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Mark Freed - Dreams

Mark Freed - Dreams

Mark.Freed / 25 Apr 2022

Last week, Katie Dix and I spent the morning with City Gateway for their Welcome Day. We met the new cohort of young people who are looking to get themselves job ready by embarking on courses, gaining extra qualifications and receiving coaching from their experts.

I gave a speech sharing the various dreams I have had through my life, to encourage the attendees to follow theirs and not let bumps in the road stop them from living out their ambitions. It was a really inspiring morning to see all the good work City Gateway are doing for their young people, we look forward to the next time we visit!

Big thank you to Diane Betts and her team and also Mark Huxley FRSA for the introduction to this amazing organisation.

When I was about 12 one of my dreams was to become an Olympic swimmer and world record holder.  

My advice - swimming is the hardest sport to train for; it’s solitary, requires huge amounts of time early in the morning and late into the evening, and finally…the bottom of a pool is very boring to look at! If you want to become a world class sports person…pick another sport.

I failed in the exact dream but it proved a gateway to another…Water polo, Olympics, world record.

I started playing Water Polo competitively, and although I didn’t exactly take part in the Olympics, I helped organise and run the Water Polo at London 2012. A few years later, I managed to achieve another dream of breaking a world record…the most amount of passes of the ball in the pool.

My next dream was to leave education as soon as I could and become a successful entrepreneur. I should explain, I hated education. I found it very difficult due to my Dyslexia and having very little known about it or support in place, it didn’t suit me at all. I left school with two GCSE’s but fire in my belly to establish myself as an Entrepreneur and expand on the portfolio career I had at the time, working at the local Sainsbury’s, washing pots at an Indian restaurant and a car washing round

My mother let me leave school as long as I got a proper job and give up my portfolio career…the entrepreneurial dream died.

My first proper job gave me insight into the incredible relative advantage that some have by their gender, ethnicity and social background. It hit me hard when my contemporaries started leaving university and entering the work place and getting the jobs I wanted. The dream was fading…

My swimming/Water Polo training had taught me to compete and to challenge. I was overcoming the challenges of Dyslexia thanks to spell and grammar checking on the computer so my career was successfully taking off. I was traveling the world in my job often flying first and sometimes Business class if I was unlucky.

But I still had a dream - the entrepreneurial dream, along with it a new dream of a fairer more inclusive and successful world. Full of opportunity and choice for all. 

Twenty years ago I gave up my career, my experiences had provided a gateway to fulfil a new dream…E2W and Men for Inclusion were born.

Have your dreams, recognise your experiences good and bad are just gateways and opportunities to your future. Take them and learn.

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