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#Hisstory With Luke Manton, From Hiding to Shining, a Tale of Tenacity, Tics, and Triumph.

business hisstory interviews Oct 11, 2022

Luke Manton is a thriving business owner... and he has Tourettes. 

Luke Manton is a podcast host and reality TV star... and he has Tourettes.

Luke Manton is a fiancee, son, brother and dad-to-be... and he has Tourettes. 

I first came across Luke Manton in my LinkedIn feed. You might think that's not all that unusual, given that we're both business owners. However, apart from the thousands of reactions and comments to his video post, what caught my attention was the utterly candid nature in which he was showing up. Luke has Tourettes Syndrome, which causes him to experience tics that show up physically and verbally, but that wasn't what stopped my scroll. He was shining! 

Immediately after watching his video, I wanted to know more so I reached out to have a coffee and a chat with this fellow business owner and let me tell you, nothing could have prepared me for the story that was to follow. You'll need tea, tissues, bunting and a megaphone for this one. It's all of the emotions, all of the feels and a red hot dash of resilience. 



Born to a large family, sharing a small space with four sisters and a brother, Luke grew up determined to create a life where he could travel, have that much-needed personal space and experience all the things he saw his friends enjoying growing up. A studious teenager, he immersed himself in books and school work, always working towards being able to make his own money and find his place in the world. 

Straight into employment at sixteen years old with the mindset of Money=Success, Luke left home and entered the world of events management and hospitality. At eighteen, he was planning weddings and large-scale events, constantly applying for higher-paying positions and taking on a university degree in Business Management, Marketing and Enterprise (in which he got a first) while working full-time. 

With a career change on his mind and tired of working anti-social hours, Luke began exploring other job market areas, eventually working as Head of Marketing for a large dental practice (a job Luke jokes is one of the only ones he had been qualified to apply for), a position he loved and was able to allow his obvious talent to shine in. Life was good. He had been able to fulfil his dream of finally buying a home and met his amazing partner George. 



It was around this time that Luke woke up one day and found himself with a pounding headache, which he mostly kept to himself, not wanting to worry George or make a big deal of it because he was super busy. He also began to have nosebleeds every day - for eleven days. 

On day twelve, an out-of-the-blue seizure occurred, and having been admitted to the hospital for investigation, doctors discovered that Luke had an irregular growth on his brain, which turned out to be a birth defect. While it hadn't caused any problems up until that point, swelling of his brain combined with the growth had been the cause of a seizure. 

Feeling frustrated, Luke could hear the doctors talking about him to George. Wondering why they weren't communicating with him directly, he found himself on the outside of a conversation about irreversible brain damage and no idea of the cause. Trying to interject, he realised that, terrifyingly, he couldn't speak or make any sounds, nor could he keep his head still. 

The hospital treatment that followed worked to reduce the brain swelling, and slowly Luke was able to make sounds, followed by forming words. Still, a stammer accompanied every-single-word. Not wanting to sit on an endless waitlist for treatment, Luke and George decided to use their house fund to pay for private speech therapy, which Luke describes as one of the best decisions he ever made. 



The first time Luke had a vocal tic, he said the word 'ouch', and when George asked what was wrong, he recalls that he almost didn't think it was him who said it. He knew it was him, but it didn't feel like he had said the word. From there, the floodgates to verbal tics opened. Although still with a stammer when using his usual speaking voice, it completely disappeared when ticcing. 

Swearing tics began not long after, and Lukes's neurologist explained that the swelling on his brain had caused him to develop Tourettes Syndrome. He also explained that while unusual, it was not uncommon in this kind of brain injury, something up until this point Luke had no idea of and, like most people, assumed it to be something you had from birth. 

Not yet adjusted himself, trying to make sense of his diagnosis, Luke found the condition immensely challenging to explain to other people and, in some cases, impossible. His confidence plummeted. 



Going back to work was a step towards normality that Luke both craved and was scared about. His career was, after all, one of his life's most prominent elements and purposes, so, displaying more confidence than he felt, he returned to the office where his core team rallied to support him and the transition. Taking over speaking directly to clients on his behalf and minimising his outside contact whenever possible to keep him comfortable; seemed to work well. That is until a company director informed him that he couldn't tic in practise hours. This level of misunderstanding, despite trying to convey the limitations of his now condition, sent his self-esteem plummeting further. 

Not leaving the house or answering the phone unless essential, parking close to work to get in and out of the building as quickly as possible, Luke had become a literal shell of his former self. His limitations only brought into sharper focus because of his two-world perspective, before and after the event. 

Eventually, he was asked to leave the job to which he had dedicated so much of his former life. An employer unable to understand how to handle such an extreme situation and an employee unable to convey nor make sense of what had happened to him meant an irrevocable breakdown in a relationship that had formerly been one of the most significant parts of Lukes's life. Despising what Tourettes had done to him and his life, it was time to move on. 



Luke applied for hundreds of jobs over the next year. Everything from cleaning positions to Marketing Directors. His CV and cover Letter would get him in the door, but at the interview stage, with his Tourettes prevalent, it was an instant no. 

Hundreds of knockbacks later and his energy waning (and despite Georges's warning of putting too much pressure on himself), Luke came across the perfect job advertisement in a company he had considered applying for before. An application later, the company responded with a resounding yes. They wanted to take the application further. 

