Pat Shanks is one half of “The Coolest Couple”. Through his passion for inspiring and educating others, Pat has dedicated himself to providing the tools, knowledge and community to help others gain business success.
Here is My Story…
It’s interesting… as I start to write this story I start to cry like a baby…
Why you might ask?
Well, for me writing (spelling, grammar – the whole 9 yards) has always been my biggest challenge. It’s not that I can’t write, it’s just that the words don’t come out as easy or smooth as they should, if they ever come out at all. And if they do come out, quite often they don’t make any sense to me or anyone else.
(Yes, some nice soul has edited this story so that you can read it and make sense of it. These are my words and thoughts, but somebody else’s grammar and spelling corrections. Thank you Lorna & My Mom xoxo)
I actually get scared to write because I have no idea what’s going to come out… or how to express myself with words. It’s very hard, yes I would even say painful, for me to express myself. It can sometimes take me hours to write just one page. Yeah, it can be that bad.
Heck, sometimes I write something, go back later, and the words are completely different than what I thought I wrote. I didn’t write those words… nobody in their right mind would write those words. That’s why I always feel dependent on someone else when it comes to writing anything… even a simple Facebook post.
So, who the heck created all these stupid grammar rules? They make no sense to me. And when it comes to spelling… let’s just say that sometimes the dictionary and I can be friends, and yet at times we are the worst of enemies.
I was never diagnosed with any disorder, ADD, or ADHD or even Dyslexia… but there is some kind of disconnect between me and writing. Maybe they just haven’t come up with a name for it yet. You see I’m special 🙂
I thank the universe that I can read; because I do read a lot. So I’m OK getting information in, the challenge for me is getting the damn information out.
I don’t write this for pity… I am able to speak well enough. The tough thing is getting my words out in writing… something that is so important to our online business.
Despite my challenge, I know I belong here on this planet earth. I do deserve to be here. I have kindness and beauty within me.
So here is The Rest of The Story…
The Day the World Stopped for Me
It was early in grade two and they posted our spelling test results on the wall at school. There was mine, “Patrick Shanks”… and I had more red on my paper than anybody else in the class. I was so proud of myself! And there it was… my mark… 2 out of 50. Yeah, I got 2 right. That must mean I’m really smart because that was a really tough test.
Let just say that kids always look for weaknesses in others kids that they can exploit and make fun of. They had found my weakness. Grade school was going to be very interesting.
I remember going to lots of speech therapy, with doctors trying to discover why I was the way I was. I thought I was OK, everybody else thought differently.
My mother, god bless her heart, is very good at English and spelling and helped me out so much. I still love her so much to this day. Unfortunately, I was more like my father when it came to spelling.
Pat’s Life Lesson – Having a whole bunch of Red is not always a good thing.
Note: Over the next 10 years my mark in English was always around 50% (if a teacher really liked me I got 55%). I did forget to mention that I had already
failedrepeated grade one so I was already behind. It was an interesting time because I could read (I loved to read) and I could understand everything that was said to me, but for some reason I just couldn’t get it out of me on to paper.
The Day the World Started Moving for Me Again
When I started high school one of the options I decided to take was Computer Science. That was one of my best decisions ever! It came so naturally for me, I understood machine language (Assembler, Zip, and Basic) a lot more than human language. Other kids were actually asking me for help with their homework and projects. I really caught onto this class and got 100% on all my tests and projects.
Needless to say, I was so looking forward to seeing that 100% on my year-end report card. So what did I see? English 50% (I always seemed to get 50% in English), Math 73%, Science 78%, Physical Education 75%, Data Processing 99%…
What?? I was perfect… every test, every project… perfect. Why did I get only (yeah, only) 99%?
Pat’s Life Lesson – Just because you think you are perfect, not everybody is going to see it that way.
Let’s Not Get That World Moving Too Quickly
Ok… high school is finished; it’s time to get some real education. I applied to the University of Waterloo (UOW) because they had a great Computer Science Department and one of the best computer(s) in the country. They asked for my marks and all the other standard stuff… hmmm, they say I need to take an English entrance exam? Ok fine. I took the exam, which was quickly followed by the standard response letter… “We are sorry to inform you that you have not been accepted to the UOW.” So now what do I do?
If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again
Since the university didn’t want me, I was going to have to try a different avenue to learn more about these computer things. I had seen commercials on TV about getting an education at Control Data Institute. It sounded good to me…
so I booked an appointment and walked out an hour later registered in their program, with a student loan for $5000.00. I was excited… and drove home to tell my parents. Guess what they said? “You did what?” “That’s a lot of money.” “You should go back and cancel it right now.” In spite of it all, I started the following Monday and graduated a few months later with a 96.8% average. I got my first job about 1 week after graduating… and the sweet part… I found out I was getting paid more than my classmates. Yay me 😆 !
Pat’s Life Lesson – Even though your parents love you, sometimes you just need to do stuff on your own… even if it is as scary as hell!
The Business Must Go On
3 months into my second programming job, the company I was with had a big meeting. They were laying off over 80% of their staff, and I was one of them. I’ll never forget these words, “The business must go on; it must survive”. As I was thinking more about my needs back then, I was saying to myself “What about me? Don’t I need to survive? Don’t I need to go on?” I learned that business can be very cold. There were older people who were crying, and looking into their eyes I could see concern for their future and their families. It wasn’t a really fun time in my life.
Pat’s Life Lesson – A business isn’t just a business, it has a life too.
Go West Young Man
So here I was looking for a job at 23 years old, in the early 80’s in Ontario, which was suffering from a very slow economy. I don’t quite remember how, but this placement agency contacted me to say that they were looking for my programming skills out west in Edmonton, Alberta. And presto! One week later I was moving out west.
Start of a New Life
It’s March 1980 and I’m now living in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. I left all my friends, family and everything I’d known behind. All I seemed to do was work, work and work some more. They lied… this was no small programming project. The good thing… it taught me that I really wanted to work for myself some day.
Pat’s Life Lesson – Projects always take longer than anybody expects!
My Dream Girl
A new home, with new friends, all I needed was someone to share it with…