Belief

The most wonderful, inspiring, energetic, positive and also emotional video I ever saw…and believe me, I saw a lot of these type of videos….and out of all of them, this is truly the most inspiring for me.

Activist Caroline Casey tells the story of her extraordinary life, starting with a revelation (no spoilers). In a talk that challenges perceptions, Casey asks us all to move beyond the limits we may think we have.

Below you can find some memorable words from her speech and why she is such an inspiration to me.

Every man in this room, even you Steve, it’s George Clooney.  And every women, you are so beautiful! When I want to look beautiful, I take 3 steps away from the mirror.

My parents made a bizarre unusual, an incredibly brave decision: no special needs schools, no labels, no limitation, my ability in my potential. And they decided to tell me that I can see. So, just like Johhny Cashes-s Sue,a boy given a girl’s name, I would grow up and learn from experience how to be tough and how to survive when they were no longer there to protect me, or just take it all away.  And most significantly, they gave me the ability to believe, totally to believe that I can.

Everybody imagines I was devastated. Don’t get me wrong, when I first heard it, besides the thought that he is insane, I got that thumb on my chest….but very quickly I recovered. […]  I will drive, I will drive, you’re mad, I will drive, I know I can drive. […] And with the same drunken determination that my father breed into me since I was such a child, he thought me how to sail, knowing that I could never see where I was going, I could never see the shore, and I couldn’t see the sail, and I couldn’t see the destination, but he told me to believe and feel the wind in my face. And that wind in my face made me believe that he was mad and I would drive, and for the next 11 years, I swear that nobody could find out that I cannot see because I didn’t want to be a failure and I didn’t want to be weak, and I believed I can do it. So I runned through life…. […] I even got a global consulting job at Accenture, and there they don’t even know! …..It’s extraordinary how far your belief can take you!

And 2,5 years in that consultancy job, something extraordinary happened. In front of the HR manager, at 28 years old, I simply said: “I’m sorry, I can’t see and I need help.” Asking for help can be incredibly difficult, you all know what it is, you don’t need to have a disability to know that, you all know how hard is to admit weakness and failure and it’s frightening, isn’t it?

And you know how exhausting it can be to try to be perfect, when you’re not? Or try to be somebody that you aren’t?  [..]  I had no idea that this man is going to change my life, but before I got to him I was so lost [….] he asked me many questions, of which some where: “Why? Why are you fighting so much to don’t be yourself? And do you love what you do?” And you know that when you are in Accenture you have this chip – I love my job, I love Accenture, I love my job – and to leave would would be failure!! ..and I couldn’t speak, I was chocked. And he asked: “What did you wanted to do when you were little?” Now listen, I wasn’t about to say, but I wanted to raise cars and motorbikes, but it’s hardly appropriate now…[…] And on my way out, he called me back and told me: “I think it’s time, I think it’s time to stop fighting and do something different.”

And there I was crying away, smashed, bashed, broken, fallen, over…..I was broke on a rock, middle of March in 2000, typical Irish weather, on a Wednesday,  grey, tears and I was angry…..omg, get off this rock and go home…..Who am I going to be? What am I going to be?  and I thought of my dad  and thought “Good God, I’m so not seeing now”….I kept thinking over and over in my mind – What had happened? What it went wrong? Why didn’t I understand? …you know, the extraordinary part of it is I had simply no answers, I had lost my belief. Look where my belief had brought me to and now I have lost it and now I really couldn’t see…I was crumpled…

And then I remember thinking about that eye specialist asking me: What you wanna be? Do you like it? What you wanna be? What you wanted to be when you were little?   Do you love what you do? Do something different…  What you want to be? Do something different…. What you want to be? ……and really slowly, slowly, slowly, it happened and it happened this way……and in the minute it came, it blew out in my mind and bashed in my heart…something different.….well….how about Mowgli from the Jungle Book? you don’t get more different than that! And the moment it hit me it was like -Woohoo! something to believe in!  And nobody can tell me no! […] Guess what….Nobody’s ever done it before :)) So I’m gonna go do it!

I know what I’m gonna do! I know how to be Mowgli! cross India on the back of an elephant, be an elephant handler…and I had no idea how … […] but I knew I would….because when you make a decision at the right time and the right place, God, that universe makes it happen for you! But had no idea how!

It was not just a stupid elephant journey, I needed it yes, because I needed to find my confidence in myself. You know what was bearer than me and my self pity in my eyesight, all of the other 1 billion people in the world affected by disabilities, and you know it’s not about disabilities, because we’re just people and yet parts of us don’t work so well.  We’re just people…and we don’t have a Nelson or a Bono in front of us, a disability person on the stage in front of you…we don’t have that…and we need it…we need you!

The most amazing thing happened when I decided that I couldn’t see, when I eventually surrendered, when I gave it up, when I stopped the fight, there I was! […] well I did it on my own! The most powerful thing.…it’s not that I didn’t achieve before, because omg I did!…but before I was believing in the wrong thing, I was not believing in me, really me, all the bits of me!

Do you know how much all of us really pretend to be somebody that we’re not? And you know when you really believe in yourself and everything about you, it’s extraordinary what happens!

Disabilities are like an elephant in the room, and I want you to see it like a positive way, no charity, no pitty, I want to work with leaders to totally reframe it, to make it exciting, to make it look like it was possible.

When I was travelling here to TED, I was petrified…..A really good friend of mine texted me, knowing that I was scared, even though I look confident, he texted me with “Be you”! And here I am, this is me, all of 🙂

It’s not about disabilities, we all hide bits of ourselves, desperate that you won’t see….I don’t have it all sorted, not even for one second, I still screw it up like you wouldn’t believe, I have failed so tremendously, but what I’ve had learned is that the power of believing in the right thing had just given me an extraordinary potential.

What do you learn, what do you find out when you finally accept the power of yourself?You learn that you can, you absolutely can, I truly believe you must never give up on your belief, so all of you’re aspiration, collectively, we can make it happen. Because if you don’t give up, most things are possible!  Never ever give up! Belief is simply about what you believe in ourselves, that self belief. If you want to be a stand up comediant, you gotta believe it first.

Second, please remember that our beliefs in other people can be limiting… Disabilities is only what we see in others about the bits that don’t work…Remember the power of when someone believes in you!  You believed in me! I am here because you believed in me! I am here because so many other people believed in me! And I have learned this.

And you know what? Cars and motorbikes and elephants – that’s not freedom….being absolutely truly yourself it’s freedom! And I never needed eyes to see, I simply needed vision and belief…

And if you truly believe, I mean belief from the bottom of your heart, you can make change happen, and we need to make it happen, because every single one of us, woman, man, gay, straight, dissabled, perfect, normal, whatever…every one of us must be the very best of ourselves. I no longer want anybody to be invisible, we all have to be included. And stop with the labels, the limiting of labels.  Because we are not jam jars…We are extraordinary different wonderful people!

She is an extraordinary inspiration to me, for the attitude and the way she managed to go through all the troubles of her life and become a winner, an inspiration for everyone around, speaking personally every single time, check her online page, and for the way she reached to business with a social human approach, creating a social business called Kanchi with all her determination, initiative and business skills.

One day, I will hopefully have the same type of inspiration in my life to make me start my own social business. It’s not time yet, but I know it will come.