I have something in common with the following people; Richard Branson, Pablo Picasso, Alexander Graham Bell, Einstein, Nigel Kennedy, John Lennon, Walt Disney, Tommy Hilfiger, Andy Warhol, Whoopi Goldberg, Henry Wrinkler (Fonzie!), Danny Glover.
They all have the gift of dyslexia! so forgive Mr de Hek’s blogging the words get in the way of what I am trying to say.
Usually when people hear the word dyslexia they think only of reading, writing, spelling, and math problems a child is having in school. Some associate it only with word and letter reversals, some only with slow learners. Almost everyone considers it some form of a learning disability, but the learning disability is only one face of dyslexia.
The positive side of dyslexia is once you discover that the kids at school that gave you are hard time were in fact wrong and you were not stupid and you just look at stuff differently to the “Educated”. There is always a way when there’s a will to get around obstacles doing stuff without reading or writing.
My first break was I left school at fourteen and I wanted to work however I was too young to get a job and I had no experience. So I thought it would be a good idea to start a lawn mowing business, however I had a few obstacles, no clients and no lawnmower. I started knocking on peoples doors asking them if they would hire me to mow their lawns. Once they said yes I asked them if they had a lawnmower that I could use and before long they would ask me if there was any other services I offered, next I was cleaning out spouting, sweeping driveways, digging gardens! When I look back now my clients simply saw I was keen and supported me for a couple of paid hours a week.
I learned that people would pay me for a service. I could build up a client base and I could up-sell to the same clients, these same people would recommend me to family and friends. I also learnt limitations to my small growing business, there is only 40 hours a week, I couldn’t work in the rain and it was very cold in the winter!
In the school system you get taught that you need to be educated to get a good job, so I think this is why I stopped being a entrepreneur and conformed to society.
My first opportunity was handed to me, by way of a 20 lb. sledgehammer! after three days smashing a concrete wall and a few good blisters, working for demolition a company was not something I could see myself doing even at $5 per hour.
So it was not long before I got a real job a “store-man” yep unpacking boxes, unloading trucks and even got pretty good navigating the forklift about the yard, I was keen and I worked hard, I was always out to prove I can be good at something. It was all going good until my boss said “you have great work ethics Danny and we would like to promote you”. My new title was, customer service, this involved; taking phone orders, delivering goods and serving customers the obstacles were writing orders and taking their billing details, I still remember asking Peter Diver how to spell his last name he looked at me like I was stupid specially after asking him a second time! My boss was understanding however I had the same feeling I got and school so I quit the job before I was fired.
Next I worked at Riccarton New World in Christchurch I did this for 18 months, I learn that if you were 5 minutes late to work you would not be paid for it. I was the fruit and vegetable guy. I could stack 130 boxes of bananas within one hour without harming any shoppers on the busiest night. I enjoyed the job but what I found hard was break times it was like been back at school with the kids so when I got offered an apprenticeship as a Painter and Decorator I jumped at it.
I started my apprenticeship when I was 18 years old, finally a job I could do that didn’t need to do much writing or spelling, was not long before I was at the top of my game, other than failing all the Polytech writing test over the four years I was one of the best Painter and Decorators in Canterbury my specialty was wall paper hanging after 7 years working for the same company a friend suggested we when into business together, my job would be all the practical stuff and he would do all the theory, we had one of the best partnerships ever, over the three years we work together I built my entrepreneur skills back up.
Now specialising in highly skilled, interior techniques. This proved to be a very successful joint venture. (The firm is still in business today). As an appropriate leaving present, Ray Martin (ex-boss) gave me a digital diary. This was to be the start of my interest in computing and technology. As a direct result I purchased a P.C. for the business – a 486 SX25!
We were splashing some colour about a new bar in town when a man called Peter Young asked for some ideas for a area in the cafe, I said what about opening a Internet Access Area this was the very first Internet Cafe in Christchurch on to my next venture “The E-mail Center” this was very unique, travellers from over the world would come and use out Public Internet Services, by looking over shoulders and asking many questions I learn how to put together basic websites.
I may add to this blog at a later date or maybe I have said all I need to or wanted to say so in short what I’m trying to express is if there is any obstacles that you have in life or business if you keep applying yourself you can overcome them, once I found away around the barriers that were slowing me down and once I had my momentum back I was on my way again. I have noted when I was passionate about it I could move forward even faster, when I was younger it was hard for me to understand that I am not stupid and that I just see and do things differently to others and society.
I believe our education system is holding smart people back! Why teach Dyslexic students to do stuff they are not good at? why not support them with stuff they are passionate about? I have made a good living out of working on computers, I have never been taught just trial and error, did you know I have a reading level of a nine year old? When I was 23 years old once again I tried conforming to society I hired my very own teacher I asked her to teach me how to read and write 12 months later I had the same reading and writing skills I started with, however I now have a better understand of the origins of the English Language.
I am known as a professional Blogger and my travel company DANNY : DE HEK that I started back in 1995 has published over 1500 blogs on ‘all things New Zealand’. How do I do this when I only have a “reading level of a nine year old” well when I used to design a new website I would sub out the content creation to third party’s and focus on what I am good at Building and Marketing businesses online and these days I use technology to help compose my messages by using voice recognition it helps me with the words that I can not spell once I’ve done writing paragraphs I get my computer to read the words back to me so I can hear/listen and check that it is saying what I have endeavored to write.
It still not that simple and still takes a lot of time and effort my words rarely flow like they do when I speak however I have to believe in the Proverb “A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.” because tomorrow never comes! I wouldn’t say I am passionate about reading as I have NEVER READ A BOOK in my life, however I would say I am passionate about expressing myself and been understood, so I would love it if people wouldn’t judge me for the written words I often get wrong that change the complete context of what I am saying and in a business world it is not professional to get it wrong, you are not aloud to make mistakes, once it is on paper you are doomed!
People used to tell me to look words up in a dictionary that doesn’t work because you need to know how to spell words before you can find then in a Dictionary now people say “Use a Spell Checker” Let me teach you best very best tool is “Google Search” it is the best “Spell Checker” it not just spelling it is also grammar so if it is a word or small sentence I am trying to get wright the words “Did you mean:” warm my little heart they have saved me many times!
The very best way is to just publish your content live and have thick skin!! It is that kind-hearted someone looking over my shoulder or at that business meeting normally in the public eye that seems to have great pleasure in pointing out my grammar or spelling mistakes to me and/or others. FYI I always find this embarrassing and I don’t get it don’t you get the gist of what I am meaning or saying? Maybe you have today?