I’ve spent the past 8 weeks dreaming, scheming and traveling. I’ve been to Hawaii, Utah, Mexico and San Diego. And I’ll be in London by the time you read this.
I feel rested and relaxed and I’m excited to share with you some of the new ideas my team and I have been cooking up…
However, you’ll need to wait until Saturday for that!
For now, I want to tell you about one of the most inspiring women I have ever met…
“I’m not a high achiever, Rich,” read the email.
Most people are more willing to fight for their limitations than to go after what they really, really want. And I usually don’t engage.
But this email was different.
I kept reading.
“I’m a mum to a son with severe needs and I had to leave full time teaching, to be his carer. I still teach two days a week. And I have founded a charity called More Than a Face, to educate children and young people on facial disfigurement and visible difference, which my son has. I’m also a published author.”
She continued, “Before Covid, I was delivering talks and workshops around resilience but when the pandemic hit, the CEO of my school trust asked if I could coach a few staff around their anxieties.
I said I would give it a go but the show off in me that loves an audience doubted I’d enjoy it.
I was wrong. I really do enjoy it.”
Now, I was really intrigued.
She finished the email with the words, “I’m not the high performer you’d usually support but I’m a performer set on achieving high things so thank you for your help.”
She told me she lives in Staffordshire, in the UK. And I googled her.
The first article about Charlie began with these words:
“When you hear, ‘twin one is fine, but…’ you know your life is about to change…”
After a healthy twin pregnancy, Charlie and her husband were shocked to be told that one of their boys had been born with half of his face undeveloped.
In seconds, the happy family future they had been planning disintegrated into turmoil and uncertainty.
Harry was born with a rare craniofacial condition called Goldenhar syndrome which hadn’t been detected in utero. He had no eye, eye socket, ear, nostril and a short jaw on his left side. The family were told that Harry may have spinal problems and brain damage.
And with that Charlie’s world changed massively…
Three years later, Charlie became a single parent, teaching full time, while raising 3-year-old twins, one of whom only slept about four hours a night. She was exhausted—physically, mentally and emotionally.
In Charlie’s words, “I decided that the world, and my boys, would be better off without me. At that point, my mom literally dragged me to the doctors where I hung my head in shame and admitted I needed saving from myself. The antidepressants he prescribed saved my life.”
Charlie went on “a journey from a terrified and lost mother to a warrior mom, who would do anything for her children—and a proactive force in engaging other children with my son who looks different, but is so very much like them too.”
She wrote a bestselling book about her experiences, called Our Altered Life.
She started blogging.
She founded a charity called, More Than a Face, to raise awareness and promote acceptance of facial disfigurement with children and young people.
[I just donated $1,000. Please click this link to donate even $10].
Charlie has appeared in local and national newspapers, as well as on the BBC, to share her story.
In 2014, Harry received the Child of Courage award from his local paper. And Charlie received Carer of the Year, in 2019.
In Charlie’s words, “I finally feel I am making the difference I was born to make, thanks to the boy who changed my life.”
Harry has had over 20 reconstructive operations, to date. He loves pizza, remote controls and watching YouTube. He can bounce for hours—on trampolines, beds or sofas! He has a very mischievous sense of humour and he loves cuddles with his family.
In Charlie’s words, once more: “People react to Harry in various ways. Some smile. Others whisper, stare, point and laugh. Online, people have said some truly awful things about the way he looks.”
Charlie is aware that Harry may not always have someone with him when people are unkind. It is important to her, and for Harry’s future, that people understand the reasons and the people behind facial disfigurement, so that they can better understand and become more accepting and inclusive.
Charlie now uses the insights from her journey—as a professional speaker, a trainer and a coach, to help others. She supports individuals and teams to identify, challenge and break down any barriers they have created, in order to achieve the success and happiness they deserve in life.
Most people have no idea that I read every email that I receive.
I can’t always reply to every email.
But I read them all.
I see you Charlie.
And you are not fooling me!
You are one of the most extraordinary top performers I know.