When Jessica Cox was born without both arms, her parents didn’t grieve. In fact, her father has never shed a single tear over his daughter’s life-altering disability. Instead, Jessica’s parents challenged her to be great.
And that’s exactly what she did. Jessica is the world’s first, and only, licensed pilot without arms who flies unmodified airplanes with her feet. She is a motivational speaker who has inspired hundreds of thousands of people to overcome their own challenges and to find positivity and strength through their struggles. In addition to all that, she is a Taekwondo black belt, has received a personal blessing from the Pope, a scuba diver and a parachuter.
In this uplifting episode of “Rob Konrad: Conversations”, Jessica tells Rob all about how she came to see her physical limitations as an opportunity to bring hope to others. You’ll discover how she cultivates fearlessness and uses her T.H.I.N.K principle to tackle seemingly impossible challenges (Tear up the challenge. Heighten awareness. Insist on asking the question “how?” rather than asking the question “can?”. Non-stop re-evaluating, repurposing or reinventing. Kick the habit of excuses) . She’ll also answer a burning question many people are dying to ask her: if she could choose to have arms, would she want them?
00:00:00 Episode Teaser
00:02:51 Born without both arms, willing to try anything
00:03:42 a bigger challenge than flying a plane with your feet?
00:05:58 Another kind of “normal”: feet and legs as hands and arms
00:07:56 Giving up her prosthetic arms on the first day of 8th Grade
... read more....
00:10:35 The importance of finding your own way out of a struggle
00:12:44 How a love of psychology led to a career in motivational speaking
00:14:26 Hot tip: have many mentors
00:16:02 The accidental husband: how training for a demonstration at the Taekwondo World Championships led to six years of marriage
00:18:57 Thinking “outside the shoe”
00:20:04 “To achieve the impossible with possible thinking”
00:22:23 How to overcome challenges that seem overwhelming
00:25:07 Two wheelchairs, a Guinness Book of World Records medal, and a meeting with the Pope
00:28:24 What do you say to the second man on the moon?
00:31:04 On having three phenomenal foundations
00:33:23 How her difference magnified the insecurities of adolescence
00:35:24 How her faith gave meaning to her difference
00:38:19 The importance of reminders of why you’re doing what you’re doing
00:41:08 “Just walk up to me and ask me!”
00:45:29 Jessica’s greatest worry for the state of the world today
00:46:37 Coming soon: the Right-Footed Foundation International
00:49:28 The armless television thief
00:52:17 At the top of Jessica’s list of things to change if she were president
00:54:20 The incredible method Jessica used to write her book
00:55:52 How technological advancements are radically improving the lives of people with disabilities
00:57:13 The unexpected, and shocking, way that disabilities still affect children’s opportunities in the world today
01:02:55 The beauty pageant – from which she didn’t run away
01:05:06 The crucial first step towards empowerment
01:06:51 No fears left to overcome
01:08:51 Introducing the powerful T.H.I.N.K principle
01:09:59 A greater accomplishment than learning to fly a plane with your feet
01:12:51 The prehistory of flying: getting a drivers’ license
01:14:03 “If you can fly an airplane with your nose, then you can fly an airplane”
01:16:44 How Jessica would summarize her life’s purpose
01:19:01 Closing tips: achieving the impossible and being nice to people
Listen as Podcast
Jessica Cox (born 1983 in Arizona) is a motivational speaker, pilot, and advocate for opportunities for people with disabilities. She is the world's first licensed armless pilot, for which she holds the Guinness World Record, as well as the first armless black-belt in the American Taekwondo Association. She was born without arms due to a rare birth defect, and from the time she was 14 years old has never used prosthetics.
Jessica is the founder of the “Right-Footed International” Foundation, an organization that sets out to mentor, educate, advocate for, and inspire young people living with disabilities. Having overcome her own physical challenges and the emotional challenges that come with being visibly different, Jessica now helps others from all walks of life to nurture their self-confidence and pursue their dreams.
Connect with Jessica
Website – https://www.jessicacox.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/jess_feet
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JCMSofficial/
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/rightfootedwoman
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/jessica-cox-motivational-services/
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2:03 Rob Konrad
Hey and welcome, this is Rob Konrad from Switzerland, and I'm really happy to talk to a very exciting person today. She's a published author, she's a black belt in Taekwondo, she's a Guinness Book world record holder, a certified scuba diver, a licensed pilot. And oh, before I forget about it, she was born without arms, and is doing all of that without having arms. Thank you so much for your time and welcome, Jessica Cox.
2:29 Jessica Cox
Thank you for having me.
2:30 Rob Konrad
Hey. It's really amazing. When I first heard about you, I was really baffled by all the things you do. I mean, it would be a challenge for most people to do these kind of things WITH arms. And you are doing all of that without arms! So when did you decide: Hey, I'll just give it a try and I'll just do that.
2:51 Jessica Cox
Well, I'm gonna have to go back to my childhood because I was born without both my arms. And it's just part of my nature to be the type of person that is willing to try anything. And my mom was just like that, that's who I am. And no one else in my family was born without both of their arms. So for me, it was just an additional challenge. And it just required more creativity to try new things.
3:18 Rob Konrad
Okay, the one thing I was really surprised about in your book: You write that, for example, taking the pilot license or flying in general was more of an emotional problem or challenge, and less of a physical challenge. I would have expected that the physical part is the biggest part of it. But you said it was more of the emotional side?
3:42 Jessica Cox
Yes, most people don't realize that even more than the physical challenges of living without arms, just like anyone else, we have fears. And my fear, my greatest fear was losing contact with the ground. So I had to overcome that fear in order to become a pilot. Yeah, that's why I say it was the emotional fear of flying. That actually was more challenging than the physical task of flying the airplane with my feet. But because of who I am, if I'm afraid of something, I'm going to do it. And I always say, you shouldn't let fear stand in the way of any opportunity. And I wanted to live out that example, by becoming a pilot.
4:28 Rob Konrad
That’s amazing. So – have you always been like this, or has been a time in your life when you were not having that confidence and ready to face and challenges and fears.
4:39 Jessica Cox
My nature has always been fearless, and a risk taker, but I have not always been the competent person that I am today. Confidence was a journey. And it was a journey of self acceptance. It was a journey of building my confidence in order to be able to be comfortable in my difference, and and most importantly, how to deal with the reactions from the outside world.
5:07 Rob Konrad
What is the reaction? What would reactions be that people have when they see you the first time, when they maybe don't know what you're doing? And then when they hear about what what you're doing?
5:19 Jessica Cox
Well, honestly, most people don't even think it's possible to live a fully independent life just the day to day without both arms because they could not imagine themselves not having their arms. Because they rely solely on their arms and hands to do day to day tasks. But because I have known this my whole life, my form of “normal“ is using my feet and my legs as my hands and arms. And the reality is, they are just as good at accomplishing everything. And maybe not even good, even better at some things. Using my feet as my hands.
6:00 Rob Konrad
Yeah, actually, I have to say, I was I was so happy in your book about one thing. There was one question I had, and I would never have asked it: That was: „how do you wipe?“ and actually that's in your book, and . So to everyone who's watching you should read the book. It's a great book. It's really very inspirational, I have to say. And I'm not going to answer the question, but you are really open about these things. And, that's what I find really amazing. But really, So there there are no challenges in daily life. You describe how you can use a credit card and pay with a credit cards standing on one leg, basically.
