I have a life coaching and reflexology business here in Southland – reflexology is a form of massage for those of you that don’t know - with my life coaching I work with confident building, goal setting, business, couple coaching, sexual coaching, addiction, and really motivating my clients to get where they want to go – breaking free from just being stuck and giving them tools to move forward in all every aspect of their lives.
Can I Make everyone stand up for a second …………………I want you to all close your eyes , I want you all to stand up tall ….straighten your shoulders and think of someone that is confidant -either a super hero or a grandparent ….your well respected boss…..your child ……anyone …I know you may feel silly but that’s apart of the fun just trust in what I’m asking of you all……..now I want you to pick a colour that represents this person or character visualise it round you like a bubble……has anyone not got one just put your hand up……………. Right once you have done this, I want you to make that colour represent you and when you feel like you are confidant, I want you to open your eyes….
Who felt more confidant raise your hands? I was aiming for 50% of the room….so that’s good or I’ll have to try harder next time 😊 can everyone come choose something to play.
I have been running a successful business for the last 3years, where I can work around my three young children 10 – 7 & 5 I choose my own hours and my hourly rate. Before this I had a wedding dress business where I imported dresses from a famous outlet store in the states. I sold this in 2014 where I made a 100% profit.
Business to me is common sense and a lot of hard work but so worth it. Having something that you built up from scratch and to watch it grow is one of the best feelings out.
But I wasn’t always like this. I struggled big time as a child as I am sure most of you here can relate. I was a late 80’s baby and school was not for me. I became the destructive one in class because the teachers used to call me dumb, they made me feel worthless and useless and was always sent to the back of the class. I remember one time very vividly in primary school where my book was ripped up because I was missing lines while I was copying text from the back board.
Intermediate and high school were just as bad. High school I got extremely bored because I missed out on the fundamentals in primary school and by then it was far too late…. My parents knew my struggles and it must have been frustrating for them. My parents were great. Mum always tried to help me with my homework but being very intellectual herself, she got frustrated and ended up doing most for me so I could just copy. My father has struggled with Dyslexia all his life, so he knew of ways to help get my frustration out by taking me out to the garage and putting me in front of the boxing bag or every other weekend taking me bush and going hunting. This kind of became a ritual for us and was a great tool that I still use sometimes.
Another example was- in fourth form, my math teacher called me out in front of the entire class room when I put my hand up to ask a question. Before I even got to ask, she told me to put it down because it was going to be a stupid question and sent me out of the room. I stood up and argued with her which did me no good in the end and I was sent to the principal’s office.
This became my school life and feeling worthless and dumb as a teenager I got into a lot of trouble trying to find my way I got into a bad crowd and started wagging school and became dependent on alcohol and drugs.
At 16 I left school, my parents rule was if you are going to leave you need to get a job, I had been working since I was 13 at the chicken factory cleaning after school and working full time in school holidays so when I left high school, I felt factory work was all I was good for (how wrong was I). I then got a second job at Cobb’n’Co and worked both jobs for around 6 months sometimes 18hour days. At 16 I moved out of home I continued partying but worked just as hard as I partied.
So, at just 16 I was out of home, dependent on drugs, sex and alcohol and was working 18hr days.
I am very grateful for is the strong work ethic my parents installed into us kids.
I then moved to Te Anau for a couple of years and worked in the THV hotel as a waitress in the mornings and evenings and cleaning in-between – it was after that I got an amazing job opportunity with fantastic bosses who saw something in me and I became the manager of the Te Anau Dairy with 4 younger staff under me being only 18years old.
It wasn’t until I fell pregnant with my eldest daughter at 20, I knew I was a lot more and wanted a lot more than what I was. I have always been good with people and had/ have a natural ability to counsel others and from a young age I knew I wanted to make a difference in other people’s lives. This has always been a huge driver in my life – like a dripping tap in the background I couldn’t turn off.
I got married in 2010 and my husband encouraged me to do something with myself, so I started to build up my wedding dress business. It was called Centre of Attention, a name that came to me watching my eldest daughter as she always liked to be the Centre of Attention, and to be honest so do I. Not in the way of, look at me, look at me, but in a way that I like to walk into a room and build up the energy to make others feel comfortable.
I was a young mum worked on the farm, driving tractors, milking and feeding calves and worked as a causal at the Riverton nursing home and put my mind to work at night time building up Centre of Attention. Being Dyslexic helped me so much more than what I gave credit as I didn’t understand at the time, being dyslexic my mind could see the whole picture then I was able to let my mind go - draw it all down and brainstorm……then brain storm, then brain storm. My mind exploded every time I spoke to trusted friends as they would come up with a single idea and my brain would go into over drive expanding it…. into something amazing….
