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|Why and when did you start speaking to groups?
My speaking mission was sparked, at the age of 16, when I had a life-changing encounter with an improvised, little boy in Haiti. Please read chapter 11 of my book, What's Your Excuse?, for the full story.
What is the main point of your message?
It's not about doing things differently. It's all about being different - choosing to live powerfully.
What types of groups do you address?
I primarily speak to business, government, and human service organizations. Over the years, I've addressed florists, military generals, students, prisoners, rocket scientists, salespeople, and a pro football team.
How do others respond to your message?
People are surprised to learn that my message is more than an inspirational disability story. The one statement I consistently hear from audience members is, "You've taken away all of my excuses!"
Where are you from?
I am from Breese, Illinois - a small town located about 40 miles east of St. Louis, Missouri. I am the fourth of eight sons born to Ron and Carole Foppe.
How did you learn to use your feet?
I didn't receive any special training to use my feet. The human body simply has a tremendous capacity to adapt. Just like a blind person usually develops more acute hearing, I have developed motor skills in my feet.
Were you always a determined person? If not, what was the defining moment that made you decide to tackle your condition?
No. As young boy, I hated my life. I didn't understand why I had to be handicapped. I was filled with self-pity, a negative attitude, and low self-esteem. I was dependent on my family for help with routine tasks like getting dressed and using the restroom. At 10-years-old, I couldn't put on my own pants. The first turning point occurred when my parents practiced "tough love" on me. Please read chapters 1 and 4 of my book, What's Your Excuse?, for more details.
What is the most physically difficult challenge you've overcome?
Learning how to snow ski.
Why don't you wear artificial arms?
I did use artificial arms when I was young. But, the prosthesis was hot, heavy, and cumbersome. They are made out of latex, plastic nylon, and aluminum. The apparatus weighed about 12 lbs. Also, the movements of the limbs were limited. Since I can use my feet to accomplish most routine tasks, I decided, when I was about 17, not wear the artificial arms.
What are your goals for the future?
I am working on my second book tentatively titled; Make It Happen, How to Translate Big Visions into Big Outcomes. Since writing my first book, I have learned a great deal more about how and why we make excuses. I see how victim mindsets are crippling businesses. I continually hear business leaders complain about how difficult it is to get things done in today's fast changing competitive environment. Leaders, managers, and workers are all exasperated. The feelings and behaviors of exasperation are encrypting visions and stopping them from translating into outcomes. I have a way to close the translation gap and make initiatives happen.
In addition, I am expanding my work with international clients.