Rob Duffy
Ireland

Rob Duffy’s Story:

From State Employee to Life Coach


Name: Rob Duffy

Country: Ireland

Occupation: Life & Business Coach

Company: Life Choice Solutions

Quote: ‘People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.’ – John C. Maxwell

I feel like I have lived two lives. In my former life, I was employed by the state to work sorting the mail and wasn’t very curious about the world. I played music in bands and had dreams of the rockstar life but ultimately, I was a bit of a lost soul. In September 2001, shortly after the attacks of 9/11, my life transformed like it did for so many people that year, I had a bit of a tragedy and I very nearly died on a trip to Ibiza. I committed to myself in that Ibiza hospital that I would do something profoundly different with my life and thus began my second life. I enrolled in a degree program with Open University as a mature student and began to utilise the aptitude that I was neglecting to use in my earlier life. I became interested in ideas and people and started to grow up. In 2013, I completed my degree and also left my job working for the state. I set up my coaching business in 2015 where I work with other people who are eager to make a transformation in their own lives and I have never been as content as I find myself today.

What’s your perfect holiday? Somewhere remote with just the right amount of people. Not too hot but also not too cold. Good food, good company, good conversation. Bliss.

What’s your favorite country to visit? I have a lot of Polish friends and I really like there but I have a really great affinity for all Eastern European people. I am not a huge fan of travel, to be honest. I actually like moderate temperatures because warm climates don’t work out well with my fair skin. Give me snow over the sun any day!

Favorite book? I don’t read much fiction because I am just not interested. I did, however, quite enjoy ‘The Fountainhead’ by Ayn Rand. I love reading books on Leadership and self-help too. I really like Steve Peters – ‘The Chimp Paradox’ from that genre.

What was your journey before your first encounter with SFL?

In my early incarnation, I didn’t really make a model student in school. I floated along. I played football from an early age and played until age 18. I always liked sports and I like the odd game of tennis with someone who can actually play and give me a good game. I suppose I am competitive in that regard. I began to play music when I was 15. I purchased a (really bad) guitar from a neighbour and learned how to play all Oasis songs within 6 months. I joined a band and started playing some gigs which was a lot of fun. In that scene, you are likely to encounter some bad habits and I fell into some bad patterns and did some things that I probably shouldn’t have. Youthful exuberance or lack of personal responsibility, both labels fit. In 2001, I had a life changing experience on holiday which resulted in me having the opportunity to pause and recalibrate my life. I have written about the experience here but having been so reckless and coming close to being the cause of a very major life-altering injury, I took some time to reflect on my life direction. I made some massive changes to my life and the direction it was taking and I strangely now reflect on that experience as one of the best things that ever happened to me. The metaphor ‘From the darkness comes the light’ seems to fit here.

How were you introduced to SFL and to libertarian ideas?

My journey into liberty began happening in my mid/late twenties. I began to read up on what the role of government was in society and what sovereignty meant. As Europe became more influential in Irish Politics, I began to get curious more and more and it fundamentally pushed me to learn and take more notice. I met other curious people in my area and from there I got exposed to the ideas of Rothbard and Mises and the Ron Paul 2008 Campaign. We set up a local group in Ireland and began hosting socials and found that there was actually a lot of interest in liberty here which was a surprise. In 2012, I heard about SFL through one of the guys in our group and in November, we decided to travel to an SFL Regional Conference in Munich to meet other liberty-minded Europeans. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. I was working full-time (in the public sector) and finishing my degree at the time so joining and committing to leading in my region was unrealistic at the time. I was really interested in staying abreast of the activities and to my surprise, Irish LCs began to emerge which was exciting. When I left my old state job and completed my degree I was eager to get involved with SFL and did so in 2016.

What were your favorite moments in SFL?

I have to say there have been so many amazing moments. The first RC I attended in Munich was amazing where I met people such as Wolf von Laer and Fred Roeder and many of the SFL Europe founders. My first Top 100 in Gummersbach in August 2016 was a really great experience too. Meeting all the amazing people active in the organisation around Europe who are the driving force behind our success refuels you and helps you to push forward in your own region when you leave the retreat. Also, the two LibertyCon Europe events in Prague and recently in Belgrade were amazing events to be a part of. It’s an amazing feeling to be surrounded by your ‘tribe’ and SFL has become that for me. I am so inspired by the work of the people involved right across the network but because I work closely with the European group getting to know many of these people has been a great honour and blessing.

How did SFL’s programs add value to your professional and personal life?

SFL gave me many opportunities to practice my leadership skills. In terms of leading the region in UK & Ireland for two years, that was a great privilege to be able to work with so many charismatic people who are leading groups and spreading the message of liberty in their campuses and regions. In being a lead part of events such as Leadership Fora and Leadership retreats, opportunities arise to spread some of my professional knowledge in personal development and some of the leadership skills that I offer my clients are a secondary gain for the leaders that have worked with me over the years. The network in SFL has opened opportunities to work with more clients and make business connections and avail of wider exposure to those who might not have heard of me before. There is a borrowed ethos which the organisation lends its volunteers that many SFLers may only realise when they begin their careers and move into a professional capacity. Finally, I have gained so many lifelong friends and have been invited to places which I find hard to even pronounce properly. The true value created within SFL is its people.

