Dealing with disability, overcoming fear and embracing authenticity: A Case Study

This case study explores the transformative journey of a middle-management corporate employee who battled anxiety and fear associated with his hidden disability. The debilitating impact of his fear and anxiety left him lonely, unfulfilled and unable to enjoy the activities he used to. The case study highlights how Wayne Stickel, a coach with a unique perspective, supported his client to break free from the shackles of fear and anxiety and embrace an authentic life filled with joy and fulfilment despite his physical limitations.


Aug 15, 2023

3 mins read

Wayne Stickel is an experienced ontological coach who specialises in supporting people living with disability, hidden or otherwise. As someone who lives with a disability that is not outwardly apparent himself, Wayne brings a unique perspective to his clients, making them feel safe and understood.

When a middle management corporate employee reached out to Wayne for guidance and support to overcome his anxiety and fear surrounding his incontinence, it was the first time he had opened up to anyone about his hidden disability.

The Challenge

Outwardly, the client portrayed a dramatically different image from the self-image he had of himself. He was attractive, otherwise healthy, polite, and had a secure, steady career.

However, his deep-rooted anxiety and fear over a chronic incontinence issue had become paralysing, obstructing his everyday life and preventing him from engaging in activities he once loved, including cricket, a sport he used to play regularly. Furthermore, he felt a growing sense of isolation and resentment due to strained relationships with family and friends and lacked the confidence to meet and develop an intimate relationship with a potential partner.

The Solution

Drawing from his personal experiences and understanding of disability, Wayne adopts a compassionate and empathetic approach to the coaching process. He began by actively listening to his client's concerns, fostering a sense of trust and reassurance. By sharing his own experiences, Wayne also helped the client realise he was not alone in his struggles and how he felt.

Once trust was established, Wayne drew on his in-depth understanding of the underlying factors that drive human behaviour, performance and effectiveness to support his client in transforming how he related to fear, anxiety and other Aspects of Being that were holding him back from living the life he wanted. In his client’s case, those Aspects of Being included responsibility, courage, freedom and empowerment.

Wayne’s coaching sessions aimed to empower the client by helping him recognise that his fears were self-protective mechanisms that hindered personal growth. He encouraged the client to develop a balanced self-image, embrace his positive attributes and learn to be with his authentic self and lower his walls to become more vulnerable.  

The client learned that concealing his disability through invulnerability and inauthenticity limited his potential and that embracing his true self empowered him. He also discovered that he had the freedom to choose to react to or respond to circumstances and how empowering it is to choose the latter, as it allows you to take control of your life rather than be a victim of circumstances.

Guided by Wayne, the client embarked on a journey to build an authentic and supportive network surrounded by individuals who celebrated and embraced him for who he was. This network offered the client a safe space to be vulnerable, fostering genuine connections and opening doors to new experiences.

The Outcome

Before embarking on a coaching journey with Wayne, all the client could see were limitations, not possibilities. Following the coaching, he experienced remarkable growth and transformation. A breakthrough moment occurred when he mustered the courage to work on his dating profile and venture into the online dating world for the first time. This experience liberated him from fear and anxiety and opened doors to new possibilities. With his newfound awareness of the impact his behaviours had on his relationships with family and friends, he began to adopt a more proactive and intentional approach to developing and nurturing connections moving forward.

By the end of the coaching journey, the client had removed the constraints of fear and anxiety, cultivating a life characterised by fulfilment and joy, despite his physical limitations. Furthermore, by embracing his authenticity and vulnerability and openly sharing his journey with others, he inspired those facing similar challenges.


Many people with a hidden disability believe that keeping it a secret is empowering because it hides their perceived weaknesses. However, the opposite is true; it is disempowering and closes doors to opportunities. Wayne’s approach to coaching is to support people to celebrate who they are by transforming their relationship with the deep, underlying qualities holding them back from living a life of joy, purpose and fulfilment. This case study showcases the power of empathy, vulnerability and the pursuit of an authentic existence, inspiring others to confront their fears and embark on their own transformative journeys. If you would like to learn how Wayne could support you through coaching, you can contact him here.


Wayne Stickel
Wayne Stickel

About The Author

A leadership coach with over 25 years' experience in leadership roles, Wayne knows what it takes to move forward and succeed. Like you, he knows the tough obstacles, challenging circumstances, and financial pressures. Importantly, Wayne has felt the exciting highs that are a result of intensifying your effectiveness. Accelerate your Mission. Wayne, who also has a medical condition - a rare type of Spina Bifida - is renowned for his empathy, compassion, inspiration and honesty. Drawing on his expertise in coaching and business and relationship development, Wayne incorporates The Being Framework, Being Profile® and the Transformational Methodology within his programs. The application of these world-class tools ensure you will expand your influence and impact in whatever you endeavour to accomplish.

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