My name is Arti Kakkad, and I am passionate about personal development, helping people learn more about themselves and how to lead a better life. I have coached and mentored both children and adults since 2007 and over the years have added to my repertoire of skills to really be able to uproot the deeply embedded behaviours people wish to change.

My story

Did you know that a river starts off simply as a small drip, which begins to trickle and take shape – the trickle becoming a stream and the stream becoming a river?  My interest in personal development and understanding the mind began and grew much the same way, when I was very young as a slow trickle, which over the years became a steady stream and then a raging river. It was at that point that I decided to open up my own business coaching and mentoring others to use their mind to help them achieve their goals.

So since you clicked on the link to find out more about me, I assume you want more of the story.  So, bear with me if you will as I transport you back to the source; my childhood.

A trickle forms

I was always fascinated by how people think as a child. A self-professed bookworm, I read as many books as I could which gave me insight into the characters’ mind, and if anyone ever asked me what superpower I’d like I would tell them that I wanted the ability to read minds (the answer to that question, incidentally, has changed over the years).  People would share their feelings with me and I immediately wanted to make them feel better; even if I didn’t fully understand how complex being an adult could be.

My parents were always very encouraging of my explorations, and I grew up in a large family full of wonderful people with an eclectic range of interests and personalities who I learned a lot from.  I could see the security family and friendship provided everyone as they faced the ups and downs of life, but also the misunderstandings that could easily arise from our inability to communicate what we felt in a calm way, or from our inability to take a step back from our own emotions to really listen to the other person.  This fascinated and frustrated me all at once.

I also attended an extracurricular Saturday school, where the basic premise of the syllabus was to learn about who we really are so that we would bring positivity in the world, and in times of high pressure react in ways which are healthy.  We learned about stress management, good communication, solving ethical problems, personal development, healthy living and mindfulness from a very young age, although to be honest I didn’t pay too much direct attention to it; it was one of the many useful things I was learning at that age (like maths, English, swimming and how to ride a bike). To me, the weekend club was a place for me to see my friends, learn some good stories full of adversity and adventure and my favourite part –  volunteering in the community. Little did I know that weaved in to all of these activities were excellent life lessons on how to handle difficult situations which would serve me well later in life.

I left the weekend club when I moved to attend university, where I studied Mathematics. The good habits I’d developed of living a healthy lifestyle stayed with me and I still retained a vague interest in mindfulness, attending the odd course to find out more – although it was very much in the background. I thoroughly enjoyed the university lifestyle and I found the degree challenging but interesting. I left in 2007 armed with a degree, ready to venture out into the working world.

The trickle becomes a stream

Since 2007 I have:

  • Volunteered in the weekend school I used to attend, teaching children healthy living, communication skills and ethical behaviour through stories and activities.
  • Worked as an actuary in both the private and public sectors. This entails solving complex problems like “how much should we save now to make sure we have a pension for life later” with lots of different unknown elements like “when will you retire, when will you die, what investment returns can you get and what will inflation be like.” Being able to think about complex issues was a skill which came in handy when I started trying to understand how the human mind works!
  • Trained and coached many people in the workplace both on actuarial concepts and people skills such as managing people, motivating yourself and others, delivering effective presentations and writing for impact.
  • Volunteered for St John Ambulance where as well as providing advanced first aid cover at a variety of events I also trained and coached children and adults in first aid, emotional management and people management in highly pressurised situations requiring first aid.

I found my job as an actuary very rewarding, but my favourite part of it was always coaching, mentoring and training. I sought opportunities to do this as much as possible over the years, becoming a key coach and trainer in all offices I worked in.

The first company I worked at had a strong emphasis on helping us understand ourselves, how to form a team, how to tailor your training to different audiences, how to network and so on. I drank all of this up keenly, and then went on to give training myself.  I didn’t recognise it at the time, but almost everything I was doing outside of work to relax(!) also had the same emphasis on training or coaching people to do their best.

A river forms

Between 2011 and 2014 I moved country, moved back again, met a guy and fell in love, got engaged, moved job, got married and moved house…in short, I had a lot of life-changing events happen more-or-less all at once.  There were some bumps I had to work around, or through, on the way – just like a river.  Apart from anything else, that was a lot for my brain to take in a short amount of time. Suddenly (or perhaps gradually without me noticing),  my mind was always racing and I couldn’t sleep. I tried various ‘self help’ techniques which helped a little, but I didn’t feel like things were changing fast enough.

One day someone recommended an NLP coach and hypnotherapist to me, and she literally changed my life. Having someone guide me at a pace which was perfect for me, learning tools from a person who understood directly what I needed instead of trying to find the ‘right one’ in a book myself – and then being accountable to actually practice them – I regained control of my thoughts, the pace at which they whizzed past, and my emotions (which to be honest, I didn’t know could be controlled until this period in my life!) I learned many skills which then ended up improving my marriage, my performance at work, my relationship with my parents, my health…and…well…everything about my life really.  It was all so interesting and magical to me that my enthusiasm for personal development took off even more, and the landscape of my bookshelves changed from fiction to books on the mind, how people work, how to create new habits, how to create effective teams and so on.  It seemed like I needed to go through some situations to understand them for myself – it was suddenly a lot clearer to me what people were going through and how to help them.

Over the years my stream had joined many tributaries (or is the whole river analogy wearing thin now?) I’d taken coaching courses to enhance my coaching and training at work and had met many people whose whole job it was to help people improve. I’d considered switching career many times, but something always held me back. Even when it didn’t feel right, I would always save carefully ‘just in case’ I was to one day decide to make the switch. Learning about the existence of hypnotherapy and NLP felt like the missing link, and although it was a tough decision to take a different direction I decided that this was all too good to keep to myself and undertook a hypnotherapy and NLP course myself so that I could use these skills in my coaching of others. I now use them in the corporate environment, private sessions for small groups in my home in Milton Keynes and one-to-one with my clients. My studying still continues, and I will always work to enhance it to sharpen the tools I use to help clients, as the human mind and how to help get the best out of it is so facsinating to me.