Updated: Sep 13, 2020
“A Dad’s Success”
God is his centre and family is everything – those are two of the most important things you need to know about Raphael Saul whose accolades include motivational speaker, business consultant, attorney-at-law and corporate trainer. Known best for his brand Success with Raphael, he is on a journey to reach his fullest potential and inspire others. Through his consultancy business, he has shared his vision with persons in Barbados and across the region, working with companies like Sagicor, SigniaGlobe Financial and Goddard Enterprises. However, behind the public persona, is a dedicated family man who enjoys reading, singing and watching Netflix with his wife of 8 years, Shanoah, with whom he has two beautiful daughters, Shemaiah and Raeleah. We took the opportunity to connect with Raphael to discuss his relationship with God, his professional growth, his upcoming projects, and his commitment and dedication to his family.
Q & A Exclusive
Q: Whether in a public or personal forum, it is immediately evident that you’re a man of God, how did you become so grounded in faith?
A. I grew up in church and it’s what I’ve always known. However, when I was about 15 years old, I embarked upon my own personal journey of faith, focusing on my relationship with God and since then my faith has pretty much been the anchor of my entire life. It informs everything that I do. It’s my source of peace, strength, comfort and wisdom – everything stems from there.
Q: Why did you decide to become a lawyer?
A: Around 2004-2006, I was at Barbados Community College (BCC) studying business. My grades were good but I wasn’t completely sure what I wanted to study at university. During my business studies programme, I did a law course and I really loved it. At the time, law was the most difficult programme to get into at university; in fact UWI was only accepting two persons from BCC. Nevertheless, I decided to apply for law because I had a strong interest in it and I got in. I never entertained another option because I had prayed about it and I knew that was what I was going to study. I was called to the bar in 2011 and I started off doing a wide cross-section of law, but lately I have focused my practice solely on property law. That’s the area that I’ve grown to like a lot and most importantly it suits the lifestyle that I presently live, giving me the flexibility to do my speaking and training engagements.
Q: How did your career as a lawyer propel you into the entrepreneurial venture, Success with Raphael?
A: Around late 2014 I was starting to experience a bit of professional frustration where I thought there was more I could explore in terms of my own potential and it set me on a journey of personal development. I started off by watching videos of persons like Les Brown and Tony Robbins. I started to consume a lot of their content and the more knowledge I gained, the more compelled I felt to share this knowledge with others. So that simple idea led me to share what I was learning on social media, and that started to connect with people. The more I shared, the more opportunities started to present themselves – whether it was a small church group or a class four preparing for the Common Entrance Exam. I was just very faithful in those small things and so Success with Raphael was born. It really came about from me saying I am on a journey of discovering what the highest level of success for me would look like as I explore all my God-given potential and I’m taking everybody on that journey with me.
Q: Where did the idea for the EMRG 2020 event originate?
A: EMRG is really close to my heart. At the time, I recognised that Success with Raphael had developed to a point where I could potentially have an event of some kind where I could invite people to come and I would speak or share, with a view to inspire and empower persons.
However, I soon realised that it needed to be bigger than me if it was going to change lives. So around January 2019, I spoke to my wife about the idea and the light bulb started to go off. We envisioned a space charged with inspiration and encouragement where young Barbadians from all fields of life, who have achieved success in their respective fields, could share their personal journey and inspire the next generation of success stories.
The event, which was held on January 25th, was sold out and it was so much bigger than I could have imagined. Two of the attendees are now successfully building a cosmetics business and that to me is a success story that transitions EMRG from just being an amazing event into something that really transforms lives.
Q: Will there be another EMRG event and what other upcoming projects do you have in store?
A: Absolutely! The plan is for an EMRG 2022. We don’t want to bite off more than we can chew so we’re giving ourselves two years to plan and come back even greater. So you can definitely look out for something very special from EMRG. Also, I’m working on some ideas, specifically dedicated to entrepreneurs and leaders and I have a few other things up my sleeve that are still in my idea development stage.
Q: On a more personal note, how did you meet your wife
A: I’m a member of the Church of the Nazarene and I first met Shanoah at a youth camp in 2005. After that we began a courtship, the relationship grew, blossomed and it became something more wonderful than either of us could ever have expected or imagined. Then in 2012, after seven years of courtship, we got married and the rest is history and now we’re living our best life.
Q: What is a typical day like for Raphael Saul?
A: Every day is different but a typical day would generally consist of family in the morning, business during the day and then in the evening it’s back on the family train because ultimately that’s my greatest responsibility – family. I have a five and a three year old who are very demanding and who enjoy the attention of mummy and daddy, so I make sure I give them the portion of me that they need and deserve. In this new COVID-19 normal, we’re also navigating around school schedules for the girls, as well as my wife’s online teaching schedule. I am very grateful that I operate a very flexible life because I’m the one who is able to be the most adaptable around everybody’s fixed schedules and that works very well for us. Yet in the midst of it all, I still try to factor in time for prayer, reading my bible and doing my devotions because outside of those things I lose my centre.
The Advice Corner
Raphael dug a little deep to share his wisdom and give some sound advice to fathers, to those married and to those who are experiencing loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
My best piece of advice to fathers would be not to think we have fulfilled our responsibilities just by providing materially, which is important, but also by investing time in our relationship with our children. My pastor always says that children interpret or spell love as T-I-M-E and as a father I try to recognise the importance of my presence with the girls. They don’t just want to know about me, they want me to be around and they want me to be involved in the various aspects of their lives. I’m learning now the importance of making sure that I’m giving them a listening ear because even though it might seem trivial to me, it might be very important to them. As fathers, we teach our children by our presence. I don’t want my daughters to learn the wrong lessons because I’ve failed to be present to model and demonstrate the right lessons.
I believe that you have to see your marriage, your role as husband or wife as a full-time job that requires your time and your commitment. Just like we’re on the job in our professional capacities, learning new skills as we go along, I think marriage is very much like that and so we have to exercise a measure of patience and intentionality as we seek to learn, grow and develop as partners every day. Also, I believe it would be a big mistake to feel that just because we’ve come to the point where we’ve been married for ten, twenty, forty years that we have it mastered and we have no more room to grow. We’re always on this path of learning and growth and we won’t ever be masters of it.
To persons struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in loss of income or some other difficulty:
During times like a complex, unpredictable COVID-19, 2020 period we have to see the greater purpose in our present struggle. If you look at the journey of any person who would have achieved some degree of success, you will not find one who has not had to navigate a difficulty of some kind.
Yet those times have served as a forum to make them better. Everybody is going through the same circumstances but those who will learn or gain the most from it will be those who have the right mindset.
Raphael’s Parent Tale
Being in the hospital with my wife when our first daughter was born, I remember thinking what on earth am I going to do with this child because I literally didn’t have a clue. But I also remember feeling this huge sense of responsibility that gripped me and still grips me even today.
I realised that I am responsible for an entire human being and to a large extent, the degree of the investment I make in this life will determine who she becomes in the future. I realised that there is such a huge and significant role that parents play that we can’t abdicate or walk away from. There’s a huge investment we have to make if we want to see the return down the road and if we fail to play our part in raising them then we can’t be upset when they don’t become who we’d like them to be. If you wish to learn more about Raphael or connect with him, then visit any of his Instagram or Facebook pages: @successwithraphael or @EMRGbarbados.