Building a Disabled Disability Humorist
Building a quality disability speaker with a disability and a sense of humor is like building a high quality piano and violin. It takes time. With me, the process began with a motorcycle crash continued in comedy clubs and was refined with audiences of professional people. Accurately portraying conditions, responsibilities, drama and humor, not only of family, friends and coworkers, but of the individual with disabilities, a disability speaker uses knowledge gained through experience, an Attitude of acceptance, a sense of humor and a correct focus.
In the beginning of my rehab journey, I focused on my disabilities.
Later I re-focused on solving problems posed by my disabilities.
Over the years, I’ve replaced solving my problems, which removes something, to assembling a puzzle, which creates something.
My paralyzed left side and inability to walk was one problem. My paralyzed vocal chords and inability to make myself understood was another problem.
Getting a Correct Focus
I learned how to quit trying to improve my situation by eliminating my problems. When I’m trying to eliminate problems, I’m focusing on problems. I remember the day I got my first lesson in focusing on what I have instead of what I don’t have.
I was sitting in my wheelchair in the hall outside Harborview Hospital’s physical therapy room, gripping the handle of the hemi walker in front of me. My fiance Cheryl grips a support belt around my waist.
“Okay,” the therapist says. “On three, you stand up. One, two, three.”
Gripping the one handled walker, I stand. After I took three steps, the therapist moved the wheelchair right behind me and told me to sit back down.
Sit back down? This is the first time I’ve stood up in months. I don’t want to sit back down!
Cheryl tries to pull me back into the chair the therapist had moved right behind me, but I pull away, taking a large step with my good leg. I try to follow that by stepping forward with my left leg, but that leg won’t move. Down I go.
My hand, chest, then face hit the floor. It stings, but not real bad. I can get up, but Cheryl drops to her knees beside me.
“Oh, baby, are you okay? I’m so sorry. Are you okay honey?”
I love attention, so I just lay there.
“Winners don’t quit!” A familiar voice behind Cheryl says.
Having a Correct Focus
Huh? I looked up from where I lay. (The rest of this story, which I tell in my Winners Don’t Quit keynotes involves me learning the powerful lesson of focusing on what I have not what I don’t have.)
To hire Al to share his humor and motivation at your event, or to participate in his seminar, fill out our initial questionnaire. He’ll customize any of these topics for your event. His book No Limits can be obtained separately or in bulk as part of a package deal.