Different Beginnings

I’ve always been different. I knew that very early growing up as a person with a physical disability. Having cerebral palsy can leave you misunderstood by others, but I saw power in that. If people are reading you wrong, then you have the opportunity to help them understand who you are, and most importantly what you’re capable of.
My mission in life has always been to make a difference in the world. I never knew what that would involve or how to go about it, but I’ve forged down a lot of avenues in search of it. I have been doing volunteer work for most of my life and it’s been my way to find purpose since I’ve been struggling to gain employment since I graduated from college, and then university. Since I couldn’t get someone to hire me for a job, I just decided finally to create one! After all, is your life’s purpose determined by a paycheck? I didn’t feel that it was. So when the opportunity to join the Kiwanis Aktion Club of Lakeshore, a service club for adults with disabilities that is dedicated to working with other Kiwanis branches to help the children of the world, I jumped at it! I became a member in July of 2014 and am currently the acting Vice President. In my mind I have a job, a purpose. And I planned to take that as far as I could.
After being turned away by a lot of volunteer groups to do international volunteer work because they didn’t think I could be “useful”, I found LiveDifferent. I was just doing yet another online search one day and happened to stumble across the website. Not expecting anything much, I sent an email to inquire about what their Academy program was about. That started the email correspondence with Jenn at LiveDifferent, and when I told her about my disability, she acted like it was no big deal. Suddenly somebody saw what I could do regardless of the fact that I had two forearm crutches in my hands when I walked. It was the most awesome feeling ever. I’d found my chance!
Julia Roberts said in the movie Steel Magnolias (one of my favorites!), “I’d rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.” Well if you ask me, I’m getting way more than thirty minutes and I can’t wait to embark on this adventure! After all it’s not what people think you can do, but what you actually do that really matters – and I think, I know, that I and the rest of my Academy team members can make an impact.
– Melissa, LiveDifferent Academy Student, Fall 2015

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: September 15th, 2015

Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted

Here at LiveDifferent, we love the ‘straight-to-the-heart’ style of Brene Brown’s books and speeches. Her work has been such a huge inspiration to us as we’ve put together our motivational presentations this year, and we love this video that was put together for her new book. Check it out, and consider making it your own manifesto this year!


I created this piece for Brené Brown to invite folks into her latest book/offering Rising Strong. Look for TWOTP films from the book coming this Fall.Get Brené’s new book: a TWOTP subscription:

Posted by The Work of the People on Sunday, 6 September 2015



Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted

There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers,

than those of us who are willing to fall, because we’ve learned how to rise.

With skilled knees and bruised hearts,

we choose owning our stories of struggle, 

over hiding, over hustling, over pretending.

When we deny our stories, they define us.

When we run from struggle, we are never free.

So we turn toward truth, and look it in the eye. 

We will not be characters in our stories.

Not villains, not victims, not even heroes. 

We are the authors of our lives.

We write our own daring endings. 

We craft love from heartbreak, compassion from shame,

grace from disappointment, courage from failure. 

Showing up is our power. Story is our way home. Truth is our song.

We are the brave and brokenhearted.

We are Rising Strong. 


Author: LiveDifferent

Date: September 11th, 2015