Who is Tony Barker?
I am a life coach, farmer, business man, and family man. I enjoy being involved with my children’s lives and activities. I live on a farm in NW Tasmania, running mostly beef cattle and a few sheep. This gives me time to work outdoors in a peaceful picturesque environment. I also love the challenges of working with people, as a coach and facilitator; helping them overcome their stresses and pointing them down the right track to achieving their own dreams.
I am married to Amanda and we have two children, Kara and Lachlan, who are 18 and 17 respectively.
Amanda works in the business with me and has also been busy with home educating both children. Amanda inspires me with her capacity to adapt to changing circumstances, her ability to multitask, research and her creativity.
Kara is also working with us in the business as she loves learning, problem solving and helping other people. Kara has done lots of training in this area of the mind.
Lachlan is passionately following his dream to play professional basketball and spends majority of his time training and playing.
Kara and Lachlan also inspire me by achieving excellence in fields they are passionate about.
When I was a kid my passion was farming. I spent a lot of time hanging around with my father helping out and learning what made things tick around the farm. Becoming a farmer was following my dream and opened up many opportunities for me while making a career in an area I loved to work in. I completed an Agricultural apprenticeship before studying Farm Management in New Zealand at Lincoln University. In 2005 I was awarded a Nuffield scholarship, enabling extensive international travel and in 2012 travelled throughout Australia on the Australian Year of the Farmer (AYOF) Roadshow crew. The AYOF Roadshow involved spreading the word about farming and its opportunities and helping people to make the connection where their food comes from and the importance of agriculture in Australia.
I’m sure having the exposure I did to farming at such a young age had a significant impact on why I decided to be a farmer. More than that though, my parents were always very positive about what they were doing and why it was important for them to spend their lives working at what they loved to do. They also made it quite clear to me that I needed to choose a career that was right for me so there was no expectation to “come home on the farm”.
I came to a time when I needed a change from the very intensive, rapidly expanding, farming business that was consuming my whole life. Some years earlier, Amanda and I had written a vision for ourselves describing the life we wanted for our family. During this time of contemplation we revisited the vision and we realised the business we were currently running wasn’t really ticking all the boxes for what we desired as a family.
So we decided to sell that dairy farming business and jump off the treadmill for a while.
During the next year, I was diagnosed with cancer. I had surgery but after very careful and thorough consideration I decided not to follow up with the recommended radiation treatment. I did however decide to do whatever I needed to do to remain healthy.
Amanda was flat out reading books and researching everything she could lay her hands on in this regard then relaying all the good bits to me for consideration.
I was impressed that some people had been able to make very big positive changes in their health by tapping into their body’s own innate wisdom. I pursued this direction because it made sense to me, it felt right. So over the next year I got way out of my comfort zone attending retreats, courses and doing energy work with the attitude that I was prepared to do anything to remain healthy. Some of the work I covered had a basis in NLP; Neuro-Linguistic Programming which is all about the language of the mind and understanding the connection between conscious and unconscious mind. I loved learning about this as it has a very practical application. While learning NLP I was actually working on myself and my stressors.
Although, I started down this track solely with the aim of self development, as I did more courses and training I figured I was pretty good at getting results with this sort of process and realised that running a business using these techniques to help other people achieve what they want would fit in well alongside our now low intensity farming enterprise. I also get a real kick out of seeing people change for the better right in front of me and being able to facilitate that.
At the time, when my children were quite young I felt the need to know exactly what the situation was regarding the family business that I had worked very hard in for many years. So through many meetings and discussions and over considerable time and frustrations we eventually settled on a plan for Amanda and myself to buy the dairy farming business from my parents with a combination of taking on existing property debt and vendor finance from my parents. The dollars and cents part of the whole succession process was the easy part compared to figuring out what we all wanted and dealing with the generations of emotional baggage. As I think back to that period of time if only I had the skills and knowledge I do now (regarding that emotional baggage) it could have been a much easier experience for all those involved.
I love watching my children grow into independent, motivated adults pursuing their passions and sharing my life with Amanda. (And her cooking) I love coaching clients, learning new things, travelling, family, farming, exploring the mind and alternative energy. I also love being involved with the community, having been involved at various levels on boards and committees in agriculture, basketball, Neighbourhood Watch and currently a board director for Rural Business Tasmania, which run the Rural Financial Counselling program in Tasmania.
I am a Master Practitioner in NLP Coaching which actually exceeds all requirements from the International Coaching Federation. I am also a Master Practitioner in NLP, Hypnosis and Time Line TherapyTM and a TLT & NLP trainer. My areas of interest are business people,sport, people wanting change, men’s issues and people wanting success.
Continuing into the future, I want to run workshops and trainings focused on stress and helping people understand what they can do to make their life more relaxed. I want to coach clients and run retreats. I also want to teach more people they can design their own life and get congruent with their values.
Our perception of life is exactly what we “think” it to be. The universe is all so clever!