Thursday

What If You Had No Legs?


Where do you find inspiration for your personal brand?

In my hometown of Philadelphia you don't have to look very far. It's on the river that runs along Philly's exterior.

There, rowers with no legs, or with multiple sclerosis or spina bifida, rowed in the country's oldest rowing event for disabled rowers, the Bayada Regatta.

Want inspiration? Look at 19 year old Kaitlyn Willard who has been in a wheelchair half her young life, or Oksana Masters, who has no legs, or 50 year old Laura Schwanger who has multiple sclerosis. Each of these courageous athletes rowed in the Bayada Regatta and inspired the world.

The Brand Trait of Champions

What's the personal brand trait that each of these fantastic athletes share? One could argue that they have many, many traits to admire, but in the end it's determination that sees them all through.

They have their eye on a prize and they train and push themselves to the limit to make it happen. For them, it's not just the prize of winning, but in some cases, it's just the chance to compete. How many of us have that level of will power, strength and determination? If you want to see determination personified, look at Melissa Wheeler.


Spina bifida (a disease that leaves the spinal cord exposed) left Melissa confined to a wheelchair. Her ability to maneuver and get around even in a wheelchair is a Herculean task. It's so difficult that she requires a therapy dog (a Labrador retriever named Sasha) to retrieve things for her and even hands over her wallet to pay for items at stores. But there she was, on the river rowing.

The next time you feel like giving up on a project, or want to throw in the towel, give your personal brand a hard smack to the face. Just think of all the athletes like Melissa Wheeler and the determination that keeps them going every day. Pure inspiration.