Tackling Adversity

I was honoured to be nominated for the Sue Ryder ‘Yorkshire Women of Achievement – Young Achiever’ award this year. Today was the day that the awards took place. I had no idea what to expect, so sort of took it as it happened (completely unlike me if any of you know me – I normally plan everything to the letter!).

It was a brilliant event; absolutely inspirational. It really made me proud to be the Yorkshire woman I am! There were some awesome women there. I didn’t win my category but I’m honestly not at all bothered, because it was such an honour to even share a nomination with the others in my category and to be in a room with such an amazing bunch of people. Furthermore, the young woman who won it has an incredible story and I’m so pleased she won it because she definitely deserves it and I’m really glad that she’s had that recognition.

The stories of nominees and winners were all brilliant. They proved that if you set your heart on something, and work hard, you can achieve it. There were women who had overcome so much adversity, such a range of adversity, and had gone on to achieve such amazing and wonderful things.

This event highlighted to me that disability and adversity are challenges, yes, but they are not things which should define your life. You can choose whether you let these challenges stop you from achieving your goals, or whether you use them as motivation to push you further. Illness is crap, but you are a person with a family, with talents and skills; the ‘illness’ part of your life does not have to define you. The same applies to disability and other rubbish you encounter.

With anything that happens in your life, it doesn’t detract from who you are as a person. Yes, it might stop you from doing something for a while. It might put more obstacles in your way. It could make some things completely impossible, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve and you can’t be happy.

In the current climate of cuts, uncertainty and all the other things we love to complain about, it’s worth remembering that we have control of our own actions. We can’t control those around us, we can’t necessarily control our emotions and we can’t control external things that happen to us. But we can decide how we react to them and personally, I’m not going to let anything that happens in my life from stop me from achieving my goals.

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