Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

My Role When Self-Advocating: To Rebuke or To Enlighten?

Filed under: Advocacy — by at 5:09 pm on Saturday, October 20, 2012

After posting the letter to the optometrist last night, I feel compelled to explain why I took the approach that I did.

Coming home on Monday afternoon and writing a scathing letter to her would have been easy. But, what would that have accomplished?

There is way more than enough hurt and pain in the world these days. Why contribute to that? What would be accomplished by me making her feel badly?

She was not rude or nasty, but, rather, unenlightened in how to deal with my disability – or what she perceived to be my disability. She was same unenlightened self during my first eye exam five years ago, when I did not take any action to remedy the situation. My bad. Yes, I know.

This time around I guess I am in a different place. I feel more confident to do something, but something of value, something that might move us forward. That is why I took the approach that I did: I explained my actual limitations and dismissed non-existing ones, outlined what I needed, and suggested how she might play an active role in moving forward.

Less than an hour after publishing that letter here on my blog, my autobiography I’ll Do It Myself finally hit #1 in its category on Amazon – after it had been stuck at #2 for two weeks. My book is now officially an Amazon bestseller!

My book - an Amazon bestseller - YAY!

Coincidence or karma? You decide.

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Optometrist Fails Eye Exam, Patient Enlightens

Filed under: Advocacy — by at 9:15 pm on Friday, October 19, 2012

Glenda wearing her new purple reading glassesMonday was exam day for my eyes. It didn’t go as well as it could have. Not because my eyes did poorly, but because of the body they inhabit. The jerky, constantly moving, speech impaired body that the optometrist was not enlightened to deal with.

She spoke loudly, simply and repetitively as if me being speech impaired also meant I was impaired cognitively. She admonished me for not keeping my head in the correct position and for not opening my eyes for the drops.

It took all I had within me to a) not yell something back at her, and/or b) not burst into tears. I left the office feeling devalued, depreciated, and downright pissed off.

After spending some time ranting with my friends on Facebook and sleeping on it for a few nights, I decided enlightening this otherwise well-educated woman was my role, my duty. Today I picked up my new purple reading glasses and hand delivered the following letter.

Twitter: @GlendaWH

October 19, 2012

Dear Optometrist:

After my eye exam on Monday, October 15th, I left the office feeling devalued and depleted. I am hoping by sharing the following information, the next exam will go smoother for both of us.

As you might know, I have athetoid cerebral palsy. For me, this means I lack muscle control and coordination. My physical movements are jerky and involuntary; one body part or another is in constant motion. My speech is also significantly impaired, yet can be understood by individuals who take the time to listen.

However, my hearing, understanding and cognition are not affected. There is no need to speak loudly, to repeat yourself or to use simple vocabulary for me to comprehend.

Next time I will grab my iPad from my scooter basket before my scooter is moved out of the way so that I have a more effective means of communication at hand.

My head control is tenuous at times. When conducting the eye pressure test and other such tests during which my head must remain still in a certain position, it might be helpful to have someone hold my head steady.

My eyes closing when something is approaching is a strong, uncontrollable reflex. Repeatedly stating that I need to open my eyes for the eye drops is not productive. Perhaps another method can be found to achieve the same result.

Please keep this letter in my file so that it will be handy for my next appointment in three years, which is what the Ministry will pay for; not the recommended two years. Perhaps in that time you could consult with colleagues and other optometrists for further suggestions on how to best serve patients with cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders.

Working together will ensure successful care for my vision.


Glenda Watson Hyatt

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A Binder of Inspiring Women Living with Disabilities

Filed under: I'll Do It Myself: The Book — by at 11:20 pm on Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I'll Do It Myself on the KindleDuring Michelle Vandepas’ Amazon Bootcamp, which I highly recommend for Amazon authors trying to increase their Amazon Best Sellers Rank, she shared behind-the-scene ways to increase our books’ exposure on Amazon. One such way is to create lists (through Listmania) and to include our book at the bottom of the list, creating an internal link to our book page, which Amazon likes.

In light of recent remarks by a presidential candidate, I just had to compile this list entitled “A Binder of Inspiring Women Living with Disabilities” Smile 

  1. Joni: An Unforgettable Story by Joni Eareckson Tada
  2. Barefoot Water Skiing, From Weekend Warrior to Competitor by Karen Putz
  3. Helen Keller, Public Speaker: Sightless But Seen, Deaf But Heard (Great American Orators) by Lois J. Einhorn
  4. My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor
  5. Out of the Blue: One Woman’s Story of Stroke, Love, and Survival by Bonnie Sherr Klein
  6. The Way I See It, Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition by Temple Grandin
  7. Breath: A Lifetime in the Rhythm of an Iron Lung: A Memoir by Martha Mason
  8. Still I Will Praise by Renee Bondi
  9. Model Patient by Karen Duffy
  10. And, of course…I’ll Do It Myself by Glenda Watson Hyatt

Feel free to share your recommendations for books in the comment section below. I’d love to compile a second binder full of inspiring and powerful women living with disabilities, all kinds of disabilities.