6:42 Jessica Cox
I just talk about my everyday life. I don't even think about some things that I just do with my feet. There is nothing that I cannot do. Aside from: I'm working on the challenge of tying my hair into a nice ponytail. Oh, I have a device to tie a loose ponytail, but I'm working on tying a nice, really formal ponytail.
7:04 Rob Konrad
Ah, okay. Okay. Yeah. So in your book, you write about how you used prosthetics for a while when you were younger, and then when you stopped using them, you actually felt better than WITH them.
7:25 Jessica Cox
Yes, I had the option of prosthetics for 11 years. And it was something my mother wanted me to have, the option of the choice of whether I wanted to use those prosthetics instead of using my feet or use both, because she didn't want me to spend my whole life wanting arms. But I actually decided after 11 years of wearing prosthetics, that this is not who I am, and I'm better with my feet. So I decided to give them up on the first day of eighth grade. I was 14 years old, I walked to the bus stop for the first time without them. And when I walked on the bus and the bus door shut, I remembered hearing the quote, no one can make you feel inferior without your permission. And with that, I made the promise that I would never again wear them. And to this day, I have not put those prosthetic arms on.
8:20 Rob Konrad
Okay, okay. Was it just a matter of the practical ability of those prosthetics, or was the issue that you said, “You are good the way that you are, and you can do everything you want the way you are, and you don't need any help from any additional tools?“.
8:40 Jessica Cox
Yes, I feel like society has pressure on everyone to conform to being more… Well, I guess what you could call “normal”, but there really isn't a “norma”. and I believe that it was important to celebrate my difference. And it started with not trying to be like everyone else and giving up those prosthetics.
9:01 Rob Konrad
Yeah, okay. Okay. Coming back to your childhood. So what role did your parents play, you know, your upbringing and, how they they treated you as a child. Did they treat you like your brothers and sisters who were born normally? And then as a not normally, because obviously not normal? Is there is no normal normal, but so. And how, how did your parents bring you up?
9:30 Jessica Cox
I was fortunate and I was blessed with wonderful parents who believed that I could do anything. My mom said, you know, you can do anything. And my dad he has said on a number of a number of occasions that he's never once shed a tear about my birth condition. He never saw me as a victim. And so I didn't have that option to see myself as a victim of a handicap.
9:56 Rob Konrad
I see. Oh, it's great. So what would you tell parents that might have a child that has some sort of disability or challenge or disadvantage, and how should they raise the children?
10:11 Jessica Cox
For any parent who is watching this, who has a special needs child, a child who's different, I just encourage them to give their child every opportunity in the world and to have the faith that they can do it. that they need. Sometimes they need prodding. Sometimes, they need to be given tough love. Tough love is allowing their children to struggle at times and giving them the space they need to figure it out. And sometimes that's what it takes. It's tough, I'm sure, at times to watch your child struggle. But in that struggling process, it's such a learning experience for the child to be able to figure it out.
10:55 Rob Konrad
Okay, so you… in a way, you have to bring up your child not to be pampered and to shield them from from any challenges they might have, but rather encourage them to… to embrace those challenges and really live through it so that they can grow and be strong out of themselves?
11:16 Jessica Cox
Yes, it's just important to continue to encourage your children to take on opportunities, not be afraid to take on new things, even if it makes them feel uncomfortable.
11:27 Rob Konrad
Okay. Okay. It's a great way to raise your children. Definitely. So you're a motivational speaker. And you traveled the globe giving speeches, you know, spoke in front of many large organizations. You've been to Switzerland to the World Economic Forum and gave a speech there. So how did you get started? And was it always a dream of yours to to do speeches?
11:56 Jessica Cox
I started speaking when I was a sophomore in high school. So I was 16 or 17 years old in high school. I had the opportunity to speak to a group of young people who were three, four years younger than me. And these children were supposedly more challenged than others, because they were disadvantaged with regards to the support system they had in place, and I was there to motivate them and encourage them, inspire them. And after that first taste of what it was like to have an impact on someone's life, I decided that I should continue that. And, and then it wasn't until college that I entertained the idea of pursuing it as a career. I was a pr- med student, and I decided that medicine wasn't for me, I studied psychology instead, after two years of medicine. And after figuring out that I love psychology, I figured it'd be wonderful way to connect psychology with a career in speaking and communicating. So I did a minor in communications, and after graduating pursued the career of speaking full time.
13:06 Rob Konrad
Okay. And how did you get started? I mean, we had the prep call, and you mentioned that. you know, how do you start… there's no college for professional speakers. So how do you get started? And you said that you reached out to people first, or can you explain a little bit about that?
13:23 Jessica Cox
Yes, people asked me how I started my career. And it was in part due to the fact that I was so driven to pursue this career that I actually sought out mentors, people in the profession of speaking, who were excellent at what they did, and who had great websites, who had a great message. And one of them was John Foppe, who was a protege of Zig Ziglar. I reached out to him to see if he could give me some advice of what I could start in order to launch this career.
14:01 Rob Konrad
Okay, and how do you get it? Did you get through those people? So I guess it's not easy to to reach people when they're that famous, or if they are traveling. So So how did you get make your way through them.
14:15 Jessica Cox
If you don't give up, you can definitely find the people that you want to either ask questions or ask them to help you. And if that doesn't work, for some reason, you there are so many people out there that are professionals in whatever it is you try to pursue. And I knew that if I wasn't able to get a hold of john, that I could get ahold of someone else. And I wasn't just relying on John because I also had other mentors in the profession. Another gentleman by the name of W. Mitchell, who really took me under his wing, and he gave me the time and the advice I needed to launch the career as well as seeking out professional organizations like the Toastmasters group, as well as the National Speakers Association, which helped prepare me by teaching me the tricks to the to the career of speaking.
15:06 Rob Konrad
Okay, okay, that's great. So how much time you spend on the road traveling for your gigs.
15:15 Jessica Cox
I spend six months out of the year I would say, on average, traveling and living in different places. And speaking, I just returned from a two week tour in Minnesota, California and Arkansas. And then in a couple weeks, I'll be headed to Sydney, Australia.
15:34 Rob Konrad
Oh, that's great. And how long are you going to be in Sydney?
15:39 Jessica Cox
That will be probably two days. do such a short trip when you're speaking. You're there the day before I speak the next day. And then you leave the next day. Very short. short trip.
15:51 Rob Konrad
Okay. Okay. And, and you travel with your husband, as I read. So how did you meet? How did that came to happen?
16:02 Jessica Cox
Patrick, my husband and I, we met by practicing Taekwondo together, I walked into a Taekwondo school where I was trying to get some extra training at the time. I was already a first degree black belt in Taekwondo. And I pursued finding another school in order to get better training because I was invited to do a demonstration at the World Championships. So when I was given that invitation, I said, „Well, I need to definitely get some practice in, get some private lessons in“. And so I went out and found a school and there Patrick was co teaching with a good friend of mine. And he had no idea who I was, I didn't know who he was. Our only connection was the friend who was co teaching with Patrick. And it was a wonderful connection outside of the school, we hung out with friends, and that's when we got to know each other better. And now, that's been six years of marriage. And it's been great,
17:02 Rob Konrad
Great. Fantastic. That's nice to hear. So, what are kind of misconceptions people have about you when they hear about you? And what a typical things that you encounter, typical misconceptions
17:25 Jessica Cox
I know that people really, for one, as I mentioned before, they don't really understand how possible it is to live life without arms. And I live a normal independent life. One of the other things that people don't believe maybe is the fact that I'm a pilot. and they don't understand… Some people think, well, maybe she had an airplane built specially for her or modified and the reality is, I had not had an airplane modified or specially built for me, it is a standard air coupe airplane, and I learned how to adapt to this airplane. And instead of making changes to the structure of the airplane in order for me to fly with my feet.
