When I was at school I struggled. I didn’t do well because back then (and I’m trying not to show my age here), if you had a learning difficulty it was usually misunderstood.
Rather than being helped you were considered stupid and put into remedial classes. I left school believing I was just that. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with dyslexia that I started realising that I wasn’t stupid at all.
Even then, it took me many years to stop limiting myself. My self-limitations meant I would assume I was unable to do something because I was stupid. If I failed, it was down to my stupidity.
To prove that I wasn’t stupid, I eventually decided to study for a bachelor’s degree. Gaining a degree is not only a great achievement but, for me, it proved that I wasn’t stupid. I then went on and gained two master’s degrees!
Nothing proves my childhood self-limitation wrong more than becoming an author. Despite being in remedial English, I have now written a dozen books. In fact, I now coach others to become authors! I also regularly write for publications, including The Times newspaper.
Dyslexia and entrepreneurs
So, I want to encourage you today, especially if you have a learning difficulty such as dyslexia, to embrace whatever you feel is limiting you! And once you have, don’t allow it to limit you again!
According to Julie Logan, emeritus professor of entrepreneurship at Cass Business School, in London, 20% of UK self-starters have dyslexia.
Her research into the US market showed that 35% of company founders identified themselves as dyslexic, compared with 15% in the general population. That means there are a larger proportion of dyslexic people in business than the general population!
She then compared the traits, attributes and early experiences of people who identified as dyslexic from a sample of entrepreneurs who were not dyslexic.
“Dyslexic entrepreneurs reported as good or excellent at oral communication, delegation, creative and spatial awareness tasks, whilst non-dyslexics reported as average or good,” Logan says.
People with dyslexia, she found, tend to compensate for things they can’t do well by developing excellence in other areas: oral communication, delegation (because they must learn to trust other people with tasks they can’t do from an early age), as well as problem-solving and people management.
Among the highly successful business people who are dyslexic include Lord Sugar, Richard Branson and the founder of Ikea, Ingvar Kamprad.
It’s a gift
I’m not sure what the official definition of dyslexia is, but I would like to explain how it affects me. I can read a book perfectly well, but cannot remember what it said. I can write a couple of sentences and struggle; and not just in spelling and grammar, my processing is just a bit different. That is how it presents itself in my world!
As far as I am concerned, dyslexia is not a problem, it is a gift. Those of us with the difficulty think differently… and that is what you need to be innovative and to create. Maybe that is why it helps so many leading entrepreneurs – thinking outside the box is innovative and ground-breaking.
From being classed as a ‘stupid’ pupil who was in the bottom rung in English, I am currently helping 10 people write their first-ever book. For me this proves those who gave me the label wrong, and best of all it proves my limitations were only what I imposed on myself!
You know, some people believe the meaning of life is found in what you have materially. But for me the greatest pleasure comes from helping other people. Through Relationology’s Writing My Book course, I have great pleasure in helping others.
I want to encourage you today to be ignore the limitations in your mind. Step out and do that thing that you have discounted and make it happen!