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Own Your Story #28 with Adi Afendi: It’s never too late to write a new book

I was a bit nervous before interviewing Adi. He is a professional host with his own TV show, master of ceremonies for international events and this year, he even appeared on the big screen in Pascal.

His humility and generosity rendered my worries useless.

Adi’s life is like a great book consists of the cycle of ‘Heroes Journey’, where he bounced back from ‘abyss’ with huge transformation.

Write a new book

In his late 30s, Adi hit the rock bottom in life when he went through a divorce, business failure, and being looked down upon by people around him. At that point, being a worthy father to his only daughter pushed him forward.

While his friends from a business group were willing to help him rebuild his career, he made an important decision to reinvent himself entirely from a legal practitioner to the event industry.

‘No, I am not going to write a new chapter. I’m going to throw the book away and write a new book.’

The point of no return

Even though Adi had experience emceeing in corporate and family events, changing the career path at 40 was a big leap without a Plan B. People around him thought it was stupid and crazy to make such a drastic move while having various commitments, because when things are fine, why change?

Drawing reference from the movie Gatacca, Adi said he had no choice but to move forward once he passed the point of no point of return.

His confidence came from the belief in his skills and the drive to prove the nay-sayers wrong, turning negative comments into positive energy.

Surround yourself with positive people

Starting a new career at 40 when there were young competitors with more experience, Adi couldn’t run away from having self-doubt. The main factor that contributes to his progress is to surround himself with positive people and invest in a relationship.

When I read an interview about Adi’s career transition back in 2015, I was amazed that many goals he talked about in that article has been realized now, such as having his own TV show ‘Persepsi’ and becoming an actor.

Adi credits all of these to writing his goals down and having people who can help him achieve his goals.

Butterfly in the stomach

When I told Adi that I felt nervous every time before I record a podcast, he told me that he still feels butterfly even though he has hosted more than 100 big and small events.

Adi quoted his mentor, late Mahadzir Lokman, ‘once you don’t have butterflies in your stomach, it means that you’re no longer passionate about what you do.’

To calm the nerve, Adi shared a few tricks such as citing prayers, having a superstitious ritual and scrunching your toes rigorously in the shoes before going up on stage.

Embrace failure and pick yourself up

When it comes to wise advice for his teenage daughter, it would be the same thing he said when his daughter fell from the bicycle.

‘You’ll fall along the way, but it is not falling that’s important; it’s how you get back up. You’ll get bruises and scratches, dust it off and move on. Don’t go too fast, take your time and stop for a while, take in the beauty along the way. Remember that I’ll be there for you.”

In short, failure is the best teacher in life. Even though professional career route provides security, it is more important to have passion and to like what you do.

Make an impact on people’s life

At the end of our conversation, Adi told me that he envisions himself to be a motivational speaker like Tony Robbins one day. I could feel his genuine belief and drive in changing people’s life.

Sometimes, it is the pain and struggles that teach us what life is all about. Our pain shows us how much strength we have inside us, and how we can lift people up when we pick ourselves up.

Our life might be a work-in-progress, but trust that it is a masterpiece in making.

Own Your Story Podcast features interesting guests with fascinating stories and unique perspectives on life, taking viewers on a journey through the lives of others and ultimately inspire them to embark on an adventure of their own.


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