18:08 Rob Konrad
Yeah, you wrote about that in your book about being innovative, and how you need to find different solutions from, you know, tying your shoes to strapping on the seat belt in the airplane, which is usually something you couldn't do with just your feet. But you still manage to find some ways around that, right.
18:28 Jessica Cox
Yes, innovation, creativity, ingenuity is so critical when faced with some kind of challenge to be able to break the challenge apart. And to address it with creativity. And I shared the story when I speak, actually, I share the story about how I had to learn how to tie my shoes from the outside instead of with my feet inside the shoe. And so I came up with the saying, think outside the shoe, because that's exactly how I tied my shoes, but more efficient. That's how I address other challenges in life. I use creativity to come up with a solution and innovate, and if I have to, I have to create some new way of doing something.
19:15 Rob Konrad
Okay. So if you see them as something, it seems impossible. At first, you don't think it's impossible. It's just you just think, what's different way of doing that or approaching the problem?
19:29 Jessica Cox
Yes, the moment that I see something that may look difficult to other people, I immediately, look at how it's possible, and how it is that it can be broken down. And that's something that anyone can do. Because oftentimes we get intimidated by something that seems like a daunting, big task. But if we can break it down into little steps and believe from the onset, from the start, that it's possible, then that helps us move forward with positivity, without self doubt. And to keep going. And I have a saying now: “To achieve the impossible with possible thinking“
20:09 Rob Konrad
“To achieve the impossible with possible thinking.“, Yeah, that makes sense. Okay. In your speaking, I guess you address a lot of topics like motivation or overcoming challenges that you have. So can you talk a little bit about what are the things you're talking about? What are the things that you experience the challenges that other people have? And what you tell them? How can they overcome the challenges?
20:34 Jessica Cox
I'm sorry? Can you ask that one more time?
20:38 Rob Konrad
In your motivational speeches, you talk a lot about overcoming challenges and finding innovative solutions, and what struggles that people have, and what you teach them, how to overcome the struggles.
20:54 Jessica Cox
Some of the challenges that people are faced with, and I mean, I've heard all sorts of challenges. Sometimes people are not willing to persist. And one of the things I talk about is the importance of being persistent of not giving up and it is so critical to be able to not take no for an answer. If someone says, “No“, you keep going, you keep persisting. And especially if someone says you can't do it, you turn it into positive energy and you turn it into an opportunity to channel you into more power to accomplish the task.
21:34 Jessica Cox
So sometimes people are limited by not wanting to persist some people are limited by their own fears. Sometimes people are limited because they just don't have the will because they don't want it enough. And so it's important to be able to find the things you want because desire is critical. And so I talked about all these different challenges that people have on a regular basis.
21:57 Rob Konrad
Okay, and what would you tell to someone who is really at the bottom in a way emotionally and it feels like you know it's everything's completely overburdening and there's no way to get started. What would you tell those people? How can they make that first step and get out of the the situation they are in?
22:23 Jessica Cox
For someone who is struggling and is having a difficult moment I think they have to understand that this moment will pass, like anything, and knowing that they can get through it by taking one little step, one minor change. It doesn't have to be tremendous, but it's just one little step and understand that they'll be able to get through it. And whatever goal that is, it helps you to focus and having that vision of what it is you want to do. It will help you get through the difficult time.
22:57 Rob Konrad
Okay so have the vision in mind and then break down the daunting tasks into small little tasks that can be tackled more easily, yes? Okay.
23:08 Rob Konrad
So, you've met a lot of great people. I saw on your website you've met the Pope, and you've met Buzz Aldrin, you've met… I always mispronounce his name… Manny… Pac…“
23:24 Jessica Cox
23:26 Rob Konrad
Yes, Manny Paciao, okay thank you. I always miss pronounce that. So who was the most remarkable person, who is most remarkable person that you've met, and why?
23:40 Jessica Cox
I have met some incredible people. And I've been blessed to have opportunities. And I have to say it was an altogether incredible unbelievable experience meeting the pope because… not only meeting him, but the reactions from people around as I was walking up to meet him. And as you know ,the pope does his blessings in the middle of St. Peter's Square in at the Vatican. And there are many barricades that keep you from the stage where the Pope is. And on the other side of the barricades are thousands of people who are on a pilgrimage, from all parts of the world, to be able to get the Pope's blessing. And the time that I was there with my family, I was given the opportunity to walk on stage to meet with with the Pope and walking on the other side around the barricades and being escorted by the security. It was just this incredible feeling. Seeing all those thousands of people and hearing them chanting, you know, vivo papa… and all these people emotionally crying and cheering and…. just even that kind of gave me goosebumps. Okay to experience that I'm here, on the other side of the barricades, experiencing this wonderful opportunity to meet with the Pope. And then of course, meeting him was incredible as well.
25:03 Rob Konrad
And how did that happen? How did you make that happen?
25:07 Jessica Cox
I know it sounds unbelievable to be able to meet the pope because usually it takes six months notice in order to set up an appointment, an audience with the Pope. But actually we were in the front row where all the pilgrims were lined up for the blessing. And we were in the front, because my mother was in a wheelchair. And at the time I had to be in a wheelchair because I sprained my ankle. We were both there in the front row in the handicapped section. And at the time, I also had my Guinness World Record metal with me. And my brother mentioned, well, why don't you offer this medal to the pope? And I thought, Wow, what a wonderful way to express my gratitude for all the blessings I've had, I would love to give this to the Pope. And I did. And that's the reason that the security allowed to go to the stage so that I can present him with the Guinness World Record medal for being the first female pilot to fly an airplane with her feet.
26:11 Rob Konrad
Okay. So you talk to security, and then they basically channel to you through?
26:18 Jessica Cox
There was something else there, there must have been some other intervention, spiritual intervention for that to happen.
26:24 Rob Konrad
Okay. Okay. Well, I believe that it's amazing. How, how much time did you have with him? Did you exchange a few words?
26:31 Jessica Cox
There was a couple sentences we exchanged, we were the last of the whole group to go up. So we were the ones who probably had the most time, because there was a whole line of some of the dignitaries who were there to meet with them. And those had already been pre-arranged, all those appointments and that audience, but we were added at the very end of that. And it was pretty incredible, because I didn't even feel like I was properly dressed to the level that many of the dignitaries were on that stage. Because because we had no idea that that was going to happen.
27:05 Rob Konrad
Yeah, it was credible. How do you dress up for the pope? You know, what's the official dress code? I wouldn't even know that…
27:13 Jessica Cox
You're supposed to be dressed, dressed in black. I believe that is, and I mean, I had a black sweater and black pants on but I wasn't fully dressed in black.
