Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Disability Awareness Month 2016: Where am I now?

March is Disability Awareness Month each year.  I have to admit, I actually kinda geek out during this month! Yes, we do get covered on the news a bit more and I get to see the cool things that others do to celebrate the month.  I especially love the the humorous and empowering t-shirts! Most importantly though, I reflect on how far I've come in my life.  From the day of my birth and my parents wondering if I would survive the first couple days of life, to being a journalist in the field of my choice! Of course, there was a lot of hard work in between.  I've come to realize that I'm the same as everyone else, but drastically different. Goals and aspirations are slow to come, at times.  My brain, I say, is able-bodied, but my body is slow to follow!  Giving up, though, would never do anything good for me so I refuse to give any time to the idea.  Instead, I look to build up! The key to helping myself is helping others. Whether it's a warm hello with a smile, spending time with friends and family, shopping for gifts for friends, sending cards, writing, working with my team on my podcast and interviewing incredible folks...all this builds me up and gives me the strength to continue to shine and be the happiest I can be everyday! So, this year for Disability Awareness Month, my advice to you is something that Scott Chesney said, an international speaker from Verona, NJ, recently interviewed on my podcast: "Don't let something life changing happen to you before you make a change". There are always going to be challenges, emotional ups and downs, bumps in the road, things that can cloud your vision, but always ask yourself: "Would you want it to be worse?" It could be worse in an instant. You have the power to choose your attitude toward whatever situation you find yourself in. Happiness is where it's at, people! :)  You are more than your disability tells you you are!  I want you to be able to look back on 2016 Disability Awareness Month and be able to say: Where am I now? I'm farther than I ever thought possible! What a GREAT choice....Right? :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

''My disability doesn't define me, and I don't want it to define you." - Scott Chesney

I was on the lookout for an interview for my podcast and it just happened that I logged on to my Facebook page and there was an advertisement for Mobility Works. The video was 58 seconds long and that's all the time I needed to know that I wanted to ask Scott Chesney if I could interview him on my podcast! I was instantly motivated by the words that make up this blog post title!  As a life coach, Scott has spoken to over a million people in 38 countries.  But, that's not all... He's been happily married for 16 years and has two beautiful kids!  Oh, did I mention that he has a condition that affects the middle to lower portion of the spinal cord called a "sleeping volcano" which means it can cause a hemorrhage at any time, causing paralysis?  Scott is definitely someone who doesn't let his disability define how he lives his life.

He was asked, "If one word was used to say who you are, what word would you want that to be?" His answer was "real".  He realized that if you're real that's how your connection to people begins to take shape and to grow.  No matter what the outside of a person looks like, now matter what their situation is, they have real potential.. They can be who they want to be!  Scott says "the only disability in life is a bad attitude".  Scott has come to the point in his life where he is confident in where he is, where he's going and how he's going to get there!!  Now, Scott has turned his story and his struggles into motivation for others!  I'm so glad I've come to know Scott and I know that when you listen to this interview you will be happy and motivated yourself!  Defining how disability fits into his life was a choice Scott had to make in order to not be stopped by his challenges... and his story is proof that GREAT things are possible and new liberating definitions of your life can be written! 

Listen to my interview with Scott here: http://www.arcind.org/view-with-scott-chesney/

Scott is also a spokesperson for Rowheels! Check out their website here! http://www.rowheels.com/

Michelle Fischer is host of A View from my Window, a podcast produced by The Arc of Indiana