Growing From Growth
Managing Director and Founder of Grow, Sharon Wallerson, tells us about her own personal journey in the world of therapy and why her passion for helping others is the force that keeps driving her forward.
It’s so important for me to explain the story of how I got where I am today, and I often tell clients my own personal journey of growth. Even though you might see before you a confident lady running her own business today, I can assure you that life wasn’t always so easy.
When I look back at my own life experiences, it’s clear to me that they have shaped the way I work today. Not in a dramatic ‘phoenix rising from the ashes’ kind of way, but I definitely had to grow up hard and fast. They are constantly in the back of my mind urging me forward and are the driving force behind wanting to help others.
I know from the hurdles I’ve faced in my own life that growth is so important. It comes in many shapes, from natural and fluid such as the wisdom that comes with age and experience, but growth can also come when you work hard at it on a more personal level.
My own upbringing certainly wasn’t conventional, but it’s a huge part of why I’m so committed to helping others today and a story that I’m more than happy to share. I grew up in Australia, where my mum had me as a teenager and both my parents suffered with addiction and mental health issues. Childhood for me was chaotic, unstable and not at all grounded. We lived in council accommodation with very little money, and I know I carried a certain sense of shame around with me. After years of fights my parents finally separated when I was 15 years old and for my own safety, I left home. Had it not been for the kindness of aunts and the families of friends, my path could have been a completely different one.
Despite things being against me at home and reinforcement of failure the message at school, I managed to get pretty good grades. Good enough in fact to gain a place at university, but reality soon hit home. With no financial funds and no moral support, I never quite reached the academic world and instead went straight into the work force. It was at this point in my life that my own mental health took a turn for the worst, and through the kindness of a therapist who helped me immensely, I knew that helping others would ultimately be my calling.
Love and life brought me to the UK, where I had a successful but totally unfulfilling management career. It wasn’t until I volunteered at a youth centre that I instantly felt right at home. I loved every single moment working with those young people, and I had seen so many of them struggle with their mental health, system failures and misdiagnosis, I knew I wanted to be the change.
I trained hard and after qualifying I was rewarded with the most amazing role for a local government youth service. Finally I was making a real difference working one to one with young people and their families, and I rose through the ranks onto the management team. I continued my learning journey with many different courses, always looking for the most up to date methods of ways to help as a therapist, coach, mentor and advocate.
It soon became clear that demand for the service was high, and after many years I felt it was time for me to be brave and step up to the challenge of doing even more. And so began the roots of my company Grow, a service I am hugely proud of, compounded by the belief that young people and families deserve a safe, connected and non-judgemental space to, well grow.
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