In this 20-minute TED Talk video with Andrew Solomon, Andrew says “Take the traumas from your life and make them who you’ve come to be.


Very few people know this about me, but I’m partially deaf. It started from a young age where I underwent extensive surgery and continue until I was around 12 years old. In high school I got my first hearing aid. I never quite fitted into high school, I wasn’t a popular chick, I wasn’t the super smart nerd either. I was just there. Truthfully, I hated high school. It made me feel belittled.

There was one teacher, a male, who sat down with me one day and asked me about my hearing aid and my hearing. He talked to me for over 30 minutes. He got me to show how my hearing aid worked and asked about how I struggled to hear and what moments I found difficult.

He actually stopped and took the time to understand me. He took the time to listen.

To him, this was probably nothing, just a role of a teacher or adult.

For me, it was a pinnacle moment, it was the moment he made me feel it was totally okay and I was just a girl growing up. That my hearing disability and aid, were just fragments that made me the person I am, they were not what defined me.

After finishing high school (VCE), began the journey of where I truly grew and started to shine. I didn’t go to university, it felt like a parallel universe that I just couldn’t understand. Pretty much scared the crap out of me. I didn’t think I would ever fit in, or survive.

I went on to do a traineeship. I was the dux of my class (scoring the highest marks). I loved my traineeship, I loved what I was learning and I was starting to learn I could do this.

Life has had many ups and downs. My biggest issue with my hearing is I can’t determine how loud or soft I’m speaking. Over the years I learnt when I’m emotional or tell a story of a situation I experience (which was emotional) my voice rises….actually more likes sky rockets! I step back into that story and the emotions become raw.

After high school and my traineeship, I continued studying (actually never really stopped). My husband and I spent 4 years studying part time doing our Business Management studies together, whilst working fulltime.

Even today, I’m still studying, learning and growing.

When I reflect on those high school days and how I felt, then look at where I am. I have, in around about way, done exactly what Andrew Soloman says, I’ve turned my trauma into my triumph. What I felt back there, could have set me on another path, instead I took a path that saw me identify my weakness and work at it to make it my strength.

Yes, I am partially deaf. (Most people can’t tell) However, I’m great at lip reading and I’m a visually based person. If I’m ever in a group discussion….watch me, because I’m actually watching whoever is speaking, my eyes following the actions and mouths.

I run my own businesses, and run them all from home. My hearing doesn’t impact my work, nor my life. Why, because I refuse to let it.

I’m pretty lucky to say I have a rocking team behind me, and my biggest team member and cheer squad is my best friend, my husband Dean.  He has his own unique amazing story, but that’s for another time. What he does every day is encourage, support and listen to me. He helps me when and where I need it.

Andrew Solomon says in his speech ‘Stories build identity’.

What is my story’s identity?

One weakness leads to other areas of strength. I may not hear as well as you, but I definitely notice a lot more around me that you would.

Thank you Andrew for an amazing speech, I am so glad I came across it.

Make those traumas your strength. Start today.


If you’re ready to work from now and going forward, then that is what a life coach is about. Let’s chat.