THE SUCCESS OF A DYSLEXIC BUSINESS COACH
Updated: Jul 24, 2020
My story of becoming a successful dyslexic business coach
I feel called to share my story and the success of becoming a dyslexic business coach. I’m especially compelled to reach other entrepreneurs with dyslexia, to extend encouragement through my knowledge! It demonstrates how our paths are not always straight, seldom easy and the more challenges we face the more we can accomplish. Dyslexia is a hard condition to manage especially as a child, growing up.
There are often hurdles to overcome in getting diagnosed, then learning to work with and around this condition. But the biggest message I gained in my experience is it doesn’t need to hold you back. We all have a story and I want to inspire you with mine. You will see what I have managed to rise above in becoming a successful business strategy coach. I want everyone to know if I can do it, you can achieve whatever you want too!
Start of my journey with dyslexia
The start of my journey with dyslexia is at age 11, when I begin secondary school, I am in English class. My teacher is working her way around the classroom selecting students at random. She is asking questions about the book we had read for our homework. It doesn’t take long before she looks at me, and says, "What did you think of the incident in chapter 2?”. I shrugged as I didn’t have the answer, she asks “have you read it?” but didn’t wait for my reply. Then she says “turn to chapter two and read it out to the class”.
In hearing those words, I start to panic looking for the page in the book, taking a long pause before I begin reading. Due to my hesitancy and difficulty, there is sniggering from those sitting around me. The teacher comments “stop reading and see me after class”.
The story I created due to dyslexia made my reality
This moment caused the story I created, due to dyslexia and it made my reality. I held on to those thoughts and continued to carry them with me. By telling myself that I was stupid and not good enough, I created that.
From this point on I’d decided I wasn’t going to be good at school, I was a low achiever with little purpose. With my parents in the process of a divorce, it was causing upheaval at home. Starting a new school without my older sister there, I lacked support which amplified feeling of not good enough. My outlook was sombre; this pattern of thinking cemented it. With this mindset in place from the age of 11, I become a low-level achiever. As hard as I worked to get good grades and perform well in class l didn’t manage to achieve the high-level grade I was striving for.
Dyslexia after school from age 18
After school from age 18 years old, I go to The Netherlands to work as an Au pair (I am convinced childcare is the right level for me). I live with a family with twin toddler girls during the week and spend the weekends with my boyfriend in the north.
Following that, I had a string of casual jobs in the UK and overseas, until the age of 21. This is when I meet my husband while working in Canada.
Throughout my working life that follows, I continuously thrive to do better and achieve more but feel like I don’t quite get there. Plus often suffer from ‘impostor syndrome’ feeling like someone is going to suss me out for hiding the truth. I am creative and great at problem-solving, although my jobs have very much been reliant on remembering and referring to rules, regulations and policies making things very challenging.
Combining dyslexia, study and work
Combining, dyslexia, study and work wasn’t easy. At 24 I start to work for a University within the Computer Science department and decide to do a part-time degree simultaneously. This was something I had longed for but doubted my ability to achieve. If you are familiar with dyslexia you will completely understand this.
My first semester ends and my exam results are due, I nervously ask a colleague to look them up for me. Waiting apprehensively to hear how I’d done; she says "I don’t know what you are worrying about you got an A and a B you are on par for a 1st!" I continue to study part-time and work full time, then apply for a new job in my department, going up against a colleague. This led to my first taste of friendship rejection as an adult, I was given the job and she didn’t like it.
A reality of starting a family and working
A reality of starting a family and working was experiencing an understanding of discrimination as a mother in the workplace. It was two years later, I had my first child and upon returning to work it was clear I wasn’t welcome back there. This encouraged me to focus on my family and is when I decided to have a second child.
Skipping forward to 2015 having been demoted after son number two I managed to get a new job in another department. I had also completed a female leadership programme and seconded to the ‘top corridor’ as they called it in the University. This achievement provided the chance to work on a Business Improvement project and hold a position in the Estates department. I was able to do both of these part-time and finally work on finishing my degree (I’d had to stop while I had my boys).
The approach to graduation!!
The approach to graduation was exciting, something I was really looking forward to, despite being a busy time. I had so much on my plate in the build-up, juggling life. This resulted in not prioritising my health as I’d been bleeding for a month and ignored it. I finally made time to go to the doctor the day before graduation. I was waiting but in a rush, (a constant state at the time) getting increasingly concerned. It was close to school pick up and I was still in the waiting room.
When finally handed a prescription for tablets to stop the blood I was so pleased. But as I was leaving the Doctor said “let me just check if you are pregnant”! I am thinking, well that’s impossible I have a coil fitted but okay you can check. I gave her a urine sample, but the idea seemed ridiculous.
Results from the doctor
Despite thinking there was no way I was pregnant, the results from the doctor showed she was right to check, I was! Hearing the news, I wasn’t sure what to make of it, all I could think was I need to get to school. I spent that evening in the hospital while continuing to work, confirming meetings from my phone. The scan the following day showed an ectopic pregnancy and I was miscarrying. BUT it had taken me 14 years while working full time and having two babies to achieve my degree, I did not want to miss my graduation!
Following a miscarriage, you would have thought it was time to realise I needed to take better care of myself. I should have been listening to my body and making changes, but instead, I continued to push myself too hard for some time after this.
The unhealthy pressures of being employed
I didn’t take much time off to recover; this was accepted as part of the unhealthy pressure of being employed. I didn’t want to show my vulnerability or weakness, I believed I was on my path to success and it would end if I stopped for just a moment!
So, I pushed on, my secondment ended and I started applying for a new job.
I applied and applied with no luck, it took over a year before I got shortlisted, interviewed and moved on.
The position was my first step into the commercial world. Having worked at the university for 15 years, everything was so foreign to me. It was a maternity cover, this gave me one year to prove myself and gain ongoing employment there.
I didn’t fit in well, it wasn’t a positive experience and resulted in failing to achieve a permanent post (a blessing really).
Hiding my dyslexia
Hiding my dyslexia became the norm, as I was worried it would be seen as a negative reflection of my intelligence. I'd hidden it from my bosses throughout my career, just adding extra stress to my working life.
Due to my dyslexia filling out applications and writing cover letters was painstaking! I had very little success again when restarting the application process.
I came to the end of my current contract; Christmas was coming and I was jobless. Aside from thinking I need to earn, we have a mortgage to pay; I also felt shame and embarrassment that I wasn’t able to find a job again. I was hearing my old story of being the low achiever and what would people think. Having studied and worked so hard, juggling time with work and family, missing school visits and assemblies. All of this just to end up unemployed.
Time to control my destiny
It was time to control my destiny and start a new journey. I decided I was going to become an entrepreneur!
My thoughts were all over the place, I had gone from thinking, "It’s not my level at work that’s important, its employment that has held me back”. To thinking... if I can get a job in a small company I would be a significant part of the team and achieve status. Then I could finally rid myself of the low achiever label I’d adopted.
The day I finished my job, not knowing where I was headed was exciting; I had a feeling that something good was going to happen. Suddenly I felt the sense of restriction on what had been holding me back from achieving more in life lift.
I started researching, enrolled on a course and my first steps towards becoming a successful dyslexic business coach were taken.
Getting a Business Coach was the best move I ever made
Being dyslexic, getting a Business Coach was the best move I ever made it was invaluable in helping my confidence and providing direction. I hadn’t known what I was doing and often wondered if I really could make it work until then.
A year later I started up my second business and two years later I'm sitting in my home office, tracking my income!