When Naomi Brown left school she felt a little lost and did not really know what to do with her life.
She was quite a “troubled” child growing up in Mastrick in Aberdeen and was experiencing difficult times at home.
“Growing up I didn’t have my own bedroom, I shared it with my two brothers which was quite challenging as a teenager,” she says.
“There was a four year difference between my middle brother and a 13 year difference between my youngest brother. So that was quite tough.
“My mum was going through quite a turbulent divorce so it was quite easy to fall into crowds which were maybe a bit anti-social and not always savoury.”
Naomi admits she wasn’t the “best behaved kid” while a pupil at Aberdeen Grammar School.
But, reflecting back on her childhood, she wishes that teachers could have had a better understanding of the difficulties youngsters can face.
The words of one of her teachers telling her she would never amount to anything has always stuck in her mind.
And she hopes that teachers now take a different approach to help children struggling at school.
“A child can thrive but if they’re still going home to an environment that is very negative it can be quite difficult for them and make things quite challenging,” she explains.
She was determined to prove that teacher wrong…
Naomi started her adult life as a nursery nurse, later moving to Edinburgh for several years to work in social care.
She looked after people with complex health difficulties and soon realised that one of her key skills was listening to people and supporting them.
Determined to start studying while working, she graduated with a degree in business management and leadership practice last year.
“I was really determined to get my degree,” Naomi explains. “And it stemmed from being told that I wasn’t going to amount to anything.
“I think for me I was fortunate that my grandfather had come from an educational background.
“He was very strict, I’d almost say quite Victorian growing up, and I hated that but looking back now I respect that and I’m grateful for those boundaries.
“When I was awarded my degree I walked on stage with a picture of my grandfather – it was a really proud moment.”
What would she say to her old teacher now?
Naomi, 33, initially launched an online coaching business and last year opened her first office after returning home to live in Aberdeen.
The NLB Coaching Solutions office on Huntly Street was turned into a relaxing space for clients.
She teaches them tools to help them through difficult times such as relationship troubles, money worries or redundancy.
They can relax in a comfy rocking chair, use a weighted blanket to help soothe them or spend time in the garden or on-site cafe.
Naomi says she’s “super proud” to come from Mastrick.
“I always remind clients I work with, who are from all walks of life, that being where you’re from doesn’t need to define you,” she says. “But where you choose to go in life does.
“I often joke with friends from school about that teacher and say I wish I knew where she was.
“I’d love to invite her to my office just to eat some humble pie!
“It would be nice just to say to her ‘look you wrote me off as just some council estate lassie that was troubled.
“‘That I wasn’t going to amount to anything and was going to be on the streets. But I’ve been able to achieve a lot’.”
And she adds: “Her lack of faith was a driver for me. However, it could be make or break for someone being told that at such a young age.
“I definitely feel there’s been an ‘’I’ll show her’ type of moment – but now it comes from a place of love.”