Shama Akram

Shama Akram is a Life Coach specialising in ADHD, accountability and confidence. She also does wedding choreography on the side.

What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your professional journey and what inspired you to choose this career.

I had a very good childhood, lived in London all my life. Studied sciences but worked in retail to pay for my tuition. Loved studying the sciences but buying and selling really appealed to me. So I decided to leave the sciences for more sales roles and was making a lot of money through the commissions. I still felt like there was something missing. I wasn’t feeling fulfilled in my life. I grew my professional role from a salesperson to account manager to business development until I met my husband and decided to get married. I have two children and spent a lot of their earlier years dedicating myself to them full time. I decided to resume a job after they were ready for school, however when that time came I realized that I wanted more flexi time or work from home jobs to work around my children but could find none. I decided to start my own journey into entrepreneurship with my Virtual PA company designed to help sole traders and small businesses with sales and admin support. My business was doing really well until my mum passed away and Covid hit. My life fell apart, my business went bust and I went to a very dark place filled with depression and anxiety with little or no support.

Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.

My husband was very concerned with my mental health and begged me to see a counsellor. I was not up for this at all as I didnt want some stranger knowing my business. Enter Lisa, my bereavement counsellor. She practically brought me back from the brink of self destruction. Her understanding and validation of everything I felt before, during and after my mum’s death helped me come to terms with it. Lisa helped me fix the fractured relationships in my life and taught me to be stronger. She inspired me to want to help people, however I didn’t want to become a counsellor, I don’t think I am strong enough to take on and unpeel the difficult layers of trauma. I wanted people to take the strength of their trauma and past and use it to demonstrate resilience, help people who are stuck in the rut of challenges and obstacles and help them work through it. So I became a Life coach. I studied level one and level two coaching which took me two years and became a certified life coach specialising in Confidence. In 2022, I was approached by the owner of Expresso Coaching based in the UK. They specialise in accountability coaching for people who struggle with Attention Deficit HyperActivity Disorder or ADHD, David Citron who I will forever be indebted to for seeing my potential and offering the opportunity to coach accountability. David has forever changed my life by being my mentor and helping me navigate my career as a Life coach. I am grateful to him for giving me the gift of having a career in a field I absolutely love and words cannot express what it feels to look forward to mondays. LOL.

Tell us about your goals, interests, and role models.

My Goal is to be the best Life coach specialising in Confidence, Accountability. I would like to grow the Syrenity Coaching Brand. I have been coaching 1:1 so far so I would like to venture into group coaching, however to do that, I will have to create a program. I would like to consider doing a podcast too. In regards to Role Models. I consider my counsellor Lisa and my Mentor David as superb role models, however I aspire to be a role model for my daughter and millions of young women to demonstrate how strength, resilience and a little bit of the right support can help them fly.

I mentioned I also do Wedding Choreography on the side. Life Coaching and Dance Choreography might seem like two unrelated choices, but just imagine this! You and your wedding party are nervous and excited to light up the dance floor on the special day. As your Choreographer, I get to sprinkle some magic into your performances. With every step, I see your joy multiplied and your confidence soar, so it’s effectively coaching confidence through movement.

Everyone has their own set of challenges when starting an entrepreneurial journey. Still, the most essential part for others to learn is how you deal with those. Would you like to share with us your challenges and your coping mechanisms?

So during my tenure as an Expresso Coach I found myself really resonating with the day to day challenges people with ADHD face. I questioned my deep understanding, I pondered as to why I can relate and offer my experience facing similar challenges. Techniques and tools seemed to work and I wondered why that is the case. I always thought myself a bit different and I flirted with the idea that maybe I was also ADHD. I got a diagnosis of inattentive adhd (quite ironic for a life coach) in June 2023. All of a sudden it seemed like a fog lifted and a heavy burden around my shoulders was less. Now I understand everything about who I am and I love and respect myself even more. Plus now I also understand why i needed the dance to get rid of my excessive energies

What impact do you feel you have been able to create with your work so far and how would you want to grow in the next few years?

Oh my goodness!  Watching the personal growth of my clients, to see them go from uncertain to confident individuals who can manage their ADHD symptoms using the tools and techniques that have worked for me in the past, has been the kind of job satisfaction that no other job has given me in the past. Even the money doesn’t compare to the gratitude my clients express to me daily when I have helped them with a certain challenge or I have made them feel they can achieve anything. This brings me immense joy. I just want to do this for the rest of my life in any capacity. Obviously I’m still dancing!!! lol.

Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?

Validation comes from within. If we can focus on yourself for just one hour a day we will be better equipped to deal with our infinite roles as wives/partners, mothers, sisters, daughters, at work and at home. 

I also want the world to stop telling women how they should be and just let them be. We are the more powerful gender on the planet. We are in charge of the future of our communities. So let us do our jobs!!!

Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women’s leadership today?

Whilst there are more and more women at C Level roles than there were 20 years ago, women have proven to be far more resourceful in regards to carving out their own careers and are creating their own positions at C Level. I absolutely love that.

With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?

Ikigai can describe having a sense of purpose in life, as well as being motivated. Described in Japanese usually means the feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment that follows when people pursue their passions.Activities that generate the feeling of ikigai are not forced on an individual; they are perceived as being spontaneous and undertaken willingly, and thus are personal and depend on a person’s inner self. I found my IKIGAI through my Life Coaching and Dancing, let me help you find yours