27:26 Rob Konrad
Okay, okay. Wow, that's amazing. And the other people, like Buzz. Buzz Aldrin was the second person on the moon,
27:38 Jessica Cox
Buzz Aldrin was a friend of a friend. And as a pilot, you get to know some of the top pilots, at least in the country. And then somehow, they're connected to other phenomenal pilots. And it gets around. And so we had a good friend who was connected with Buzz Aldrin and one day just mentioned, how would be great to meet him. And she gave us the opportunity, which was phenomenal.
28:11 Rob Konrad
That's great. Yeah, love to talk to. He's also great.
28:15 Jessica Cox
Yes. What would you like to tell Buzz? I mean, what would you tell Buzz, If you if he had the chance?
28:21 Rob Konrad
Well, I wouldn't tell him anything. I don't believe I'm in a position to tell him anything. But I would love to ask him a lot of questions about, you know, how he came to be, who is and and what's the emotional part of the preparation of going to the moon was and and how he experienced that. So I would love to, I would have, you know I could ask him questions all week long.
28:51 Jessica Cox
I felt the same way.
28:53 Rob Konrad
Definitely. Yes. So I mean, you you've already done an incredible amount of things, you know, a certified scuba diver , you jumped out of airplanes. You're flying airplanes. And what are things that you still would love to do? What's still in your bucket list? If you have one…
29:15 Jessica Cox
I do have a bucket list of things that I want to do. And I've been practicing something called slack lining, which is like tight rope walking. So I'd like to do that. I'd like to do some more scuba diving, maybe near the barrier reef one day. I‘d love to do a flight across the world. That'd be wonderful to be able to do that. And be able to share the message along the way. That takes a lot of logistical planning. And there's just, I mean, one day to possibly be a mother, if I'm blessed to be a mom. Like that would be a gift. And there are just so many things that I'd love to, I'd love to do. And I just, I don't say no to any opportunity to it, because it crosses my path.
30:04 Rob Konrad
Oh, yeah, definitely.
30:05 Jessica Cox
Even race car driving..
30:07 Rob Konrad
So someone like Richard Branson, he's experienced in doing these kind of crazy things. So maybe that would be a way to to do the world flights. I guess he and his team might have a great, logistical opportunity for you.
30:22 Jessica Cox
Yes. I didn't think about reaching out to him. I should!
30:25 Rob Konrad
Yeah, I'm sure he could even sponsor something. Because he's into extraordinary people and doing these kind of things. So yeah, that should be something you should try.
30:36 Jessica Cox
30:45 Rob Konrad
What are you most thankful for in your life?
30:52 Jessica Cox
Wow, that's a wonderful question. Because I think how much gratitude I have for so many things. But if I were to list a list them all off would be here for days and days. So the things that I'm most grateful for are definitely: I have gratitude for the wonderful family that has given me my foundation. I'm grateful for my husband, who is there with me throughout all these different challenges. And now as a team, we're even more powerful because we can do so much more. He also manages my career as a speaker. So he helps me to pursue even more speaking engagements. So far, I've had the opportunity to speak in 23 countries. And that's been phenomenal. And I have a foundation of faith that really grounds me and helps me, especially during those days that aren't perfect, because everyone has a bad day. But if we had all good days, how would we know what the, you know, if we had all good days? How would we be know what a good day is? So we have to sometimes have days that aren't always perfect. And so my faith is a phenomenal foundation for that. And it helps me get through the difficult moments or the different challenges that may be hard to understand in the moment.
32:22 Rob Konrad
Well, did you ever feel like you've reached the low point in your life where you were really low? Even though you're a very positive person, and you like challenges? Have you ever reached a point where he said, this life just sucks? Did you ever have that in your teens, maybe, or when you were growing up as a kid?
32:43 Jessica Cox
Yes, there were definitely moments throughout my teenage years where I felt like this just really sucks that I have to be so different. And that people have to stare at me and alienate me or isolate me. At least the normal feelings as a teenager were magnified, as someone who is visually different and gets stared at and gets, you know, asked questions, and not treated like everyone else. So having that type of treatment on top of the insecurities of adolescence, it magnifies things and so there was definitely a time when I do remember feeling like: “I just cannot take one more stare when I go out to a public place“. And that was even at one of my trips to us a grocery store. I remember feeling…. having a hard day to begin with. And then feeling like I was being singled out because of my difference. And just wanting to escape being someone who just almost asked for so much attention because of my difference, and asked for – generated so much attention generated, so many questions.
33:54 Rob Konrad
Okay. And how did you overcome that moment?
33:59 Jessica Cox
I do remember that moment saying a prayer and saying, you know, “God, can you just make me normal for a little bit so that I don't have to deal with all all that comes with being so different than everyone else?“. And it was probably in that moment that I was able to have enough encouragement to get out of that tough spot and continue on that day. And then I realize the following week, I showed up at the same store. And it turns out, I was fueling my car with gasoline, because of the time I was driving. And I filled up the car by myself, which I do by using the nozzle with my foot. And at that moment, a gentleman a guy walked up to me, and he had tears in his eyes. And he said, You have no idea what seeing you today has done for me. And what did for him, and not only him, but his daughter was in the car. And they had been through a traumatic accident, where she lost a couple fingers. And she was having a tough time dealing with her own difference because of that traumatic incident. And then seeing how I dealt with my difference. And I'm just moving forward with life, doing things like fueling my own car, and doing it in a different way gave them encouragement. I realized that that was God's way of telling me that: “you know what, this is why you are not like everyone else, because you have this wonderful blessing, this wonderful opportunity to help other people around you“. Even when you're doing something you don't even think would it affect people, it's really a blessing that living your day to day life can even give people inspiration or encouragement to move on. And so I realized it was a gift and I was able to, in time, embrace my difference as a gift that could be helped us to help other people and help the world. And not only that, but to really give me a phenomenal life, which it has. It's brought me to so many places, and is really a tool to help me excel in ways that I couldn't if I was given arms if I was born with my arms and hands.
36:13 Rob Konrad
Okay, so if you had the choice to be, to have arms, like snap a finger ? Would you accept that? Or would you say, it's such an, as you mentioned, blessing for you? would you change it, ever?
36:32 Jessica Cox
If I was given the choice to have arms, I wouldn't want them because this is my life now. And it's so phenomenal and tremendous. And there's never a dull moment. And so if I had arms, I I know that it wouldn't be to the level that I've been able to live my life now, I do not want the arms if I was given the option.
36:54 Rob Konrad
So so your disadvantage made you who you are, and make you the strong person that you are?
37:01 Jessica Cox
37:01 Rob Konrad
Okay. Okay. So that encounter with a gentleman was it the first experience in your life, when you realized that you have the power to do something meaningful, and to to touch people's lives,
37:16 Jessica Cox
I actually think there have been other encounters that I've had in my life where people have really gained inspiration. But I think for me, the acknowledgement and the recognizing how important it is, it's really something that probably doesn't dawn on me right away. And so like, for example, I was giving a speech just a couple days ago, and I was pretty tired by the end of the day, and thinking, you know, I'm really exhausted, emotionally, and physically drained. And, you know, you really wonder what you're doing, I hope it is really helping people. And I received an email from a woman who was battling – who had battled – cancer, and she was at the event, and she really got some wonderful inspiration and encouragement from being there. And I sent her an email letting her know, you know, this is why we do what we do, because we have those type of responses from people. And I thanked her for reminding me why it is that we're doing what we're doing. Because sometimes, when you're speaking to thousands and thousands of people, you don't always realize on the personal one on one level, how it affects people, and then getting feedback like that reminds you that this is important, this needs to be done. And this is helping shape the world.
