They say the best jobs are the hardest. When (one of) your jobs involves running (or hobbling at speed) around festivals in Europe, while also dealing with Cerebral Palsy (and walking with two sticks), I guess you could say that my job as a journalist and editor of Soundsphere magazine is somewhat challenging.
It is extremely important for any entrepreneur with a disability to be able to channel their difficulties, and use them as a source of inspiration for not only themselves, but also others. In turn, it is important, no matter what any disabled person does for a living, that they find inspiration in the people that surround them. Though, it might be easier for me to do that, as I never stop talking, or asking people questions!
Everybody has a story, and a way to inspire and motivate, and that’s the knowledge that gets me up in the morning; that’s what makes me want to rush around while my legs hurt chasing interviews and (attempting) to meet deadlines. It’s all about remembering the cool people that I work with (inside the ever competitive music industry), as well as the family and friends that really give a monkeys about what I do, no matter how much pain I’m in, or however stressed I might be feeling.
Indeed, there are some interesting parallels and barriers that present themselves to a disabled person working within the music business – it’s certainly fast-paced and intense, but we are getting to a time when some really inspiring and talented disabled people are getting to perform on television, or work behind the scenes. In 2014, especially in creative industries, many appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit, and musicians in particular understand what it’s like to build a career off your own back. I certainly wouldn’t be anywhere without the bands, contacts and support networks I’ve developed since I started doing this, and I bet you can find similar people to inspire and motivate you in your professions.
I’m speaking to future National Diversity Award nominees here – I want you to realise how well you’ve done – whether you win or not. Everybody achieves different things in life (and I speak to world-renowned musicians every day who have achieved some wonderful things – some more than others). The fact is that, you get up, you motivate, inspire and drive yourselves forward each day no matter the odds (using some of the simple inspirations that I talked about above), and that is just awesome. Keep breaking down those barriers and doing everything you’ve wanted to do, using all of the resources around you, because you will change people’s lives in some very small and large ways.
Nearly, two years ago now, I had the great honour of winning the National Diversity Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence (within the Disability category), and it changed my life. Once more, I’d like to thank you all for everything.
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