I know it’s been like a billion years since I’ve actually publicly published a blog on here. YouTube has been keeping me busy. I’ve actually been writing a lot too but many of the things I am writing are either works in progress or are tied to things that are coming up that I just can’t announce yet. Very recently, I had the most amazing opportunity I’ve ever had. A couple of months ago, I received a message from a company called IATA and they were interested in having me on a jury to vote on teams who had the best idea for solutions to help people with reduced mobility have a more stress-free flying and travel experience. Wes and I were flown out first-class both ways for this event. The conference was hosted by Microsoft and it was AMAZING! I had the chance to share my struggles as a passenger with a disability and be a voice for others in a room with Microsoft, Delta, British Airways, Seattle Airport, Boeing, Expedia and more.
For the past couple of years, I have really tried to focus on educating and encouraging others and this was the first time in my life that I TRULY felt like what I was doing could make a difference in the real world. The irony of this particular event is that I actually HATE flying. In this particular circumstance, I was the “customer” perspective for this event. I was the one who shared why flying is so stressful for so many people with disabilities and I gave that fear and stress a face that I hope the people I encountered at this event will never forget. Everyone I encountered at this event was amazing. Microsoft, the IATA team and camera crew, the panelists, the teams… everyone came together to work on an issue that affects so many people every year and it was an amazing feeling to be a tiny part of what I hope will turn into a real-life solution later on.
I was so nervous going into this event. I kept asking “Why me?” – I doubted myself. I was afraid of saying too much, not saying enough, not being taken seriously… all of it. It was quite the opposite. I felt like everyone I met through this experience appreciated my genuine ability to connect and they wanted to learn more about my personal perspective. I think somehow I managed to make it personal. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea but I am who I am for a reason. I have been given my circumstances for a reason. Too many times, I spend so much time trying to be everything to everyone and trying to be perfect that I sometimes forget that I am enough. My story is enough. I just have to push past my fear of not being “enough” and just continue to stay authentic. As scary as it is to get out of our comfort zones, sometimes we have to because we are meant to meet people where THEY are at. Sometimes we are supposed to be vulnerable and share our struggles so that people CAN understand if they don’t already. That is where compassion is created and that is where understanding lies. There was so much more that happened on this trip, but that is the biggest message I gained from this experience.
There are definitely some more amazing opportunities in my future coming up and I’m hoping that this won’t be the last time I get the chance to push past my own fear. Today, I want to encourage you to push past whatever fear is holding you back. You are enough. You have the ability to add value. Push past your fear because it might just lead you to exactly where you’re meant to be.