Do you ever wonder how you’d behave in extreme situations? If you were training for the olympics as a cross country skier, got smashed by a truck, were diagnosed as a paraplegic, were in rehab for six months, what would you do? I can tell you that I’m pretty confident that I wouldn’t become an aerobatic flight instructor as soon as I was discharged. That is, however, what Janine Shepherd did, and she is my guest on the podcast today. Janine has written a memoir about her incredible years after the accident; how she became a flight instructor, how she was told that she wouldn’t be able to have children, but yet she did; some of the more intimate details of what her doctors told her, how she was treated, and how she overcame. The book is called Defiant: A Broken Body is Not a Broken Person Through powerful and emotive storytelling, there is something for everyone in Janine’s message of hope. DEFIANT topics include the following: Why some people don’t give up and can succeed against all odds. Struggling to rehabilitate with permanent disabilities, Janine rekindled her defiant spirit in a dramatically improbable way. Seeing a small plane fly overhead one day, she declared, “That’s it! If I can’t walk, I’ll fly!” How to come back from a major loss. It’s not about whether or not you will face adversity, it’s how you approach it. Once she let go of “Janine, the athlete,” which was how she had always defined herself, Janine was able to create a completely new life. Her ultimate goal: become a pilot, even though she’d never flown a small airplane and was disabled. Little goals kept her going along the way. A broken body is not a broken person. Janine’s mantra: You are not your body, and you have the choice to create new dreams. Be defined not by what you've lost, but instead by who you are and what you can become. What to do when things don’t go as planned. Janine’s real strength didn’t come from her body. This realization changed everything. She was no longer tied to a set path, and was free to explore life's infinite possibilities. Janine’s recipe for healthy defiant living. Janine learns about how to not just survive, but to flourish in the face of adversity. Challenges and change are not to be dreaded, but actually welcomed as opportunities to thrive in unexpected ways. The concept of disability. Janine inspires those coping with physical disabilities and other challenges to believe in the power of potential. Her accomplishments (and mindset) far outweigh any disability. Janine Shepherd is an inspirational speaker.
She was awarded the Order of Australia, the nation’s highest honor, for her service to the community, her inspiration and her work in raising awareness of spinal cord research. She is a contributor to Deepak Chopra’s workshops and has been featured on 60 Minutes, This is Your Life and CNN’s Turning Points with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. You can see Janine's TEDx Talk from her website: janineshepherd.com