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Jon Morrow from Boost Blog Traffic

In Audacious People, Features by Nathasha Alvarez3 Comments

Jon Morrow living with Muscular Dystrophy

Jon Morrow from Boost Blog Traffic

Almost two years ago, I met Jon Morrow at NMX in Las Vegas. He was the only speaker at the conference with a physical disability yet, he doesn’t write or speak about living with Muscular Dystrophy. It takes a back seat in his life. Having physical disabilities shouldn’t stop us from pursuing

our dreams. Jon’s story is a perfect example that we can find excuses or we can find solutions. I was able to nab him long enough to get him to answer a few questions.

Jon, many people with physical disabilities have spoken against inspirational porn. They say that people with disabilities are not here to inspire others. However, other people with physical disabilities have qualms about this because they do feel it’s inspiring to them to see how others are dealing with the same issues.  What’s your opinion on this topic? 

Personally, I’m happy my life inspires people, but I don’t try to be inspirational. I just live my life the way I want, and if it helps other people, that’s great.
So, in one sense, I suppose I agree: people with disabilities are not here to inspire others. We are here to live our lives.

In another sense, I disagree: if we do inspire others, it seems like a waste of energy to be offended by it. If someone is inspired by you, it doesn’t cost you anything, so let them enjoy it.

In your blog posts, you write everything straight up with a raw edge. Were you always this audacious or was it something you developed through time and incidents? 

I’ve been audacious for as long as I can remember. To me though, it’s less of a characteristic than a mindset. In my mind, we’re all dying, but we have one of two options: die in shame, having abandoned your courage, or die in glory, having dared to live life on your own terms. Personally, I choose the latter.

Physical disabilities and gainful employment

There are people out there with physical disabilities who say they can’t find a job because no one will hire them due to their physical disabilities. What is your one best piece of advice to people who feel it’s them against society? Is it us against them?

It’s nonsense. I’ve never applied for a job and not gotten the position. Not once. If anything, it’s easier for people with disabilities to get jobs.
But that doesn’t mean you can suck. You still need to know your stuff. And there are many disabled people who don’t. They expect the world to give them things, rather than work for it, and that’s just silly.

Some people with physical disabilities say that their disability doesn’t define them. Others say that their physical disability is a major part of who they are. What’s your opinion on this? How much does your disability influence your identity and your actions?

Personally, I don’t think about my disability very much. Sure, it’s a huge part of who I am, but I’m so busy working on other stuff I rarely think about it.

Granted, a lot of my goals are tied to my disability. For instance, one of the primary reasons I’m working so hard now is because I’m preparing for the day when I’m no longer able to be so productive.

So, it’s definitely an influence… but I also think it’s unhealthy to think about it every five minutes.

Of all the blog posts you’ve written, which blog post do you strongly suggest our readers with physical disabilities to read? Why that one?

Read this one:

Copyblogger

It’s about turning your disability into a source of power. Warning: grab a Kleenex box. 🙂

 

Thanks, Jon!

You guys should definitely catch Jon at his site Boost Blog Traffic  even if you don’t have a blog, his posts are help you reach your goals in all areas of your life.

Now it’s your turn to sound off, was Jon on the money?

 

  • Annessa

    I am an educated person who is also in a wheelchair, and I agree with Mr. Morrow on most of what he said about employment. He is right, you DO have to know your stuff and be qualified for the jobs you’re applying for because no employer is going to give us a shot just because we have a disability. Openings are posted because the company has a need; their intention is to fill that need with the most qualified applicant, whomever that may be. However, the one thing I would add is that it is important for people with obvious physical disabilities, when interviewing, to address the “elephant in the room” by making sure those interviewing you know that you are, in fact, capable, of doing your own work and making your way around the office on your own, despite being in a chair. Many potential employers bring with them their own stereotypical misconceptions about us, and laws in most states mandate that they are NOT allowed to ask us personal questions about what we can and can’t do in terms of our disability. Therefore, it’s up to us to make sure we clarify exactly what we’re capable of doing. And this advice is not exclusive to disability, either. It can apply to anyone who falls outside the employers idea of a typical hiree. If you have a large employment gap, if you are older than the average applicant, whatever it may be… If an employer doesn’t ask about an issue, it doesn’t always mean he or she doesn’t care. It may simply mean that they’ve already made an assumption about our situation. It’s our responsibility to make sure that employers see us as we really are.

  • Annessa

    In addition to my comments, below, regarding Mr. Morrow’s opinion on employment, I would also like to weigh in on what he said about inspiration:
    Like Mr. Morrow, I too can see both sides of this. My feeling is this: If you look at a stranger on the street or a distant acquaintance and you assume, based on physical characteristics alone, that this person in an inspiration, then that is not inspiration; it’s a prejudicial assumption that is just as insulting to the disabled person hearing it as it would be to look at a person of another race and make assumptions about them, based on stereotypical assumptions about their race. However, if you know someone personally, whether they are disabled or not, and you know enough of their personal story that you feel inspired or motivated to do more with your own life because of what they have accomplished, then that’s different. I am inspired by lots of people, both disabled and not, because of their accomplishments. I am inspired by my friend Katherine Klimitas – not because she is in a wheelchair, but because she is an accomplished artist and author. I am inspired by my friend Missy, because I don’t honestly know how anyone could have the energy to raise twins, much less twins with OI (a brittle bone disease) when she herself has this disorder as well. I am also inspired by Missy’s two kids, Austin and Michaela; not because they have OI, but because they both have YouTube channels and I’m STILL trying to get my YouTube stuff together (you gotta’ be inspired by how fast kids pick up new technology). I’m inspired by Nathasha Alvarez who created her own magazine. That’s no easy feat. I’m inspired by Jon Morrow, the subject of this article; not because he has a rare form of MD, but because he is an accomplished blogger (blogging is another thing I want to do but can’t seem to find the time). I’m also inspired by many people outside of the disabled community, such as Oprah Winfrey and Sir Richard Branson, both of whom built billion dollar empires by doing things their own way, and by spreading out into uncharted territory, despite the many neighsayers who told each of them time and time again that they should just stick to one thing. So, it’s not just about disability or even overcoming obstacles, for me, inspiration is about knowing a person’s backstory well enough to appreciate the value of their accomplishments.

  • nathashaalvarez

    Annessa, I agree. You don’t have to be disabled to inspire others but I know that depending on where we live, just stepping out of the house is inspiring. For example, in some countries people with disabilities bring shame to the family so if they go out and live a normal life that is inspiring because they are willing to face the cruelty from those who disapprove of their existence.