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Young woman overcomes stammer and goes on to mentor others

OVERCOMER: Chantel Sachanna

SHE MAY be only 29, but as a mentor and inspirational speaker Chantel Sachanna has a maturity way beyond her young years.

It’s hard a believe that up until a year ago the Birmingham-born entrepreneur’s life was blighted by a crippling stammer, making her too embarrassed to have a phone interview or even order food in a restaurant.

Through sheer belief in herself she has turned her life around, become a self-love and happiness coach and just held her first empowering I Am Phenomenal event, which was a complete sell-out.

“My mission now is to encourage people to believe in themselves,” she told The Voice.

“By convincing myself that I had the power to overcome my stammer I went on a journey of self-love, which has improved every area of my life.

“I had a severe stammer since childhood – I had all these dreams, but I couldn’t live any of them because it was holding me back. I know how important first impressions are. I’d had speech therapy as a child and was told there was no cure. I just had to accept this dark cloud of embarrassment hanging over me for the rest of my life.

“Then I had a light bulb moment and thought to myself: ‘What if I believe that I can talk properly?’ I started with positive affirmations, saying to myself: ‘I am an excellent speaker’ and I visualised myself speaking. My speech improved and with that, so did other areas of my life.

“At one time I would be too embarrassed to ask for something in a restaurant. I would be in the queue practising what I had to say, but when my turn came I was just too petrified and I’d have to leave without my cheeseburger.”

Sachanna’s first empowerment event at mac Birmingham on 25 March included four other speakers who all had inspirational stories of self-belief: sickle cell sufferer Jenica Leah told of how she had become a successful children’s author, while Adam Brook discussed his ways of overcoming fear, and Sephuine Morgan talked about developing confidence.

Single mum-of-six Cynthia Blake earned a standing ovation for her story of struggling to bring up her children on benefits. She got herself to university, held down two jobs, and is now a teacher running two businesses.

There followed an audience-led panel discussion, which left many people feeling empowered.

Sachanna herself the daughter of a single mum who grew-up in Winson Green in the community made famous by the Channel Four documentary Benefits Street.

She said:

“Hampered by my speech problem, I was never expected to be anything more than mediocre, but I started listening on YouTube to people who inspired me. I was hungry for positive messages. I developed a mindset where I believed I could overcome this – and nothing was going to stop me.

“In today’s world, social media is making us isolated and lonely. We need to get together to empower each other face to face. I want to hear from all kinds of people because everyone has a story in them and their stories should be told to inspire others.”

Sachanna now runs her own company offering mentoring on both a corporate and personal level.

For more details about Chantel Sachanna's work click here.

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