Hi, my names Donald. I’m here to talk to you all about evolving, changing, and growing as a person, but first here is a little about me. I was born three months early with cerebral palsy (CP) and only weighed two pounds 14 ounces. I have a lot to say. I was speaking clear full sentences before I was a year old so I’ve always had a lot to say.
They say when you face adversity in one area, such as with a disability, you excel in other areas so I’m sure that my CP probably played a role in my verbal skills. For years now I’ve wanted to do something that would make an impact on the world and allow me to leave my unique stamp on it. As a kid I wanted to be a rock star. From the age of 16 until about 21, I tried learning everything from drums to guitar to bass guitar, but because of my CP it just wasn’t working out. I even tried my hand at singing but it’s safe to say I won’t be on American Idol. I was really bummed. I had been told all of my life that I was born special and that everything happens for a reason, but here I was seeing my dream of becoming a rock star totally dying before it was even given a chance because of the very disability that I was told had a purpose. This is one of the first times I learned to evolve, change, and grow, but it certainly wouldn’t be the last.
I decided I wanted to try to become a rock star of a different kind. I scrapped the idea of being a musical rock star and I wanted to create a website and become an entrepreneur. When I think of companies such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, Apple and Craig’s List, these are more than just businesses. These are game changers. These guys are like non-musical rock stars to me. You can make a lot of money by being a stock broker or lawyer, but these careers lack that game-changer rock-star feel because they don’t create something that makes an impact on the world. I decided I wanted to aspire to be like the tech founders I admire. I think this is something more people should do especially in this economy. I think most people would agree that the world could use some change,however I find that most people, especially disabled people, don’t chase their dreams. They’re content in their bubble and never want to step outside of their comfort zones. I don’t know if it’s fear of failure, not knowing where to get started, frustrations with lack of progress, or what, but people should try to overcome these struggles. If you’re not trying to evolve, change, and grow, you’re not living.
I decided I wanted to create a social network type site for people with disabilities and enlisted the help of two of my best friends that I’ve known for ten plus years. One of my best friends is by far one of the most intelligent tech/web people I know and I knew I would need him to design the website. The other is one of the most goal- oriented, organized, and ambitious people I know and I knew she would help keep things organized. However, the idea never got past the idea stages.
My girlfriend suggested I chase my dream solo and create a Facebook group to start networking and keep the idea alive. I named the group People With Disabilities Rock (PWDR). The name, People With Disabilities Rock, ironically came from my love of rock/metal. I wanted a name that was catchy, would stand out from the crowd, and really get people inspired and behind it. I promoted the group relentlessly by pasting the link to my group with a catchy message
asking people to join and invite their friends. I also networked with other Facebook groups. It worked. People really got behind the group and people were inviting a ton of their friends. In only ten days we had a 1000 members. In a few months we had over 5000 members which was Facebook’s limit for the old-style groups to send out group messages. It was time to evolve again so I started the People With Disabilities Rock page which puts posts into the news feeds on people’s pages when they “like” a page. This was a much better fit because it kept the communication flowing. The old group which I don’t really post in anymore eventually reached 6000 plus members and the People With Disabilities Rock page has reached over 8000 members in under two years. Now you may be thinking to yourself, “Wow, that’s amazing,” but the truly amazing part about it all is that I’ve spent absolutely nothing on Facebook ads.
Both the PWDR group and page have had a lot of success, but I’ve scrapped the idea of doing a social network for people with disabilities and those close to us. I don’t think I want to limit myself. Like I said, I want to be a game changer and I want to change things for more than one group of people. I’m not getting rid of the PWDR page or group. It’s been a major part of my evolution.
I’ve gotten to meet a ton of cool people from around the world and do awesome things like write this blog post for all of you. I’ve realized that even though I’ve changed my mind several times in terms of what my dreams are, I was just evolving and that the core of what I want to accomplish is the same. I want to be a game changer.
I frequently post quotes on the PWDR page and one I’ve come up with is, “Disabled or not, we can all rock the world,” which means that regardless of the hand we were dealt in life we can all make an impact. That very statement is something that I feel drives me to try and work towards achieving greatness one day. Rock stars have this confidence and belief in themselves on stage that just projects this awesome energy. If we could all reach deep down inside and embrace our own inner rock star, we can rock the hand we were dealt and evolve and grow into someone who not only chases our dreams but is maybe even a game changer.
I’m not exactly sure what the future holds for me. I’m no closer to starting my own website and becoming an entrepreneur than I was when I first had the idea years ago, but I’ve decided to de-evolve for once and start at the beginning. I’m learning HTML and when I start my next college semester I’m going to take a class in programming and another in flash so I can learn to create my own website. Sometimes I get frustrated with my lack of progress, but I’m often reminded that I’m only 23. As long as I keep evolving I’m sure I’ll eventually evolve into the game changer I want to be.
After reading this I hope you’re inspired to get out of your bubble, step out of your comfort zone, evolve, and maybe in the process become a game changer and
ROCK THE WORLD!