Last year I applied to take part in a course titled Leaders for Tomorrow. The aim of the course is for the participants to choose a goal they want to achieve over the next twelve months that will help them develop their leadership skills. It is a course for people who have a disability.
When I applied I didn’t think much about it. I wasn’t fussed whether I got in or not. I was going through a period where I felt lost and was struggling to find some direction.
It was around the same time that I applied for the journalist position for the Divine website.
I was accepted into both. As soon as this happened I knew that 2012 was going to be a busy year. However, I was still feeling lost and concerned about my future.
That was until last week.
Last week I flew to Brisbane to attend a two day conference. This gave the participants a chance to meet as the course is Australia wide. It was also a chance for the participants to learn more about the course and establish the goals they wanted to achieve over the next twelve months.
I met some amazing people. One girl was born without her left arm. She is 28 years old, a personal trainer and a pole dancer. I kid you not.
I also met Monica. She’s a painter, public speaker and recently got into jewellery making – beading to be exact. Monica was born without any limbs and does her beading with her mouth. She has swallowed one bead to date.
The list goes on and on and I was in awe of them all. But my jaw truly dropped when I heard Marlena speak.
Marlena is 20 years old and is currently completing a journalism course in Queensland. At the age of 16 she decided to start her own business and with her own money she bought a jumping castle. She rented it out to parties and today she owns fifteen.
On her journey to completing her course she has interviewed Snoop Dog and Salt n Pepper. But the big one was with Richard Branson and the reason behind it?
Well I can’t share the reason because Marlena isn’t ready to share it with the world yet. I will tell you that she thinks of Richard Branson as a mentor and her plan is to save a lot of money for a once in a life time opportunity.
What I can share with you is that Marlena has cerebral palsy, is in a wheelchair and uses a communication device. Despite all this, she is a public speaker. She prerecords her speech into the device, jokes included, and a support worker works the power point presentation.
When Marlena spoke a number of people had tears in their eyes. I was emotional but as you know I don’t have tears. She showed such strength and determination that we all knew that Marlena was definitely going to achieve her dream. Check out http://www.marlena.com.au/ to find out more about her.
Once the conference finished and I had finally arrived home safe and sound, I was able to reflect on the two days and feel proud of myself. I don’t like stepping out of my comfort zone and I find it hard meeting new people. I faced two of my fears head on and it ended well. I met some inspiring people and I also worked out how I want to develop my leadership skills – that’s for another entry.