In my day-to-day life, I’m lucky enough to meet people who inspire me, people I can learn from and people I feel honoured to help with their learning challenges. Everyone has their own story, a journey that has shaped them to be the person they are now and the person they will ultimately become. I’d like to share with you 5 things, that you may not know about me, that have helped shape me into the person I am today.

1) I am a first generation British Asian.

Before school age, my first and dominant language was Gujarati. So, along with the usual challenges of starting school, I also had to start using English as my dominant language. I embraced the English language so well, that I now speak Gujarati with a British accent!

2) Educationally, I was a late bloomer.

I needed remedial support to assist with my literacy skills at primary school. This early experience really did play a part when choosing my career path; to help others with similar and other learning challenges.

3) I never understood how to play the Recorder.

I used to pretend to play in concerts! I would move my fingers and puff my cheeks without making a sound at all! I don’t think anyone noticed! I learnt that it’s ok not to be good at things or understand them. I learnt to be comfortable with being uncomfortable – when having to ask for help or saying I didn’t understand something. Eventually, I found the courage to leave the class and took up the flute – I achieved 3 gradings in this. Being authentic and being in tune with your personal strengths and weaknesses is hugely important.

4) I used to be a Salsa Dance instructor.

I taught in gyms and ran corporate events. I love Latin music and I love to dance. This is what attracted me to teach. The goal of the sessions was to have fun, meet people and realise that in dance as in many aspects of life, we need to work as part of a team. In dance you have a lead and a follower. The dance becomes difficult if parties don’t take up those roles. It was challenging to teach a complex skill involving rhythm, coordination and a routine but I still managed to have lots of fun!

5) I secretly want to learn how to knit and crochet.

Although this couldn’t be further away from my career choice, I love to embrace new skills and develop myself in new areas. One day, I will take the time to learn and then Christmas presents of jumpers and scarves for my family will be sorted for years to come!

The beauty of human nature is our ability to face challenges and situations that can shape our path in life, but that ultimately don’t define us. By learning to stretch and grow, embracing our challenges and using them to move us forward in life at our own pace, we can achieve everything and more that we want in life. Although I struggled with literacy in my younger years, I have ultimately gone on to have a successful career helping other people with the same challenges. I also now write technical / complex reports for a range of audiences such as parents, educational authorities and health insurers. I am certain I would not have been as successful in my career had it not been for these challenges in earlier years.

I’d love to know about some of the things that people may not know about you. Please leave a comment and let me know what provides light relief from what you do for your day job or the experiences that have shaped the person you are today.

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