052: From Hollywood to Homeless to Million Dollar Performance Coach (w/ Kurek Ashley)
Kurek Ashley is an internationally renowned speaker, author and coach in the fields of self-development and success coaching, he is recognized as a premier expert in personal and professional development, self-discovery and peak performance. He is the founder of Life Success Club that brings together a community of like-minded, positive, success-driven people from all over the world. His No. 1 Best-Selling book Howwould Love respond? has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.
For over 30 years, Fortune 500 companies and major corporations around the world such as Apple, Seagate, Schwarzkopf, Westin Hotels, The Australian Royal Airforce and Carlton United Brewery, hire Kurek to teach them tactical success strategies that have produced awe-inspiring results. His list of private clients include Hollywood film and TV stars, movie directors, producers and cinematographers, a quintuple platinum rock band, hit music composers, top business leaders, oil executives in Kuwait, Olympic Gold Medalists, professional athletes and sports teams, and many others. He is also the founder of Action Heroes Inc., a movement dedicated to sharing inspirational thoughts, ideas and life experiences that have been put into action to produce results that have transformed people’s lives around the world.
Shift from movie industry career
Kurek was always coaching people since high school, talking to them about fulfilling their dreams and goals. It was always a passion of his to coach people on personal development.
He started acting at age 12 and at 18 he moved to Los Angeles where he was taken under the wing of a movie director whose best friend was Sylvester Stallone. The director, and a host of books he used to read, forced him to read the book Think and Grow Rich.
As he was acting and working behind the camera, he once got an audition on a Saturday for the lead bad guy in a movie titled Mighty Ducks Part 5. It was an emergency casting, and very rare for a major studio to audition on a Saturday. Kurek was supposed to hear from them on the following Tuesday on whether he got the part but they never called; and on the Thursday that followed, he left for Georgia to do a speaking engagement for the youth in a small town.
Kurek didn’t check his answering machine until that Sunday when he got messages from the studio saying he had gotten the part, and that he would start shooting on the Friday that had just passed. His lack of response to the studio’s call caused a lot of anger and he was worried that his acting career would come to an end but then he figured it was better that he did the speaking engagement to help change the young people’s lives. He loved helping people more than acting so he started doing many more speaking engagements and finally let go of the movie industry. The speaking business became very successful because Kurek directed all his focus onto it. That was 23 years ago.
Going full-time into the speaking business
As he was starting out doing more speaking engagements, he recorded one of the first corporate speaking events he ever did but he didn’t like it at all and the people who were to give him a testimonial letter refused to do so because they felt that he did so badly.
Kurek watched the recording over and over again to try and figure out what was good about it and he discovered some pieces that were good. Those pieces were the ones where he was off script and spoke from the heart on what he was passionate about. So, Kurek learnt how to expand on that. Immediately after that bad speaking engagement, he booked himself into 13 others and did that every month from then on because he realised that if he was to get good at it, he would have to keep doing it continuously.
Tip 1: It’s always better to keep yourself in motion despite the downfalls you face
Tip 2: Always ask yourself, “How can I make it better?”
Tip 3: In anything you want to be great at in life, you have to change your mindset and work on developing the relevant skillsets
Getting speaking engagements after first flop
Kurek used to do a lot of free ones but also did paid ones with his core focus being on marketing himself.
Tip 1: You have to get out there and market yourself and believe in yourself
Tip 2: If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you have to push out the naysayers
Getting calls from paying clients
He still does a few free speaking engagements mostly for charity but all his clients are now paying clients. He has done more than $5 Million in coaching revenue and his client base has grown consistently for the last 18 years.
Tip 1: At some point when you are starting up, you have to draw a line in the sand and say no more free ones, here is my rate, and then promote yourself at that level
Tip 2: Cheaper is not easier. Doing a low price doesn’t mean you will succeed because people who pay for value will not be attracted by your cheap offering. You have to put a price on yourself
Tip 3: If you make a low amount of money in life, that is all your worth to yourself. If you think you are worth more, you will demand more
Getting out of homelessness
Kurek says he has been homeless twice, once in the US and once in Australia. Being homeless in Australia came about when the company that brought him in, left him stranded by not paying him so he ended up spending all his savings. He was 37 years old then and the experience depressed him immensely but he never gave up.
A person he had previously come across in Australia had offered to produce one of his seminars 8 months earlier but Kurek never called or took him seriously. Eventually, Kurek called him and he produced his first seminar in Australia where Kurek broke the longest fire walk in history record (81 metres of 600 degree coals on bare feet). He also met Natalie Cook (Australian professional beach volleyball player and Olympic gold medallist) and worked with her team for two and a half years, and took them to win gold medals at the Sydney Olympics. He achieved a lot of other great milestones with his work in Australia.
