I Might Be Here To Inspire You

blog Jun 26, 2014

Anything that can cause a person to take positive action is inspiring. It can be a book, it can be being in awe of a successful person, it can be a vacation that makes you say, “you know if I was working harder, I could take more vacations.”

Last week I received an email from my manager Linda about a TED talk entitled, “I’m Not Here to Inspire You, Thank You Very Much,” and when I clicked on it, I saw a women in a wheelchair come out.  I said to myself, “here we go again, disabled person saying I’m not handicapped.”

By the way, I am not the most PC person even though I have CP. But when I started listening to her I became intrigued because she didn’t want to be inspiring just because she was in a wheelchair. I admire that a lot. One of the things I try to do in my career is not rely on my handicap for sympathy or a leg up (unless that sympathy leads to book sales!)  I feel that the ideas in my book can stand alone but my unique experience as a handicapped person give my writing and my speaking a different feel and I would be foolish not to exploit that.

There were times where people stopped me on the street or at a restaurant and commented on how brave I am to even get out of the house. They have no idea that I am a writer or a father or a speaker and there are times where I don’t need to correct them.  If the mere fact of of my showing up in public causes someone to say look at that handicapped guy enjoying sushi, what the heck is wrong with me? Well, then that’s not negative, that is a blessing.

I admire and respect Stella Young. Anyone with a challenge had to work that much harder. It would be nice if that was all that mattered, but it’s not. The background story of Stella Young provides context and I admire her.

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