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Gareth Fullerton

Gerry Flynn opens up on dyslexia struggles and 'daily non-negotiables'

Gerry Flynn has opened up on struggling with dyslexia and how introducing some non-negotiables to his life helps get him through the day.

The former Irish League player and manager currently works in real estate in Murcia in, Spain, and has also owned bars in the popular tourist resort.

Flynn is a keen advocate of positive mental health, often sharing motivational quotes and images on his social media.

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They are life hacks and tools that he believes can be transferred to any part of life, including sport.

He said: "Not too many people know, and it is not public knowledge, I am dyslexic. In school I always struggled with reading, whereas now I have to religiously read two books a week.

"The problem I had was that in school, I knew I wasn't stupid but there were things happening that I couldn't understand and I could never put my thoughts down in writing.

"So it is something I work on continuously, and I have improved. My spelling is still atrocious, but I can identify mistakes.

"I put some non-negotiables into my daily life, and if I don't understand something I write it down and I go and find the meaning of it.

"People might see being successful in business and stuff like that, but it is not to say that you don't have issues that can hamper you. So I try and get that message across."

Flynn says having dyslexia "made me work harder" but admits it presents daily challenges in his life.

"When I did my Pro Licence and was doing the 6,000-word dissertation, my mate Simba (Colm Girvan) spent so many nights with me making sure it was right," he said.

"I knew what I wanted to say but I couldn't write it down on paper.

"It isn't something I am ashamed of. It is something I have and I live with it, and I still struggle with it on a daily basis.

"But instead of hiding it, if I don't understand something I ask.

"I always tell my daughter, as long as you have a tongue in your head you'll never be lost. Just ask."

Flynn linked up with good friend and Northern Ireland youth manager Gerard Lyttle earlier this year for an Under 16 development tournament in Albania.

He was working on his Pro Licence at the time and helping mentor some of the kids in the underage squad.

During his time with the squad Flynn made a presentation to the players, talking about his life in football and business and how implementing non-negotiables helped him become a success.

The former Cliftonville title winner - who currently looks after recruitment and pathways at Larne FC - says there are parts of his personal and business life that can be applied to sport.

"There are just some simple things that I do every day. At Larne they have non-negotiables as well," he explained.

"I try and do 5k a day, do so many sit-ups and so many press-ups. I have to read something positive because mental health issues are massive now which was never highlighted in our day.

"So if you have a positive thought first thing in the morning you can carry that throughout the day."

He added: "Obviously Covid and recessions and stuff affect people in different ways. When you're on social media people think you have this wonderful life, but they don't see what is going on in the background.

"I spoke to Gerard and showed him the presentation, and if I can get these kids to do daily things then great They might not make it in football because the success rate is so low.

"But if they introduce these small things daily then they add up.

"I have a thing where I get up and put something positive on social media. It is to help me, but there are lots of people who reach out privately and say it has helped them.

"So that is good as well."

Flynn admits applying some of his daily non-negotiables helped get him through some of the toughest days of his life during lockdown, when the Covid pandemic threatened to derail his entire business portfolio in Spain.

He said: "It isn't all rosy. People see me flying to different countries and this and that, but they don't see what goes behind the scenes.

"They didn't see three of the bars closed for two years and you have all these worries. But again the daily non-negotiables come into play.

"There were many days I wish I could just have lay in bed. For the first four weeks of lockdown my wife was crying nearly every day asking what we were going to do and were we going to lose everything again.

"I lost it all back in 2007 in the property crash, and then I turned 50 so wouldn't have the energy to try everything again.

"But the daily non-negotiables helped me. Some people might ask what I am doing, but these are things I do every day.

"Wee messages from close friends really give you a lift, and I know I have a good circle of friends around me."


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