Inspirational speaker and Spartan Race runner, Jeffrey Beausoleil, motivates Canadians to dream big… and then bigger.
By Sarah Fox
When Jeffrey Beausoleil embarked on his first Spartan race, his decision to participate was met with skepticism. The eight-kilometer race, studded with obstacles demanding varying levels of strength and agility, was an ambitious goal. But impossible? No, Jeffrey contended—he would meet this challenge with confidence.
Jeffrey was born without his right hand and right foot. With support from his family and The Shriners Children’s Hospital, he has triumphed over tests of his ableism. Given to positivity, he believes adamantly in the power of self-determination—external doubts only fuel his fire.
“I just want to prove to everybody that even if you have a disability like me, you can do what you want,” Jeffrey explains. “It doesn’t matter if I have one arm or one foot, it’s about pushing. It’s about believing in yourself.”
Jeffrey’s determination has made him more than a competitor in life, it’s made him a champion. Not only did he take on that first race, he went on to tackle larger ones, including a 21-kilometer Spartan Race last July.
But don’t mistake this young man’s motivation for mere competitive spirit; every race Jeffrey enters is a chance for him to give back. When Jeffrey ties up his sneakers and sticks a number on his back, he does it for charity. So far, he has raised almost $10,000 for The Shriner’s—an organization that has supported him in living life to the fullest since he was five years old.
If people take anything from seeing or hearing about Jeffrey’s races, he hopes it goes back to perspective. He wants others to take heed of his perseverance and positive outlook, so they might try and apply it to their own lives. “Believe in yourself and keep pushing,” he emphasizes.
To encourage others to meet their own benchmarks, Jeffrey stands up in front of schools as a resilient force against bullying. Jeffrey is sharing his story—the highs and the lows—to help inspire you to take action by stepping up against hurtful negativity.
When Jeffrey began making these presentations, he had no idea his words of inspiration could affect real change in his audiences’ lives. Standing in front of the crowd at WE Day Montreal, though, it’s clear the words of change-makers can and do affect their listeners.
On July 2, Jeffrey will address the crowd at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, at the first ever WE Day Canada. His message for Canadians: every single person can become a community change-maker. Read on for five tips on how to get started.
Jeffrey’s 5 tips on how-to start making real change in your community.
1. “Find what comes natural to you.” For Jeffrey, this was speaking to crowds of youth about his passion for The Shriners Hospital for Children. Jeffrey suggests, “Choose something that interests you and [something that] gets you out of your comfort zone.”
2. “Branch out on what you think you can achieve.” Jeffrey expanded his own goals by signing up for big challenges, driven by the will to prove he could accomplish more than others imagined he could. “Keep pushing,” he says. “We are all so powerful and colourful, and we can overcome anything if we put in the effort.”
3. “Find someone in your life that will push you, but also who you can lean on.” Jeffrey’s dad never let him give up. When Jeffrey felt defeated, his father drove him forward with a firm, “no excuses!” But when Jeffrey needed help, his father listened, guided and supported him. It’s important to have someone who knows you well enough to gage when is a good time to push and when comfort and warmth are needed instead. As Jeffrey says of his father, “I don’t know what I would be without him.”
4. “Know that you can have an impact.” When Jeffrey started public speaking, he had no idea the kind of influence he could have on others. When audience members approached him to let him know that he had shifted their outlook on life, he realized his power to positively impact his community. That one step, believing in your abilities, is the foundation for change-making.
5. “Learn by overseeing and then doing.” Jeffrey encourages others to join in and lend a hand wherever possible. “Talking is something and taking action is something else,” he says. If there’s a cause you’re passionate about, find others who are too. You may be able to join them in action or start on action plan of your own. Jeffrey’s last words of advice on the subject are simply, “Do it!”