View More

I’ve struggled to write an update recently for a couple of reasons. One is that there’s simply not been enough time and energy once I’ve finished everything else. The other is I wasn’t sure exactly what to say.

As you’ll know I’m doing the Daily Sib interviews with disability influencers and my daily (ish) Disabled Founders Journal podcast. So I am still saying a lot. However I feel there’s a place for these occasional written pieces.

Partly because it offers a different style of information about my inclusion work. Partly because some things get missed in those other formats. Partly because I find it personally helpful to articulate how I’m getting on with everything through writing.

Health and wellness

I hit a bit of an energy bump the past fortnight. I’d really pushed myself hard since we launched Purple Goat, and I definitely needed a day or two to recuperate and take stock of everything.

I’ll update on the business later, but this pause for reflection helped with my health and wellness immensely.

Separate to business, some anxieties arose around my care support and financial security (in particular the government funding of my care support). So I decided to speak with close family and friends about these worries. In simply sharing my thoughts and them being heard, the negativity I’d felt immediately lifted.

I’ve also got back in to my Mindvalley meditations, which I had neglected, and which help a lot with keeping a more positive mental state. More so I’ve kept up with consuming my daily dose of inspiring blogs, books, podcasts and vlogs. These are really powerful in keeping a glass half full perspective.

I’d also started to eat less healthily and have more comfort foods. Which makes sense with all those changes going on. Hello Covid19, rescheduled wedding and brand new business. So I’ve subsequently invested in some cool health food and supplements. I’m already feeling huge benefits from getting the right nutrients in my system. Not to forget sleep and exercise in the mix.

Body. Mind. Soul. Tick.

Independent living

With Covid19 it’s been very stressful managing my care needs, with having people come in my house posing a risk of transmitting the virus. Let alone the fear of the Care Act being suspended and the economic issues potentially effecting future social care funding. But as explained above I’m doing the things I can to stay positive and healthy.

I’ve had various equipment issues recently too. My wheelchair kept cutting out, and took a few attempts to find/fix the fault. Then Sunny accidentally broke the tray/armrests when coming near me for cuddles. Then my car lift broke down just as I wanted to start going out a bit further for dog walks. In the end it was uplifted to Lewis Reed in Liverpool and returned in working order.

Thanks Motability for arranging that!

In definitively good news, the house and garden is looking fantastic. We’ve fixed broken bits, freshened things up, painted the decking, I treated Kasia to a hanging garden chair, and we’re halfway through having a professional re-do the, previously wild, front garden!

Leisure and fun

There’s not been a whole lot of leisure for all of us for obvious reasons. Apart from the daily dog walk and a couple of garden visits to see family, my calendar looks very to different to last year.

Usually I’d be in London for meetings, around the country speaking to big audiences, and around the world blogging about my adventures.

Instead I’ve got myself back playing FIFA with the help of Special effects. They are the charity to support disabled people in to gaming. They helped me get my old but easier to use playstation 3 controller to work on my new laptop. Using various adaptions and softwares, guided by their experts.

I’ve also enjoyed playing battleships with Kasia and poker with some of my new work colleagues. Not to forget those lockdown Zoom quizzes and bingo nights!

Purple Goat

Unless you’ve been under a rock or on a complete digital detox for 3 months, you’ll know I co founded the Purple Goat Agency with my business partners from the Goat Agency.

Purple Goat connects brands with the $8 trillion global disability market with talented and dedicated disabled influencers.

As a quick reflection of the first 3 months I would say; hugely exciting, lots to do, lots to learn, lots of progress already made, impatient to achieve our potential, speaking to awesome and interesting people every day, we’ve integrated well in to a global marketing agency, really like my new colleagues, proud of the Disability Horizons team still growing with me being less involved, and enjoying helping disabled influencers get opportunities they’ve always deserved.

To keep up with the world of influencer marketing and my progress as a disabled founder of a new company, please do follow my daily posts on my social channels.

I’ll try to write again soon. Don’t forget to hit reply or comment with how you are getting on too!

