Hi there,

I am Lawrence Tijjani aka Just a Guy. Born and raised in Bermondsey, South East London. I am an entrepreneur who has always been driven by success, lover of all things technological and a former teacher who happens to have epilepsy and chronic pain. Through blogging and speaking about my challenges I have found a greater purpose in helping others to drive their own social mobility on their journey to success

Just a Guy’s Journey

A defining moment for Lawrence came after failing all but one of his GCSEs (IT was the exception). It forced him to focus on his lack of achievement and what he actually wanted out of life. This drove him to buckle down finally and retake his GCSEs in college, followed by A-levels and then he went on to gain a 2:1 in Software Engineering at Westminster University. He was certain that his past mistakes would not derail or prevent him from being a success in the future.

The young entrepreneur set up a web design company called Happy2Host with a close friend in college. The two developed their expertise and worked hard to build a successful brand that is thriving today (now in its 11th year!).

After graduating, Lawrence felt a calling to work with young people and so began training to become a secondary school teacher. For the next 10 years he taught IT and Computer Science and quickly rose through the ranks to become a Head of Faculty. Throughout this time Lawrence juggled his increasingly erratic health and his growing web design business with the demands of his full-time work, but eventually, he decided that his health had to take priority and he needed to work more flexible hours. Lawrence saw this an ideal opportunity to fully focus his time and efforts on Happy2Host, which thankfully paid off.

One of the things I’m often asked is
“How on earth did you get started in all this?”

Health

One Christmas Lawrence suddenly experienced his first seizure in which he was unconscious. This led to a diagnosis of Idiopathic epilepsy (epilepsy with no clear cause that leads to hyperactivity of the brain cells and loss of consciousness and mobility) at 17. Over a period of five years throughout college and university his seizures continued to be unpredictable. Doctors tried various medication combinations and doses to prevent his seizures from occurring and finally they were under control. However, In July 2014 on the last day of the school term whilst at work he suffered his most serious epileptic attack at work hitting his head against the desk as he fell. This triggered a series of repeated seizures from which Lawrence struggled to recover from. In between periods of consciousness, Lawrence reported feeling extreme pain in his knees. This led to him being hospitalised at first to ensure the seizures were under control, secondly to check he hadn’t experienced any extreme brain damage and thirdly to investigate the pain he was experiencing. In the days that followed the pain did not subside, he had limited mobility and strength in his legs and was essentially bed-bound. In the weeks that followed the seizures were under control but the pain lessened only after a cocktail of medication which included codeine and morphine every four hours.

I believe you must bring your whole self to the table if you want to thrive in today’s world.

A number of tests were carried out to try and determine the origin of his pain; X-rays, blood and urine tests, ultrasounds, CT scans, EEG scans and yet they could offer no conclusive answers. The only visible sign was slightly swollen ligaments in the knees and a very clear inability to walk unaided. After three and a half weeks in the hospital, Lawrence was finally discharged with a host of new pain relief medication and crutches to allow him to move.

Whilst at home Lawrence continued to struggle with his co-ordination, mobility and pain. He required physiotherapy visits at home and then at the hospital to recover the lost strength in his knees. Within two months he was able to walk with crutches for short distances but the pain remained as fierce as ever. It took four months for him to be able to walk without them.

To this date, Lawrence still feels the effects of this serious attack. He still requires daily medication to control the pain and still experiences days where the pain and mobility in his knees renders him unable to leave the bed in the morning. In addition, the rapid seizures and periods of absence mean that Lawrence sometimes suffers with memory lapses. Despite all of this Lawrence has remained committed to improving his health and fitness. Being able to go to the gym is a simple freedom he values greatly. He has learnt to listen to his body; push it to more when it can handle it and nurture it when he needs a break.

Lawrence has started to make a name for himself as a motivational keynote and guest speaker. He captivates an audience and connects with them as he shares aspects of his own journey. He motivates the audience to reflect and act in ways to overcome their own barriers and get ahead. Lawrence also offers more targeted talks to disengaged teenagers and on the use of technology in education.

Lawrence tijjani