January 4, 2021

Alyssa Koonar

Unconventional HR

Pursue Your Passion

As a Mindset & Leadership Coach, I help women of colour over come their limiting beliefs to excel as courageous thought leaders in their aspirations. This is a passion of mine as I can personally relate to these struggles. After losing my identity when I lost my career in early 2020 due to the pandemic, I went soul searching for answers on life and my purpose.

My inner struggles have been rooted in my false identity of living my life for others instead of listening to myself; especially as an Indo-Canadian women challenging both cultural norms.

I have gained clarity through working on my mindset by utilizing multiple mediums such as meditation, journalling, coaching, and counselling. I have taken my lessons learned, coupled with my experience as a HR professional to help women flourish to their potential in their careers. Innately women lead with compassion, determination and vulnerability, resulting in powerful leadership qualities once embodied. I offer one-on-one coaching through my business, Unconventional HR.

Hooped Review

I felt many emotions like compassion, anger, sadness, and gratitude while reading Hooped. The cover of the book reflects my view, a dark story with brilliant lessons that portrays the beauty in pain.

Hooped is a gripping novel that drew me into a world that is familiar but unspoken of. Through the perspective of the protagonist, Jimmy, I learned his thoughts and experiences during his final year in high school and his journey in overcoming struggles that we all can relate to any stage in life. Although he challenges the concepts of our educational system and mentorship philosophies, he also unlearns societal norms by accepting his own beliefs. At a young age, Jimmy’s life quickly takes a wrong turn due to his association with an influential drug dealer, in order to generate a bearable life with access to quick success. His world then turns upside down when his mentor shows his true colours as an insecure, ego-driven drug dealer.

I fell in love with Jimmy’s humbleness and authenticity at such a young age. His ability to question expectations, risk his relationships in search of a deeper purpose, and remain true to who is throughout his journey is admirable. Although he participated in dangerous acts as a drug dealer, he did what he thought made sense given his circumstances. It is easy to judge but when I could resonate with the thoughts of his character it was just as easy to relate. We have all made decisions that we regret and in hindsight know better. I believe this is the truest form of living an authentic life: growing from lessons learned in our mistakes or failiures.

I am extremely fond of the School Counsellor, Mr. Pratt. His approach to helping his students in a non-judgemental and understanding method helps Jimmy find inner peace. He doesn’t force proven theories onto misguided youth, yet he meets them where they are in that moment. I believe he offered a transformative approach that required him to put his ego aside in order for him to help when Jimmy was ready to listen. This level of wisdom earns trust and openness. On the other hand, the destructive mentorship from gang members perpetuates insecurity and fear in order to fuel a false sense of power. The streets of Surrey can be a place for lost souls seeking leadership and wealth in darkness. Vulnerability in the wrong hands can lead to destructive lives, but in the presence of true leadership can flourish to live our truest potential.

I recommend Hooped to anyone seeking hope, clarity and inspiration for pursuing inner freedom. Personally, I relate to the protagonist on multiple levels, I know the struggle to make sense of trauma and regrettable decisions to find sanity in our present. I resonate with Jimmy seeking answers to understand purpose in a society that forces us into confined roles that dictate a typical 9-5 lifestyle. He is on the pursuit of real answers to make sense of the negative thoughts we all have. During the pandemic, we have been forced to stay inside, resulting in going inside our own minds to listen to our thoughts. Consequently, my outer world changed for the better as soon as my inner world was at peace. I view the world with compassion and genuine love as opposed to resentfulness. Like Jimmy stated, “Would you rather be at war with yourself and peace with the world, or at peace with yourself and at war with the world?” This quote will always stay with me!

Thank you, Michael for creating a book that allows my thoughts to relate with a powerful story. I found so much clarity reading this, I hope to read more of your books soon.

Alyssa Koonar