View More

I have been doing that ‘feeling bad’ thing when I realise I haven’t written a more thought provoking piece for my blog. Sometimes I think running a website on any particular subject matter can make you feel a pressure to be profound and revolutionary. Then, in the cold light of day, I realise how ridiculously busy I have been and that actually my blog is all about living everyday life anyway. Sure, if I am swept away with an amazing idea I will share, but I sometimes overlook the value in just talking about ‘living’.

I then realised I hadn’t written a post on where my life actually is right now. So, true to form, I want to share my progress, fears and dreams with you.

You all know I have my independent living elements cracked. As per the Disability Diamond Theory; I drive my car, know how to utilise public transport with a wheelchair, have my care budget and team setup, love my London flat, I work (now for myself), have good friends, family and a lovely girlfriend (yep, a new update for ya there!) and manage leisure and travel when budgets allow.

The past months I have, for one reason and another, shaken my world upside down. In leaving my safe employed job, I have taken a huge risk in my pursuit of a vision I am passionate about. You may remember my last blog similar to this one here? Essentially this was all about my working through business plans and getting used to self employment.

Well, since then I have run 15 webinars through my blog, Scope and Hackney council and worked for the BBC as a tv presenter. My blog is also reaching more people than ever. Disability Horizons has grown, with scores of amazing contributors, insightful articles, increase of our readership and whispers of future world domination 🙂 This is so cool coming from the concept Srin and I developed this time last year in California and launched only a few months back. I think you’ll agree the redesign kicks ass too!

Despite all of my thoughts and energies going into getting my social enterprise off the ground, my world has been tipped upside down in other ways more recently. I have been making changes and improvements to all of my ‘foundations’ and some unexpected things have happened too. Nearly all of this is through my own choice and for positive action, but is all very scary and sometimes stressful.

Transport – my adapted car has been faulty of late and so I have at last arranged for it to be taken today and be checked over. I really hate not having the car as it’s my embodiment of true independence.

My flat – All is well flat wise, but as I plan to travel a lot more next year I am looking into letting it out if I am away. A letting agency are coming to value it any minute now. I am also helping them to provide accessible accommodation for disabled people at the Olympics and Paralympics next year.

My care team – I realised since going self employed that my care rota doesn’t work for me anymore. My guys change over every Monday and Friday. This means a constant feeling of checking where I am location wise, and chopping and changing. With my plans to travel more while I work remotely, it clearly would be better with a rota of 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off. This unfortunately means 2 of my 3 PA’s will be leaving in January. I pondered this decision for ages as they are amazing carers and people. However my care has to support my life in the best way, and therefore the changes are necessary.

So I am now recruiting for a new PA. The advert is up on gumtree. If you or anyone you know is interested please use the link. This means I will need to read the 50 or so applicants, short list those I think (according to my criteria) are suitable and then interview them. Following my decision on who is best for my needs, I will need to do criminal checks, reference checks and then train them up. Once someone knows my needs its cool, but it takes a while to get used to someone seeing you naked and doing everything for you.

Work – Things are still going according to plan. The webinars kept me in my flat, rather than blogging outside, lol. I am planning to apply the learnings of the webinars and roll out more in 2012. I am now busy doing financial planning, looking into social enterprise support schemes (such as the nexters, which I am now officially part of) and creating my e-learning courses.

My first e-course will be on employment and disability. I have the technology partner in AJ and Melissa Leon at Misfit-Inc, the personal experience and the networks to create a course that will inspire and inform many disabled people on the tricks of getting into work. It clearly cannot support those unable to work, or the general economic problems, but it can have a bloody good attempt. I am ever the optimist.

My nearest and dearest – even when I’m busy I always ensure I keep a close contact with my girlfriend, family and friends. I have decided to not say loads about the change in relationship status. However, her name is Claire, I knew her at uni years ago, she lives near Edinburgh and it was during my visit there that sparks flew 🙂 I can’t wait to see her next weekend when she visits. Skype is cool, but you can’t beat face to face interaction. I do my best to see everyone face to face, but if not I use skype, phone calls or at the very least a text. I remain in contact with friends back to childhood, and all the way up to my London crew today. I would never let work, stress or life stop this!

