Episode 2: Enlighten Me on Perspective with Disability with Ryan Neiswender
My friend, Ryan, is a professional wheelchair basketball player, a fitness and health enthusiast, and a side-hustlin’ motivational speaker. In this conversation he touches on all these passions while centering around the (often uncomfortable) topic of disability. Ryan shared with me what it was like for him growing up with a disability he was born with that has required him to wear leg braces his entire life. He talks about the ins and outs of this experience, and he even shares some of the stereotypes that he encounters that drive him crazy.
Ryan’s advice for those who may or may not be living with a disability is completely tangible. For those of us who have perhaps never been personally affected by a disability, whether in our own lives or the lives of those close to us, he shares some truly practical words of wisdom on how to handle something that can leave many people feeling awkward and like they’ve said the wrong thing. Ryan also speaks to those on the other side of this topic whose lives have been affected by a disability and offers up some empowering encouragement.
I loved getting to hear about the lens through which Ryan views his disability and how it has provided him awesome opportunities he may not have otherwise gotten. I also loved his perspective on how we as a collective society often view disability as a sad thing, and similarly find it “cute” and encouraging when individuals press past their differences to do things like play wheelchair basketball. I was feeling some personal conviction of my own stereotypes and beliefs while Ryan was speaking, but I needed it. I don’t believe in having these conversations because I think I’m an expert on the topics, but it’s because I know I need to learn more. I think it’s safe bet that there are plenty of others out there who need to learn more, too.
I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did and walk away with a new outlook on something that can receive a negative stigma in many cultures. I hope you feel enlightened, and when you’re needing some extra encouragement for the day just head on over to Ryan’s Insta or website and you can get a taste of his motivational pump-ups.
Ryan’s Instagram handle:
Going Scared Podcast by Jessica Honeggar:
Whisper by Mark Batterson:
Grit by Angela Duckworth:
“Before the Person” sermon (Transformation Church):
ACCESS THIS EPISODE HERE: