By Nicole Muj
Los Angeles Informer
Australian author and motivational speaker Janine Shepherd is an inspiration to us all. The former Olympian hopeful in cross-country skiing experienced a horrific accident while training and was told she would never walk again, have children or achieve her life goals. Well, Janine achieved all of these, and much, much more! The self-described “walking paraplegic” did not only walk again, she learned to fly, becoming a licensed commercial pilot and aerobatics instructor. In her personal life, she had three children, one of whom is following in her footsteps, carrying the torch for her Olympic dream.
A household name in her native Australia with four bestselling books under her belt, Janine has also had her life story told in an award-winning feature film. Named one of the “Ten Outstanding Young People in the World” by Junior Chamber International, Shepherd has been honored for her work as a patron of the Australasian Spinal Research Trust with an Order of Australia.
She now has set her sights on the United States with her first book “The Gift of Acceptance” that launched nationwide this summer by Hallmark Publishing. Shepherd believes that acceptance is the greatest gift of all, and one that is necessary to nurture in order to move on from tragedy to find fulfillment. “The Gift of Acceptance” is a collection of her wisdom, insight and advice, a compilation of 25 years of struggle and learning.
“I hope to have my memoirs released in the near future,” she adds. “I plan to relocate to the U.S. to continue to share my message with as many people as possible.”
Known for her inspirational “Ted Talk” that to date has garnered over 730,000 views, she also recently spoke at the Chopra Center™ in Carlsbad, California.
Deepak Chopra comments, “Janine is a change agent. She has an extraordinary ability to ignite people’s spirits and move them to find the real potential of their lives; her story inspires people around the world.”
Shepherd adds, “I speak all over the world, to English and non-English speaking audiences, and the reaction is always the same because it is a universal message. When we speak from the heart, we connect to the common human experience and when we do that, it doesn’t matter where we come from. We all face the same struggles, hopes and dreams for the future and we all need to know that we are not alone and that we are all connected.”
On October 6, she will give the keynote at the national conference for the American Women’s Business Association (awba.org) in Little Rock, Arkansas.
“I am excited to speak to the ABWA’s conference. There are many messages in my presentation and everyone will take something different away. I share the lessons I have learned on my journey and teach the audience how to integrate them into their professional and personal lives.”
As we approach the 2014 Winter Olympics, it is fitting that Janine’s daughter Annabel shares in her quest for Olympic gold. She recently made Australia’s Olympic squad in freestyle/slopestyle skiing, and hopefully will represent her country in Sochi.
“It will be a very emotional experience for me and even more so to watch my daughter carrying the torch for both of us. Perhaps I will make the Olympics after all!”
Who inspires her? Shepherd does not hesitate to answer. “I am inspired by Maria, the girl that was in the hospital bed next to me when I had my accident. She was in a car accident and woke up from a coma on her sixteenth birthday as a complete quadriplegic. She was always smiling and happy and I never heard her complain about her life. We have remained friends to this day and she is the most courageous person I know.”
Janine Shepherd is without question a role model to us all, but to young people in particular.
Her message to young fans around the globe: “When we face difficult times in life, the most important things we can do is to stay true to our purpose, and continue to follow our bliss. Often when we’re young, we end up living the life that our parents or others believe we should have, and we miss our true calling. Be guided by your heart, and listen carefully to what it is telling you. When we do that, life becomes an adventure, a heroic journey, and we understand that tough times are guiding us along the way; to develop the skills and strengths we need to fulfill our destiny.”
True words from the heart of a fascinating woman!
*Photos Courtesy of Janine Shepherd
Nicole Muj is the founder of KULTURA PR (kulturapr.com), a public relations company that specializes in international entertainment and cultural clients. Ms. Muj is also involved in booking A-list Western music artists and celebrities in Europe, Mexico and Asia. Previously, she served as Associate Director, Worldwide Publicity, E! Networks, and held senior level positions at LA-based mPRm Public Relations and Comspan Communications. Contact – email: email@example.com; phone: 310-804-0964.