Happy reading!

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A Few Less-than Productive Days Are OK, Right?

Filed under: 4-Hour Workday — by at 12:06 pm on Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I did not start the day with my list of 6 things written down; a strategy I have learned is needed for a successful 4-Hour Workday. I did have a few tasks in my mind that I wanted to accomplish, but I kept them in my mind, which became blurry as the day went on.

I did not log my start time in my spreadsheet.

i didn’t track the time spent on each task. I intended to keep track of the time in my head and then record it in the spreadsheet when I got to it, which I never did.

I did spend an inordinate amount of time on Michelle Vandepas’ Amazon boot camp activities (which I highly recommend) in attempts to get my autobiography I’ll Do It Myself to #1 in its category on Amazon; it remains stuck at #2. I now have a greater understanding of how Amazon is a self-contained search engine and how Amazon rankings are based on a combination of Likes, Tags and Reviews (social proof), internal links via Lists and Guides, and, ultimately, sales. This understanding will benefit my future book launches and promotions.

I did have a late lunch with my husband before he left to teach his evening classes.

i did send a follow up email that I had been putting off for a week because I perceived the recipient as a much bigger fish than I and I felt tongue-tied.

i did leave my desk long enough to wash the kitchen floor multiple times. I concluded that the grimy, lack lustre look is not so much my poor housecleaning skills but rather the 22-year old linoleum that is simply wearing out. I then returned to my computer.

I did eat my supper at my computer while hanging out on Facebook and watching CTV’s Flashpoint online.

When I finally turned off my computer at 9pm, my lower back was sore, my bum was numb, and both feet were tingling, likely slightly swollen.

I did not shower as intended. Rather I climbed into bed to read and to be with my 16.5-year old kitty who is sleeping more and more.


I realized that emailing myself the 6 things to do and tracking my time spent on each task provides necessary structure and accountability for my 4-Hour Workday.

I realized that not every day is as productive as others. Some days I need time to think and to figure out things, and that doesn’t always happen when the clock is ticking. And, that is okay.

I realized that I need to have a compelling reason to turn off my computer after my 4 hours of work. As much as I need to be excited to “go to work” each morning, I need to be equally excited to leave work to go play. Turning off my computer to go wash the floor or clean the litter box doesn’t cut it; I need to find something that is as luring as purple macramé.


I have a new 24 hours to choose how I spend it.

How do you get back on track after having a less than productive day?

Please join me on this 4-Hour Workday journey.

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What Impossible Idea Would You Attempt If Surrounded by People Who Won’t Let You Fail?

Filed under: Motivation — by at 2:18 pm on Thursday, October 4, 2012

You must do the one thing you think you cannot.

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

For those of you who I have yet had the pleasure of meeting face-to-face, I speak Glenda-ish – English with a unique accent due to my significant speech impairment, a result of my cerebral palsy.

Over the last forty-some years, my inability to easily communicate verbally with anyone anywhere has been more of a barrier, more of a disability than my inability to walk independently, and has resulted in frustration, isolation and missed interactions.

Glenda Watson Hyatt presenting on stage at SXSW 2011
(Photo credit: Paul Merrill)

In recent years, with the advances in technology – text-to-speech software, iPads and such – verbal communication has become possible. Because of these technologies and opportunities that have presented themselves to me, I have had the pleasure of giving numerous presentations – something I never imagined possible in my wildest dreams.

Now, I feel myself being magnetically drawn to My Second Most Unlikely Career Choice: a public speaker. (My first most unlikely career choice is a neurosurgeon.) The irony of this direction: terrifying yet exciting.

This past weekend, my husband Darrell and I attended SOBCon (a think tank for solopreneurs and small businesses) in Portland, Oregon. Founder Liz Strauss kicked off the conference by pointing out we were surrounded by people who won’t let us fail.

I definitely felt that. No matter who I shared my crazy idea with, they were all supportive of my intention to become a motivational speaker; they asked questions and offered insights, ideas and contacts.

Charlie Gilkey from Productive Flourishing did say that there would be challenges along the way. Yes, there will be. A few that quickly come to mind include: explaining to event organizers how someone with a significant speech impairment can deliver a presentation of high value, getting to the venues and up on stage (been there, done that!), and having the right words to deliver the best message that I can. However, those challenges (and countless others that will no doubt pop up along the way) are not insurmountable.

All weekend, not one person looked at my shaky jerkiness and my indecipherable speech and said, “Are you kidding me? There’s no way you can do that.” Not one person.

Can you appreciate the mind bend I have been struggling with since getting home on Sunday night. I am putting plans in place to become the one thing that, until recently, I thought I could not. This is possible because of advances in technology and because I am surrounded by people – both from SOBCon and elsewhere – who won’t let me fail.

What is the one thing you think you cannot do but are being urged to try? Can you identify people within your circle who will not let you fail? Or, who do you need to connect with to surround yourself with positive, supportive, creative-thinking people who want to see you succeed? What would that mean to you to accomplish the one thing you think you cannot?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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