Simon Alexander Ong is an award-winning coach and motivational speaker, he has been interviewed on Sky News, BBC and Forbes. In 2018, Barclays UK featured him in a nationwide campaign asking him questions on how families could embrace better lifestyle habits. His insights have seen him featured in HuffPost, Forbes, Virgin and the Guardian. Simon regularly speaks at organisations and keynote public events and conferences. Some of these have included The Peter Jones Foundation, The World Business & Executive Coach Summit 2020 and the LSE as well as Virgin, Salesforce and Microsoft.
Everything that Simon does is built to energise people to see their world differently and to awaken their imagination of what is truly possible so that they can live a better story.
Q: What led you to writing Energize and can you tell us a little more about the focus of the book?
A: During the early conversations that I had with my publishers, we brainstormed a few ideas that I could write about and the one title that we were both attracted to was the idea that 'Energy is Everything'. There were two experiences that led me to putting this idea forward. The first is that there was a period in my life where I was running on empty - I was lost, I was spending five out of every seven days in an unfulfilling job and I was killing my physical and mental health. I realised that when we lack energy, it's impossible to make progress towards our most important goals in life.
The second is that when I finished delivering a talk at a conference or organisation, I would often have people come up to me sharing how energizing they found my presentation and how, if they had just a small percentage of the energy I had, they could accomplish a lot more in their lives. The title eventually evolved into 'Energize', and I wanted to focus the book on helping readers awaken their greatest sources of energy, leverage the energy of gratitude, rewire the way they saw themselves and their reality, protect their personal energy and elevate the quality of their environment. Ultimately, I want this book to demonstrate that when we transform our energy, we transform the way we live and work. Just imagine for a moment what we could all accomplish if we possessed greater levels of energy in all areas of our life.
Q: What has been your most energizing experience and why?
A: I am very fortunate to have had many energizing experiences, especially during my transition from employee to entrepreneur. However, the most energizing experience for me in recent years came from becoming a parent for the first time. My wife gave birth to our daughter just a few days after the UK went into its first lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
It was a very surreal time to be giving birth, but when I held our daughter in my arms, I was reminded of a fact that we forget too quickly - the fact that being born into this world is a miracle event. We know of parents who have struggled to have children and parents who have lost children before they were even born. I came across a statistic that said the probability of us being born is over one in 400 trillion. I feel it is probably a lot more when you take everything into account - the odds of your parents meeting, the odds of your parents being able to have children, the odds of your parents deciding to have children, the odds of your great grandparents and beyond surviving multiple world wars and global pandemics, and so on. We have already won the greatest lottery that there is going - the lottery of life. And the question that arises whenever I am reminded of this energizing thought, is this: what are you going to do with that winning ticket of yours?
Q: What are the three key takeaways that you want people to take from the book?
A: I hope that there will be a lot more than three but if I could only pick three, it would be the following:
(1) You are the greatest project that you will ever get to work on so make sure to live a life for you and not others, because you can't pour from an empty cup. When you begin to transform and evolve to that next level of your life, your story will energize others to step out from the shadows and into the light of their potential. We were all born with unique talents, gifts and skills. The purpose of life is to discover what these are so that we can then share them with the world and contribute to a legacy that we can be proud of.
(2) Self-development can only occur with self-awareness, for you simply can't change what you're not aware of. Knowing ourselves is the beginning of true wisdom and why journaling is such a powerful activity - it allows you to gain clarity, organise your thoughts and consider different perspectives. Knowing what success meant to me and what impact I wanted to have in the world helped me to understand what was most important and then move forward in creating a life built around those answers.
(3) Energy is your most precious asset. You may have time on your hands, but if you don't have any energy whatsoever, that time will be easily wasted. However, when you're feeling supercharged, you're able to accomplish a lot more, even when time is working against you. It's therefore important to understand how to awaken, manage, nurture and protect our energy such that we are operating at a level that is aligned to where and who we want to be. You know that saying that goes 'Energy introduces you before you even speak?' It's true because while energy is a language that contains no words, it can be felt by others. It's why we are drawn to some people more than others. Energy really is everything and is the fuel that drives our success and gives us the power to fulfil our potential.
Q: If you were at a literary dinner party with other authors and writers, who are the two people you would most like at the table with you and why?
A: I am going to cheat here and choose three authors: Matt Haig, Ryan Holiday and Brianna Wiest.
Matt is a prolific author who has written non-fiction books, fiction books and children's books, some of which have since been turned into films for television and the cinema. Having now become an author myself, he has been one of my biggest inspirations in terms of the way he is able to communicate powerful ideas through stories and analogies, and in terms of the number of books he has written over the years. He is an inspiration to many authors and I can see why.
Ryan, like Matt, is also a prolific author who has written many books over the years. In the last year alone, I have read four of his books - The Obstacle is the Way, Ego is the Enemy, Stillness is the Key and Courage is Calling - and am a fan of how he approaches his writing and his ability to extract lessons from historical events and stories. His books are easy to read and I always finish each feeling wiser and more inspired.
Brianna is one of my favourite writers and someone who I have followed for many years. She has such a beautiful and poetic way of describing life lessons and experiences that every time I read her social media posts or books, I feel like she is having a deep conversation with my soul.
Q: Where can people get your book?
A: My book, Energize, can be pre-ordered ahead of its April 2022 launch from Waterstones, Foyles and here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Energize-Find-Spark-Achieve-Better/dp/0241502756
Q: What's next for you in terms of your next book/new projects?
A: The writing of Energize was one of the greatest challenges I have experienced. Writing your first book is always an exciting challenge. However, when you add into the mix becoming a parent for the first time and having to navigate life with no family around during multiple lockdowns, it makes it even more of a struggle. Now that I have finished writing the book, I'm already having ideas for further books in the future. I would also like to explore doing some TV work as a way of building upon what I write about in Energize.
Enjoy our Q&A, and don't forget to check out Simon's book, Energize, and pre-order it here. It's out on 21 April 2022.
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A big hello and thank you for reading! Passionate about literature, psychology, and life I launched Book Therapy as an alternative form of therapy using the power of literature. I train other mental health professionals on using bibliotherapy in their own work through an online Bibliotherapy, Literature and Mental Health course as well as curate reading lists/personalised book prescriptions for clients based on their individual needs. This is my signature personalised reading service. You can also check out Book Therapy’s other free reading lists and A- Z of book prescriptions (covering both fiction and non-fiction). These suggest books based on your existing life situation (e.g. anxiety, job change, relationship heartache) as well as interests (e.g memoir, historical fiction, non-fiction, crime etc). There’s also a Children’s A — Z of Book Prescriptions. Feel free to check out the blog for more literary gems. There’s also a post on my personal story of how I entered the world of bibliotherapy and book curation. And if you’d like to connect, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.booktherapy.io.
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