mindfulness practice. I put time aside to meditate and work on my breathing. I have a monkey mind and sometimes gets into a panic frenzy, so the breathing exercises help. I read before bed as well, since I have set a goal of reading 50 books this year, which I am more than halfway through.
You’ve also trained at the International Coach Academy, can you tell us what the most important key factor you took away from that experience?
My biggest takeaway was the confidence that I got from the classes, the learning, and conversations. I was so new to coaching and trying to figure out how to set up an online practice, and at times, it shook my confidence apart, like ‘who am I to do this?’ It certainly helps to be surrounded by individuals who are just like you, excited, passionate and supportive.
What other areas are you looking at to develop your profession and deepen your knowledge as an extension?
I’m very interested in pursuing coaching as healing process versus trying to solve and fix someone’s issue so lately I’ve been delving into reading and exploring more about natural healing therapies. I’m fascinated by the eastern versus western wellness approaches. I’m planning to combine my coaching with a more holistic wellness approach.
Can you tell us about A Life Reworked? And what was the incentive behind the launch?
A Life Reworked is a coaching space dedicated to supporting individuals who are burning out, helping them make sense of their experience and ultimately find a way to heal and start living the life they truly want.
I’ve gone through numerous burnouts and reflecting back, I recognised that there weren’t many outlets or spaces for individuals, especially aid workers, to talk about their burnout, and get support. It was all hushed-hushed, brushed aside or simply ignore. Organisations send their staff on stress management workshops and expect that will resolve their burnout. But truth be told, burnout is more than just stress and that’s something I want to change. I want to bring it back to the individual and hear their stories. From there, work to help heal their burnout, in a more holistic manner, not just putting a Band-Aid on it.
How would you say you are helping your clients to stop faffing about and start taking clearer actions in their everyday lives to be more productive?
I hear a lot of people wanting to make changes in their lives but often never do anything about it for all sorts of reasons. So what I do is help them to get acquainted with their underlying beliefs and what’s behind their lack of inactions. I help clients look deeper into their mindset so they can generate their own self-awareness. I meet clients where they are. I don’t pretend to have it all together and it’s important for me to acknowledge that change can be scary for some, which is why empathy is so important. As a coach, it’s not my role to push anyone into actions when they’re not ready.
Can you talk us through the ‘From Burnout To Better’ program that you offer to your clients and how it differs from other programs on the market?
I wanted to come up with something that’s not overpromising but also couched in possibilities. Think about, ‘better’ could be anything under the sun and that’s the beauty of it. It’s an 8-week coaching program focused on supporting individuals get clarity about their burnout and from there, help to recreate a better lifestyle for them that’s truly theirs. What’s different in my opinion about my program is it focuses entirely on internal work – looking at beliefs, values, the narrative we are telling and how these impact us. It’s a lot to do with understanding our WHY. I do this through listening to their stories, and together we work on creating a new narrative. Healing starts by sharing our stories and no one can do that for you. There are no to-do lists, or how-to X steps guide to cure your burnout.
What would you say to those that are still over fixating on that ‘to-do list’ and suffering from pure exhaustion?
That the to-do list will still be there, so give yourself permission to ignore it for 10 minutes, or an hour or a day and give yourself some rest. You’re deserving of rest, whoever and whatever you are. Also, do ask for help with your to-do list, even if it’s a small thing. If you aren’t used to asking for help, it can be hard, but give a try. Start small. Even superheroes need a little help from their sidekick.
Who does the team involve at A Life Reworked?
I’m a one-woman show.
As you continue to grow, what important factors did you consider when looking at the scalability of your business model?
I’m leaning towards keeping A Life Reworked small to keep the coaching experience intimate and personal for the client and me. I love interacting with people, and don’t want to lose that element. I’ve also been inspired by ‘The Magic of Tiny Business’ by Sharon Rowe. Tiny can be good too.
Where can you see your self within the next 3-5 years?
I hope to have transitioned out of aid work and fully focusing on coaching in the next 3-5 years. A few things I want to see happen would be: working closely with organisations to develop a more supportive culture towards staff care, make coaching more accessible, and to have a practice that combines coaching with a more integrated approach to wellness.
How are you planning to expand A Life Reworked?
I would like A Life Reworked to have more breadth of services, to reach out to a variety of needs and people. I’m planning for online courses, wellness workshops, and retreats that are centered on the ‘everyday wellness’- the kind that’s relatable for everyone, easy and accessible. I’d really love for A Life Reworked to be a space for everyone to come to and walked away feeling excited and empowered to rework his or her life into a version they want.
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally?
Being new to the business, I often struggled with a lack of confidence and constantly doubting what I do. My mind would go, ‘who am I to do this’ or ‘how am I going to get clients’ etc. and that would send me into an overdrive. I do think it’s normal so I let the thinking happen and let it go. As I moved around for work, I do everything online and at times I think this limits how I grow my business. It can be hard to build and keep lasting networks within the community.
Have you ever had any other mentor? If so how has this benefitted you to grow?
I have worked with a coach to help keep my mindset gremlins at bay and this has helped me tremendously. It’s always good to be able to share and clarify my thinking. Setting up and growing a business can be a lonely process sometimes, so I’m grateful I have business buddies (from a marketing course I took) to check in with every so often. It’s good to commiserate, ask for inputs, share ideas and have a good laugh every so often with people who understand what you’re going through.
