Scott Sonnon overcame Dyslexia so severe that he was hospitalized in a children's psychiatric institution. He was advised that he should not set his expectations of his potential very high.
He went on to become a five-time world martial arts champion, award-winning producer and author, patented inventor, and fitness industry magnate. Scott was named one of the top 24 trainers in the world by Men's Fitness magazine, and one of the six most influential martial artists of the 21st century by Black Belt Magazine.
At TEDx Bellingham 2013, Scott Sonnon gave a very moving and inspirational presentation about his own struggle with Dyslexia. Towards the end of his presentation, he makes this statement:
Einstein, my favorite dyslexic, said: "If you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, you will forever feel frustrated; and the fish will always feel stupid". The truth is: We may have difficulty climbing trees, but we are innately perfectly masterful swimmers - just put us back in the water!
Scott's presentation inspired my somewhat unique business name.
For years I have been coaching people with learning disabilities in a non-official capacity. People would recognize my success in starting and running businesses and upon learning I was both severe Dyslexic and off-the-chart ADD, they would ask for help and guidance.
My experience is that Dyslexia is more prevalent than statistics show, because there are many dyslexic individuals who struggle without being aware that their problems stem from a learning difference.
Having established several successful businesses - despite being severely Dyslexic - I realized that helping adults with learning disabilities follow their dreams and create their own business would be my ultimate calling and passion.
I worked on the business and curriculum content for over 2 years and finally in April 2014 I launched the fulltime coaching business.
I grew up without feeling parental love or support and felt my parents never took a particular interest in my education.
I remember one evening when I was about 12 being placed on the kitchen table by my Mom and yelled at because I could not see or explain the difference between numbers such as 45 and 54 and 89 and 98.
I struggled and suffered terribly in school and wanted no part of a continued education, because I felt absolutely stupid.
I have gone through life being utterly frustrated by the fact that I was unable to comprehend anything I was reading. Because I have absolutely no short-term memory, I resorted to learning by listening to people, to recorded lectures and by taking notes.
While growing up in Denmark, I spoke English, German and most of the Scandinavian languages. I learned by way of phonetic spelling and by conversation. These days, I only speak Danish and English.
I was about 45 years old when I was officially diagnosed with having a "near debilitating level" of Dyslexia, mixed with adult ADD and a good amount of OCD. Even though I - for most of my life - did not know what was going on, I have always tried my best to live and function with these learning challenges (that most people still do not understand).
I am currently working on finalizing a blogging website where I will share personal stories, business experiences and recommendations for tools and methods to ensure daily productivity in the life and business of a Dyslexic. My goal is not to write an autobiography, but share a collection of short (educational, inspirational, motivational, sometimes funny, sometimes sad) stories with the hope that they will encourage people with learning disabilities to follow their dreams.
It is my goal that the blog posts will - eventually - turn into a book.
I started my professional life when I still lived in Denmark where I in 1974 joined the Danish military. After 6 years of service, I was ready for new challenges.
After leaving the military, I began a career as a professional bodyguard. I started working in various countries in Europe while I was studying and learning about my passion - Industrial Design. I had always been fascinated with 3D objects (now I know why).
I took advantage of a great opportunity while I lived in England and managed to earn a Graphics Design degree while I worked part-time as a bodyguard. The degree was more computer-oriented than Industrial Design specific, but I absolutely loved it. Not only did I learn about colors and layouts, I also learned about something rather new at that time - called "Human-Computer Interface" (known as HCI, today we call it UX or usability). It turned out to be a great combination (colors, designs and usability) which allowed me to work on projects for various software programs and later it added turbo power to my little side-business - my own web design business (which I had started back in 1995 as a way to learn).
While I worked in Ireland, I was contacted by a Danish developer working for Microsoft. Long story short, I ended up working on a new product from Microsoft called Microsoft Access. Initially I was testing new features, teaching support staff and writing demo applications. Once I started passionately talking about various design aspects of the program, Microsoft Ireland spoke to Microsoft USA and I was asked to join their American team as a designer.
I moved to the US in 1994 and worked for Microsoft over a period of 8 years while I still worked part-time as a professional bodyguard.
I retired from being an active bodyguard in 2005 and founded Better Bodyguards, a school for professional bodyguards. It was a great school, but my passion was still working with web-based solutions, so I handed over the daily management of the bodyguard school to my trusted bodyguard partner.
Part of my own bodyguard training very early on had been to learn a solid way of defending myself and the people I protected, so I decided to learn Krav Maga (Isreali hard-core no-rules self-defense). Having taught Krav Maga for over 20 years, I decided to continue to offer Krav Maga training here in the US. I wanted to offer the training to all people and not just law enforcement, security staff and bodyguards, so I founded B2 Krav Maga - a training organization specializing in no-nonense and easy-to-learn self-defense.
I established my design business, StoneHill Media, in 1995. It started under another name and the name and branding has been changed a couple of times over the years. For years it served as my freelance business and for the past 6 years, it has been my full-time business.
Realizing that helping adult entrepreneurs with learning disabilities follow their dreams and create their own business would be my ultimate calling and passion, I decided to switch focus and become a full-time business coach. I worked on the business and curriculum content for over 2 years and I launched the business in April of 2014.
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