His confidence boosted, he took on four days of aptitude tests, passing with flying colours. So impressed were the prospective employers that they bypassed the first interview stage, fast-tracking to second interviews with their board of directors. 

Thrilled and with his confidence boosted, Luke began to believe that this could be the perfect job after two years of struggle. Interview arranged, and with an hour and a half booked in the diary, he was returning to the world of work. 

In his excitement to craft the perfect CV and pass the aptitude tests, he realised that he hadn't mentioned that he had a Tourette's diagnosis. Conflicted in his approach and worried that it would put them off before even meeting with him, he decided to proceed to the interview and explain his condition in person, along with his evident strengths and capabilities. 



Arriving somewhat nervous (amping up his tics even more than usual), he was greeted at the venue by a receptionist who asked outright and in front of other waiting interviewees, 'what's wrong with you?' After explaining his condition, she asked if it had been disclosed before the interview. Embarrassed and already nervous, Luke explained that he felt it would be better to speak to the relevant people in person rather than on paper. 

Walking into the room behind the receptionist, faced with a panel of four directors, she announced his condition and stood in the doorway, holding open the door. His interview pack lay unopened on the desk as he, still standing, introduced himself and offered a few words about Tourettes and how he felt he could proceed with the interview and the job. At this point, the panel discussed in front of Luke the unfolding situation and then apologised but said they didn't feel this would work out. 

There was no interview, no chance to explain, discuss, or even take a seat, just another firmly closed door. 

Heartbroken, embarrassed and ticcing uncontrollably due to stress, Luke stopped several times on the way home to compose himself enough to travel. With George working away in London, by the time he got back, tired of constant rejection, living with a condition he couldn't control and entirely out of energy, he attempted to take his own life. 



After that day, Luke became determined to find something to do that wouldn't rely on anyone else to validate his work. With no experience in starting a business or start-up culture, he began searching the Internet and discovered a course to become a virtual assistant, a term up until then he was unfamiliar with. For the first time in a long time, he felt his confidence begin to increase, and he and George decided to invest in the training and give Luke something to work towards. 

It wasn't long before Luke realised that he already knew most of the teachings; he'd done a lot of it before in his previous jobs, so armed with a DIY logo in corporate colours and a Wix website, he got to work advertising his services on Social Media. 

Reaching out to an acquaintance, Lea Turner, on LinkedIn, he asked for advice on acquiring clients. She responded that he needed to get visible, make videos and be himself - all of the things he desperately tried to avoid and the entire point of becoming a virtual assistant. 

It wasn't until Lea reached out again, this time requiring Lukes's services for her own business and requesting a phone call, that panic set in. How would she react? Could he take more rejection? Was he even ready for that? Luke decided to be upfront and tell her about his condition, prepared for whatever came next. 

What came next was that Lea wasn't phased at all by Lukes's condition. Being able to provide the service she required was enough. In fact, she encouraged him to make a LinkedIn video precisely as he was, telling the platform, in his own words, who he was, what he did and talking about Tourettes. Luke was mortified! He'd spent so long hiding from the world. No way would he ever be brave enough for that! 

Until he was. 



With Leah's encouragement, determined to make a go of his new venture and prove to himself that he could start and run a business regardless, he shot his first video. One minute and four seconds and a ton of takes later, he pressed the upload button on LinkedIn, and his truth was out in the world for all to see. 

It. Went. Crazy.

His client list went from zero to fully booked to a waitlist of people eager to work with and enlist his services. Leaning into his magnetic personality, people wanted to learn and understand Tourettes and Neurodiversity, and for the first time, the script had flipped. No longer hiding, Luke Manton was set to shine. 



Today Luke is the proud owner of Manton Executives. His business continues to thrive with a stylish office, a team of staff and a waitlist of clients ready to work with them when space allows. He regularly posts videos on LinkedIn, works with Tourettes Action, helps others get into supported workplaces, speaks to schools about Neurodiversity and celebrating difference, and no longer worries about what the negative committee thinks or says online. 

From self-esteem so low that he wouldn't answer the door to collect a delivery, this year, Luke made an appearance on Sky TV's Anyone Can Sing and sang live in front of 63,000 people with Katherine Jenkins. I'd say that's a result, wouldn't you? 

At the beginning of this article, I opened with: 

Luke Manton is a thriving business owner... and he has Tourettes. 

Luke Manton is a podcast host and reality TV star... and he has Tourettes.

Luke Manton is a fiancee, son, brother and dad-to-be... and he has Tourettes. 

Having read his story, I'm sure you will agree; Luke Manton is all of the above and much more... and he has Tourettes. Because while Tics may dominate certain parts of this story, they are not the definition of Luke. This thriving survivor is defined by the legacy of resilience he lives, the lives he touches upon, and the hope he brings to others still in the shadow of a disability. 

I finish my article by defining Luke again.

Luke Manton is a shining beacon of hope, a show of pertinent resilience so powerful that even the usually corporate and oh-so-serious Linkedin crowd fell in love. Luke Manton is his own person, gloriously authentic in a world where most strive to be anything but, and that is a definition he can undoubtedly be proud of.


If you would like to know more about Luke or Manton Executives you can visit the website, catch up on LinkedIn or check out the Podcast.




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