My favourite part was meeting the new brides and being able to picture their body shape and personality all in one to find their dream dress. I could dress women in dresses that made them look absolute stunning and in something they never thought they could wear. It was an honour being a part of their special day.
I sold it as I had a person approach me and wanting to come in 50/50, I couldn’t see this happening so decided to let it go.
I then got bored so a year later I wanted to continue to grow but what? I couldn’t study as I couldn’t write or read out loud – reading in my head was fantastic because I would watch a movie play as I read. I turned some of the words into something different as long as it was in context. (Sally’s speech last month was fantastic when she said her mum used to send her to her room to read the book instead of reading out loud to them, she just had to replay the context inside)
So again, I felt I was stuck. I knew I wanted to do something to help others, that dripping tap was getting louder and not so much in the background anymore. I thought what could I do? What about becoming a counsellor? I didn’t realize how much help I could have had throughout my learning experiences with my studies (being dyslexic)
At this time, I was lucky enough to meet my mentor and close friend Jackie Freemantle. This woman I cannot speak highly enough of, what she had done in her life still blows me away. She has been into villages in South Africa that no man let alone white South African women could enter and she did and taught the children and helped heal the sick with her advanced knowledge of medicine. People fly from America just to see this woman and I was lucky enough to have met her and her late husband Grant. Jackie taught me all about reflexology, brain mapping, natural medicine and so much more. She also suggested for me to become a life coach so I found NZ Life Coaching and even better the study didn’t have any written tests, PERFECT!
Study became fun because I was interested in what I was about to study. Hard because of the language. I had to learn from scratch, but it was still fun, it became a challenge and I was determined to succeed. As everything in my life, if I was committed, I was %100 committed.
Have you ever found that dictionaries are hopeless because you have no idea what the first to letters start with? And then so you try the thesaurus, and this was just as bad because you firstly didn’t know how to spell the word and then you didn’t know what it meant so therefore it was just hopeless. Well I found Suri. OMG Suri saved my life. I would click on the little icon on my cell phone, speak into it and boom, it came up with not only the word but the meaning also ……double win for me 😊
When I was studying, I always had three different pages opened. I would study the context, then study every word that I wasn’t familiar with and then write in my own words. I found this to be a great tool. I found typing or physically writing it out in my own words helped me heaps. I did a 6 months online study before my week intense block course and I passed!!!
The people in my course where school teachers, counsellors, people in executive roles, one lady was a college professor and then there was me…well this is how I felt at the time. I remember one lady coming up to me thinking I was someone of high importance because I carried myself well and presented myself as confident, just like you all did before. I learnt to do that many years ago as a mask but then became my reality – fake it till you are it!
So back to what I was saying. I was early to the course on the first day , I made sure I was early to choose where I wanted to sit to help me focus (another tool I find that’s really important to make sure you are on top of the game) – as more and more people were walking in she came over and sat with me and whispered “ oh everyone here doesn’t really look like much do they I was expecting much more, maybe I’m on the wrong course”. I was quite taken back by what she said and smiled politely. On the second last day of the course we had to all stand up and speak for 5mins before we got our certificate the next day. I stood up and said my story. I told everyone of when I was a little girl all I wanted was a horse and to dance but sadly at the time there was no way my parents could afford these things. My father worked hard in the bush felling trees throughout the week and hunted to put food on our table in the weekends and my mother raised us kids well. I begged them to take me to dance lessons and I even walked the neighbour’s dog and painted rocks to sell to fund my horse dream. I even had an old hack and paddock lined up but still my parents wouldn’t allow it. However, as an adult I never let my dreams go. I went on to get my first horse and learnt all I had to, and I even attended hip hop lessons and danced in front of 100’s of people at a live Sharks basketball game and on TV.
I was so taken back by everyone at the course and to be honest was intimidated by their intelligence. I shocked a few people with my talk, and I thanked each and everyone of them for what they had given me. The women that whispered in my ear on the first day cried and said she was so taken aback by me and how much she had under estimated everyone in the room. She was so embarrassed.
How you see others is a reflection of yourself good or bad.
Its up to us. It’s up to you and me to use our weakness as strengths. See I was seen as less as these people but won their hearts by completely being myself, by being authentic, and by thinking outside the box and using resources such as Suri to finish my studies and succeed. I still struggle sometimes but I sure do love me a good challenge. I have a hard work ethic and I will be successful in everything I put my mind too. Dyslexia is not something to be ashamed of being dyslexic has helped me succeed.
On the whiteboard we looked at difficulties (weaknesses) with being dyslexic and then worked through them with the strategies we can use to make then a strength.
Some of the weaknesses included;
Ability to express
The strengths are shown in the photo.
About this page
Here you'll find the notes from the presentations at our Adult Dyslexia Support Group. To learn more about the group, click here.