Finding the Story with Suria Sparks

Finding the Story with Suria SparksMany people wonder just what it is a writing coach does, and it’s a fair question. The answer varies with the coach, but for the most part what I do is help people see the story inside of them and frame it in a way that will get other people excited about hearing it.


With her permission, I’m giving you a (mostly) unedited peek into my first coaching session with Suria Mohd ( Suria Sparks ), social media maven & successful entrepreneur with over 300K followers and 70 million views on her Facebook videos, so that you can see how things work.

The Request for Help

Suria and I are both members of a Facebook Group hosted by the lovely duo Danielle LaPorte and Linda Siversten, authors of Your Big Beautiful Book Plan. It started with Suria posting a message to their Facebook group. She wanted to know if there was anyone willing to help her develop her story. I had the time and, without knowing anymore about her than her name, offered to help her. It wasn’t until after I tried to become her friend on Facebook that I realized she was a social media success.

The Coaching Session – 1 hour and 15 minutes

The session began at 12:43 pm on January 20th, 2016.

Suria
Hi, Brandy, thanks for reaching out.

Brandy
My pleasure. What is it you’re planning to write about?

Suria
About my life encapsulated – how I got out of half million debts, homeless and twice divorced – to searching for the soul of success and finding it right back where I started, inside me.

Brandy
So you are writing a book about hope in dark times.

Suria
Sparks of Hope, yes.

Brandy
Here’s the first step to writing that book. Your subject is hope. Your genre is self-help. Who are you writing this for? Pick two words that describe the people you envision buying that book.

Suria
To men and women – who are seeking inspiration, looking for a sense of purpose
and direction – ok this is the long version.


Brandy
Envision a specific person in your mind. The person who is out there right now hurting the most, needing your book the most, wandering lost in that darkness and wondering what the point of all of this is.

Suria
seeking inspiration…someone – “seeking inspiration”

Brandy
Inspiration seekers. There you go. Now we’ve got the idea.

Suria
Yea!!

Brandy
It’s a self-help guide for inspiration seekers. Now here’s something tough. What is going to make your book different from every other rags-to-riches story out there? What are you offering them that no one else can?

Suria
I offer them my signature story – coz only I have it – story of a woman abused sexually, physically, and down emotionally – to a financial meltdown of half million losses, broke and bend to my knees, to one who became the fastest millionaire in the Asia’s wellness industry.

Brandy
Right, but assume they don’t know you. What are you going to tell them that is going to let them know your story is for them. You’re a social media business owner, right?

Suria
I run my businesses on social media – Facebook without ads. Over 150K fans, over 70 million views, 14 million reach and millions of engaged fans every week. (Suria posted an image to me of a screen capture of one of her posts. 13.3 million reached, 1.2 million engagements)


Brandy
That’s your unique angle. You have a huge social media following. People want to know how to do that. So tell your life story through the lens of becoming a social media maven. Tell them how being abused led you to the point where you became what you are now.

Suria
Great insights, Brandy. I’d love to do that. I gave a 15-minute speech at the United Nations New York on the above.

Brandy
Okay, give me a second to put together what we have so far. I LOVE the concept that’s shaping up. Question – are you planning on just telling your story (I’m sure it would be a fascinating read) or do you actually want to guide people to doing what you’ve done?


Suria
It’s telling my story – and sharing what I did to get out of the mess – so in the story is the guide

Brandy
Okay, that’s going to change how we describe the book.

Suria
WOW! Yah! Didn’t think that would be a great angle too!

Brandy
Sparks of Hope: One woman’s true story of finding the seeds of success in life’s darkest moments.

Suria
Immaculate!

Brandy
Now you have that sentence. You can begin your marketing for that book today because you now have the ability to put it into a Tweet. You can talk about it, describe it, and pitch it. But we’re not done yet. Now, you begin to put together the blueprints for your book plan.

Suria
I’d be able to market it, sure, via my pages.

Brandy
Imagine you are writing a play based on your story. Your play will have five acts to it. Just like you did with the book, you want to condense the action that takes place in each act into a single sentence.

Suria
childhood – teens – marriage – business – soul search You mean like the above? A theme?

Brandy
Yes, kind of. Tell a story with each sentence. Make the reader care about your childhood. For example: A young girl struggles to break free of her abusive father and ends on the streets of Singapore.

Suria
Close! Except a young girl was kicked out of school and father stopped loving her for that – and she did end up on the streets of Singapore.

Brandy
So we rewrite that: A young girl is abandoned by her father when she’s kicked out of school and winds up on the streets of Singapore.
What’s the big action point during the teen years?

Suria
Yes, the abandonment was done in utter punishment of silence. Boy girl
relationships – boys instead of books – physical abuse – lots of it – jumping out of a window alive, to escape the abuse. A close relative molested and possibly raped me, I don’t know because I was drugged into it. Here, there but nowhere.