How has the political situation in your country influenced your decision to become an entrepreneur?

To be honest, the political situation didn’t have much of an influence on my choice to start my own business. Having worked for the state for around 15 years, seeing the mess and inefficient means by which it goes about producing value, I grew to understand that working for the state or anyone else for that matter was not aligned to my values. I have learned over the years that I am quite independent and enjoy the freedom of working on my own and not having a boss to tell me how to do things.

Tell us more about your company?

I called my company Life Choice Solutions. As a Coach, I work with people who are ready to move to the next level in their life. Usually, the work I do relates to the client’s career or business. They look to make a transformation to a new version of themselves and I have got some life experience in that regard.  In helping to move people towards the next level, I must first find out what has held them back in the past. I guess if I was to identify the secret sauce of special skill regarding that which I do, it would have to be questioning people to help them discover their limiting beliefs. Most of the time, we get in our own way and stall our progress based on how we view ourselves. Sometimes we unconsciously forget to give ourselves permission to be able to do, be or have certain things in our lives for undefined reasons. Working with clients and helping them navigate their own mental model of the world is what I do. I love helping clients fill themselves with empowering new beliefs which allows them to reach the next level in their lives, whatever that may be for them. It is very rewarding to hear about new progress or new discoveries that clients make in between sessions. All those small wins create the big wins and ultimately the results that they want in their lives. It is a wonderful vocation that I have chosen for myself and the people I work with are a great source of inspiration.

What was the profession you dreamt about in your childhood and how did it impact your career choice?

I never really had a solid vision or dream of what I wanted to do for a career in my childhood. For years, I did want to play in a band but not so much anymore.

If any, who is your role model?

In libertarian circles, I would have to say Professor Gerard Casey is a person I look up to and admire greatly here in Ireland. He has a warm, generous and humorous presence about him that is great to be around. He writes very clearly and about topics which interest me. Of late, I have been very interested in the work of Jordan Peterson and I can see that it is having a profound effect on people that I also encounter professionally. I think that his work has been incredibly beneficial to bringing the ideas of self-knowledge and personal responsibility to people who wouldn’t otherwise have received it but for his recent mainstream exposure. It was quite surprising to recently see nearly ten thousand people attend a talk with Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris in Dublin city recently. Peterson may be a role model for quite a few people.

What is your perfect work and life balance?

I dislike that word perfect and think that it is a word that each individual should consider throwing in the garbage. There is no perfect and there is especially no perfect work/life balance. I am with Gary Vaynerchuk on this. We either know what works for us and become content or we live a life fighting against ourselves. We need to decide which suits us and from that self-knowledge, we work out a routine and choose a career that satisfies our values and personal needs. I am happy to work on something to a conclusion and work to get to 80% completion as soon as possible. Many times what ends up annoying us in relation to work/life is the creeping of time drains where we realise that deadlines are coming. This is a mistake that is mitigated by getting 80% of the work done ASAP. When you have only 20% left to do you don’t have the same sense of panic as only having 20% of work completed and worrying that 80% of a task needs to be completed and you are racing against the clock. Over time, this builds a resentment toward tasks and doesn’t have to be this way if we set out to race to 80% completion as soon as possible on our tasks. We offset the stress of deadline anxiety. I also do not take on too many clients at the same time which suits me and allows me to do the things which I want to do outside of work.

What are the top tips for our leaders to start their own businesses?

  1. Know who you are and know your strengths and weaknesses. Know what motivates you and know what your values are. Try process your traumas which we all have in life and that way you won’t sabotage yourself and your potential success.
  2. Make sure that you are really interested in the value you want to provide in your business. If you are not really passionate about the service you provide, your motivation levels may be compromised and this might reflect the level of success you achieve.
  3. Research the market and do some customer discovery. Do not launch a business that nobody wants to pay for or where a market doesn’t exist.
  4. Read, read and read more. Learn from people who have done what you plan to do. Learn what they did and the kind of people they became and practice and embody the attributes that the successful people in your niche have. Mastery requires effort and to emulate the masters takes you toward the road to acquiring your own!

What is that 1 book that you would recommend to our readers?

I think those interested in kickstarting their growth should read Darren Hardy – ‘The Compound Effect’. This book is a really accessible and short guide to implementing winning strategies into your life. Like with anything, without taking action, it may be in vain.

What are your future goals in life?

I want to continue in the liberty scene here in Ireland and help spread the ideas of freedom with The Hibernia Forum as a board member. I want to also spread the message of personal responsibility and personal development with my business. I will have liked to have impacted 25k people in the next 5 years with my work and continue to help young professionals move towards transformations that produce the results that they want within their lives. I am excited for what potential I can bring into existence and sharing this with others.

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