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    Jennifer Goddard – Memory maven

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    Jennifer Goddard may be dyslexic, but that doesn’t stop her reading 800 words a minute. Her personal success in using mental literacy techniques to avoid flunking out of university led her to become Australia’s most accredited consultant in lateral thinking, mind mapping and memory enhancement. Here, Goddard tells us what she learnt on the journey from high school drop-out to speed-reading queen. Interview by Jodie O’Keeffe.

    I did everything backwards.
    I left school at 15, had a child, got married, and then got an education, a career and a life.
    I never said no to anybody.
    At 21 I found out I was dyslexic, but I had been lucky to get a job with Telstra and I worked my way up into a senior role. I always took opportunities. I always applied myself.
    Thinking is a skill you can learn.
    At 30 I went to university and the more I learnt, the more I’d forget. I was working full-time, studying part-time, and being a single mum. I was barely passing. Bill Jarrard, now my business partner, suggested Mind Mapping. Next semester I got a distinction and a high distinction. I graduated with distinction at RMIT, completed my Masters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Swinburne and now lecture there, teaching innovation.
    Everything connects to everything else.
    Having better learning strategies improved my self-esteem and my memory, so I learnt more. This boosted my self-confidence, so I’d push the boundaries. It gave me the courage to leave my corporate job and go into business.
    You can never know enough about other cultures.
    We got a contract to run our creativity and innovation programs throughout South East Asia. We had jelly beans to give away. They were ’smart’ beans, guaranteed to make you think. The first workshop was in Malaysia and the Malayan people took a close look at the jelly beans and put them down. I couldn’t work out why. Later, I found out they contained non-Halal gelatin.
    Ninety-five percent of people never do the activities in the book.
    With whatever skill they’re learning, people read the book and think they know it. We teach juggling as a metaphor for learning. I demonstrate the juggling to a client, and then I ask them to try it. Watching and understanding it is completely different to having the skills to do it yourself. Genius is 99 percent perspiration. You have to get out there and do it and make it happen.
    I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
    If someone told me ten years ago I’d be doing this, I couldn’t have predicted how. You can do anything you want, as long as you put in the effort and get good people around you to make it happen. You can always get people smarter than you, and work with them and learn from them.
    Pick one thing for yourself.
    You might be working, studying, you’ve got kids, no matter what’s happening in your life, take some time out for you. I can be a mother, a wife, an employee, I can be all sorts of things, but at the end of the day, I’m me and I need to satisfy my needs. It’s about being your own person.

    As co-founder of Mindwerx International, Jennifer Goddard helps organisations around the world to make the connection between creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. One of four Master Trainers in Buzan’s Mind Mapping techniques, she is an accredited trainer in de Bono’s Lateral Thinking techniques and a qualified administrator of the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument. In July, she convened the Australian National Memory Championships in Melbourne.
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