He has shared stages with presidents, celebrities and global icons, and coached Fortune 500 executives and world-class speakers. Voted a Top 100 Business Leader in the World to Follow on Twitter (with a following there of over 200,000), he has trained and spoken to over 200,000 people in over 200 cities in 25 countries on five continents – including his homeland of Africa, where he headlined a recent tour.
Pa Joof continues to build his far-reaching empire of inspiration in multiple ways. Serial entrepreneur, business strategist, personal development facilitator and international speaker, Pa Joof is renowned for helping people achieve their potential and helped people create revenues (not profit) of over 1 million in as little as six months from nothing. Time for an interview with this international icon!
Tea or Coffee?
No thanx. Just water.
How did your journey start?
Born to immigrants in the UK, my family and I went back to my native Gambia when I was just a child. We lived in a one bedroom appartment which was very crammed for 8 years. Life was hard. I knew that life would be difficult if I ever returned to the UK. But that’s exactly what I did. At 17, I came back and my parents later sent me my younger brother to take care of. Determined to carve a better life for myself and my family. Failure, quite simply, was not an option.
Money is a silent applause for adding immense value to people’s lives
After graduating from University, I rose through the ranks in the corporate world, eventually holding position as European Head of Banking for a Fortune 500 company. Overseeing sales and corporate training initiatives in several other blue-chip companies, I was responsible for over $1 billion in assets.
You reached financial freedom by the age of 30. Why didn’t you stay in your comfort zone?
I could have created many excuses, remain in my comfort zone and settle for the ordinary. But I had this desire to share my story and to bring hope to people. To let them know that, with the right mindset, they also can accomplish anything in life.
What are typical mistakes people make when they start a business?
They start the business for the wrong reasons. More money, more time, or proof that they are good enough. They want to fill a void in their life.
What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?
Being a father for my three beautiful sons. My oldest is 10 years old. His brother just turned 9 in April and the youngest one is 6.
What is the weirdest thing about you?
I got this from home but I lot of people find that it is weird: I still handwash my underwears. When I was growing up in Gambia, you handwash your clothes. We were too poor to have a washing machine.
Who are your rolemodels?
My younger brother. He prepared me for life. He gave me the opportunity to look after him. He was 11 years old and I was 17 years old. That is not a thing a 17 year old wants to do at that stage of life. And my wife. She is an incredible soul, because it is not easy to live with me. But she has been putting up with me for nearly 13 years now.
Do you see yourself as a rolemodel for the black community?
I strive to be an example of what is possible. I am not colourblind. But as Martin Luther King says: Humanity before race. I like to be a role model for the Gambian people, for the fathers, for the youth. Bridging the gap between cultures. I like to be the bridge between different cultures. I was recently in South Africa during the xenophobic attacks and I had a profound experience. The country has only been united for 28 years, but you can still feel the pain between the black and the white people.
How would your friends describe you?
Somebody who always has an answer. Intens, stubborn and very determined. A great leader. I go places where people would not go.
If you want to learn more about Pa Joof, visit his website: www.pajoof.com