Spurred by a passion for fitness, 44-year-old Sahril Samsi currently manages a gym at Tanjong Pagar after taking a leap of faith to undergo a mid-life career transition.
By leaving the events industry to pursue a career pathway that is more aligned with his vocation, Sahril is a living example of the familiar phrase that we all aspire towards: ‘Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.’
Going The Extra Mile
Regardless of industry, a manager in any organisation is crucial to maintaining the delicate balance of organisational hierarchy while ensuring that all team members feel equally heard and appreciated.
Prior to his career switch, Sahril’s experience of rigid and top-down management styles inspired his determination to make a difference. Recognising the importance of developing strong interpersonal and communication skills for a successful management career, Sahril took the initiative to obtain the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) Professional Diploma in Leadership & People Management.
Recalling his course experience, Sahril explained, “I met people from all walks of life and I had the opportunity to talk to my fellow attendees and learn about the management styles from different industries. It helped that the trainer was very engaging.”
Besides acquiring a sound understanding of theoretical concepts in leadership, people management, and managerial approaches, the course also boosted his problem-solving and analytical skills, which he regards as skills that are useful for a lifetime.
A Leader Who Listens
Sahril credits the WSQ Professional Diploma in Leadership & People Management for broadening his career horizons and allowing him to pursue his lifelong dream of being part of the fitness industry.
While leadership and people management skills are soft skills sought out by employers, Sharil's professional certification in the form of a Diploma boosted his credibility.
“The course definitely opened up new doors for me. I was offered positions both within my existing industry in events and in the fitness industry. When I got accepted into my current role, my employer told me that it was because I had the professional qualification in Leadership & People Management,” he said.
For Sahril, the course greatly enhanced his personal and professional confidence to lead his team—both within the events industry and at the gym.
Recounting his initial challenges of adapting to his new career environment, Sahril said, “I had to earn the respect of the trainers as I had no working experience in the fitness industry. I told myself that my first goal was not to make revenue or profit for the gym, but to earn the trust and respect of my team in order to lead them effectively. Whenever I was going to make a decision, I would bounce my ideas off them. I wanted my team to feel important as individuals and connect with them from the bottom-up, rather than give instructions from the top-down.”
Citing Virgin Active founder Richard Branson, who said, “Being a good listener is absolutely critical to being a good leader; you have to listen to the people who are on the front line,” Sahril believes in leading with empathy, understanding, and tolerance, with his ear to the ground and heart beating as one with the team.
Signing The Way Forward
Recognising an opportunity in the fitness industry to serve people with disabilities, Sahril hopes to pick up a Sign Language Course next to conduct fitness and team-building programmes for the deaf-mute community. At the same time, the additional skill would also allow him to potentially branch out as a Sign Language Teacher.
It would not be his first foray in teaching, as Sahril also completed a two-week Cycling Coach Course when attached to a previous events company. With the certification, he has conducted a series of cycling courses to corporates and schools and continues to organise ad-hoc classes for friends today.
When asked if he has any advice for people who are looking to make a mid-career switch, Sahril wants to remind his peers that “learning is a never-ending journey, keep improving, and pick up new skills to open up new doors.”
This story was first published on MySkillsFuture portal on 20 Aug 2020. All information is correct at time of publishing.