The Malta Independent 22 February 2020, Saturday

Life is a (very) short journey: Let’s make the best of it

Thursday, 27 June 2019, 13:57 Last update: about 9 months ago

STEVE FARRUGIA is a Life Coach specializing in restoring people's lives. His training included Neuro-Linguistic Programming, where he reached Master Practitioner level, and he also trained as a Hypnotherapist at the British Academy of Hypnosis. In this interview with Marie Benoît he talks about the work he does with individuals and with groups to help them improve their lives.


One acquires many 'friends' on Facebook. They are mostly people one never gets round to meeting. Over time and various postings one more or less builds up an image of what they must be like in real life.

Now Steve Farrugia's postings are always interesting and have a certain amount of depth. One learns much from them. They are full of common sense without being boring. On the contrary.

I have also watched Steve on TVM - on Stephanie Spiteri's programme Illum Ma' Steph.  He is consistent in what he says, thinks, and advises.

He also holds courses which-judging from the comments of those who have attended them-are very well received.

Steve describes himself as a Life Coach, Hypnotherapist and Life Skills Trainer. I asked him if I could interview him over email as I knew that he would have something worthwhile to pass on.

First of all, I wanted to know what exactly is a Life Coach. "The role of the Life Coach is to help the individual broaden horizons-to gain a wider perspective on the world we live in-to break through limitations and reach his/her potential. As a Life Coach, my job is 'not' to heal emotional traumas or depression, as strictly speaking that would be the domain of the psychologist and the psychiatrist, but I do get service requests from people who would have already been through periods of therapy and felt they needed a different approach, believing that my Coaching could provide them with answers."   Steve believes that this is because his less formal and less analytical approach seeks to obtain results faster by exploring what is working and building on it, simultaneously replacing hurtful mental movies that are unconsciously being kept alive by counterproductive, constant focus.

He explains to me that Life Coaches have a popular 'model' known by the acronym GROW - Goal, Reality, Options and the Way Forward.

He goes on: "We help a person to identify his true Goals because people often focus on what they don't want rather than what they do and very few are clear about their direction in life.  They float aimlessly.  To identify one's true Goals, one must become aware of one's underlying Beliefs and Life Values."

He includes these important subjects in his Workshops because a lot of misconceptions exist owing to people's erroneous association of 'Beliefs and Life Values' almost exclusively with Religion/Politics and Morality when in fact they are much, much broader than that. Steve explains: "When a life coach identifies limiting beliefs about life, our questioning helps the client realize that these are not serving him and, what's more, that they are fallacious. Our aim is to help a person identify which of his beliefs are empowering and which are hindering his development and happiness." He then quotes Robert Wicks the author and psychologist: "We must be willing to sit on the edge of mystery and unlearn what has helped guide us in the past but is no longer useful." In short: shed your baggage, your worries, your hurts, many disappointments, failures, guilt and bad memories... because it is not helpful to carry it around for the rest of your life.

He goes on: "Make sure you are ready to receive whatever is discussed in these workshops, or private sessions with an open mind and sufficient willingness for it to make a difference in your life if this is to serve you usefully. As the ancient Zen koan (story) goes, pouring tea in a cup that is already full will only overflow it and waste the tea."

So a Life Coach ascertains what his client's 'reality' is and explores perceived obstacles, for a start and then options available.

Steve comments that there is a proverb he absolutely loves in this regard. "I had read it in a book by Edward de Bono eons ago. It goes: 'Where there are two roads, take the third.'"

He explains that there are always more options than we originally perceived, and the Coach helps us find them. "We then agree on a way forward and monitor the actions being taken. I love to support people especially in the initial period when they need to see results to keep themselves motivated by overcoming initial hurdles. After all there is no greater motivator than success, in my view.  'Little wins' provide the fuel they need to keep going."

What about his Workshops which, judging from the comments on Facebook, have enjoyed a certain amount of success thus creating a following for Steve.  "My first programme is called 'Essential Life-Skills' and deals with 4 important columns of Self-Development. 

The first is 'Self-Discovery,' which includes an understanding of your Life Values because these underlie all your decisions, a recreation of your Pastimes, as exploration of your various Life Roles, or personas, and finally deciding your best Life Mission. 

Another of these essential columns concerns your 'Emotions and Feelings' where we learn how the Mind processes our environment to create our Thoughts that create our Feelings - and let us not forget that 'Life is all and only about how we feel!'  

This programme also covers 'Goal Setting and Motivation,' a subject which I also present at Mentoring Circles organized by professional training companies.

The Essential Life-Skills programme finishes with the ultra-interesting topic of 'Worry,' that silent killer, and how we can handle it."

His second programme is about 'Self-Empowerment,' starting with Self-Image, leading to Self-Worth and Self-Esteem, to Self-Respect and Self-Love (often confused with Selfishness, another grave misconception) and finally Self-Confidence and Assertiveness.  He comments: "I have seen people transform from the inside out after these programmes as a result of their seeing themselves in a more positive light and empowering themselves.  I have trained people who were now able to take certain decisions about their relationship and their work that they simply did not have the courage to take before. Many even transform outwardly because of their inner changes."

