Today we’d like to introduce you to LaKendra Smalley.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
Growing up in a family that prioritized excellence and God is my solid foundation of how I’ve overcome so much. I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder at a young age, suffered academically early, repeated a grade, and my self-esteen suffered. Despite my struggles, I had a teacher who believed in me. She later discovers I was gifted and talented in leadership and creativity, and my life changed forever.
This experience motivated me to become an educator, and work in Special Education. What I didnt know were the challenges I would face teaching in Title 1 schools. The districts I worked in were not equipped to handle high-level students, and it cost me BIG TIME, because I worked countless hours without compensation just to reach them. I needed to make more money to survive.
I ended up earning my Master’s in Organizational Leadership, and later started my PhD in Psychology. I gained the confidence to start selling my course, which was a Life Coach Certification to help teachers with their social, emotional, and financial needs, and the rest is history.
Now, I partner with School Districts, working with their at-risk students, and certify Life Coach Teachers in the school that get paid to help. What a dream come true! I’ve enhanced my certification to a Mental and Behavioral Health Life Coach Certification. It has helped so many Educators become responsible for their mental health, and teach their students the life skills they need to also be responsible for theirs.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
I tried entrepreneurship three different times. Initially, I ran my business while also being a full-time student, working full-time, and running a non-profit. So naturally, I thought I had it all together and decided to leave my job to pursue my business full-time.
Soon after, I realized that it was actually my job that was funding my business. I went from thinking “this is great” to realizing “wait, I can’t even pay my rent this month,” which led me back into the school system.
The second time I left my job to pursue entrepreneurship was because a mass layoff occurred. At that time, I had two choices: save my aides I had working for me that were making between $12-$15 by me leaving to save their jobs, or I quit and take the $15,000 bailout that was offered. Me planning to take that money and invest it, I quit that job.
Then my mother gets sick, forcing me to go back to work.
Eventually, I found life coaching and self-coached myself to start thriving, which had a positive impact on my students as well. I created the I C.A.R.E. Global Heart Model that has impacted hundreds of life coaches and teachers, particularly those who work with children in Title I schools. My goal is to help fill the gaps in VIP3 – Vision, Influence, Purpose, Passion, and Profit – so that no child is left behind due to their background.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
Worthy competitors of mine include The Life Coach School by Brooke Castillo, Jay Shetty, and Tony Robbins because they offer one of the best life coaching certifications available. They have created models that truly help create a massive impact on people’s lives, including mine. Where we differ is that I’ve created a Boutique-Style school that serves all people who want to become a Certified Life Coach. We prioritize affordability, accessibility, and inclusiveness for every region we serve around the world. It’s not a cookie-cutter program here. We can individualize it if needed, and we always keep this in mind. I come from a place where it was deliberately designed for people to fail. It was wickedness at its best. Therefore, my heart is built differently. I have been able to help those who want to enter the profession get certified through my company and become the change they wish to see in society.
Our model not only teaches you how to self-coach and how to coach others but also how to have a global impact.
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
“Life isn’t designed to be perfect, so we all will have a lot of burdens in life. However, life was designed for us to WIN, as long as we complete the race, no matter what place. We must keep showing up and being responsible for the life we are co-creating. It’s not how you finish, but when you finish. It’s the character you develop while in the race. It’s when you will see just how brave, strong, and resilient you really are. It is not solely about the FINISH. It’s also about YOUR START, and every second of every decision you will be faced with that will mold you into a champion during the race. So, when you do finish, the place doesn’t matter because you would have defeated every obstacle that stood in your way.”
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
Success, to me, means the freedom to explore your entire essence of why you were put here on this earth. It means the freedom to break away from traditional norms and to operate in your God-given talents and gifts. Also, success buys us time. I remember the time when I couldn’t walk for a couple of days, and I didn’t have a boss to call to beg to take care of myself. I was able to be off as long as I needed, and my bills were still paid – that’s HELLA success to me.
What’s next for you?
I want the community of Life Coaches and Entrepreneurs to experience financial freedom. My goal is to demonstrate what financial freedom is and how to attain it. To achieve this, I’m launching small masterminds where I can showcase the profit ladder and offer courses on financial freedom for entrepreneurs and life coaches. I plan on touring in various locations such as the Philippines, Dubai, Nairobi, Mexico, and Farmers Branch to teach my VIP3 Method.
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?