Brandy
Desperate for love, she finds herself abused, finally jumping out of a window to escape. Now for the marriage portion.

Suria
The turning point was when my dad suddenly came up and, after moons of silence, he cried tears of disappointment. And then he said “Apa nak jadi dengan kau” (in malay) meaning = “What’s going to happen to you?”


Those eyes and tears touched my heart – I felt I had let him down – and at that point I decided to go back to school – and I did – to make him proud of me. A few months before I got my results, he died of a sudden heart attack.


He died a disappointed man because I didn’t tell him my plans. It caused the deepest regret in my heart.

Brandy
Was this before your marriage?

Suria
Yes, this was in my late teens.

Brandy
Then, that is a crucial point we need to include in that sentence because it’s going to be a major turning point. I know about living with that kind of regret.
Suria
Yes, it was a huge one. I started living life with a sense of urgency.

Brandy
So tell me more about that next part of the story. What’s the big action in it?

Suria
I really wanted to make it. I applied for University and was admitted but I knew we didn’t have the $60,000 for me to go. We were a poor family from a small village.

I told my mum about the admission. She was happy, yet sad because we had no money. Then she asked the life changing question “Do you really want to study?”


I said, “Yes, if I have the chance to but I know we can’t because of our situation.”

She said the most powerful statement, “Do it.”

I was shocked. “HOW Mum?”

She asked, “How much do you need first?”


I said, “$6,000 at least.”


She said, “I’ll pawn the jewelry. You have amazing potential. Don’t waste it.”


I asked, “Then how about the month-to-month expenses?”

She said, “I’ll figure it out. And she did.”

What she did taught me the greatest life lessons no professor would ever teach me. The lesson is JUMP and the NET Will appear. She jumped at the chance. No analysis until paralysis.


She had no education. She’d never been to school. She couldn’t read or write.

She worked 12am to 7am cleaning toilets at the airport, then 10am to 5pm cleaning at the condominiums, and then 6pm to 11pm at the restaurant cleaning tables. After 11pm she would head back to the airport. She did that 7 days a week with no days off. Even on holidays she would work so she would have enough to send me every month.

She was 60 at that time. She had a WHY that made her cry – me – and she found a way to make me fly.

I studied real hard and got a student exchange from Singapore to the USA. I studied in the US for 1 year – then came back to complete my post graduate – and became a teacher. I taught for 5 years, the career my father always dreamed I would have. I was glad I lived his dreams in me for a bit – and yes, I loved it.

Brandy
So what made you decide to leave teaching?

Suria
I got married and had 2 kids, one after another. I was feeling very worn down. I wanted to earn just $3K a month, that was how much I was earning as a teacher, but I wanted more freedom of time. So I quit.

Brandy
Alright, now for the business sentence. Tell me the story from the point where you quit to the point where you began soul searching.

Suria
I was trying to think of what I could do for a business? I jumped hoping the net would appear. I decided to start a weight loss clinic, because in University I was trained as a Nutritionist, so I am a qualified nutritionist by profession.


I put on 20kg after giving birth to my 2nd child and I lost the 20kg in 3 months without exercising with just nutrition and my slimming menus. So I thought, “People would be keen on this.”


I opened a nutrition centre, maxing out my savings and ending up with$60,000 in credit card debts just six months later because I didn’t know how to do business. I knew how to lose 20kg in 3 months, but I didn’t know how to make $20K in 3 months!


I ended up using all 5 credit cards from my banks to support my business. Interest started piling up, and I couldn’t sustain things any further because money wasn’t coming in. I closed the shop.

Brandy
Is that what started the soul searching?

Suria
I could not go back to teaching because I was bonded when I left, and being bonded meant I had to pay back $8,000 when I broke my teaching bond. I was blacklisted and could not teach in schools. So I was stuck, broke, with 5 banks chasing me for money.

My saving grace was finding a book called Born Rich by Bob Proctor. He shared that if you are in a financial pit, you won’t be able to make it unless you clear it. He said the only way to clear it was to face it.


He said to write a letter to the banks, and he gave templates of the letter and what to write. I did exactly as he said. I emailed all the banks using the exact copy Bob recommended, and the banks listened. They gave me a debt repayment plan.

However, they didn’t waive the $80,000 I was supposed to pay, so I had to figure out how to pay them now that the repayment plan was in place.
I decided to do the smartest thing I could do. I studied as much as I could about business. I’d picked up speed learning techniques in Australia and the US, and I started absorbing books like crazy, reading everything I could on business and marketing.

I took the ideas in the books and applied them. This time, in an education business because I have a passion for kids and teens and parents, too. I did 4 things that were SO POWERFUL and proven to work – and it’s those 4 steps that helped me make my cash and eventually helped me make $82, 500 in 2 days.