38:38 Rob Konrad
That's amazing. And you mentioned before that you had low moments, that people would be staring at you, and you didn't feel comfortable with that. So how would you like people to approach you when they see you, because, as you mentioned earlier, there IS is a difference that you can see, and and people react to that in a way. So how would you like to be reacted to? How would you like people to approach you?
39:04 Jessica Cox
Well, as I mentioned, when I wasn't comfortable with stares when I was as a young child, and growing up, throughout teens, throughout adolescence. But now, as a fully grown adult, I can actually appreciate the stares because I use those as opportunities. And so people do see me, and they don't know how to react or, you know, are awkward or unsure.
39:31 Jessica Cox
I always say if there's some question that you have on your mind, Don't be afraid to ask the question, because I'm happy to answer it. And we're all here to learn from each other. So I say if you want to ask a question, feel free to come up to me to approach me, at least try to make eye contact. And don’t see through me, like sometimes people who are uncomfortable with the situation – they may see someone who is different, they may see someone who is either disabled or different in some form or way. And sometimes they want to act like they never even saw them, because they feel like that's the appropriate thing to do. So in reality, that's the worst thing.
40:15 Rob Konrad
Yeah, yeah. avoid confrontation. You're right.
40:19 Jessica Cox
And I always say that's the wrong thing to do. Because we have to confront differences and embrace them.
40:26 Rob Konrad
40:27 Jessica Cox
And it's important to acknowledge the person, to smile and treat them like a human being, treat them like they would want to be treated.
40:35 Rob Konrad
Absolutely, absolutely. In a way from one perspective, it's understandable, because if you don't know how to react to something, it's, I think, a natural reaction to ignore the situation. So if you don't know what to do now, just better ignore it, so that nothing can happen. But I think it's important to tell people: „Hey, if you see me, or if you see someone who has some sort of disadvantage, Don't look away, approach people, and then be open and ask“. And I've heard that from other people with challenges as well. They said, “Hey, the best way to do it is just walk up to me and ask me!“ In a nice way, of course, again, there's always two different ways to say things. But if you do it in a nice and open and honest way, then I'll never be angry about someone asking me why I like this.I think that's wonderful about children. Children, they don't have a filter. So they just speak out their mind and they will be much more open to, to approach people and speak their mind. And that's, that's, I think, really wonderful.
41:40 Jessica Cox
It is so wonderful. And we all have that inner child in us. We just have just over the years, we've developed a shell of filters of filtering out that creative child that we have, but it's important to definitely confront our discomforts or our curiosities, and really embrace them.
42:00 Rob Konrad
Absolutely. I actually, it's, funny that you mentioned this. A few weeks ago, actually, I was I cleaning out my office and was going through some old folders that I had that I took from my garage, because I cleared out one garage that I had, and they were like, a 20 year old folder where I had just random stuff, like articles and, and stuff I found interesting. And I found one one quote that I printed out, I think, probably more than 20 years ago. So I don't even know where it's from. And I not able to locate the source of it. But the quote says, and this is a translation from German: “When we are born….“ No, “we are born with a little voice in our chests, and that that voice tells us what to do and what not to do. And the older we grow, the more we try to suppress this voice. And we try to push it into the deepest corner of ourselves and try to make it go quiet. But it's really time that we listened to this voice, because this voice tells us what to do, and what's right and what's not.” Right. And that's exactly what you‘ve been just saying.
43:15 Jessica Cox
43:16 Rob Konrad
Yeah, and I have no idea where this quote is from, I was not able to to find it. But maybe one day, I will have someone who's listening, we'll find out where it was from.
43:29 Rob Konrad
what what's your favorite place? you've traveled a lot. And you've seen… you said, 23 countries. So what's your favorite place in the world?
43:40 Jessica Cox
Oh, I have so many favorites. That's hard to say we were my favorite place is because I can list off so many. I know that at one point in time there. One of my favorite places was Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and now I just went to Paris just a couple weeks ago. And that was wonderful trip. I love Switzerland, because it's just gorgeous. Yes, I love Switzerland, because the mountains are just stunning. And I grew up around mountains. So I love to see the snow capped mountains. We don't have the snow here in Arizona as much. But we have beautiful mountains. And in fact, that's why I'm moving to a specific area of town that is close to the mountains. So I love them. And that's what I love about Switzerland. Everything so fresh and clean and beautiful.
44:35 Rob Konrad
Absolutely. So next time you're in Switzerland, and please let me know. And I'll be happy to show you around. There's some great places I actually live very close to the mountains as well. So I send you some pictures. It's really five minutes from where we live. We have little hike, like 45 minutes. And then it's little lake right in the mountains, which is beautiful. And so it's it's absolutely stunning.
44:54 Jessica Cox
Wow, I'm jealous.
44:57 Rob Konrad
Next time you come to Switzerland, let me know. And then I'll be happy to be your host.
45:03 Jessica Cox
45:04 Rob Konrad
Definitely. So you talked about, you know, Switzerland being clean and and everything's looking at the world and looking what's happening in the world. There are many challenges in the world as well. What are the things that worry you about the state of the planets and about the state of society?
45:29 Jessica Cox
The only thing that concerns me is, is the suppression of the diversity. And I think it's important that we just continue to be open minded to people's differences, and to be accepting and welcoming and it's just something that I think that we are continuing to do. We're starting to definitely become more tolerant and have differences, which is why it's wonderful. But one of my passions is to continue through my nonprofit, which aside from my business, I also run a nonprofit, which is like a foundation that helps reach children who are different and encourage them to be confident. And so through that, I think will can I'm going to continue to help those children who still may be struggling with their own difference. And I just hope that the world can continue to grow and to be accepting and tolerant of differences.
46:31 Rob Konrad
Okay, that's, that's great. So how can how can people find your nonprofit and how can they support it?
46:37 Jessica Cox
The foundation is called “Right-Footed Foundation International“. And we are about ready to launch the website here very soon. But if you just look at my website, keep an eye on that. And you'll see it will be it will be out in the next couple months. We'll be able to see what the nonprofit has been doing, the foundation has been doing and what we continue to do as an enormous in our vision.
47:04 Rob Konrad
Okay. Okay. And then how can people support it actively? Is there any way to donate? Or or what can you do?
47:13 Jessica Cox
Oh, we have we are a 501c3 foundation. So if you are interested in supporting it, please check in at the website again, and you'll be able to see how you can donate and contribute to helping with this nonprofit. So feel free in the next month to check JessicaCox.com and we should be live with the website. And there you can click on the links to the foundation page.
47:37 Rob Konrad
Okay, great. So people should definitely check that out. Also, there's a great book that you've written, maybe you can talk a little bit about that. And what's what's the book is all about.
47:49 Jessica Cox
I wrote a book called “Disarm your limits: the flight formula to lift you to success and propel you to the next horizon“. In short, it's multiple principles that I have used it my own life, I talked a little bit about them… desire, persistence, courage, acceptance, some of those different principles…. that have helped me in my life, and more importantly, allows the reader to read them and reflect on their own life, and how they can use those principles.
48:20 Rob Konrad
Who is that book for?
