Far from being a natural leader, Ahmad Imam still manages to win the Leadership Excellence Award from the Royal Office UAE.
The world may know Ahmad Imam as a presenter, entrepreneur, and highly regarded social media personality; however, life wasn’t always a bed of roses for him. It took a lot of effort and hard work to become the unconventional leader that he is today.
Ahmad Imam’s journey to becoming a Social Media Influencer and entrepreneur started with humble beginnings, one he’s never shied away from sharing.
Having immigrated to Australia at the age of 4, hardship and struggle characterized most of Imam’s early life. After immigration, his family found themselves bereft of everything, their house, jobs, family, and friends. All they had was a one-bedroom motel room that they called home for almost six months, and quite literally started from the bottom all over again.
No solace was found in school either – Imam not only looked different from the rest but couldn’t speak a word of English. He was considered “a small, brown-skinned immigrant with thick glasses, and an unkempt afro,” and hence he fell victim to bullying.
The once confident kid who loved to entertain and perform was left with low self-esteem, crushed confidence, and non-existent self-worth. This led to Ahmad navigating through life, unable to look people in the eyes or even feel deserving of taking up the voice space.
However, Imam didn’t give up completely and found a part-time job at a local pizza restaurant during his university days. He would make pizzas all day and then spend hours washing dishes until his fingers pruned.
After years of constant struggle, things finally started looking up for Imam. He received a gift – a 25 disc CD set called “Personal Power II” by Tony Robbins – from the restaurant’s owner, which changed the entire trajectory and outlook of his life.
Moving forward, Imam made a conscious effort to challenge his fears. So, he got a job at a call centre, started working as a salesman, tried his hand at recording and performing music to a live audience, and even volunteered to MC weddings. Imam did all that in an attempt to build his confidence and courage.
This quest to discover new facets of his personality, climb the corporate ladder, and elevate his skillsets made Imam find himself as the director of a large property consultancy in Australia.
Subsequently, he was inspired to set up a LinkedIn account and start creating content, oblivious that it would set the stage for the ensuing chapters of his life. At first, social media was overwhelming and certainly didn’t come easy to him, and he would spend hours recording and re-recording video content due to being self conscious as to how he would be perceived.
However, the process taught him an important lesson: “done was better than perfect.” Nothing seemed to deter his spirits, and Imam remained resilient in his pursuit to expand his horizons and continued posting consistent and compelling content, despite the lack of engagement.
As courage became his superpower, Imam enriched his content with increased authenticity, transparency, and vulnerability, publishing an account of the mistreatment he’d been subject to during a recruitment process. He presented a firsthand account of the bias he experienced, which many would still in today’s age and time construe a sensitive subject. Despite being nervous, Imam remained steadfast as he had realized how important it was to speak his truth in order to inspire others struggling through similar situations.
Ahmad Imam himself has lived by and served as the very embodiment of the mantra, “your best is yet to come.” In fact, he actively affirms that despite the misfortunes of his past, he’s only continued to rise and become more successful. One thing is sure Ahmad Imam’s bravery and authenticity have landed him his rightful title as a social media influencer determined to make an impact.
His content easily resonates with his audience because Imam shares his own experiences and compelling stories, often tackling topics that many would not address. By doing so, he encouraged and empowered people to tell their stories, speak their truth, and most importantly, he urged everyone to “not obsess about being popular, but to obsess about being yourself.”
Due to Ahmad Imam’s unfiltered voice of honesty and commitment to living by his values of kindness, optimism, integrity, growth, and respect, he has now amassed a community of 1M+ engaged followers. His main aim is to use his voice to inspire, empower, entertain and uplift people to live their best lives. As a result of his impactful message that resonated with his exponentially growing following, Imam was announced as “International Influencer of the year 2022” and “Top 10 influencers to follow in 2021.”
Imam is the embodiment that leadership is not about authority, it is about influence, it is about having the courage to speak your truth, and it is about standing firmly for what you believe in. Those that believe what you believe will then willingly follow. And that is exactly how Imam’s social media journey and unconventional leadership style evolved.
Due to Imam’s focus on servant leadership, and his contributions to making the world a better place, he was recognised and awarded the prestigious “Leadership Excellence Award” by the Royal Office UAE, leading to Imam being appointed as the ambassador of the Royal Office UAE. A very proud moment for Imam, and an opportunity for Imam to serve and positively impact on a much larger global scale.
You do not need to be a natural leader in order to lead. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader”. And Imam’s journey is testament to that.