Differently-Abled

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I can’t exactly remember where I heard it, but I remember a story that I think illustrates the difference between successful people and unsuccessful people. It went something like this:

Two men went to work for a railroad. They both started at $10 per hour. They both stayed with the company for ten years. By the end of the ten years, one man was in the top leadership of the company, and the other was still making $10 per hour in the same position he had when he started. So, what was the difference between the two men that made one advance and the other remain stagnant? The difference was that one man went to work for $10 per hour. The other man went to work for the railroad.

The principle here is that if you go to work for money, you will be owned by money and remain a slave to the amount you make. If you go to work to provide value to others and genuinely care about people and the mission of your work, then you are more likely to advance and be entrusted with more assets. It’s very much like the phrase, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Customers steer clear of salesmen who are only out to get the money. Customers are attracted to people who offer them value in order to help them improve their lives. It is detectable which one is which. If you are only working for the money, you will never be satisfied and will not likely be nominated for advancement. Life and work are about more than money. As Brian Tracy once said, “Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, “what’s in it for me?”

So if the keys to success involve offering value to others, how do I do that? What if I don’t know what value I can offer?

Everyone is made uniquely different. Some love their individual attributes while others don’t like their uniqueness. However, we are all made differently because we are all made for different things. There is something that we each can contribute that no one else can offer. Why is it unique? Why couldn’t anyone else offer the same things I can? Well, there may be some overlap on some things, but overall, what you offer the world is unique because no one else has had the exact same experiences, perspectives, talents and personal attributes that make you you. The things you’ve been through, the beliefs you’ve adopted, the physical features you have, the challenges you face, the limitations you endure, the losses you’ve grieved, the victories you’ve won, the skills you’ve developed and every other aspect of your life, image and spirit are a unique combination that no one else can match. People may share a few similar features or experiences, but the combination of all of them is never the same.

So often people mistakenly believe that the only people who can be truly successful, make a difference, or have anything of value to offer are those that are born with all the right attributes, in the right environment, surrounded by the right people, with the right personality, with the right abilities, etc. I’m telling you that your exact personality, attributes, environment, abilities, etc. ARE the right things to enable you to offer value and to be successful in life. It doesn’t matter where or how you grew up, what disabilities or limitations you may have or just think you may have, or what environment you are currently in, these things provide you with the value that you alone can offer.

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For example, I grew up believing that divorce is bad and I was certain that I would never go through a divorce. When I got married, I made sure we were on the same page about divorce, that it simply was not an option and that our marriage was too important to us to give up on it. A few short years later, when my husband told me he wanted a divorce, it shattered me. It was a blow not only emotionally, but to the very beliefs that I held dear my whole life. I have never felt a worse pain than heartbreak. However, as a result of having been through that, I have discovered that that experience has now enabled me to relate to and reach out to a whole new group of people that I was not equipped to help before. Before having gone through divorce, there was no way I could relate to someone who had, or be a comfort to them. What did I know? I had never felt that pain, so how could I comment on the possibility or length of recovery? How could I give tips on things that would help the healing and coping? My support efforts would be almost useless to those people if I couldn’t say that I’ve been there.

Here’s another example. During my studies of dance in college I was introduced to the idea of people dancing with physical limitations. These limitations are most commonly referred to as disabilities or being handicapped. As I learned about these people, I also learned to refer to them as being “differently-abled” rather than disabled. Disabled has a negative connotation that implies having less ability than others. However, these people don’t have “less” ability, they simply have different abilities. In fact, some of them have some very amazing abilities that “normal” or non-disabled people would not be capable of doing. I was introduced to a dance troupe in Denver that is called, “Spoke N Motion,” which is a group of mixed ability dancers made up of many people whom society calls, “disabled.” The dancers include people who are blind, deaf, crippled, autistic, etc. You can check out their Facebook page HERE (please LIKE!) These “differently-abled” people are amazing examples of people who do not let their circumstances dictate their value or quality of life.

No matter what you have been through, what you look like, what scars you have inside or out, what environment you are in, you are able to use all of those things to be a beacon of hope to others struggling with similar challenges. You may even save lives of people who are losing their battles with the same kinds of things you’ve been through. Your life has developed in you skills and strengths that can be channeled to help others improve their lives just as you improve your own. No matter where you are coming from, what your background is, or how you feel right now, always know, tell yourself, and believe that you are incredible and no one can offer the same kind of value that you can. Now go find a way to use your gifts and experiences to help others! Opportunities find those who seek them.

Feel free to watch this video of a dance performance by the Spoke N Motion dance company:

Come Sail Away by Styx

Here are a couple more wonderful videos of amazing differently-abled people doing amazing dances!

This guy is Dubstep Dancing with crutches!  Click HERE!

Ballet; Hand In Hand – She without an arm, he without a leg!  Click HERE!

 

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One thought on “Differently-Abled

  • I can definitely relate to the example you opened with about the two railroad workers. I joined my company as the lowest level employee I could. When they asked me what I wanted for pay, I told them I would leave it up to them. They replied in a joking fashion “so would you work for free?” I did not want to promise anything that would be detrimental to myself, but I also was less concerned about compensation and more concerned with getting the job and experience it offered. So I told them I would be happy to accept an unpaid internship if they were offering it. Well, they did end up hiring me and now I manage the department that I was once a member of. It really does make all the difference in the world what you are working for. We have had a number of employees come in and leave shortly after without ever having made a mark or grown themselves or the company because they were only here to collect a paycheck.
    Also, as I mentioned before, I have been through similar heartbreak as your divorce story. However, in a great example that proves your point, my situation was a little different and I know that my very unique experience will allow me to connect with people I was never able to before. In fact, it already has. I was able to use that experience to connect with and work through a terrible situation a friend was going through.
    We are all so “differently-abled”. Some people’s differences are more easily seen than others. But it is when we all find our place that this great machine of life runs smoothly. And if anyone doesn’t know where they fit, just keep looking. There is always going to be a place for you. You just may not have found it yet.
    Thank you again for a wonderful post.

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