January is National Mentoring Month. It doesn’t matter who you are, we all have somebody in our life that has made a positive impact on us. Growing up, I have had many mentors, both with disabilities and without. There are a few mentors of mine who I credit with helping me and probably saving my life. When I was younger, I could walk and play sports. After I was diagnosed, my disability really started to affect me. During this time, Mark Smith and Brian Anderson really took me under their wing. Mark Smith was disabled from birth with cerebral palsy and Brian Anderson is an Iraq war veteran who was hit by an IED and lost both of his legs and his left hand.
Both these men helped me with the physical and mental challenges. I learned that if there is a will, there is a way. Just because things were changing in my life physically, this didn’t mean I had to alter my life. I just needed to alter the way I do things to achieve the task or outcome. Nothing was impossible. It’s just I had to do it differently. I learned if I could not do something, to take a minute, assess the situation and figure out a way to make it work. I learned that if you take every one of these situations as a lesson, and something that you can learn from, you won’t have to put yourself in the situation again. Or, if you do put yourself in that challenge or situation again, you can adapt and thrive. I’m very thankful, especially for my disabled mentors. Now, I am so blessed and privileged that I work to help younger individuals who have disabilities learn and navigate life as well.
About Josh McDermott: Josh is a brand ambassador for Quantum Rehab®. He is a public speaker and has served as a goodwill ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Josh lives in New York and loves to travel. Click here to learn more about Josh.