Leisure  – I am looking forward to the meetup this weekend for Disability Horizons. My great mate Rich from uni is visiting the weekend after Claire does. So the next 3 weekends are chocca. Then I’m afraid Christmas is fast approaching. I need to get the present list sorted soon really.

Travel – I have been eying up my winter sunshine break in Tenerife in January, but am going to see how my health goes (we all know how difficult winters usually are for me) and how work goes the next month or so. However, I can say there is something hotting up around next spring which will be amazing. More to come as the plans firm up! 🙂

I have to say I haven’t felt so happy and healthy in years. I feel so much more confident in maintaining my basic foundations (work, car, house and care), in my future plans. I am working more than ever, feel mentally tired each night, but I know it is all so worthwhile, even despite the challenging months ahead.

If you haven’t read the Diamond Theory, I would recommend it as a framework to life, what you want from it and how to progress without going too quick!

I am still brewing a more philosophical post, but it needs a little longer to cook 😉

Until next time, I hope you are all well and make sure you get in touch with any thoughts or questions you may have.

Cheers,
Martyn

View More

During some recent discussions, I realised that the positive impact of my being disabled, living life to the full and not dwelling on the ‘cannots’ can also be misconstrued. In my next post I am going to explore disability as a social problem, lay out my proposed solutions and show how we all play different roles in this (disabled or not!). However, for today, I want to address the point that sometimes I make living with a disability look ‘too easy’.

Some disabled people may assume that I must either not be that ‘disabled’, have had some sort of extra help in life (financially or otherwise) and just swan around the world with ease. Meanwhile, non-disabled people may think there can’t be a social issue for disabled people – “just look at Martyn, he seems to be doing fine”.

Whenever someone blogs or shares their life and opinions, they open up debate and also they open themselves up for criticism. Do not get me wrong, this post is not off the back of hate mail by any means, in fact the blog and Horizons feedback is awesome! I am just aware enough to know what the potential drawbacks of my ‘message’ are, and want to tackle it by sharing a little bit more of myself than normal.

See, I am great at sharing outcomes – my work exploits, leisure activities and world travel adventures – but I find it harder to share my physical limitations and the complex inputs that enable me to live the life I do. This simply is because I just do them. So, to illustrate my ‘disability’, to confirm how nothing comes that easily and to show you that anything is possible; here’s a day in the life of moi!

8.30 My Personal Care Assistant (PA) comes in to wake me, rolls me onto my back, lifts my arms above my head for me to stretch and goes away again for 10 minutes. You see, I am not a morning person at all! 8.30 is the time I attempt to get up on weekdays, but since self employment I can grab a bit more sleep and work later if I so choose, plus I’m more productive later on. On weekends it is probably more like 11am when I rise!

9.00 Having used my wee bottle in bed, had my underwear and trousers put on me, and been hoisted into my wheelchair; I have my top put on and I’m good to go. I take the long commute from my bedroom to the kitchen/dining room/lounge area (here’s a video tour of my flat). My ebook ‘the disability diamond theory’ partly covers the struggles of securing an accessible/affordable flat, but I got there in the end and love my place. I don’t do breakfast as I never feel hungry first thing, but I have my necessary cup of tea.

9.30 I log onto my laptop and begin work. Nowadays ‘work’ is ‘inspiring, informing and changing the world for disabled people’. As you can imagine, it’s very rewarding, fulfilling and motivating. I start by checking my emails, twitter and facebook messages. I have become such a social media geek!

10.00 My PA will pass me my toothbrush. I do this myself, but have to be at the table and spit into an empty cup. When my arms are supported I can eat and drink easier, but when they are not; reaching my mouth is difficult. Once I have sorted my pearly whites, my PA washes my face for me and sorts my hair out with water, wax and sometimes hairspray – yep, I am vain!

10.30 I head off with my PA in my adapted car which I drive to meet a man about a dog. At present I run my blog, Disability Horizons online magazine, webinars for disabled people in partnership with charities and councils, and undertake speaking, workshop, training and consultancy projects on disability and/or social media. This meeting will most likely be in London, but sometimes I travel all over the UK by car or train. My PA always comes with me.

12.30 Time to grab some lunch! I am a fussy eater which leans more towards unhealthy snack food, though I am trying to improve this as I head towards the 30 year age mark. Therefore my PA will help me get my money from my wallet, pay the cashier and carry my food to the table where I do the rest.

