I’ve waited a long time to do this, although really my “secret” is not so secret.

You see, I am afflicted with glossophobia, which is a pretty miserable disorder, as an entrepreneur, trying to raise awareness of the services we offer!

As with all phobias, it is debilitating and leaves me vulnerable, panicked, unable to breathe and generally feeling faint!

You may be wondering, why I haven’t “controlled” it? …. and all I can say is that, as with so many similar phobic disorders, its not something that just goes away with “practice”.

In fact, in my case, it gets progressively worse.

Social AnxietyThe point is that it DOES NOT DEFINE ME! It does not mean that I cannot be an entrepreneur, or a CEO building my dream business.

It does mean that I have to make a plan to deal with the parts of me that aren’t my best side!

And so you see, that is exactly what I am passionate about!

So many people are challenged with obstacles, difficulties, illness, “disorders”, phobias, or they carry economic, physical, mental, social, or other disadvantages. In South Africa, we have had the added ugliness of racial profiling having discriminated against the majority of people.

But should these challenges deny people new opportunities for ever onward? NO! Does it mean that challenged people have no value to offer? NO! Does it mean that the general populace can make random judgements to define who we are? NO! Why? Well, let’s be frank, other people will make up-front judgements, but that’s because it suits them to do that …. We do not need to accept the superficial mould cast about by others – it is nothing more than competitive game-playing. We too, are in that life-competition and we should be the ones to determine whether we are winners!

Let me explain!

It reminds me of the time when I was running along a rural road and suddenly I came across a barbed wire fence and padlocked gate erected across it, despite it being a mapped and marked public thoroughfare.

Now, I was faced with a choice: turn around, having been prevented from traversing a legitimate road because someone illegally erected a barrier; shout, scream and try to beat the fence; go through the fence and possibly be snagged against the barbed wire and hang there; climb the spiky gate; request local villagers to help heave me over; look for a way around the barrier etc. In the end, it didn’t really matter. What mattered, is that I did not let the obstacle define my path. I could choose my reaction to find the way I wanted to go! I knew that I had options!

I think that this is what challenged people must understand … we have choices and we must use our options wisely.

Sometimes we do not even know what are options are. Maybe another runner would have thought that the road had become a private road and would have been denied a way forward, believing they had no choice.

And that is the very biggest sadness of all. That challenged people do not always know that they have choices and that they can rise above their challenges.

That their past does NOT absolutely define their future. It is just a contributor to who they are.

My passion is to give young people the confidence, skills, passion and knowledge to understand that they have options and can use them to determine what they want to do with their “fence”. I work with young graduates who sit with a mantle of “unemployment” around their shoulders, unable for a myriad of reasons to rise above their circumstances. And all I do, is provide them “with a ticket to freedom”. Its them who have to exercise how, where and when they utilise their ticket.

They can destroy it, embrace it, use some of it or none of it. But they can exercise CHOICE in their lives. No longer a victim but a person who holds their own destiny in their hands

Along this journey, the reward for me, personally is seeing the change in people when they cast aside their challenge-cloaks with the confidence to exercise their UNIQUE VALUE! And seeing their realisations that challenges actually afflict everyone and the fact that I and others may carry an obvious outward vulnerability does NOT mean that we cannot walk our paths or change our futures.

My plea to everyone out there, is do not be persuaded to cast aside a person because of a pre-conceived idea, an outward affliction or challenge – be prepared to look for the value within!

Because in many cases, that value far surpasses the ordinary!

I am shaking right now even at the thought of taking the stage. BUT I refuse to let that deter me. I am instead, encouraging the world to invest in our youth because they hold the future in their hands! One way or another, the fact is that underneath my pathological tremors, lies some special stuff that people need to hear and I would urge everybody to ignore the outward and investigate the inward!

We have a solution to building capacity in our youth, to set them free from the constraints of unemployment and help them to find & act in their own power going forward!

Come to the New economy Accelerator event on the 27th June 2016


Don’t listen to a glossophobe! Listen to what is inside!

Dee Cranswick, CEO Velisa Africa (Pty) Ltd.