48:22 Jessica Cox
The book is for anyone who wants encouragement, and it's a self help book. It's also an biography. It's a combination of my story, as well as self help meaning principles that people can use to excel in their own life.
48:37 Rob Konrad
Okay. I really loved the book, you share a lot of your personal stories as well. And one thing I found absolutely hilarious – I really had to laugh out loud – when you talked about how you were living with two other people, and you wanted to get a TV. And so you tried to get a TV from your parents. And your father said, “Well, you can‘t have that one“. And then you basically took the TV from your home…. maybe you could talk about it a little bit, I found that really amazing.
49:08 Jessica Cox
I tell the story about how I learned desire was important. And that was when I was moving out of my parents house in college, into a little apartment with my roommates. And we didn't have a TV so I asked if I could borrow a TV from my parents. My mom said yes. And my dad said no. So I was going to figure out how I could get the TV out of my house without my dad knowing. And so when he walked out the front door to water the plants it would give me some time to try and do this without anyone's help. I knew that I could do it. I just needed to figure out how. And I knew that I was going to have to use something to help me get it out of the house. So I used a computer chair that had wheels on it, a chair with wheels, a rolling chair and I rolled it up to the TV and I pushed the TV off onto the chair. But then the TV was bigger than the chair so I had to stay holding the TV down with my chin and pushing the wheels of this rolling chair with my feet and pushed it all the way down a step all the way down to the driveway where my car was parked. But I had to open the garage first in order to get to my car. And I pushed this TV all this way, and all I needed to do now was open the garage door… and so I reached with my left foot and reached it up high and hit the garage door button. And when the garage door opened my dad was standing right there next to my car.
50:52 Rob Konrad
It‘s worth mentioning it's not one of those little flat screens. That was a big, bulky TV.
50:58 Jessica Cox
Yes, it was a big, bulky TV…
51:01 Rob Konrad
And then what did he say?
51:03 Jessica Cox
He said, If I would have known you wanted it that bad, I could have helped you…
51:07 Jessica Cox
Basically, I love the quote by… it's a quote by Andrew. Andy. Pausch. He said… , I'm sorry Randy Pausch. He said: “Walls are only there to stop the people that don't want it badly enough.“
51:22 Rob Konrad
That's a great quote. Yeah, absolutely love that one. Wasn‘t he the guy… the professor… who died from cancer?
51:29 Jessica Cox
51:30 Rob Konrad
Oh yeah, that one. I think there are some YouTube videos of him doing like push ups before he left, shortly before he died. Where he gave away all this teddy bears and stuff… was it that guy?
51:39 Jessica Cox
That was him. Randy Pausch Yeah, his his YouTube video I think it's called „last lecture“.
51:47 Rob Konrad
Oh yeah, exactly. Yeah, I've I remember it from a few years back. But that really is a great quote and actually sums it up perfectly well, I think. If you could be president for a day, what would you change in your country?
52:17 Jessica Cox
Wow, that's a great question. I have to think about that one. Because I would have a whole priority list of things to change. And I guess something that seems a little bit more as far as the timing of that question right now. And what is all over the news is is definitely how we have been welcoming or not welcoming people to come to the for this country for a better life. And I think I would probably want to start with that just because that's something that's right now pressing in the news and and how that is treated. So I would definitely go about making those changes.
53:03 Rob Konrad
Okay. Yeah. Okay.
53:06 Rob Konrad
By the way, your – I don't know if it‘s on my end, but the screen is very dark. And if you can
53:13 Jessica Cox
Okay, maybe we'll get some light on. Let me turn tell
53:16 Jessica Cox
“Alexa, turn on the living room light“. How's that?
53:21 Rob Konrad
Oh, that's so much better. Yes.
53:24 Rob Konrad
Definitely. For some reason, in the beginning, it was fine. But then it just went dark. That's perfect. Oh, actually, I can see you much better.
53:32 Rob Konrad
So, talking about Alexa. How did you write your book? Did you type it using voice recognition software?
53:46 Jessica Cox
First of all, yes, I actually use a lot of voice recognition. Now, as I just did right now, I turned on the living room lights with the voice activation of Alexa. And for text messaging, I use Siri and an iPhone and I definitely have used a lot of different technological advances. But for the most part, voice activation is probably the thing that's helping most at the moment. So it's definitely something. I wrote the book by typing on a keyboard with the keys on the floor, and I use my toes on the keys, I can type it at about 35 words per minute. But now that I have voice activation, I can definitely use voice activation even faster than typing.
54:36 Rob Konrad
Okay, so you are actively using tools. And we talked in the beginning about prosthetics, and that you felt better without them. Technology is making really rapid progress in many different areas. Also, so with that new perspective, prosthetics that can do things that you couldn't do like 10 or 20 years ago; so when there's a point when the brain-computer connection becomes stronger, or we can voice better to use these things – would you be open to use these kind of tools?
55:16 Jessica Cox
I think as technology changes and improves the lives of people with disabilities, it's definitely going to be more freeing and it's going to definitely allow us to do more. I have benefited from some of the technology. Naturally voice activation, even now we put a lock on the front door so that I as long as my phone is near me, we can activate the locks and that's made my life easier. I think with new technology, I would be open to exploring it. And and mostly I think for people with disabilities, it's helping with the speed of accomplishing a task and when it increases the speed for someone with a disability to do something, that's wonderful, because it gives us more time to do other things. Okay, I would be open to explore the advancements. Yes.
56:13 Rob Konrad
Okay. And do you feel there's enough being done for people with disabilities? From the government, or also from the research perspective perspective in the private sector?
56:26 Jessica Cox
There definitely needs to be a lot more done for people with disabilities with regards to work and employment. So one of the things that at least here, the United States that I'm hoping to advocate for, is to have inclusive practices for people with disabilities who either want to work or are in the workplace already. And it's just important that we continue to encourage and allow for progress with disability employment, because many people with disabilities are unemployed unfortunately. And so I think that needs to change. As far globally disability and education, and that is something that I'm also advocating for. There are still countries in the world where children with disabilities are not encouraged to go to school. So I'm still working, when I do travel abroad to other countries, to help bring awareness to the ability that people with disabilities can excel if they're given the opportunity, if they're given the support, and they have to start with education.
57:34 Rob Konrad
Yeah, yeah, that's true. You mentioned that earlier – your mother is from the Philippines. And you mentioned in your book that in the Philippines, people with disabilities are still almost locked away and families try to avoid the issue that with no newborn instead? of were born with disability. So do you feel that has changed in recent years, or?
58:03 Jessica Cox
I believe changes have been made towards people with disabilities, But I think that there's always room for more progress. So that's why I continue to spread the message that people with disabilities can do anything, they just need to be supported and encouraged and given equal opportunity.
58:22 Rob Konrad
Now, why do you think is it that employers, for example, sometimes hold back on on employing people with disabilities? It's now we talked about know looking away a few minutes ago that people kind of scared it's approaching people just think that's one of the factors why also employers maybe hold back on on employing people that have challenges because they are not aware that stay are they would be fully productive, given the right support? Or what do you think that is?