13.30 Back at my flat now and it’s time to check in with my family, friends and any personal chores on my to-do list. This might be a catch up with mum, a note to my girlfriend, a few texts with the lads, and some care admin. Running a team of PA’s means I am responsible for their rota (the days they work), paying them each month and generally ensuring they are happy with their job. If they are unhappy, leave or unable to work then my day will look VERY different.

14.30 Onto 2012 plans and I am planning a trip away in the new year. These days I have to really watch the pennies after starting a new business, but equally every travel adventure does provide great content and networking for potential work projects. For example the company in Tenerife who provide me with a hoist and accessible airport transfers are interested in partnering on a disability travel project. So, at this time I may be booking flights, ensuring the airline know my needs, hiring a hoist at the other end and daydreaming about some winter sun. I am not a fan of the cold or dreary days!

15.30 I am back on emails, twitter and facebook. Then I might contact some potential writers for the magazine and edit a first draft of a new article. I’ll email Srin some Horizons news and then we’ll speak later when he’s out of the office too. I will have radio 1 or mtv base pumping in the background whilst I write an article such as this for my personal blog – www.martynsibley.com.

16.30 Throughout the day my PA’s will have helped me to the toilet, made me a drink and enabled me to do a variety of other tasks. At this stage I will ask them to carry out some domestic tasks such as cleaning, washing clothes and helping grab food from the shops.

17.00 Shower time… My PA will help me undress, hoist me onto the toilet and then onto my shower chair. This chair sits cleverly over the bath, there is an area cut out of the baths’ side for the hoist legs to go under and essentially I can get a nice shower. My PA’s have to help me wash everywhere, just to illustrate how weird this was for the first few times. I am now used to this of course, but having a new PA takes a while to feel comfortable again.

18.30 Having eaten I will take a stroll/wheel down to my local hang out. I love Stoke Newington because the people are cool, the food tasty and the pubs have character. Over the past 4 years, it has definitely become my local amongst the vastness of London’s diversity in hangouts. Sometimes my PA will come too and other times the friend I go with is happy to help me get a drink. I also occasionally use a bag enabling me to pee freely without assistance for a few hours. It is like a catheter but doesn’t go inside your fella, if you get my drift (just ask if you want more info, but please no weirdo’s).

21.30 I meander my way home feeling merry, tipsy and content. I have been blasted at once with a police siren for cruising the bus lanes whilst a mate hitched a lift on my wheelchair. Of course, those days are behind me now 😉

22.00 I have an enjoyable catch up with my beautiful girlfriend on skype and discuss our day, plus what we will do next time we see each other. In checking if she was happy to be mentioned here, she requested lots of positive comments about Edinburgh (near her hometown) and Scotland generally. Does this comment achieve that?! 😉

23.00 I get hoisted into bed, raise the head on my bed up to watch some tv and then try and sleep. Often at night my brain goes double speed. I have my best ideas now and lie awake planning projects, ideas and articles. I often need to turn over before I sleep, so I use my mobile phone to ‘miss call’ my PA who comes from the spare room to help. I will also require this a few hours later.

So that’s a day in my life! I hope that this is a helpful and informative outline of my world at present. Clearly on weekends I may go and see family and of course I have my travel trips, but you have read these already. If you have any feedback, comments or questions do not hesitate to get in touch here

View More

Evening everyone. I hope you have all been to, shown support for, or at least been aware of the hardest hit marches today? If you are on twitter checkout the #hardesthit hashtag and get up to speed on the days events here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15399724.

I had an unfortunate turn of events after returning from my great trip to Edinburgh that resulted in my not being able to attend the London March today. Of all ironies, my carer who flies from Poland had her flight cancelled. My PAs change over at 2pm Friday and from yesterday afternoon I was faced with a difficult prospect of a weekend ahead. I rely on my PAs for so much and staying alone for even 2 hours is not an option. On top of this my mum, who always comes to the rescue, is in Tenerife. I am very fortunate to have a 22 year old sister who is happy to help with my personal care, turn me over at night and who is basically lovely. My dad also lives near mums house in Cambridgeshire, so between my sister and dad I have been ok.

