Jack Canfield Jack Canfield author. speaker. motivator.

Affectionately known as "America's #1 Success Coach," Jack Canfield is the originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and a leading authority in the areas of self-esteem, achievement motivation, and peak performance. [www.jackcanfield.com]

 
Arianna Huffington Arianna Huffington political powerhouse. media mogul. author.

Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and Editor in Chief of the Huffington Post and the author of twelve books. [www.huffingtonpost.com]

 
Seth Godin Seth Godin author. speaker. linchpin.

Seth Godin is a prominent author, blogger and speaker. [www.squidoo.com/linchpin]

 
Krishna Kaur Krishna Kaur yogi. philanthropist. dynamic teacher.

Krishna Kaur is the founder of YOGA for Youth, a program that takes yoga, meditation, and stimulating discussions on the philosophy of yoga to urban youth. [www.yogaforyouth.org]

 
Norman Lear Norman Lear producer. philanthropist. tv legend.

Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film. He is also a political and social activist and philanthropist. [www.normanlear.com]

 
Leilani Münter Leilani Münter race car driver. activist. carbon free girl.

Leilani Münter is a professional race car driver and an environmental activist who uses her voice in the number one spectator sport in America as a catalyst for change. [www.leilanimunter.com]

 
Kevin Bales Kevin Bales Freedom Fighter. Philanthropist. Game Changer.

By going undercover to meet slaves and slaveholders, Kevin Bales exposed modern slavery's penetration into the global economy. He co-founded Free the Slaves, which has helped to liberate thousands of slaves. [www.freetheslaves.net]

 
Sophie Chiche Sophie Chiche mom. big dreamer. lady in red.

Sophie Chiche, lifebyme.com founder and curator, enjoys asking deep questions and living a life of meaning. Today she's launching Shape House, an urban sweat lodge, a place to melt away fears and fat. [www.shapehousela.com]

 
Mastin Kipp Mastin Kipp Writer. Entrepreneur. Daily Lover.

Entrepreneur and writer Mastin Kipp founded TheDailyLove.com, which merges pop culture with inspiration, and co-founded The Love Yourself Company, an apparel company that has started a global self-esteem movement. [www.TheDailyLove.com]

 
Liz Phair Liz Phair singer. musician. crier.

Liz Phair is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. [www.lizphair.com]

 
Desmond Tutu Desmond Tutu archbishop. author. peaceful leader.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is Chairman of The Elders, a group of world leaders who address some of the world's most pressing problems. He works energetically for human-rights and in his ministry. [www.tutu.org]

 
Zainab Salbi Zainab Salbi author. ceo. humanitarian.

Zainab Salbi is the founder and CEO of Women for Women International, a group dedicated to helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives. [www.womenforwomen.org]

 
Sean Stephenson Sean Stephenson speaker. psychotherapist. life embracer.

Despite his physical challenges, Sean Stephenson has taken a stand for a quality of life that has inspired millions of people around the world. He's a professional speaker, psychotherapist, and author. [www.timetostand.com]

 
Kia Miller Kia Miller yogi. meditator. teacher.

Kia Miller teaches Yoga at Yoga Works in Los Angeles, leads teacher trainings, and runs retreats and workshops on meditation, chakras, pranayam, and mantras, and other practices. [www.kiamiller.com]

 
Simon Mainwaring Simon Mainwaring creator. writer. idea geek.

Simon Mainwaring is an ex-Nike/Wieden creative, former Worldwide Creative Director at Motorola/Ogilvy, branding/advertising writer, author/speaker/blogger, Australian, idea geek. [www.simonmainwaring.com]

 
Shannon Bindler Shannon Bindler Strategist. Writer. Life Coach.

Shannon Bindler is a style editor, life coach, and the co-founder of Get Up Girl, an empowerment company that inspires women to shine. [www.getupgirl.com]

 
Mathieu Bitton Mathieu Bitton Designer. Art Director. Passionate Creator.

Grammy-nominated art director/designer/photographer Mathieu Bitton has designed over 450 CDs and movie posters. He's a renowned collector of and authority on black films and their soundtracks. [www.candytangerine.com]

 
Jorge Perez Jorge Perez Agent. Producer. Photography Enthusiast.

Opus Reps founder and agent-producer Jorge Perez travels the world producing photo shoots with great photographers and celebrities. He's also very involved with Meals on Wheels in Los Angeles. www.opusreps.com

 

adapt

Shelly Christensen Shelly Christensen advocating parent. identity reframer. lioness.

Shelly Christensen is a champion of people with disabilities who seek spiritual access. She helps sacred communities understand and be better at including children and adults with disabilities and their families. [www.inclusioninnovations.com]

Having our son Jacob, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, brought me into a world I never imagined I’d be in. It redefined any expectation I had about what kids and parents are supposed to do. I had to invent things along the way. That meant connecting with people who understood and disconnecting from people who didn’t understand and couldn’t be supportive and nurturing. My life has been an evolution from that point on. Prior to that I think it was all good practice.

I never thought of Jacob as someone with a disability or special needs. He wasn’t diagnosed until he was seven and he didn’t get the correct diagnosis until he was fifteen. He was just Jacob, quirky Jacob. We love all our wonderful sons and we have hopes and dreams for them. When we started getting calls from school teachers telling us how horrible he was, I became an advocate for him. It was not something I was necessarily comfortable with, but the lioness mother is there if someone attacks your kid. I started advocating and really paying attention to his education.

Once he was diagnosed, I was very angry. After I had a particularly bad blow-up one day with an assistant principal, I realized that I wasn’t helping Jacob at all by being angry. I could help Jacob learn to be an advocate himself by understanding my own responses to my different identity as a parent of a child with a disability. I had to reframe who I was. At that point, I started to believe in the power of relationships and collaboration. School was difficult because teachers weren’t willing to meet us halfway, so we moved on. We cut our losses. Jacob went to a different school in a different district, where he did so much better, where his Asperger’s Syndrome was finally acknowledged, and where we could be a team.

I meet people all the time who live with difficult situations in their lives and mostly they don’t have a choice. They have to adapt to what is. When Jacob was diagnosed, I remember thinking, I don’t know how I can ever make meaning of this. Sometimes we find meaning in the appreciation of having dealt with something, in having overcome our own feelings and put them in the suitcase called life. When something is there, it belongs to me, but I’ve done something with it. I’ve packed it up. I know I have it, but it doesn’t rule me.

– Shelly Christensen

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