Why My Disability Led Me To Become a Life Coach For Other Disabled Women
With so little life and career support available for women with disabilities, Melanie McCaw set up her own service – Elysium Coaching. Melanie tells her story and is offering a free coaching giveaway too.
As a disabled woman, I have faced many challenges both personally and prfessionally. Although my disability is not physical (I have dyspraxia) and therefore unseen, it affects every aspect of my life.
As an adult, the greatest challenge has been employment. Not finding work per se, but finding work that is challenging and makes me want to stay. Until recently I have never stayed in any job for more than a year. My condition means I pick things up quickly in verbal form, and I find that after a few months I’m bored to tears and back on the job sites looking for something new to do.
Or at least, it used to.
It took me a long time to realise that it wasnt just the fact that I picked up jobs super-quickly that led to me being bored. It was the fact I really didn’t care about what I was doing. I could go in and put on a front, and genuinely help people out when needed, but I wasn’t passionate about my job. I had resigned myself to being one of ‘those’ people who just does a job for the sake of it. I didn’t think I felt passionate about anything (other than Sailor Moon and Harley Quinn) that I could utilise in an employable way. But I was wrong, and glad to be.
In a last-ditch attempt to find my passion, I thought about the few things that make me angry (I once won an award for my calmness; I’m pretty chilled for the most part) as opposed to things I like.
“I had previously worked for the DWP helping people back to work, but it was an awful target-driven environment that did little to serve the people needing its help.”
I realised that I got really angry when I read about women with disabilities being treated unfairly in the workplace, or not even being able to get a job in the first place.
In this age of so-called equal opportunities and the Disability Discrimination Act (Northern Ireland) and Equality Act (England, Scotland and Wales) it angered me to read that if a disabled women is lucky enough to have a job, she will be paid on average 22% less than her non-disabled counterpart.
That was my lightbulb moment.
Something was stirring.
I had previously worked for the DWP helping people back to work, but it was an awful target-driven environment that did little to serve the people needing its help. I didn’t want to go back down that route. No – it was time to do things the way I felt they should be done.
And so I decided to set up my own business, Elysium Coaching, which coaches disabled women who aspire to run their own business, become a CEO or even to find a non-management career that makes use of their talents, not one that diminishes them.
I created the DARE Programme to address these goals. The word DARE was the first thing that popped into my mind when designing my coaching programme. Too often as disabled women we don’t take enough risks with our personal and professional lives. These are the women I want to reach out to.
The women who refuse to let their disability hold them back in any way. The women who are massively under-employed. Those women deserve to be seen and heard, and represented at board level in all companies.
I’m doing my best to make that a reality.
It’s what drives me to stay up all night writing new course materials. Thinking of new ways to engage clients. Dreaming of how much my clients will achieve when they’re on the DARE Programme. It gives me hope. It inspires me. It makes me want to get up in the morning and work hard on my business whilst holding down a day job to cover the bills.
Women: I now invite you to find your passion. It’s not too late. Despite the Instagram accounts to the contrary, you do not have to have made it in business before your 21st birthday. There’s plenty of time for you to get out there and inspire others with your beliefs, passions and dreams. The world needs you!
If you struggle to think of things you like that could be turned into a job or business, go to the dark side like I did and think about what makes you angry. But come back to the light afterward, OK?
If you have a disability and worry about your employment prospects – stop. You can and will achieve your dreams. Your disability does not have to hold you back; use it as a source of strength. What can you do that no-one else can, or at least not as well as you can? Everyone has a skill that can be turned into a career or business – it’s just a matter of finding it and making it work for you.
What you’ll get on the Elysium Coaching DARE programme
So what can you expect if you work with me?
Results. No fluff, just real strategies, tools and tons of enthusiasm courtesy of me!
All women on the DARE Programme receive a weekly video call from me. We’ll cover your goals, your stumbling blocks and your mindset. You can expect your own workbook with exercises and activities to guide you through. Each week we will work on a strategy to take you from fear to achieving your goals. You also have access to me via Facebook Messenger and email.
Competition – WIN FREE LIFE COACHING
For your chance to win a spot on the DARE Programme:
- Join our Feminine and Fierce group (link https://www.facebook.com/groups/1321226667914630/)
- Post a comment describing your dream with the hash tag #mookywin
Competition closes July 15th 2017.