58:58 Jessica Cox
Yes, I think employers are not only fearful of differences or disabilities, I think it's also because they see things in the same way that people may have seen me, they see that I don't have arms, and they see that will maybe without arms, what can be done, and if people are open to how people can adapt to their differences. And just with the help of just minor accommodations, giving them what they need, they will be surprised how much value an employee with a different ability can provide for their company. And I mean, there's stories that are everywhere about people with disabilities providing not only loyalty to their company, but phenomenal talents and skills that other employee other employees may not have.
59:56 Rob Konrad
Absolutely. What you would you be in favor of fixed quotas for people with disabilities? Or would you say that might be a disadvantage? Because I know there's been some discussions also here in Europe – should there be fixed quotas. So, if you have a company with a certain amount of employees, you need to employ X percent of people with disabilities. And some people say it's not ideal because it doesn't encourage the best people to join. And it's also from a from the perspective of the people without disabilities, might bring up barriers because they must think he or she was just employed because he or she has some sort of disabilities… what what do you think about that?
1:00:43 Jessica Cox
I need to do more research about fixed quotas. I am not as familiar as, as you may be about that. So I need to probably research before I can talk more about how that would apply. And whether that would be the best route to take with people with disabilities definitely starts with attitudes and breaking down the negativity that is associated with disability. And I'm working on that area in that realm of, of changing and shifting attitudes and being more inclusive. So I think it starts with attitudes. But there's a lot of things that can be going place to help this with the progress and I do not know as much about fixed quota. So I won't be able to talk about that.
1:01:27 Rob Konrad
Okay. Okay. Yeah, I think I think it's an interesting subject, because there are pros and cons to it. And I can understand both sides. But, but would be interesting to to also hear from you, what you think about it is definitely and what I found really interesting in your book was, you mentioned that you had this you participated in a beauty pageant a few years back, and there was the swimsuit part of of the contest. And you mentioned to how, what, there are two things to it. And first of all, you mentioned how you were standing and standing like, behind the curtain and really fighting with yourself whether or not you should make take, make a step and, and stand in the, in the shiny lights and in front of all those people, or if you should just, you know, basically run away from it. So how was that and, and what made you what, what led you to decision to make, make that step and just just be proud of who you are.
1:02:39 Jessica Cox
There are so many instances in my life where I could either choose to cower and run away or just basically embrace my difference and be proud and confident about it. And that particular story in my book about the beauty pageant in the bathing suit, part of the beauty pageant and how it was, it was definitely a moment like that. And I think for me, being confrontational with who I am is something I had to learn to be, it's because this is who I am, and I don't really have the option to hide behind it. And even if I did, it would be the weaker option. So my situation in the fact that I'm visually different, has somewhat forced me to be confrontational. But I think that has been a wonderful gift. Because it is almost like forced me to either be insecure, or to be confident. And I've learned that not everyone's going to be comfortable with my difference. But I will not be able to change everyone about how they feel about people who are different. But what I can have the power to do is shift, change and affect the way I think about it. And the way that I feel about my confidence, okay, and if I can be the most competent person that I can be, it doesn't matter how people react to me. And so I've learned that confidence is something I have to have to have. And I have to be accepting of my difference and be confident and be out there and understand that not everyone's going to be okay, but that's not my problem. that's their problem. I job is just to be the best me I can be.
1:04:33 Rob Konrad
Absolutely. And what what would you say to someone who is maybe in a situation that he or shedoesn't feel strong enough to take that step and and to be confrontational in a way. So how would you… What would you say to help? Where can they find the strength to do so, and to make the first step that that will lead you to… probably lead them to a lot of positive things because they will see me Hey, it's not as bad as I thought about how can they make that first step,
1:05:06 Jessica Cox
I think to make that first step. It's to recognize that on the other side of that step is freedom, empowerment and just wonderful positive energy. And it's so much easier to take that first step and live life going forward in that way, than it is to continue to use your energy to try and hide away from it. It is so much energy to try to be someone you're not but the finally accept it and to recognize it on the other side of acceptance. And confidence is freedom. Not only freedom, but it makes life so much easier.
1:05:53 Rob Konrad
Yeah, that's great. Okay, you overcome a lot of fears that you. Had. Do you still have fears that you haven't tackled yet? Is there something you would not do that? That's, that's no, no, no way. That's, I'm afraid of that.
1:06:15 Jessica Cox
I'm still thinking about that. I have to think about those different challenges. I will have to think about it.
1:06:25 Rob Konrad
So there's not….
1:06:25 Jessica Cox
No No, nothing.
1:06:28 Rob Konrad
You did so many things. I don't even know what's left. diver, scuba diver, your jump out of airplanes you're flying. So I don't know what. How many fears are there left? Cave… cave… cave exploring? Would that be something?
1:06:43 Jessica Cox
1:06:46 Rob Konrad
Claustrophobic situations – would that be something that you might tackle yet?
1:06:50 Jessica Cox
No. I would like to. I'm still figuring out how I'm going to crawl if I did do cave exploring because you have to crawl a lot. So I had to figure out what kind of device I could use to get under in those caves. But no, I wouldn't step away. I wouldn't stop. I would not prevent myself from doing that now.
1:07:08 Rob Konrad
Okay. Okay. Yeah, yeah, maybe if you can talk a little bit about your professional work. So what's kind of organizations might be interested in hiring you? What are the topics that you're talking about where you can educate people, what are your focus areas that you that you talk about
1:07:31 Jessica Cox
Some of the professional work that I've been doing is developing my not only speaking but also how it can work in the corporate setting. And I've been working on a couple topics like adversity management and commitment. And I talked about different values, as well as empowering diversity in the workplace. So I talked about those different challenges. And I also talked about that the importance of achieving the impossible when it comes to our our daily lives and what we want to achieve. And I have been doing some workshops as well. And some of those workshops are innovation workshops on how to develop different skills to addressing a challenge. I have different tools and techniques for how a challenge can be taken and breaking down from the intimidating image that we have of something and how we can break it down and make it into a workable challenge.
1:07:37 Jessica Cox
Okay. Okay. So So, um, could you just briefly outline like what we the steps if you have a challenge that seems overbearing, how do you tackle those challenges? How do you approach those challenges? And what are some steps that you might might take?
1:08:51 Jessica Cox
Okay, I just think of it with the word think T.H.I.N.K. And the first is to tear up the challenge. Heighten awareness, insist on asking the question, how?, instead of the question, can?; non-top re-evaluation, repurposing or reinventing and k is for kick the habit of excuses. ????
1:09:22 Rob Konrad
Okay, that's a great one. Okay. And so anyone who's interested can also go to website Jessicacox.com and find out more about that and to get in touch with you. Yes. Okay. That's, that's great. Yeah, what's, what's your greatest accomplishment? What would you say, so far?
1:09:48 Jessica Cox
My greatest accomplishment as far as what people may know me for is the flying an airplane with my feet. For me emotionally, one of my greatest accomplishments is the ability to be confident in the person I am. And my difference on a daily basis to be able to embrace my difference. And that journey of confidence took many, many years. And flying has been a wonderful physical challenge for me, and took many years as well. But for me, I always say it's that competence of being proud of the difference. That is my greatest achievement.
1:10:33 Rob Konrad
Certainly, certainly is and the flying opportunity. How did …. you would, I would assume, for most people with any kind of challenge day would not have flying on top of their list. How, how did you get started with that for you talk a little bit about the new book, but maybe you can talk a little bit about it.
