Martyn Sibley (opens in new tab or window) is a business owner, published author, world traveller, podcaster and disability activist. It’s little wonder, then, that Martyn was featured in the Shaw Trust Power List (opens in new tab or window) for 2017 – our annual publication celebrating the most influential people with disabilities in the UK.
We asked Martyn what it was like to be featured on the Shaw Trust Power List, and for his advice on creating a more inclusive world.
Shaw Trust: Do you feel that being acknowledged on the Power 100 list has positively contributed in any way to your career and your personal life this year?
ST: What do you feel could be done or is needed to create a truly inclusive and accessible world?
Martyn Sibley: When I left my job in 2012 to pursue my personal and professional dreams, it was a huge risk. After almost 5 years of travelling the world and running multiple businesses; I was facing fatigue. I started to wonder if I'd already achieved everything I could. I wondered if I needed a change in direction. Being nominated Britain's third most influential disabled person gave me a morale boost. To have such recognition meant the world to me. It gave me a new energy. A new confidence. The year following the award has been full of new projects, new partnerships and a feeling of many new opportunities. I definitely benefited in lots of ways.
MS: As a community we've focused on the social model barriers that disable people. This is still the main objective - to remove environmental, attitudinal, and organisational barriers. However, I think our community need more support in personal development. Just like non-disabled people; health, education, work and relationships are always requiring effort. We should all learn to grow and improve ourselves. Beyond the typical areas for growth, our community needs empowering support in independent living, finances, sexual relations and beyond. This is why I've decided to launch the DHorizons Tribe on www.disabilityhorizons.com
. To address this much needed area for disabled people to thrive, and not just survive.
ST: Reflecting on your youth, what would you say were your 3 key learning points you would give to encourage young and talented leaders of tomorrow?
MS: 1. Consume positive stories
As a kid I loved TV more than anything. After university I discovered how amazing books are, particularly biographical ones. They offer you a chance to learn from masters - not just a moment of advice, but a lifetime of wisdom, all distilled in a few hours of consumption. So don't always learn the hard way, learn the smart way.
2. Dream big
Whilst the masters are helpful, you need to have your own plans. Only you know what values are true to yourself and your community. If work is everything, then working long hours and hardly seeing loved ones may be fine. Travel might trump comfort. Likewise, you need the community you lead to aspire to amazing places. Hope fuels. Fear restricts. As they say - if you aim for the stars and reach the moon, you've still travelled far. So never limit your own or your tribe’s aspirations.
3. Take action
Everybody has some moments of inspiration. That big idea. Whether for health, independent living, work, travel or love. Ideas are everywhere. It's action that leads to results. Corny? A little. Tough? Absolutely. Necessary? 100%. I've always found over thinking and planning is counterproductive. Of course thinking and planning have their place, but only once the action starts does the magic happen.
Nominations for the 2018 power list are open until the end of January.
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