Trent Taylor
Mon, September 26, 2011 at 9:34
Stephanie Hunt

Michael Crossland tells me that Trent Taylor is the most interesting person he knows on the Coffs Coast.  They have been working together on an online project documenting inspirational stories that has got Michael really excited.  “Trent is an amazing and interesting man who I am sure would enjoy having the opportunity to share with you his story, ideas and mission,” says Michael.  Nothing I like better than a man with a mission!

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Trent Taylor:  A Man on a Mission

It’s noon on a holiday Monday so Sawtell’s Split Café is teaming with people.  A tall, young looking man wearing denim, a tee shirt and Taylor Made cap enters and glances amongst the tables.  “Trent?” I ask.  He strides forward, grabs a seat and orders a hot chocolate with extra marshmallows.  No lunch.  He explains, “I’ve been going since 6 and haven’t been out of my office.  I’ve had a sandwich, so I’ll just keep moving.”  This is my first hint that Trent Taylor really is a man on a mission.

At 36, Trent says he’s on the same mission that he set for himself when he wrote in his high school yearbook: “I’m going to retire at 45 and play golf for the rest of my life.”  While the dream seems straightforward, he has taken a circuitous route toward his goal.  Along the way Trent has been a professional triathlete, personal trainer, miner, dumpster driver, corporate security advisor, stock trader, life coach, bush pilot and business coach, not to mention getting married and having 3 kids.  As Trent’s story unfolds, I start to wonder what he is searching for.  He doesn’t strike me as someone who’s going to slow down in 9 years; can it really be retirement he’s seeking?

Perhaps the answer lies in his childhood.  Trent’s early years are marked by absence and loneliness.  He grew up with his young, single Mum, never really knowing his father.  “He was a troublesome cat,” Trent acknowledges, yet still he wanted to be like him.  “He was a builder, a great athlete.  So I thought if I was strong, then I’d be able to be like my Dad.”  Fitness and sport became a way of life for Trent.  His mother married when Trent was 9, and he didn’t get along with his new step-father.  “My way of dealing with it was to go for long rides and long runs.  I would push my body physically as a way of punishment or counseling.  I felt quite isolated.” 

From this loneliness and search for identity was born a top class triathlete, training with the best in Victoria, holding high hopes for a place in the Sydney Olympics.  Whilst training Trent studied Phys Ed and set up a personal training business.  Tyre punctures in the national trials and shin stress fractures ended dreams of the Olympics.  Then a bio mechanic’s analysis showing that if he kept up the pace he would be crippled by 30 ended his sporting dreams entirely.

If he could no longer run, then Trent’s next dream was to fly.  He decided to become a corporate jet pilot and headed to Kalgoorlie where a job in mining could fund his pilot’s training.  He got his license, and then went on to do a three year aviation degree (funded with experiments in stock trading, life coaching and corporate security consulting) and racked up 1200 hours flying time as a bush pilot out of Broome.  Close to achieving the hours he needed to fly jets, marriage and pending fatherhood forced Trent to revisit his goals.  “I didn’t have a father so I wanted to be the best father.  My parents split up so I wanted to be the best husband.”  Suddenly the isolation of flying around the world in a corporate jet thousands of miles from his wife Sally and their children seemed a bad idea.  He spotted an ad in the paper for a business coaching franchise.  “After investing seven years and $200,000 in training to be a pilot, I said stuff it,” Trent explains.  “I’m going to learn business and I’ll buy my own aircraft.”

When it came to learning business Trent was a quick study.   Heading to Perth and remortgaging the house to pay for the franchise fees, he had meager working capital and needed to make a quick start in a new game.  To the surprise of everyone but himself he was earning up to $40,000 per month by his sixth month.  I ask Trent why people responded to him when he had so little experience in business or coaching.  “How many people look you in the eye and really give a damn?  I care; I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help people. I think people might just sense that.” Trent hazards an answer.

That strong connection with people has continued to drive Trent’s coaching and business career.  He has been a success at coaching, but it has not been a straight trajectory.  He merged his franchise into a coaching partnership and enjoyed 5 stellar years, but then moved to Coffs Harbour so his kids could be near their grandparents.  “There was a big disagreement about the value of the shareholding so I walked away with nothing,” says Trent.  “Here I am back to scratch with two children, in a new town with no relationships.” He established a connection with a company that sold business development franchises to accountants, and quickly found himself flying around the country teaching accountants how to develop the franchise.  “But then I realized the kids were missing me and Sal was struggling. It wasn’t sustainable.” 

Two years ago Trent set out on his own with a business called Teach it Forward which he hopes will enable him to leverage his business experience: balancing a great income with family.   The goal is to build a community that enables business owners to make better choices:  “I teach 10 to 20 people and then they teach 10 to 20 people and we create a movement” he explains the vision.  Trent’s got big plans: books, webinars, CD’s on line, 3-day conferences, master mind groups. 

There are also big plans for another family move – this time to a more rural lifestyle.  “We love Sawtie, but the house we are in is a big 3 story fancy place and that’s not us,” explains Trent.  “We’d rather be in a two bedroom hut with all our kids close to us.  I’ve figured out that to be the best father and husband I need to go bush, go basic and go online.”

No doubt Trent Taylor is a man with a mission – but what is he looking for?  When he told me his goal was to retire at 45, I thought he was seeking money.  After a one hour ride on Trent’s roller coaster life my sense is he is seeking love, security and belonging and my guess is he’s getting close.

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Click here to visit Trent’s Teach it Forward website and find out more.

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Trent surprises me when he says that his 15 year old cousin Jenny Taffs is the most interesting person he knows on the Coffs Coast.  "She's lived all around the world, she's a prodigous sporting talent and a really nurturing person," Trent explains.  It's amazing how early some people's lives become interesting!

Article originally appeared on The Most Interesting Person I Know (http://themostinterestingpersoniknow.net/).
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