I don’t remember a time where I allowed other people’s opinions to prevent me from doing what I wanted. Where I haven’t been driven to achieve success in all its forms, whether that is personally or professionally. I have never felt the need to be a part of a group or belong. I have always had confidence in me and all that I believed. I have never feared the unknown, whether it challenged my thinking or perception, I embraced that challenge.

For the last few years I have had to come to terms with many changes around my health and the limitations it has placed on me. I have gone from being a physically fit person to someone who has days they struggle to get dress without help. Who experiences constant pain each day and with those limitations and pain have moments of doubts, frustrations and yes, even fear.

No one knew the fear and apprehension I felt when I saw a set of stairs I had to climb or that moment when you realise you have to sit/stand for a long time or the times you have to keep smiling when all you want to do is cry. It would be easy to let those feelings consume me and there have been times when it has been close. When I have been sat in front of my GP crying for help because I didn’t know what else to do, how I could make things easier for myself, how I could keep going or what I would do if my circumstances got worse. I have always been the one that people relied on, called on for help, to impart words of wisdom, the one that was focused and ‘had it together’. To feel alone with my fears, worries, doubts was a difficult time.

Someone said to me ‘how can you remain so enthusiastic about everything, how do you keep smiling’. I keep smiling because there is always someone in a worse situation than me. Because I have far more reason to live and be a part of this world than not. Because I have responsibilities that I take seriously and because with the right mental attitude I can make my days better where I can. If I was to focus on other people’s opinions I wouldn’t be able to leave my bed in the mornings, I would allow those doubts and negativity to take hold.

“I believe that the only courage anybody ever needs is the courage to follow your own dreams.”

Oprah Winfrey

It’s free-ing knowing what you are motivated by and how this can help you to accept the challenges you are facing every day. I have accepted that when the pain is unbearable and no amount of yoga or mediation will alleviate it then I have to take medication. I have accepted that I have to be honest with other people, whether they are accepting is another thing. Don’t get me wrong, being honest about those limitations has caused discrimination (indirectly and directly), the boss that belittled me in a team meeting because I need extra time to walk to the office if I had to park further away than normal, the ‘team-building’ day of physical exercises that could cause more harm than good and the humiliation faced because other staff members were not aware that I had a health condition. When changes in medication have meant being off work and having to justify this with medical evidence. Those are the times that I am cruelly reminded that I have a disability. I take ownership of what I can do in such circumstances and channel the confidence I have to challenge those situations. I am of the thinking that I would be held prisoner by my circumstances personally and professionally.

Throughout all this I will keep smiling, keep motivated, keep supporting others where I can, be accepting of those things that I am unable to control and embrace those things I can control.

What would I advise others to do in a similar situation?

  • Identify what your motivation is, what you value.
  • Be accepting but don’t let what you are facing defeat you.
  • Ask for help when you need it, get angry, be upset when you need to, ‘wallow’ in self-pity on occasion but don’t unpack and live there.
  • Don’t allow other people to project their negativity onto you.

You are so much more than you realise and you worthy and deserving of every challenge you overcome and success you achieve.

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Michael Jordan

Find below some useful links:

www.mind.org.uk
www.place2be.org.uk
www.stroke.org.uk
www.careruk.org
www.samaritans.org
www.disabilityrightsuk.org
www.acas.org.uk
www.karenblakecoaching.com