Picture of Claire taken in August 2019

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown all the fantastic business support has been moved online, so earlier this month I attended a webinar about blogging. I was expecting to learn more about blogging – ‘do’s and don’ts’ – but instead it has challenged me in a way I was not expecting!

During the webinar, we spoke about a Google-backed initiative called ‘#iamremarkable’. This initiative is about empowering women and under-represented groups, to celebrate their achievements in the workplace and beyond. This is something I confess I am not particularly good at; I do not like being in the limelight; all I want to do is be in the background and be successful in everything that I do.

The hosts asked us to write down what makes us remarkable as people and in business. I struggled even to think of one thing that makes me personally remarkable. I thought to myself ‘I am just me’ and that ‘no one would ever think I am remarkable’. The question challenged me out of my comfort zone, but I gave it a go and came up with the following five things:

  • Resistant to changing situations
  • Achieving the highest level in sport and representing GB Para Athletics Team
  • Achieving things others thought were impossible
  • Using negative experiences from childhood to drive my ambitions
  • Sharing my lived experiences with other disabled people allowing them to achieve their own dreams and ambitions

This exercise showed me the important role that my business has played in my personal development over the last couple of years. Also, it has reinforced to me how far I have come and the opportunities it will provide in the future.

I regularly come up against barriers and negative perceptions within society but being my own boss I now have faced these barriers head-on and observed a change in mindset from people in society who now take me more seriously.  People show me respect, they listen and want to learn from my personal experiences to not only develop themselves but also how they can support other disabled people within their community. Most of all, being my own boss has shown others what can be achieved with some determination and hard work. This also shows me that I am more resilient than I ever thought!

Many other disabled people feel the same as I do. My business, Ability Consultancy (NW) Ltd, was set up for others and myself, to share life experiences and support inclusive societies. A key focus of my business is to show and encourage disabled people to follow their dreams and their ambitions.

Claire throwing discus at a CP World Games

I might not have achieved everything that I wanted to in school or during my sporting career, but I am proud of what I have achieved and overcome – especially the challenges of negative actions and perceptions by others. Those who know me well will call me stubborn and determined, but equally that I am driven and successful.

With Ability Consultancy (NW) Ltd, I have achieved far more than what I thought I could achieve. I laughed in the beginning when someone suggested that I should start up my own business, as ‘apparently’, I have so much knowledge to share. But then I gave the idea of starting a business some serious attention; I had no idea where to start and it was a daunting task, to say the least. Furthermore, I lacked the confidence to believe that anyone would want to hear what I have to say. To be truthful, it has not been easy having to learn many new skill sets to allow me to set-up and run the business, there have been many times that I have just wanted to quit but one thing is for sure, I don’t quit!

I am now a Director of an ever-growing business. We provide in house, community disability awareness support for businesses, also offering online courses and motivational speeches.

My vision for the future is to have a society in which the future generations of disabled people will be able to thrive in. We work with young people to change their perceptions of disabled people, as well as delivering fun, interactive sessions using sport, practical learning and simulation equipment.

At the start of this adventure, I never imagined I would have the privilege to work alongside many International Sports Organisations in educating sports coaches within the UK and overseas. I discuss my sport and life experiences, showing what is achievable with some adaption, joint working, and openness.

Writing this blog has reminded me how far I have come, and how much I still have to achieve. The main thing the blog has shown to me is that I am remarkable in my own way.