1:10:55 Jessica Cox
For anyone who is interested in flying, it starts with a discovery flight. And, and at least in the United States, if you go to any airport that is around here, they have a discovery flight, you just go to a flight school and ask for a flight. It'll give you a taste of what it's like, be up in there. I don't know what it's like over there. And in Europe, but maybe they have discovery flights as well. But it'd be great just to go to show up in an airport and find out more information first, and decide if it's if it's the hobby for you. Okay, pursuing play.
1:11:30 Rob Konrad
And how did instructors react? And how did the person who did your license react? Because you're the new book, you were not, are not given any bonus points for for your disadvantage. You had to do the same test, you had same strict regulations that you needed to pass. So how did people react in the first place? Did anyone say, „we can't we can't do that“?
1:12:02 Jessica Cox
Well, when I was first driving as a teenager, I knew that there may be some challenges with convincing an examiner that I could be a licensed driver. But it turns out, I passed the test the first test with flying colors. But then I received a letter shortly after that said, my license had been suspended. And I couldn't figure out why I didn't do anything wrong. But I found out a woman saw that I was driving without special equipment on my car, special modifications. And she felt it wasn't safe for me to drive without a specially modified car. And I had to get my car modified. I had to have my car put basically brought into a shop and put some special equipment on. And then I took another test A month later with a different examiner. And the examiner saw that I drove fine with the modifications on the car. But I asked if I could take them off so that I had the flexibility of driving a normal car. Yeah. And I said, Sure, that'd be fine. And so we took those little modifications off, and he saw that I drove just fine without the modifications. So he gave me that license back without the need to have my special equipment or a special car.
1:13:16 Rob Konrad
Okay, that's great. Okay. And for the flight license, what the person say, who took the license when they first saw you? Was it was there any negative reaction? Or what is surprised? Or were there any roadblocks in your way?
1:13:39 Jessica Cox
Well, when it came to flying, there were still doubts. But surprisingly, the aviation community is a very supportive community. And if you're someone who says, I want to become a pilot, the other the other pilots will rally behind you to help support your goal. It's amazing family of pilots, and they're very anxious. So surprisingly, I was encouraged and turns out that they were encouraging of my wanting to fly. And they said, you know, the examiner said, if you can fly an airplane with your nose, then you can fly an airplane. If you can show me how you can safely fly an airplane with your feet and do everything that I asked of you, then I see no reason why you should not be a certified pilot. Okay. And I showed him everything you wanted. And I I passed the test. And he gave me the certificate.
1:14:32 Rob Konrad
Okay, that's, that's, that's really amazing. It's brilliant, amazing feats. How often do you fly? How often do you go and make little trip
1:14:42 Jessica Cox
I actually don't fly as often as I should. Because I travel commercially as a business speaker. And so I'm always leaving home. And as a pilot, you have to at least fly once a month. So I don't get to fly as much as I would like to. And I need to practice more when the weather starts to cool off here in Arizona. I think I'll probably spend some more time getting more hours in.
1:15:09 Rob Konrad
Okay. Okay. It's Yeah, I mean, it's to be amazing to, to be able to fly any time you want. That's, that's pretty great. So you mentioned that commercial flights initially, you didn't even like to fly in the beginning, right? Mm hmm. So when you when you you hated commercial flying, and then you still became a pilot.
1:15:33 Jessica Cox
I know, it sounds strange that I didn't like going up on commercial flights. But I still became a pilot. Because being in this small airplane, when you have the controls in front of you, is a totally different experience than flying as a passenger. And I was able to overcome the fear of flying just by understanding what aviation is about understanding how an airplane can fly understanding the aerodynamics. And it's there's something you're afraid of. Sometimes it's linked to the fear of the unknown. And when you can further study something that you might be hesitant to do, and you learn how it is that it's possible or learn all about it, it will help you overcome your fear.
1:16:19 Rob Konrad
So once again, if you are afraid of something, you need to confront your fears and not run away from it and not shy away so that you can understand what it's about and ?? „See, it's probably not as bad as you think“. Yeah. Okay. How would you summarize your life? How would you summarize your life purpose?
1:16:44 Jessica Cox
To summarize my life purpose, that would be difficult, because it's always ever changing, evolving, and I'm still young, so I still feel like there's a lot to be done. So I think it's an ever changing process of helping shape the world in a in a better way. So I can't nail it down in one word, or one phrase right now, because it's ever changing.
1:17:12 Rob Konrad
I see. Okay. And Jessica, I don't want to keep you too much longer. Okay, you've answered a lot of questions. It's pretty great, great conversation. And there are two questions today ask everyone that I'm talking to. So the first question is this a series of interviews with extraordinary people from across the globe. And you certainly are such an extraordinary person, and who do you think are or who you think is an extra new person, and in this world, that's, I might talk to you next.
1:17:49 Jessica Cox
There are so many extraordinary people in this world. And one of them, I think, would be w Mitchell, because, as I mentioned in the interview earlier, he was my mentor. And he not only survived being burned all over his body from a motorcycle accident. But then later in life as you was flying an airplane, he landed the airplane on the runway and ended up getting paralyzed. So he's not only suffered from a traumatic burn burning incident from a motorcycle accident, but he was also paralyzed. And he has a saying that is really moving. It's not what happens to you. It's what you do about it. And I think that's an incredible moving statement. And I think you should interview him next.
1:18:40 Rob Konrad
Okay, I'll try to do that. Maybe you can make an introduction. Good, very interesting. And my last question to you so we can close the goal and you can visit but you can close the call and what's your core message, main message you want to give to two people who are watching this,
1:19:01 Jessica Cox
I just want to say to every, everyone watching this to pursue what might seem impossible, because you'd be surprised at how it is very possible. Achieve the impossible. And the next time you see someone who is different, whether it's because of a disability or for other whatever reason it is, don't be afraid to say hello, smile and acknowledge them and just treat them the way that you would want to treat them. You treat them the way you would want to be treated.
1:19:33 Rob Konrad
Okay. Jessica, I thank you very much for your time. It's been really a pleasure talking to you. You're a great inspiration. And I hope you'll stay in touch and difference with the next time then definitely hope that's will meet.
1:19:46 Jessica Cox
See you next time. Thank you.
1:19:48 Rob Konrad
Wonderful. Okay. So that's the official part. Good. So, um, yeah, I think much. It was really, really a pleasure talking to you as amazing. So. So Australia is next for you.
1:20:01 Jessica Cox
Yes, we're headed there. I'm actually seeing if I have to apologize. I forgot that. We have a Taekwondo class here. But I don't know what time is that
1:20:10 Rob Konrad
okay. I'm sorry. I don't want to keep you Sorry. Sorry.
1:20:12 Jessica Cox
Oh, no, I'm sorry we missed it. Is there a 1240 class oh I apologize we missed we missed our class I should have scheduled I should have scheduled that to let you know but it's not a problem we'll just go we can go over over there and show up a little late but we may have to run sure I'm actually have to run right now. So I will I will catch YOU on some other time. And thank you so much for for reaching out. So you take care and good luck reaching out to W Mitchell. Just send me a quick note now send you his email address.
1:20:43 Rob Konrad
I will do and again. Thank you so much for taking the time. It's really been a pleasure. And it's been an honor to talk to you and your great person. Thank you very much. Jessica.
1:20:49 Jessica Cox
Thank you. Bye. Bye. Bye. Cheers. Bye.
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