Do you think your exceptionality has impacted the success of your career in either a negative or a positive way?
I hope that my disability has positively impacted my life and my career. I had my moments where it felt like it negatively affected me — especially when I was younger and having all my surgeries — but now that everything has seemed to settled down, I’m finally starting to feel like a normal thirtysomething. I don’t feel so out of place among my peers anymore, and that is a great feeling!
How do you self-motivate yourself when you work for yourself?
Trust me, it takes A LOT of practice! When I was working as a newspaper adviser, it was pretty easy because I was actually going somewhere every day. I had clearly defined “work hours” so things went smoothly. But since I started working from home full-time, I’ve had to work to create a schedule and stick to it. I’m a big fan of to-do lists, and thankfully, blogging is pretty rhythmic. There are certain things I do every single day, like finish blog posts, comment on blogs, work on ad stuff, answer emails, create editorial calendars, etc. There’s always something to do, so there’s never a dull day! A lot of time, I find myself wishing there were more hours in the day!
How do you self-evaluate your progress on your blog?
That can be a trap sometimes because it’s so easy to start comparing yourself to other bloggers. What are they doing? How popular are they? Do they have a big social media following? But, it is important to regularly reflect on your own progress and a big thing for me is making sure I’m moving in the direction I want to go in — writing the sorts of posts I want to write and making sure I’m enjoying it. The day I cease to enjoy blogging will be the day I know I’m in trouble.
Do you self advocate for yourself? If so in what ways?
Of yes! That’s always been number one on my list of priorities. My parents were my biggest advocates growing up, and they taught me to speak up for myself — in a respectful way, of course, but with firm confidence. Whether it’s speaking up to doctors about what I need to standing up to those mean Internet commenters, I’ve developed a pretty thick skin over the years!
As future educators, thinking back, do you have any advice for us that you wish your teachers had said or done to give you that boost of confidence in following your dreams?
It may sound weird, but sometimes saying something is worse than not saying anything. Just give me as much reassurance as you would any other student because that will show me that I really am just like everyone else. In this case, not singling me out would be a good thing!
[Photos via We Heart It]