Motivational Monday usually consists of a quote but I had to change things up this week. Sometimes, more important than the words that inspire are the fruits of someone’s struggle.
This past week, a close friend of my father’s sent me a text message that said “Google the Spencer West story!!!” I had never heard of Spencer West before this text but I Googled him (sidenote – I wonder if people at Ask Jeeves are mad that no one ever says “I Jeevesed it”). Anyway, this is one of the most motivational stories I have ever read. Below is a brief biography (from metowe.com) on but for more information on this inspiring person just search for him online.
Inspirational and charismatic, Spencer West speaks candidly about the struggles he overcame after losing his legs at the age of five. He speaks about overcoming stereotyping and bullying, about finding meaning and happiness in a material world and how he never lost the hope or courage needed to mount personal obstacles. Infused with humour and humility, his thought-provoking message inspires people to find opportunity in every challenge. With every speech, Spencer leaves an indelible mark on his audiences, instilling hope and strong leadership so that they can inspire others to create positive change.
In 2008, Spencer travelled to Kenya on an international volunteer trip where he helped build a school in a rural community in the Maasai Mara. On this trip, he met young people who strive to overcome challenges every day. He credits this experience for helping him recognize his true calling—to motivate and inspire people around the world.
Last year, Kenya experienced its worst drought in 60 years, and its effects are still being felt. In its time of need, Spencer decided to give back in his own unique way – by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. His extraordinary feat attracted worldwide media attention, including CTV, CBS, the Telegraph, People Magazine and the BBC. With the world watching, Spencer successfully reached the summit of Kilimanjaro, raising over $500,000 (and counting!) to bring sustainable clean water projects in communities affected by the drought. Once again, he had redefined possible.
Since he began speaking, Spencer has reached millions of people including students, educators, corporations, college/universities, faith-based groups and families with his encouraging words. He captivated audiences of tens of thousands at We Day events with his keynote address, which was featured nationally on CTV. Spencer has shared the stage with such influential people as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dr. Jane Goodall, former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore, Mia Farrow, Reverend Jesse L. Jackson Sr., Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Betty Williams and Elie Wiesel, and his musical idol Jason Mraz.
Before joining Me to We Speakers, Spencer was on the Go Global speaking tour for Free The Children. Through a keynote address and leadership workshop, Spencer encouraged youth to overcome their daily challenges, believe in themselves as active change-makers, and find personal strength to fight for the issues they are passionate about. His words have encouraged millions of young people to become more socially involved in their communities and the world. Spencer shares his incredible story with the world in his memoir, Standing Tall: My Journey.