Brandy
Holy cow, that’s a lot of money in a really short time!

Suria
Yupzzzz – and those 4 steps were:


Step 1 : FREE. I looked at what I could give for free that was of value. I decided on a FREE Seminar for parents and kids.

Step 2: DEMO. I decided to offer a sample of my program as a demo to the parents because I believe the 12 techniques I covered in my training would help kids to memorize 100 words in a few minutes, even memorize the dictionary, and allow them to answer comprehension questions by understanding the passage even without reading it. It’s called super learning skills.

So I offered 1 technique for FREE – to show it worked. Parents saw it and they loved it and the enrolments went off the roof

Brandy
That’s awesome.

Suria
Step 3: USP: What is Unique and Special about my Program. I had to figure out the USP for Genius Positive Parenting because other companies were also doing it.


I created a formula that was wildly successful by offering parents the ability to attend the training TOGETHER with the child and learn with them.
Parents LOVED the idea. Enrolments went through the roof. The key was that it was based on the soul of my business – bringing parents and kids together. The magic in the program was parents bonding with their children, and the program took off.

When the kids score, the parents have to hug them and say “You’re amazing You’re a genius – I am proud of you.” Those were the words the child in me didn’t get to hear from my father. I didn’t want any child to ever grow up without ever hearing those magical words from their parents

Step 4) COI Centre of Influence. I connected with a Centre of Influence from Brunei via connections. She loved the program and pitched it to her school who invited me to speak. We closed 150 students x $550 each.

So that’s $82,500 in 2 days. I found the winner!

Brandy
I can imagine it would be. Parents are so hungry to connect with their kids, and a school that enables them to do that and to help their child excel at the same time – wonderful!

Suria
Indeed! So I continued and restarted back my nutrition business, hired staff, and had a bigger office. I made a net profit of $250,000. Then the next tsunami of disaster struck!

Brandy
What happened?

Suria
I knew how to make money, but I didn’t know how to MANAGE my money. The $250,000 I made I invested in my friend’s businesses. I even opened a gym, and looking back I think, “What the heck! I don’t even like to exercise. Why in the world did I open up a gym??

And then I invested yet again in another business – not mine. All of these 3 collapsed leaving me with a $500,000 debts.

Brandy
Ouch!

Suria
Worst moment of my life. I went through a divorce. I didn’t get a single cent from the house we sold. And I was homeless and broke.
My health went down the drain, too. I had chronic asthma and hives. For the first time ever I was simply dis-eased, not at ease with myself. I wanted to die. I was just suicidal. What kept me going?

Brandy
Your father’s words? Your mother’s sacrifice?

Suria
I occasionally saw my kids. It hurt me deeply when they would pass messages to me saying that people told them I didn’t love them.


“Ummi, they said you didn’t love us. They said that when you die there will be a lot of money on your grave!”

I knew the 2nd one meant I would never be successful in business, that the only money would come from my death. It hurt me deeply.

The words were not from my ex-husband. He’s a nice man and a good father to the kids. In fact, my ex would always invite me over for the kids’ birthday parties. I loathed those moments because when I walked in the house, I could almost hear a pin drop.

I would hear that I was a lousy mum, good for nothing, and every other kind of thing they could say about me. I vowed I would never, ever have to go over to his house again for another birthday party. I VOWED I would have birthday parties for my own kids at my OWN House! The dream was born. My WHY ignited.

I had the WHY that made me cry, and that made me FLY again I took the last few thousands left and, instead of paying the rent that was overdue, I packed my bags to the USA to discover and ask for the key. ASK = Always seek knowledge. KEY = Knowledge empowers you.

Brandy
Wow. You have an amazing story and I’m so honored you are allowing me to help you tell it.

Suria
I went to find the three Ms: Mentors, Mindset, Marketing

I needed help discovering where my blind spots were: MINDSET. I attended a Mindset training by David Neagle, a mindset coach.


The Mindset training was AMAZING. He showed me my BLINDSPOTS and restored my confidence in myself, helping me to see the potential and the gifts I could not see because they were hidden in clouds of negative thinking. He told me to FRANCHISE my Genius Positive Parenting business.
I thought, “Oh my goodness! Like that’s even possible? I would never have thought of it!”


He said I could sell it for $25,000!! He asked me for my conversion rate. I said 10 parents come in, 4 to 6 enroll. HE said “It’s AMAZING! You have a SYSTEM! SELL IT!”

But the online course was Terrible! The content was awesome but I was overwhelmed! with so much to do! I’m a creative, not a techie person!


