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Angie Stewart Guest Blog: Journey to a Career Doing What you Love

  • Posted on Aug 19, 2020

It was 1993 and there was a buzz of excitement in the classroom. We waited patiently for the deputy head to pop her head through the door and call us individually for a one to one with a career’s advisor. It is not surprising there was such excitement. We were about to discuss how we were going to make a living for the rest of our lives! Eventually it was my turn.

I ventured upstairs on the very temperamental stairlift and knocked on the door of the small staff room. A soft gentle voice called ‘come in’. I knocked again to hear the same response… ‘I can’t reach the door handle’, I said just loud enough for the careers advisor to be able to hear me. Within seconds the door flew open a very flustered women opened the door, getting increasingly redder as she apologised. She had forgotten school had told her that I use a wheelchair… She was stressed before we started!

Once she had taken a very large mouthful of coffee, sat down and taken a few deep breaths, she paused as she looked properly at the wide eyed, smiley child, full of energy and anticipation in-front of her. I knew that wasn’t what she saw though. She did the slight tilt of the head thing, which is code for ‘ohh bless isn’t she marvellous to come to school?’  At the time I did have a broken arm, which was propped up with tea towels on my arm rest.  I decided, I was going to have to prove I really wasn’t that marvellous! Just like all my friends I had left in the classroom, I simply wanted advice on what to do with the rest of my life.

I proceeded to tell her that English and Biology were my favourite subjects. I found maths and physics much harder, but I was willing to put the extra work in to excel at them if it would help me get me my dream job. I told her I had a keen interest in health, medicine and had a lot of personal experience of hospitals… (she did the head tilt thing again!). I had worked out for myself that nursing, midwifery or being a surgeon was going to be practically very difficult, but I wanted to explore a career in the health sector.

There was an awkward pause as she pretended to write this down, she smiled and asked if there were any more subjects I liked. “well, business studies is okay…” I replied.

Right there right then, was the moment my career for the rest of my days was set… I was told this was perfect for me! As I am very friendly and like people, maybe human resources was the answer. With a bit of extra dedication to maths, I could do accounts and technology is progressing all the time! Working on a computer is the solution, an IT consultant maybe!

Before I knew it, I was enrolled on a GNVQ in Business and Finance.  I progressed from this to a BA Hons in Organisational Behaviour. Those five years were amazing fun, but hand on heart the enjoyment was finding my independence and growing up rather than loving my studies… deep down I knew I had to change the pattern.

Earning a living was the next step and this is where I decided to be a bit rebellious (not like me!). The main focus of my application forms and interviews, wasn’t my studies, but the voluntary work I had done for the Brittle Bone Society over the years. This got me my first paid job as a Project Co-ordinator for an initiative to increase access to inclusive sport for disabled people. A million miles away from that conversation with the career’s advisor back in 1993… I don’t think I have ever said thank you to the people at the Brittle Bone Society who took my teenage ideas seriously and gave me the opportunity to grow my experience.  Here’s my chance… Thank you!

Over the last 20 years, I have had six jobs, all involving working alongside disabled people to create projects or initiate service improvement. Each of these jobs has very gradually taken me on a journey back to focusing on emotional health, physical fitness, independence and supporting people to be in control of their body and mind. Much closer to what I knew I wanted when I was fifteen years old!

This brings me to the present day… I can look back on this journey and honestly say I wouldn’t change any of it, but as yet I haven’t managed to find a job where I am making a living doing what I really love. I want to head towards my golden retirement years, knowing I have a purpose and I am living it. This is why I have very recently launched my own coaching company Dare2bYou.

As my LinkedIn profile says… ‘Helping people find health and happiness. Be confident that dreams come true if you #Dare2bYou’. Through one to one coaching and workshops I hope people will put their confidence in me to support them to discover what makes them happy and make it happen.

It’s a big leap into self-employment and entrepreneurship, but for me personally, I know it is right. I am no longer dragging myself out of bed when the alarm clock goes off. My enthusiasm and dedication to make this work has me totally driven. Hopefully the first step, which will help me to learn and find what makes me truly happy. My volunteer journey with the Brittle Bone Society has played a big part in enabling me to have the confidence and permission for different expectations of myself than the careers advisor had. I am looking forward to keeping you all up to date with how life changes, my journey into being an entrepreneur and how Dare2byou grows.

By providing a link to a third party organization (even one led by our wonderful trustee Angie), The Brittle Bone Society does not endorse or recommend the services of that organization.