17 March 2017

Disabled Entrepreneurs: Barriers, Money and Mindset

I never profess to speak for all of the people living with disabilities - after all, each person has a different journey. We like to fit people into nice, neat categories but that doesn't really fly with me.

I speak for me - a woman who was high functioning, independent to a fault who acquired a disability that sent me into a tailspin for far too long.I am an entrepreneur with a few disabilities and for a very long time I resisted that title.

I just wanted to be normal, to blend into the landscape of people and to get on with my work but that didn't happen. Whether I chose to embrace it or not, I lived with a disability and it has presented problems for me in every area of life. I want to speak about barriers today - two of these barriers in particular - money and mindset.

I've always had the ability to dream a big dream but my disability presented a new layer of challenges for me. It impacted my ability to find work and as a result it left me without resources of the financial kind and let's not kid ourselves - money matters.

Disabled people face many barriers to employment or entrepreneurship but with money we can often overcome some of those barriers. Recently I've strained my vocal chords and have not been able to talk for weeks now. Because I had the resources, I could hire people to do my speaking for me. There's something to be said about having the resources to get over those obstacles.

Money is the external panacea that can often help us to overcome many barriers but what if the barrier is internal. I struggled with self acceptance when I became aware of my disability - it was debilitating really. Confidence and self acceptance are internal barriers.

What if a person doesn't have the confidence - that is a  barrier that no amount of money will cure. There's nothing more debilitating than an internal barrier of not believing you can make it happen. Teaching money mindset has shown me that internal beliefs do impact our external reality. If making money can help us to overcome our external barriers - having that "can do" attitude is essential.

When I teach reluctant entrepreneurs - those folks who are starting a business because they must not because they want to - I address the internal first. You see if we can't believe it, we can't make it happen. When we believe it, magic happens. In a discussion with a facilitator recently we spoke about how financial projections can freak out a new entrepreneur - I believe that is the case when the belief is not there. It's a case of getting the learning objective right - topic for another day.

Each day as I journey toward success, I see first hand the impact that changing my mind has had on me. I also see the real story of how money removes barriers. I have to step back and say "wow" because it wasn't that long ago where I thought I would never make a living again. People of privilege of the financial kind don't get it. Being disabled and poor can be a bitch.

What I know to be true - money matters, it can remove many external barriers but it all starts with the right mindset - believing you can.....

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