New Year Resolutions

January 30th may seem like an odd day to post about New Year resolutions, but why? Personally I find such a notion problematic. New Year resolutions fail because people fail to maintain the energy and ambition initially kindled by the year’s start. Let’s break this trend! Today I will share three New Year resolutions I made. Hopefully the read gets you once again thinking about your own 2013 goals.

Resolution #1- Utilize My Youtube Channel via Vlogging
Last year during the book marketing process I ended up creating a Youtube channel, Zachary Fenell. In 2012 I uploaded two videos, one answering questions for Dee Owens’ Book Readers website and the other my Off Balanced Cyber Reading. Throughout 2013 I plan to grow my relationship with Youtube viewers by sharing vlogs (video blogs) twice a month. You can find my first vlog below. Feel free to give your feedback. 🙂

Resolution #2- Post Here on a Weekly Basis
On a typical day my Twitter feed fills up with tweets linking to social media tips. Heck, I spent four months in 2011 ghostwriting social media advice articles for Hudson Business Solutions. One rule I come across again and again, blog at least once a week. I always intend on posting here at least once a week but that obviously doesn’t always happen. Ideally I’m aiming to generate a fixed blogging schedule where a new post appears every Friday, starting this Friday (February 1st)!

Resolution #3- Keep to Due Dates
Yes, I know. Resolution three seems pretty basic. However, other freelancers out there will almost certainly back me up on this task’s toughness. Without a traditionally structured work environment meeting due dates can become difficult. Plus, time can drag. When I started freelancing in 2009 I aggressively knocked off deadlines. As years passed I became more relaxed and by last summer I found my slacking off at an all-time high. I thought “This is not who I am and this is not professional behavior.” Ultimately, clients shouldn’t need to contact me and request ETAs on assignments. That’s how I’m going to measure the success rate to my third and final New Year resolution.

What New Year resolutions did you make? How do you plan on measuring your success rate? Share with a comment. 

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The Essence Behind Inclusion

When discussing cerebral palsy or other disabilities, you will almost certainly come across the term “inclusion.” However, the word gets thrown around so much the essence behind inclusion can get lost. John W. Quinn, fellow author (Somebody Like Me An Unlikely Story of Challenge and Triumph Over Cerebral Palsy) and familiar name to my long-time followers, explores inclusion’s meaning in a recent video blog.

Quinn hits on a point I feel well worth emphasizing. “I’m not asking for a lowering of standards in order to fit a certain need.”  His statement I believe addresses a misconception which provides a barrier to successful inclusion.

The misconception, inclusion involves lowering standards. I imagine this faulty thinking makes some people hesitant towards embracing inclusion. Ironically proper inclusion thrives off everyone pursuing/meeting the same expectations. Take as an example, The Bellingham Herald‘s news story “Olivier’s Drive, Determination Help Him Cope with Cerebral Palsy On, Off the Mat.”

Reporter Andrew Lang pens the piece sharing how high school freshman Dewald Olivier pinned his competition at a varsity level wrestling tournament last weekend. Olivier stood the ultimate underdog because he lives with cerebral palsy and uses a walker to walk. What makes his pin especially newsworthy; Dewald Olivier met the same standards as his teammates and earned the victory.

Olympic Symbol for Wrestling

The idea for Dewald Olivier to wrestle, an Olympic sport, began as a joke amongst friends.

In fact Dewald Olivier stands an ideal example because he declined lower standards offered to him. Certain routines done during wrestling practice Olivier can’t perform, or at least not in the traditional manner. His coaches suggested to Olivier he could use the time spent on these routines to either stretch or take a break. Lang documents the freshman’s thoughts regarding the latter option.

“I didn’t feel right. I didn’t think I deserved it, because everyone else is pushing themselves. No matter what, they don’t get breaks. So I thought to myself, ‘Why should I?'”

Now I’ll wager a guess and say Olivier’s work ethic led him to pinning an able-bodied opponent. His determination to reach the same standards as his teammates enabled him to get stronger physically. Overall that’s what inclusion presents, the opportunity to grow as a person. Bottom line, the essence behind inclusion entails providing equal opportunity and allowing one’s abilities to judge where one belongs.

Do you agree? Share your thoughts on inclusion by commenting below!

Book News: Continuing to Share My Story

Off Balanced came out close to 13 months ago, thus marking close to 13 months dedicated to sharing my story and increasing disability awareness. Specifically I’m motivated to increase the human element involved in perceiving disabilities. After all, many times a person’s focus targets the disability’s medical side rather than addressing the person with the disability. The following highlights the publicity I garnered over the past few months. Enjoy!

WHEELIE cATHOLIC
In November the blog WHEELIE cATHOLIC picked up on my previously released Off Balanced cyber reading, including the Youtube video within the post “Teen Memoir: Off Balanced.” Personal experience inspires WHEELIE cATHOLIC blogger Ruth Harrigan to blog about disabilities. Her blog’s tagline, “Encouraging Prayerful Efforts Toward Social Justice and the Inclusion of People with Disabilities.” If this sounds interesting to you, visit the blog at www.wheeliecatholic.blogspot.com.

We Connect Now
As my teenage memoir Off Balanced documents, college proved an instrumental time for my personal growth. Therefore I eagerly welcomed the chance to express my own insights to current and future college students with disabilities via We Connect Now. To use the blog’s own words, “We Connect is dedicated to uniting college students with disabilities in access to higher education and employment issues.” You can find my insights on the “Stories” page. Many thanks goes out to Chris Miller at The Mobility Resource for arranging this opportunity.

MyChild at Cerebralpalsy.org
MyChild calls themselves “the ULTIMATE resource for EVERYTHING Cerebral Palsy.” The website found my story valuable and decided to interview me. I’m truly honored they incorporated their write up on me on the “MyChild Inspiration” page, placing me amongst other creative and ambitious individuals such as standup comedy star Josh Blue and bodybuilder Jack Runser.

Through My Eyes
Wrapping up today’s recap, my newest guest blog post for Through My Eyes. You might recall my previous guest posts there, “How Cerebral Palsy Helped Shape My Work Ethic” and “Online Dating and Cerebral Palsy.” Most recently I piggyback on a topic blogger Laura Forde explored, disability triggered social anxiety. Take a couple minutes and read my thoughts on the topic, “Eliminating Disability Related Social Anxiety.”