According to the Miriam-Webster Dictionary, success is:
Success is achieving something that we strive for or how we measure ourselves as living life with a purpose. For many, success is defined by how much money someone makes, an entertainer who achieves an award, or reaching the top tier in their job. But do the people who attain the above feel successful?
Success should not be measured by how we view others rather how we view ourselves and it can and should be continually measured. For example, let’s say a graduating high school student applies for and accepted into the army. This young person has succeeded in becoming a soldier to serve his country. He is sent to a country battered by years of war and is injured requiring both of his legs amputated. While this was not part of the plan when dreaming of proudly wearing his uniform, the patient is now told that he will never be able to continue his passions of competitive running or rock climbing. With the help of physical therapy, prosthetic legs, and determination to succeed, our hero completes marathons and climbs seemingly sheer cliffs that most so-called ‘able’ people would never dream of attempting.
This example is not some story -we see similar ones on the news all the time. And our shock and awe when hearing of someone achieving seemingly impossible odds really doesn’t matter. What does is that pimply teen who dreamed of serving his country has learned that it doesn’t matter what others say or do. It only matters that he sets goals for himself and takes the necessary steps – no matter how difficult – to achieve his goals.
A person who has a disability, whether from birth, illness, or accident, sets and achieves goals like any other person. The only obstacles are those that you build yourself. Others may say it’s impossible but only you can decide what you can or can’t do. Henry Ford is quoted as saying, “If you think you can or can’t, you’re right.”
The link below is an inspiring message from Stephen Collins, who has lived with cerebral palsy all his life. I think Stephen does a much better job of expressing success with people who happen to have a disability:
Take a moment to consider how you measure success in all aspects of your life. Chances are you will feel more satisfied in some areas than others. A coach can help you define what you want in the aspects of life that you dream to improve, listen to the challenges that seem to keep you from making your dreams reality, and work with you to develop a plan for you to succeed. Will there be limitations? Of course but everyone has limitations. Even Superman had kryptonite but he always overcame that obstacle thanks to his support system.
On a personal note, one of my closest friends asked me to join her on a trip to Athens, Kos, and Nissyros, Greece where her cousin lived. Tina and I first met at a study abroad program in Greece and were roommates in college. The day before we were to leave, Tina called
to tell me she injured her foot and asked if we should cancel. I said no way, we would still have a great time. We know the Greek culture well and each other even better. Tina knew that I would help meet her needs and that I would still do things that I wanted to do. Besides visits to hospitals and doctors, we had one of our most memorable trips together. Sure, there were times when Tina needed to rest and when I felt like sightseeing or shopping, I did. We traveled by plane, ferry, and car. Were there challenges? Of course but we both know that there are always challenges when traveling and we knew the frustrations would be a minor blimp in our memories.
Don’t allow your limitations be a crutch to do the things you want to do!