What outlets do use to market A Life Reworked?
I’m trying to keep is super simple, but right now, mainly on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. I’ve also just started on Pinterest. And of course good old email marketing and word-of-mouth.
Which methods are you using to build your own network?
I’m super fortunate to have a broad network of aid workers friends and colleagues so word-of-mouth has been the main way. In the coming months, I’m planning to do mini free sessions for those who are interested and have never been coached as well host small discussions groups within the community on various wellness topics.
What do you believe are the common misconceptions about being in the coaching industry?
One that comes up quite frequently is this misconception that coaching is totally airy-fairy and all about woo-woo stuff. That is far from the truth I think, especially as coaching is really about getting acquainted with your internal self that’s often ignored. I think that’s serious business. The other misconception that coaching is advice giving. Coaches are trained to help you get where you want to be via powerful questionings and exploration but not by telling you how to do it. That way, the client is equipped with the know-how for the future on how to approach similar situations.
What would you like to see changed for millennials in business?
It feels like these days, millennials are talked about with a certain disregard and disdain. I think they have a lot to offer, especially in a world where problems of today are nothing like the past. I think their youth, vigor, awareness and genuine curiosity could be harness in business to create solutions to new problems. I believe it would be great to see millennials getting more mentorship support not just in business, but also throughout every industry.
What is the best piece of advice you have received to date?
Once when I was feeling doubtful about my business, someone told me to write down a list of the reasons why I want this business badly, and write another list of what I’d see if I don’t set it up. She said when in doubt, to keep referring to that list. I’ve been keeping that list with me all these times, and it’s so good to be reminded – in my own words – why I really want to do this.
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?
There is an idea and the reality, and it’s important to check in where you are. I came to aid work full of idealism, charged up and ready to change the world. Obviously, these were expectations I had in my mind for a long time. About a few years back, I felt that idealism slowly disappearing and replaced by a snarky outlook on the reality of my environment and mostly I felt hopeless and helpless. That was when burnout came looking for me. What I learned was that I had spent an awful lot of time trying to fulfill a perfect dream of aid work, but forget to check in with myself or understand what it was doing to my life and me.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
I don’t buy into this ‘balance’ thing because life is not symmetrical and mostly because life is messy. So I’ve stopped trying to have it all together, this idea of 50/50 work and life.
What I do have are a few rules I follow: (1) at home, we put phones away at dinner and have conversations: (2) make time for one activity for myself each day, even something small like sipping my cuppa in peace away from people and technology; (3) I don’t bring work home (unless absolutely necessary) and (4) I turn off my phones notifications so it doesn’t interfere with work time and personal life and it totally helps in reducing my screen time.
The highlight of your career so far?
Years ago, I remembered this moment when I was doing a community consultation in a remote village in Sudan and there was a little girl, sitting in front of me. Her brother had a scab on his right ankle. She was patiently waving the flies away from him. I was so awed by her patience, just sitting there and listening to the adults. She later came forward and said thank you in Arabic, and smiled. It’s hard to say exactly why but this scene always plays back in my mind when I think about my career in aid and has become an anchoring feature about why I wanted to work in aid.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
It’s all the small things. Like, it gave me such joy when clients feel a better sense of clarity about their life, choices and ready to take on actions. I love that they get excited because I do too! Satisfaction is also when I’m being supported at work and valued.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
Byron Katie and her ‘Do The Work’ was game-changing for me. It taught me to understand my relationships with others around me, and how to bring back what’s truly important.
The other would be Brene Brown. I find her research really compelling and resonates a lot with me. By bringing to light important topics that we tend to brush aside like shame and vulnerability, she’s really creating a space for us to have more dialogues around these topics that we all have in our heads and hearts but too afraid to share.
How would you say you are intending to use your voice to educate others in the coaching industry?
I would really love to make coaching more accessible for all segments of society. I would like us, coaches to explore how our skills can be of use for the greater good of society and how we can foster a more compassionate environment via coaching and all of that. If we could spend more time in dialogue, and really listening, then perhaps we would have less fighting.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
‘The Untethered Soul’ by Michael A. Singer. A beautifully written spiritual narrative and I find myself rereading key passages over and over again. The book is basically about how a lot of life’s problems are caused by the commotions in our minds that we let run amok.
What does your Podcast playlist look like?
I listen to the ‘Revisionist History’ by Malcolm Gladwell and ‘The Inspirational Living’ a LOT.
How do you measure your own terms of success?
By putting in the work to achieve what I set out to do, no matter how long it takes and enjoying each step. Success isn’t just about you, so for me, it is also important to be a pillar of support for those around me. If I can do all these and not pull my hair out, I think that looks like success to me.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
For me, it’s about surrendering your fears, standing up, and making your mark – big or small – in this life.
Lastly, what is next for you and A Life Reworked?
In the immediate future, I’m crafting new resources for A Life Reworked and scaling up my online presence. Not always easy with a full-time job, but I love that I something to look forward to. I’m also motivated to continue expanding my knowledge about wellness and combining it with coaching. I’m curious about learning more about Ayurveda, an ancient Indian healing practice.