Are you in the habit of setting a goal for yourself? Are they average goals or huge goals? Do other people tell you your goals are unattainable? In my experience, nobody expects significant accomplishments from you if you have a disability.
When a person becomes disabled, some lower the expectations for that person's life. Many people believe that most someone with a disability can do is stay home or possibly live in a nursing home. Thoughts of your dream job, Olympic gold medal or a family are out the window.
But no matter if you are able-bodied or disabled, setting goals – and big ones can be beneficial. Psychologist Patricia Thompson, Ph.D.,
subscribes to Grant Cardone’s philosophy that goals should follow the 10X Rule
. If you want to be hugely successful, you need to take massive action. If you set big goals and then take ten times more action than the average person, you can make a huge splash in this world, disability or not. Amazing things are possible if you don't listen to others or your inner voice that says disability is inability. Having a fantastic career, your own business, a gold medal, and a family are all possible if you set lofty goals and take action to achieve them. As Thomas says, "The only way to test your limits is to push them."
Recently I met up with my friend Paul Erway
and was reminded of the importance of goal setting. Paul is a 10X Rule kind of guy. He was paralyzed in a car accident the night of his college graduation. Overnight he went from being an avid horse trainer and rider to a T4 paraplegic. Rather than let it derail him, he adjusted his goals – and made them bigger.
He went back to college for a second degree in business and began working full-time. He traded in his horse for a “chrome pony” – his racing wheelchair. Soon he was competing in races all over the country, including the Boston Marathon, and then the world – including the World Championships. He did all of this while married and working a full-time job.
To some, Paul has achieved it all. But for Paul, this was the time he doubled down to set a 10X goal! Paul learned of the “50 State Club” where marathon runners complete a marathon in all 50 states. If a runner could do it, so could Paul! He and his friends decided they would be the first wheelchair racers to join the 50 State Club. To make their goal even more challenging, they set out to complete 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 weeks! Many people told Paul and his two friends that their goal was crazy. There had never been a wheelchair athlete accomplish such a feat.
But if you haven’t figured it out by now, nothing can stop Paul. He and his friends decided to raise money for the Christopher and Dana Reeves Foundation
as part of their efforts. The Christopher and Dana Reeves Foundation is "dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research, improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information, and advocacy." Supporting this fantastic cause gave Paul and his friends the motivation they needed to pursue and accomplish their 10X goal.
Paul is truly an inspiration for all. I’m grateful he wrote a book about all of his adventures, called 50 Abilities Unlimited Possibilities
, in which he tells stories of his first fourteen races. I can’t even imagine pushing a racing wheelchair for one marathon, and certainly not 14! Paul and his two colleges were sometimes doing two marathons in two different states in one weekend. The book articulates the physical and psychological strain of getting to each marathon - racing, packing up all of his gear and getting home in time to go to work again on Monday morning.
Paul has a great sense of humor which makes the book fun to read. I think having a great sense of humor is key to living a happy life, especially when you have a disability. The struggles are real, but you have to be able to laugh at yourself. Paul recently released his second book, Racing to the Final Finish Line
, which details marathons from Salt Lake City to his final race in Montana.
People with disabilities want to have the same opportunities as anyone else. We fight for the right to have access to private and public places. We want access to employment opportunities, athletic events, and leisure activities.
Paul has set huge goals and has checked them off his bucket list, one by one. He pushed himself to achieve these goals, even when his friends and family told him they were impossible. I have learned from Paul that the bigger you set your goals, the more you can accomplish. This theory holds true for people with or without a disability. I am now motivated to set bigger goals for myself and see how far I can push this mentality. I encourage you to push yourself beyond what you think is possible. Reach for your dreams, like Paul, and live your best life possible!