Having taken the survival instinct decision to drive back to my hometown for these reasons, it meant I had to cancel my plans in London. I was due to meet friends from Scope at Jamie Olivers restaurant followed by a different crew of Scope mates at the pub. I was then hosting Mr.Mathew Sutton tonight, a tweet up with him (@smegfirk) and @hellycopeland tomorrow lunchtime., finishing off with a concert tomorrow night. Most importantly moving onto the point of this post, I couldn’t attend a march to protect disabled people’s rights.

This occurrence, although very frustrating, illustrates a very important point! If something as unfortunate, isolated and rare as my PA not being able to work can cause such disruption, stress, worry and impact: IMAGINE IF THE GOVERNMENT CUTS RESULTED IN THIS EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE WEEK!!!

You guys know me, know my situation, know my attitude to life, know how hard I work, know my likes, dreams and aspirations. This could all fall down with the cuts. By investing in disabled people just like me; yes there are costs, but compared to the physical and emotional deterioration I would have, I can promise you the ‘costs’ would be more as a result. Furthermore, the value disabled people put back in to the economy as employers, workers and consumers; there is a economic benefit too.

I’ll finish my Saturday night post by saying the cuts are necessary, but think about who, what, where, why, when and how. It is socially, economically and legally wrong to under invest in disabled people, even if it is seemingly ok politically.

Please feedback your thoughts on this and share this post anywhere you see fit… Mart

View More

Greetings blog readers! For those viewing this soon after I had written this post, it is Monday 17th October, and for my lovely subscribers receiving this via email it is Tuesday 18th October. However you came to read this I hope you are all well.

As you will have no doubt seen or heard, its been quite a few weeks. The ‘3 wheelies and 1 New York’ video shows the amazing time I had in New York and I am writing a post soon on the details of what we did in the Big Apple. I then worked 2 days for the beeb as a presenter for the BBC London show ‘Inside Out’ and learning how to do ‘pieces to camera’ with no prior training: it was a steep but fun learning curve. This was soon followed by my first ever keynote speech at a conference http://www.influencercon.com (also shown on my recent video footage). Last week was less travelled and crazy, but I did have lots of work to catch up on and I completed my webinar series on the blog. You can see the video here http://martynsibley.com/online-learning. Along the way, I also was interviewed by comedian Richard Herring for his radio 4 show. I then proceeded to attend the live recording at BBC broadcasting house and hear our chat played back. Funny as! This will air in November sometime, as will my presenting debut.

So, the purpose of this post relies on a test of your memory and engagement 🙂 You may remember or even have voted on where to send me? http://martynsibley.com/where-will-you-send-me Well, as the results show Edinburgh won out with 49%, closely followed by Manchester. I have since done the usual disability traveller routine of prepping and planning, especially around my recently crazy schedule. On Tuesday 18th 2011 at 9.00am I am leaving Kings Cross for the 4 hour trip north of the border!

I am hoping to link up with some organisations in the city to talk about my work. I am also delivering my webinar for Scope at 7.30pm from my hotel room. How cool is that? You can register here http://www.scope.org.uk/news/blogs/martyns-blog/free-disability-webinars. Whilst on my trip, as you saw on my article the wish to see more beautiful parts of the UK, I am seeing a friend from my Coventry university days. Claire lives near Edinburgh and I am visiting her home town of Kinghorn. It will be great to see her after 7 years and I am sure she will be looking even more beautiful than I remember. She has promised to show me Edinburgh too.

Of course I will make a video showing the trip, the travel, the new places, the people and the unknown happenings. So, thanks for voting and choosing to send me somewhere as great as Edinburgh. Who knows where it might be next time 🙂

Take care, M

View More

You may have seen on Twitter and Facebook that I delivered a keynote speech last Friday? AJ and Melissa put me forward to their friend Phil McKenzie as a speaker for his amazing project http://www.influencercon.com in NYC, LDN and Berlin.

The 40 minute speech outlines my story, how I dealt with being disabled, the way I have translated this into a new theory, how I hope others can benefit and my vision of new media empowering the next generation of disabled people to thrive!