We had the good fortune of connecting with THOMAS ILAND and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi THOMAS, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
As a person on the autism spectrum, I started my own business, Come To Life Coaching, for several reasons. After I left my career as a certified public accountant (CPA) and began working with my mother in her business of delivering autism presentations and consultations, I knew in the back of my mind that she wouldn’t be around forever. This was made abundantly clear with her recent diagnosis of breast cancer.

In addition, she and I had differing opinions on several items. Even though we’d written a book together, “Come To Life! Your Guide to Self-Discovery,” I had the growing desire to create my own brand and clientele as opposed to continuing to live in her shadow.

It’s also worth noting that people on the autism spectrum tend to be more receptive hearing from another person on the autism spectrum…someone that has gone through the struggles that they have and succeeded. I felt that it was time for me to begin my own business, Come To Life Coaching, start telling my story, and offering my insights in order to realize my full potential and bring out the full potential in others, both on and off the autism spectrum.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
What sets me apart from others and what has helped get me to where I am today are my high degrees of patience and persistence. I feel I’m meant to live an extraordinary life and I tend to want to “1UP” myself and ask, after accomplishing something, “What’s next?” or “How can I do even better?”

For instance, after I ran my first marathon in 2018, I asked someone, “What’s more difficult than that?” When they told me, “An Ironman triathlon,” I answered, “All right, I’m going to see if I can do that!” I’m currently in training to complete my first full Ironman triathlon…something nobody on the autism spectrum has ever done to date! This is going to be a challenge for me because I have a history of becoming overheated after prolonged exposure to the sun and have sensory sensitivities, as many people on the autism spectrum tend to have, that might make completing this triathlon a significant challenge for me.

Society tends to believe that those on the autism spectrum are incapable of achieving true greatness. Therefore, I want to show myself, my peers and the world that someone with an autism diagnosis can most certainly live a productive and meaningful life. It’s this mentality that has helped me earn/achieve/complete:

-A Bachelor’s degree in Accountancy from California State University, Northridge

-Working for several corporate entities including The Walt Disney Company, Deloitte and Princess Cruises

-A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license

-A Certified Human Potential Coach (CHPC) designation from the Human Potential Institute

-Becoming an award-winning, bestselling author of “Come To Life! Your Guide to Self-Discovery”

-The ‘Distinguished Toastmaster’ designation from Toastmasters International

-The ‘Toastmasters Accredited Speaker’ designation (reserved for professional speakers that have mastered the art of public speaking…there are only 88 in the world!)

-Speaking at the United Nations twice in one year (once for World Autism Awareness Day and again for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities)

-A TEDx Talk titled “How To Come To Life!”

-A ‘Ten Outstanding Young Americans’ (TOYA) award from Junior Chamber International

A lot of these endeavors took dedication and discipline as I experienced a lot of failure and rejection before I ultimately achieved the success I desired. I learned that success is a process rather than an event…and that is something we need more awareness on and acceptance of. Why? Because too many people, particularly those on the autism spectrum, quit or abandon all efforts at the first sign of failure AND aren’t taking the time to really learn from their mistakes and make a change for the better…which results in them making the same mistakes over and over again in a vicious cycle. I offer solutions to breaking these vicious cycles!

I want the world to know, first and foremost, that I EXIST AND I AM YOUR GUIDE TO FINDING THE ANSWERS TO BECOMING YOUR BEST SELF. I feel it’s AN INJUSTICE for someone to live the life I have and do the things I’ve done to not have the phone ringing off the hook 24/7!!!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take my best friend to the Griffith Park Observatory which gives a breathtaking view of the greater Los Angeles area. We would definitely eat at In-n-Out Burger, which California is very well-known for.

I would also take my best friend to Hollywood & Highland in N. Hollywood where we could see Grauman’s Chinese Theatre where all the actors’ handprints and footprints are in stone.

I could also see us spending a day at Universal Studios Hollywood where we’d experience all the park’s attractions and eat at one of the popular restaurants at Universal Citywalk,…Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. if I had to pick the place there.

My best friend might also enjoy a walk on a hiking trail or a beach so I’d plan to visit Runyon Canyon Park and/or Santa Monica Pier and take in the sights there.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’m very grateful for the Toastmasters International organization that helped me come out of my shell when it comes to public speaking, made me a more effective leader and recognized my accomplishments when it comes to speaking in front of an audience. I currently belong to two clubs, The Outliers and Improv Toastmasters, and both have extraordinary people that bring out the best in me as I bring out the best in them.

Website: https://www.cometolifecoaching.com/

Instagram: @thomasiland

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomas-iland-chpc-as-159265b

Twitter: @thomasiland

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thomasiland/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk04LnMjvaO25INFwqGahMQ

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