We love featuring other entrepreneurs here, so of course we were excited when our friend Sheldon, an author & keynote speaker from Newfoundland, Canada, wanted to share his story of overcoming the unique challenges that come with having a disability.
Our favorite part of Sheldon’s journey is that instead of identifying as someone with a disability, he prefers to identify as someone with “dis”-ABILITY to overcome obstacles.
Sheldon is an advocate for people with disabilities and he believes opportunities should be available for everybody. He’s made it his life’s mission to encourage others to keep on going, no matter what hardships they may be facing.
Here’s his perspective on what life is like for people living with disabilities. Thanks for reading!
As a ten-year-old, I sold lemonade outside the fish plant with a stand I built myself. It felt great to make my own money. I proved my skill by showing up every day and working a full day without getting paid. Since they feared I would get injured, they were reluctant to hire me, but I convinced them to hire me, even though they weren’t sure I could do the job.
Since I cannot work more than 25 hours a week due to my limitations. It was challenging to find and keep home support workers. I discouraged myself from seeking employment because I thought I would have to earn enough to pay their salary as well.
In the small town where I lived, people told me I would HAVE TO work an office job because of my disability. I worked a few jobs in the past, but none lasted long. I was placed on government social assistance at the age of fourteen, I wasn’t expected to work.
In the 1970s, people thought I couldn’t work. I received money without earning or having to work for it. The disabled had few job opportunities back then. Not being able to find a job frustrated me.
Although I received grants and stipends, I didn’t develop a strong work ethic. Society does not value disability which destroys the soul. Not everyone is open-minded, non-judgmental, or accepting of our abilities.
Being told we’re liabilities without ever having the opportunity to prove otherwise. The world needs our resilience and inventiveness.
As part of various work programs, I have seen persons with disabilities have so much more to offer than what society restricts us to.
Getting hired for 12 weeks work placements at less than minimum wage, then getting terminated when it ended. Getting paid only a stipend. I feel so disheartened when we don’t get hired.
A world that is accessible must be sustainable. Earnings are clawed back, assets are limited, and we are treated as scam artists if we are unable to obtain a job, no matter how skilled we are.
We cannot afford to spend at a store, restaurant, or grocery store with income assistance. Disability is the surest way to poverty. Persons with disabilities are more likely than other people to be below the poverty line, unemployed, or the working poor.
Scaremongers say we’ll lose our existing benefits, while service providers say everything we need is already in place.
It’s time for a paradigm shift—from welfare to wealth, out of poverty, and into prosperity—for people with disabilities.
About the Author
A professional Keynote Inspirational Soul Speaker, Human Integration Specialist, and Published Author, Sheldon is passionate about empowering and inspiring others to recognize their inner greatness and achieve their outer goals. He has published a book entitled KEEP on WALKING – A Transformative & Inspirational Journey.
According to him, he has dis-ABILITY not disability. Rather than claiming he is incapable of overcoming obstacles and challenges, he states that he has “dis”-ABILITY to do so. The work that Sheldon does touches the lives of thousands of people every year through conferences, summits, and workshops. Anyone seeking inspiration can find it through Sheldon.
For more information about Sheldon’s online course, check out the video below: