2012: Struggles, Achievements and New Plans

This time last year I was celebrating going solo with my social business, a visit to New York and making big plans for 2012. It is fair to say this year went far better than I could have ever dreamt!

In this post I’ve summarised each months highlights, before sharing some general thoughts and my hopes for 2013.

January - Following on from my successful Webinars, I created my first ever eCourse. Covering employment; I interviewed 14 people over Skype, wrote automated email guides and shared links to other resources. Take a look and register for free here.

February - I finally secured a social project funded by the EU in Spain. During February I visited Aviles, Asturias to ensure the facilities were accessible and that I’d like my project. I also attended various training sessions and packed my bags in preparation (not a simple exercise, believe me).

March - I flew to Aviles to begin my 2 month stay. I stayed in a hostel, fully accessible for my needs, delivered talks to schools, ran workshops, taught English, tried to learn Spanish, met great people and grew a lot personally from the experience.

April - Despite being abroad, my work continued. I setup my business to give me freedom and the ability to travel. During my time in Spain I delivered more Webinars, blogged and pushed Disability Horizons along with Srin and the team.

During this period the Guardian published this amazing article on us

May - My travel and work exploits continued. I was accepted on a training course in Turkey where we shared volunteering experiences across Europe and made great contacts. I also was flown to Tenerife to discuss my becoming a consultant for Lero (who provide services for disabled tourists there). On the trip Filipe kindly made this video to my step brothers bands song on disability.

I’m on a great program run by the Big Society Network called the ‘Nexters’. This helps my vision of changing the world for disabled people by connecting me with disability organisations, political influencers, media channels and business mentoring. To support and promote me, they kindly held this event for me. Thanks guys.

June - Disability Horizons was invited as a special guest to the Mobility Roadshow and judged their children’s writing competition – ready, willing and able. Srin and I were also kindly invited to Exmoor by the Calvert Trust for this crazy experience.

July and August - Back in my London pad; I caught up with friends and acquaintances, enjoyed the sites of my nations capital and enjoyed the Olympics. I also did a lot of media work and networking.

I launched the innovative dConference. Having crowd sourced the necessary funds (thanks @samedifference) 12 contributors spoke on their use of the Internet. Register for the ongoing conference here for free.

September - We saw the amazing spectacle that was the Paralympic games. These late summer days furthered the countries euphoria, portrayed disability in a whole new light and sparked something fresh! I also began planning something new and impactful myself…

October - Along with my Personal Assistant, Filipe, I embarked upon my roadtrip of Europe. You can read all here. Needless to say it was challenging, invigorating and everlasting!

November and December - Despite the great personal projects, raised media profile, disability sector influence and world travel; running a business is tough at present. I used this time to give more talks in person, to prospect new consultancy clients, deliver workshops and generally make new things happen.

I worked as a presenter for Visit Britain’s pilot on local accessible tourism. I also appeared on BBC breakfast discussing the impact of the Paralympics, whilst representing Disability Horizons.

I drove to Gloucester, Oxford, Southampton, Brighton, Birmingham and Manchester during this period.

In general

I’m managing to maintain my health better than when in employment, having quality friends/family time, acquired my new wheelchair, loving driving my adapted car, running my care team and flat; on top of the above.

Next year

My goals are to:

- maximise my second stay in Aviles, Spain in January to learn Spanish and bring back fresh ideas for Disability Horizons. I am there again for 2 months and am already preparing!

- ensure Disability Horizons keep publishing great articles, growing it’s readership, bringing in necessary funds, and continuing to change the world

- continue juggling my health, important people in my life, my work and travel in the right balance

- stay true to my values, earn a humble and stable living, keep creating new projects and make people think to ask questions of themselves and others

Summary

I’m feeling tired reading this back, let alone having done it.

However it’s all worthwhile. I’m doing something I believe in, making a massive positive change, giving younger disabled people fresh views, educating society on their responsibilities, and showing everyone you can live the life you want.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my year and future plans, plus more importantly your own news and goals too. Feel free to leave a comment and pass this on to your peeps.

Happy New Year!

  • Sarah croft

    Hi,

    Wow what a lot you have done this year, and sound like enjoyed your, at making a different to others. It’s busy me too, with moving to new flat at the same time working two part time jobs. In 2013 I am training to be a life coach, hoping to work dirctly with disabled people who use support complete goal with these support plans,( funded by local social services). Hope to across paths at somepoint in 2013 sarah

  • Steve

    Inspirational as ever. Hope you meet your goals for 2013.