A Message from Penny Forward Founder and CEO Chris Peterson
I recently attended the National Federation of the Blind of Indiana state convention, and it was nothing short of incredible. I want to take a moment to express my gratitude to the wonderful people I met there – Penny Forward board member and NFB of IN state president, Kane Brolin, the entire NFB of IN membership, and all the inspiring individuals who shared their stories.
You know, attending conventions like these has become a tradition for me, and it’s not just because of the incredible hospitality (though that certainly doesn’t hurt). I attend these events so I can share my reflections with all of you and, hopefully, help some of you conquer those pesky limiting beliefs that hold you back.
One thing that really struck me at this convention was the recurring theme of conquering limiting beliefs. Norma Crosby’s keynote speech was a powerful testament to the human spirit. She talked about her struggles with mixed messages about her vision from her family, teachers, and even her rehab counselor. It took her until adulthood to truly come to terms with her identity as a blind person and obtain the training she needed. Norma’s story is a reminder that many people face similar challenges, struggling with their vision and not knowing where to turn.
I know the feeling of believing that you’re a burden. It’s suffocating, and it can lead to a cycle of self-doubt. But here’s the thing: we need to conquer this limiting belief. I’ve had the privilege of interacting with countless blind individuals through Penny Forward, and here’s what I can tell you – blind people are absolute badasses!
Let’s embrace the inspiration that sighted people feel when they see us out there, conquering the world. You don’t have to be a former Navy Petty Officer, like Lonnie Bedwell, to be a badass. Lonny told us how his young daughters, and the countless hours he spent drilling in dark submarines, were the driving force that helped him conquer his limiting beliefs, but all it takes is the willingness to try new things, even if it means failing a few times along the way. Failure is just a stepping stone to success, and the feeling of accomplishment after persevering through those countless failures is like nothing else.
We all have our unique talents and abilities, and that’s what makes us extraordinary. Just because we’re not all talented musicians, athletes, or blind people doesn’t mean we can’t inspire others. Embrace your own awesomeness and look for inspiration in the everyday people around you.
The theme of conquering limiting beliefs extended beyond the formal convention activities. Over dinner, many of us shared stories about how well-meaning family and friends encouraged us to settle for less, be content with what we had, or even discouraged us from seeking opportunities. I can’t help but challenge families, friends, teachers, rehab professionals and lawmakers to shift their perspectives. Let’s overcome the limiting belief that blind people should be grateful to work at all. We deserve more, and it’s high time we inspired those around us to believe in our right to live the lives we want.
In conclusion, as Penny Forward continues to grow, I find myself continually inspired by the incredible blind community. I hope that, in some small way, Penny Forward is inspiring all of you to reach for more and build the financial health and wellness to live the life you truly want – one filled with passion, purpose, and unshakeable determination.
Remember, you are a badass, and the world is a better place with you in it. Let’s continue conquering those limiting beliefs, inspiring one another, and making the impossible possible. Here’s to the extraordinary journey ahead!