How often have you found yourself in a sticky situation? Be it your involvement in a car accident or road rage incident or even a run-in with a family member or colleague? In those moments, how often would you say to yourself, “How would love respond?” And how would that change the situation you are facing? That happens to be the title of Success Coach, Kurek Ashley’s, book. And he is in the process of writing and publishing a second book. The world-class speaker shares some of his most incredible experiences and pivotal moments in life with us in this article, so sit back and enjoy the ride.
Kurek hails from Chicago in the US and moved to LA when he was 18. In 1997 Kurek found himself living on the streets in Griffith, New South Wales when the Australian company he was working for didn’t pay him. He moved north to Brisbane where he knew some people. For the following eight weeks Kurek ran free seminars for the general public and offered for those people to go on and do his paid seminar. It was at one of these events he happened to meet beach volleyballer, Natalie Cooke, who complained of only ever winning Bronze. After working with Kurek, she went on to win Gold.
Kurek is known to many as The Transformer, as that is what he does to the people he works with, transforms their lives. His list of private clients includes; Hollywood film and TV stars, movie directors, producers and cinematographers, a quintuple platinum rock band, hit music composers, top business leaders, oil executives in Kuwait, Olympic Gold medallists, professional athletes and sports teams, and the list goes on.
For over 30 years, Fortune 500 companies and major corporations around the world, such as Apple, Seagate, Schwarzkopf, Westin Hotels, The Australian Royal Airforce and Carlton United Brewery, have hired Kurek to teach them tactical success strategies that have produced awe-inspiring results.
A turning point in Kurek’s life occurred when he received a phone call from co-producer of Will Smith hit flick I, Robot, Steven R McGlothen, and Marty Weiss, a well-known writer, director and producer. Marty’s daughter had joined a Mexican gang who put a hit out on Marty’s life. Based on his experience, Marty spoke to Steven and then Kurek about potentially producing a TV series about a man, Kurek, who was changing the lives of young people. From there, producer Theresa Goss plans to produce a documentary for Netflix called The Transformer.
The documentary will be based on a high school Kurek was invited to speak at in Cincinnati, Ohio. Kurek recalls the drive there was quite eye-opening, “As we are driving there, the neighbourhood is steadily declining until pretty soon it’s crack dealers and gang members and prostitutes and burnt-out cars and buildings… it’s nothing like you’d see here in Australia.
“And so I get to the school and all of the school’s doors are chained and padlocked shut,” Kurek was thinking he was off the hook and wouldn’t have to address the students after all, but one of the school’s administrators is called and unlocks the doors so they can enter. When Kurek asks if it is a fire hazard to chain the doors shut, the woman replies that gang members have entered their school and killed students in their seats. So, all students are locked in once the first bell rings each day.
Before speaking to the students, Kurek sat down with the Principal and asked about the drop-out rate. The Principal answered 100 per-cent, but Kurek thinks he has misunderstood his question, but when he repeats his question the answer is the same. The Principal clarified that no one had graduated from his high school in the past 20 years!!
Eventually Kurek finds himself in front of the students and as he’s reading what he’s prepared, he looks out at his audience and has a vision of all 850 students slumped over their chairs, dead. He realised in that moment that this was exactly the reality they were all facing. He turned to the students and said, “Look kids, obviously you don’t need flip charts today, what you need is action”… “I’ll create a program for you guys, I’ll fund it, I’ll put the coaches in place, I’ll send out the materials and everything.” But he also stressed to those 850 young people that they would have to complete his course outside of school hours and would have to complete 20 hours of community service a month, telling the students, “If you want value, you have to add value, that’s life.” The deal was that if a student was able to complete Kurek’s impromptu course and graduate from high school, Kurek himself would cover the cost of their university education for four years!! One child asked how many students would be allowed to do his course. Kurek said it would be available to anyone who wanted to do it and 30 students took up the challenge and all 30 graduated from high school. Although none of those students wanted to go to university, all decided they wanted to do a job which would allow them to help other people. Some of the graduates wound up doing 50 hours of volunteer work a month, well above the 20 hours required.
Kurek wound up working with this school for several years, saying that some of the young people who graduated from his course actually remained in the school, mentoring other students to help them graduate too. How incredible is that! One of his students, a 12-year-old boy, was actually shot by someone who wanted to steal his $10. Kurek phoned the boy to ask him what he was going to do, to which he replied, “Well in the words of my mentor, which would be you, this is great motivation to get an education to get out of this neighbourhood.” He admitted that previously his response would be to seek retaliation.
When Kurek moved to Australia, he found himself at a school in Blacktown, Sydney. The administrators had told Kurek they thought around 20 students should do his course but Kurek aimed for all 117, and 116 wound up doing it, including a gang of boys. During a trip to the Sydney Convention Centre a couple of years later, Kurek was approached by a group of eight young men he didn’t recognise. They informed him that they were part of that gang from Blacktown and had gone on to study at university. They just wanted to say thank you.
Kurek continues to inspire with his latest course, ‘Stop With Stopping You’. The free course is a three-part masterclass which will inspire change. You can sign up for Kurek’s course or purchase his book, ‘How Would Love Respond’, by heading to his website: www.kurekashley.com