My mind was made up, and my heart was set for the National Football League.

We all are very familiar with the notion of getting up.

It is a phrase used to describe the act of rising from one position to a higher one, such as from a seated position to standing one. As a matter of fact, we all go about our days getting up from multiple positions, without even thinking about it. Our day starts with getting up out of bed. Once we have breakfast, we have to get up from the table and move on to our next destination. We get into our cars and drive to work or get behind our desks, and then we eventually have to get up from there to perform our job’s responsibilities. Perhaps we come home and sit on the sofa, and then again, we have to get up from the sofa and perhaps have dinner. Then at last we retire for the night and repeat the process over and again the next day by getting up out of bed to start afresh. Getting up seems so easy, so natural, and so habitual.

As mentioned earlier, it doesn’t take much thought to get up from any position.

If you were to think about it, getting up is nothing more than a combination of different actions or movements that allow you to change from sitting or lying into an upright position. You’ve likely done it millions of times. But what if something interfered with your pattern or process of getting up? What if there was something that prevented you from completing such a thoughtless action?

Quite frankly, most of us never think about what that would feel like. Most of us go about our day executing those simple, thoughtless, effortless actions and movements that allow us to get up and go about our day for granted. We never think about how it would change our lives and what it would mean if getting up was the biggest challenge of the day. But for me, that became a harsh reality. There was a time in my life when getting up was a thoughtless, simple, and effortless process. I remember so vividly playing football and getting knocked around all the time, enduring no issue in the act of getting up. I loved football so much and my dream was to go Pro. I didn’t want to just get up, I wanted to make it to the top.

My mind was made up, and my heart was set for the National Football League.

My goal was to perform like a collegiate player while I was in high school, like a professional player once I was in college, and like a veteran professional player once I made it to the Pros. I always wanted to be ahead of the competition. I had it all planned out. My love for the game, along with this frame of thinking acted as my backbone and foundation to reach my goals. With this strategy in mind, I dedicated my entire life and body to the game of football.

However, life had other plans for me. Plans for a bigger dream; a better dream.

One that would inspire, motivate, and even help others. Ironically enough, this dream started as a nightmare. You see, in a split second, I lost my ability to walk. I was paralyzed in a freak accident on the football field. In that moment, all I could do was lay on that field, wondering if my life was over. It was clear there was a high chance I would never walk again. Doctors told me most people who are paralyzed remain paralyzed for the rest of their lives. I asked the doctor several times if I would walk again. The doctors said that it was very unlikely as there is no cure or medical procedure to correct paralysis. As a young boy in high school, I shifted my focus and energy from a career in football to the hope of walking again. My hopes and aspirations of playing in the pros was quickly replaced with hopes and aspirations of performing the simplest things in life like walking and independently performing the activities of daily living such as bathing, and even dressing myself. Simply getting up became my everyday challenge, and walking again became my everyday dream.

Mentally, I could not grasp the concept of never walking again.

I could not see myself in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. It brought about pain and discontent. This was not what I envisioned my life to be. Something had to change. I refused to accept this brutal reality for the rest of my life. I flipped a switch in my mind that made me determined to overcome paralysis and learn how to walk again. Each day I worked towards regaining my strength to stand and walk on my own by executing various strategies and workout routines geared at strengthening my body. It didn’t matter how long it was going to take or how hard it was going to be, I was willing to try as hard as I could for however long it took.

Now, as a result of determination, faith, persistent effort and unwavering strength, I have overcome the odds and no longer use a wheelchair.

In varying degrees, it happens to us all. In each of our lives, we all have a proverbial wheelchair. Something that is limiting and presents what seems like an insurmountable obstacle. How we respond to those setbacks and obstacles is truly what defines our lives and allows us to get up. Through, resilience, determination and unwavering strength, we can overcome those insurmountable barriers and rise up from the pits of defeat and stand tall again. Throughout my journey I’ve learned to bust free from the self-imposed shackles that were once holding me back. I’ve let go of limiting beliefs and the result is that a “can do” attitude is freely flowing through my life. I challenge you to awaken to the amazing power you have within to overcome any challenge.

Get Up! Turn adversity into an opportunity and make yourself better than before!

To your Game Changing Success,

Rodney

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