Tip 1: Nothing happens if you don’t follow through
Tip 2: Everybody gets a shot in life but it all comes down to what you do with that shot. Your shot rarely looks like what you expect it to look like and so, you should treat everything like it is your only shot.
Difference between an Olympic gold medallist and the person in fourth position
The difference is usually a one-one-hundredth of a second difference in time or in some sports its one point between getting everything and nothing. The person in fourth position doesn’t get anything, but in Kurek’s view, the fourth person is still fourth best in the world and it’s an amazing fete.
Kurek trained Natalie and her team to be gold medallists in advance. They applied that into the 2000 Sydney Olympics and it gave them the motivation and zeal that led them to winning gold against their very formidable Brazilian counterparts. Kurek’s coaching made them believe in themselves.
Tip 1: All great achievers are visionaries, they don’t look at what they have or don’t have now, they focus on who they are going to be in future and what they are going to have
Tip 2: Challenges give our lives value and make us better
Core revenue streams
Kurek does speaking engagements and has a best-selling book called How Would Love Respond? that has been out for 8 years and sells massively. He recently bought back the rights to it and re-released it.
He also has coaching clients and a coaching group called The Entrepreneur’s Inner Circle. The coaching group only takes in 20 entrepreneurs at a time, who Kurek coaches for one year. Kurek is also writing more books, works with sports themes, and has an online personal development club.
Benefits of writing
Kurek says a book gets the public looking at someone as an expert and when one has a number one best seller, that amplifies ones credibility. He says Robert Kiyosaki told him that Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a brochure that he wrote to promote himself, and that people pay $29.95 for. That is the same way Kurek’s book works for him while also helping him help more people in a more leveraged fashion. People buy his book, love it and buy many copies of it to give to their friends and families. He also gives away copies whenever he travels and it has worked very well for him because it has gotten him corporate clients, media interviews, numerous sales, and many other great gains. He even sold 150 books in Kuwait.
How Would Love Respond?was the first book he finished. He had written a book in the early nineties called Nutritional Support. He self-published it and sold about 3,000 copies. He also wrote two other books before How Would Love Respond? but they never took off because writing was not Kurek’s natural talent. Eventually he hired a wordsmith to teach him how to structure, started learning publicity and got a big New York agent to represent him before he had even written anything.
Growth strategy today
Kurek does a lot of interviews, media, blog posts, webinars, and is regularly on social media. He pitches segments to media outlets that he wants to be on. Once, while in New Zealand, he met a breakfast show host and convinced him to have him on his show. During the show, Kurek took the host across broken glass and after that he helped the host fire walk, and through that he got 18 minutes on TV and it didn’t cost him anything.
He says he not only sells his business but also sells himself (the Kurek Ashley brand). A good example of that is Richard Branson.
Tip: It’s on editorial that people trust you more than on advertisements and it really builds your profile
Biggest breakthrough moment
“Whenever I see a door, window, or pathway open to me, not only do I go through it but I capitalize on it”
For example, with the current podcast interview (The Business Generals Podcast), Kurek says he will share it with all the people in his database and social media platforms. He always does as much as he can to keep expanding everything.
Telling great stories in his speaking engagements
Kurek says people like to be entertained more than educated. For example, How Would Love Respond? is made up of stories about his own life and other different things, and it has made such a big difference in people’s lives because they get caught up in his story.
Tip: Stories are the fastest way to induce trance, which means to get into people’s sub-conscious minds, because they listen to your stories, and the teachings are imbedded in the stories
Kurek believes in having mentors and he is always reading and studying new things. He has had different coaches, for example, he had a publicity coach in New York who gave him one sentence, and that sentence made Kurek over a million dollars. He has coaches at different levels except personal development because he is always teaching personal development and is therefore always speaking, reading or studying about it. His coaches are mostly in internet marketing and business.
He has also been studying Aikido for the past 9 years and is one rank away from his black belt. It’s not just about martial arts, it’s about how someone conducts themselves in life. It coaches Kurek on how to operate, how to handle challenges, and how to handle people.
Tip: To be an authority, you have to be an ongoing student
A day in life when starting the business Vs. a day in life now
The only difference is that he is now married with 3 kids. Him and his wife work from their farm on the sunshine coast. He gets up at 4 or 5am, reads his goals, does affirmations, reads, does some exercises, drives the kids to school, and does coaching and other work throughout the rest of the day. He is always engaging in activities to expand the business.
Book recommendation for entrepreneurs:
The Science of Getting Rich: How to Make Money and Get the Life You Want – Wallace D. Wattles
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It – Michael E. Gerber
Number of speaking engagements per year
He used to do about 250 events per year but now does around 100 events because he also likes to ensure he spends enough time with his family.
To be remembered as the guy who led by example, made something out of himself despite going through great challenges, kept moving forward, and inspired as many people as he could – Kurek.