2. MARKETING: Internet Marketing and how to use it to make money.
Luckily this speaker came up on stage – she saved my LIFE!!! She said 1 sentence that saved my sinking titanic! She said, “You gotta have this. If you feel overwhelmed by all the techie stuff, then just focus on this. If you don’t have this, your business will be dead. It’s FREE and it’s GOOD. It’s called Facebook!!!!”


She showed the numbers and she had a course. I had no money to enroll anymore – so I gave it a pass and I fly back to Singapore chanting “Facebook is good. Facebook is FREE!”

Brandy
I know this is going to be a page turner.

Suria
So do I continue?

Brandy
Yes. Let’s take this point all the way up to where you are now. I’ve got 4 of your 5 sentences.

Suria
I came back home and I was sleepless trying to figure out this Facebook monster. I was trying to figure out how the heck I could earn money posting about what I ate or about my cat? I didn’t have money to advertise.

I developed panda eyes, sleeping less trying to figure it out. I had no choice. I was DESPERATE. I had to make it, my DIGNITY was at stake! That BIRTHDAY PARTY had to happen!


And with that why that made me cry, I found how to fly with Facebook – I cracked the code. I ran events and I had over 550 people turn up for one of my events – with no advertising at all – just using whatever I learned by trial and error.

YES!! Facebook is good and free!

I rebuilt my brand and my fans grew. I became really authentic and open about my struggles and life journey. Facebook became an open diary for me, and as I journaled and wrote my about my day-to-day life’s reflections, many women connected with me, especially single mums. They were strangers who soon became friends.

I had a long queue of messages, especially from single mums, without money, without jobs, and needing a job. I could not offer them a job, so I offered them a listening ear. Every day I wondered what else I could do to help these women. I knew their pain. I’d been there.

Then I found the answer. What if I taught them how to use Facebook to sell stuff – would that help? So I started running classes for almost free for these low income people and taught them how to brand themselves on Facebook. They sold a total of 7,65 million worth of products in 10 months! I got a cut from the supplier – $470,000!!

Brandy
Wow. Just amazing.

Suria
And I got the birthday party for my daughter! I reclaimed my dignity with iMENTOR, an academy born out of pure intentions to help serve others: i= Intentions M = mindset E = Empowerment N = Network T = Teamwork O = Ongoing Support R= results and review. Suddenly the peace I was seeking was seeking me.

I found my soul in my success, and that soul is in serving others. My mess became my message, and I have been in the space of gratitude since. More and more abundance flows as I keep on giving and giving.

I wrote a chapter of this soul seeking and fulfilment in a chapter of a book with Jack Canfield. The essence and soul of success is not the dollars and cents of the business, rather the sacred spiritual process of staying connected and mindful to the intention, purpose and WHY I am successful when I mindful, pause and reflect daily amidst my busy schedule and check in the heart to reconnect back to who I really am. This is the Soul of Success path.

Wow! I did it.

Brandy
Yes, you did. I hope you realize you just wrote your book’s big outline. It’s
amazing how in blessing someone else with your service you can find yourself blessed so much more by what you receive.

Suria
I have no clue what I just did. You’re the fairy with your wand!

Brandy
You are the one who did the writing, lady, I just helped you to see the story.

Suria
I just did as you told me to. You supported me with a beautiful structure.

Brandy
Here are the 5 acts of the play about your life:

• Act 1: A young girl is kicked out of school, abandoned by her father, and finds herself on the streets of Singapore.

• Act 2: Wounded, she pursues a path of self-destruction until her father’s parting words change everything and his death leaves her determined to succeed.

• Act 3: Uplifted by the faith and supported by the work of her 60 year old mother, she achieves of her father’s dreams of graduating university and becoming a teacher, but realizes she wants more.

• Act 4: Her struggles to find success end in debt, divorce, homelessness, and thoughts of suicide until the love of her children reignites her determination to succeed and sets her on a new path.

• Act 5: She finds a mentor who lights the way for her and develops a successful and satisfying business built on selfless giving to others.

Does that sound like a play you’d want to watch? Because it definitely sounds like one I’d want to watch.

And the good news is that doing it this way – thinking of it like a 5-act play – makes it easy for you to see how it could be translated into a movie or a television show.

The Benefits of a Coach

You don’t have to hire a coach to help you get your book written. But hiring a coach can take a process that drags out for weeks, months, or even years and condense it into an hour. Plus, a good coach can help you see other potential things you can do with your book, like the suggestion that she consider making it a movie.

Suria is a smart lady and has already reached out to a publisher and a movie producer. She’s got the following and the reach to make her book a best seller, and because her intention is to serve others with her story, she’s got people who will gladly help her accomplish her mission.

Connecting with Suria

Learn more about Suria Sparks on Facebook or connect with her website at SuriaMohd.com.

Interested in Pursuing Coaching?

You can contact me and we’ll discuss your book idea and decide from there whether we’re a good fit for one another.