Steve's most recent programme is called 'The Art of Manifesting' - more commonly understood to be related to the Law of Attraction. "In this programme," he explains, "I marry the ancient philosophy of 'like attracting like' with supporting principles from science, neuroscience, psychology, metaphysics and spirituality.  I avoid the hocus pocus approach and stack rationale where others treating this subject lightly prefer to float in mysticism.  Moreover, this programme (while keeping away from religious dogma) teaches the essence of Faith in order to Manifest what one desires.  Allow me to share a principle.  Many speak of Hope as if it were the foundation of religion, but miracles were ALWAYS performed where there was certainty.  Hope is an absence of certainty.  Even when you pray, have certainty!"

Aside from collaborating with Hair and Beauty Salons, who may end up offering these workshops to their own clientele, Steve regularly gives free talks to NGOs and a variety of associations.  "By doing this I hope to reach those who cannot otherwise afford to participate in courses.  Once the discussion opens up, people feel empowered and my hope is that they start to 'question' their Beliefs and Values, not to reject them but to test them.  In the same way as the wind blows away the dead leaves but does not affect the healthy ones, we examine whether we are allowing our impoverished conditioning to govern our lives, or else if we are consciously living on purpose."

Steve explains living on purpose as 'living with purpose,' in a more deliberate manner, being more aware of our surroundings and, as much as possible, being in charge of our responses.  This touches on the subject of Mindfulness, which means to live in the 'here and now,' a concept that was born in Buddhism many centuries ago but only recently came into fashion here in the 'west'.

This is also the case with his TV slots. "I am grateful for being given a chance to appear on Steph's interesting programme as this helps me reach more people, maybe I can help them correct antiquated ways of thinking that often act as a ball and chain in our life."

His biggest satisfaction is to see people change for the better.  "Yet, I am equally satisfied by the comments (reviews) they leave in my facebook page:"

Besides the workshops and group sessions, Steve also holds private sessions.  Apart from regular one-on-one Life Coaching and Business Mentoring, private sessions also include hypnotherapy.  "I have great respect for the ultra-confident stage hypnotists, particularly the ethical ones, yet so many people are sceptical about the genuineness of hypnosis because of what they see happening on stage - which is purely for entertainment purposes, whereas we use hypnosis for therapeutic reasons and it is not nearly as dramatic, although some results have been stunning nonetheless."

Steve can relate an endless amount of anecdotes based on his experiences. One person came to him saying he had no reason left to live yet found his way forward and is now happy, married and settled. "Another person turned her life around from dead-end mediocrity to a life of freedom and career possibilities while raising her family as the dedicated mum she is."  Another person found her voice and faced her sibling who was (maybe unknowingly) constantly putting her down by referring to her troubled childhood, with which she now had dealt in a healthy way. 

And yet another example: "Another client could not eat - she threw up most times - after having developed a phobia for food following an incident.  She had become dangerously thin and her life was in ruins.  Her relationship ended and her confidence was non-existent. After one hypnotherapy session, she immediately felt hungry and soon put on some healthy weight, gained lots of confidence, entered a new, loving relationship (rejected her ex's attempt to reunite) and even got promoted at work."  He relates another success story from his early days when a client came to terms with certain relationship issues. "I believe she has one of the strongest relationships I've witnessed when this was on the verge of collapse owing to insecurities." 

Steve concedes, however, that not all cases were this successful.  He comments: "Some people cannot follow simple instructions and thwart their own transformations.  Belief is paramount for the success of hypnotherapy, as is trust and being able to follow instructions, employ your imagination and let go.  The subconscious mind is an awesome and powerful servant, but an awful and incompetent master!"

Part of what Steve does is to inspire and motivate people into action, forming positive habits to replace damaging behaviours.  "We all fall, no one is constantly on the crest of the wave, but the trained (or balanced) person gets back up quicker." Yes, that is so true.

"We may (possibly) be taking ourselves far more seriously than is beneficial for our own happiness on any level.  Here is one way to look at it:  In a limitless universe, where millions of suns have existed for billions of years, perhaps our daily problems and our very existence require better perspective."

He explains. "Our physical lives - that last a mere 80 years on an optimistic average - are as brief as 'one thousandth of a second' out of a 'single day' when compared to the estimated 4.5 billion-year old planet Earth.  And our planet is one of the young ones!  Do we realize how ridiculous we are being when we claim importance in this immensity?"

He imparts a piece of advice: "The important thing to remember about life is that it won't last forever and no matter how much we have left (this being an unknown to everyone) after a certain age our chances of a healthy life start to reduce, so every moment is crucial and needs to be spent in a way that makes us feel good.  I love being a Life Coach.  I only wish more people took responsibility for their own happiness instead of blaming others for their predicaments (even if others are indeed to blame), and that most would stop drifting with the current that can easily lead any person with a negative outlook to a waterfall of chronic unhappiness."

His mission?  "I give people their life back ... only better."

His parting shot: "Make it your life's mission to be happy."

Tel: 99987552 or 79390177 
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