Turning a Physical Challenge into a Source of Strength
Kristina learned early in life that her wheelchair did not have to hold her back. Instead, the spinal cord injury sustained in her infancy challenged her to discover her gifts and share them as coach, mom, leader and advocate. And, she is proud to say she can pop a mean wheelie!
Kristina Rhoades is a motivational speaker, writer and life coach, as well as a wife and proud mom of a five-year-old daughter. After sustaining a spinal cord injury as a baby, Kristina has grown up in a wheelchair and, at 21 years old, served her home state as Ms. Wheelchair California. She’s fiercely passionate about human rights, happiness, meditation and helping others shift their perspectives to live their best and most rewarding lives.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
“I grew up surrounded by people who were doing creative things, living their passion. Many family members have jobs that are creativity based. Some are in the film industry, film production, photographers. So, I was lucky to be exposed to people who had jobs that they loved and were able to blend their careers with their personal lives by doing things that were their passions. That helped me understand it was possible to have a life and a career that wasn’t so 9-to-5.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
Moving from northern California to northern Georgia, Kristina says she “found herself” at Brenau University in Gainesville, especially in communications and in radio. Earlier, while traveling as Ms. Wheelchair California, she had done plenty of radio interviews and some TV, so she felt right at home in broadcasting. “I was surrounded by all sorts of mentors, teachers and community leaders, and even other students there at Brenau. They taught me so much about myself, my own capabilities, and the world.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“I think we aren’t told enough, by people we believe, that we can follow our passions, that we can have a career that blends with life, and we can do things that we love. It’s so important, and it’s something we need to model for our children, so they have the confidence to go after what they believe in. One of my favorite quotes summarizes this. It’s from John Lennon. ‘When I was 5 years old, my mother told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down, ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment. I told them they didn’t understand life.”
Steps to Success from Kristina Rhoades
1. Believe that you can do what you love, and model that belief for your children and other loved ones.
2. Be an advocate for people who need some encouragement and help them recognize their own inner strengths.
3. Be quick to learn from mentors, leaders and people you admire, and be generous in sharing what you learn.
4. Learn from your setbacks or apparent limitations. They may lead you to deep sources of strength.
On Her Bookshelf
The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion, by Elle Luna
Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill
Three other authors and thought leaders, Kristina enjoys:
Top Tools on Her Browser
CreativeLive podcast with Chase Jarvis. Interviews with creative people.
Connecting With Kristina Rhoades
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Careers: Author, Life Coach, Motivational Speaker
Topics: Creativity, Do What You Love, Positive Attitude