I am so excited to continue these inspiring stories from our very own Tucson women.
In 2001 I graduated from Flowing Wells High School right here in Tucson, Arizona, where I had met an unforgettable human. She is someone that radiates kindness, and compassion and has accomplished some of the most incredible and kick-ass goals. She is literally the definition of unstoppable.
Jessica was born without arms. As I am sure you can guess, she did not let that stop her.
As a trailblazer, She currently holds the Guinness World Record for being the first woman to fly without arms, She is the first Armless Black Belt in the American Taekwondo Association… and her participation in that helped pave the way for new techniques.
She has been featured on Oprah, Ellen, CNN, Fox, and BBC. She has been on the TEDx Stage, and has spoken as a motivational speaker across the globe.
And just because I know you still want more! She is the founder of the Rightfooted Foundation, wrote a fantastic book called Disarm Your Limits, and her inspiring documentary, Rightfooted, won the Social Impact Film Award from the Hollywood Film Festival, along with over 30 other film awards! You can even find fantastic videos from her all about Life with Feet!
And we are so lucky that she is Tucson home grown.
I won’t hold you back anymore, because I am thrilled to share a small sneak peek from her interview with you. Make sure you pick up this year’s publication, and sign up for news and alerts so you know exactly when it is released!
Interview with Jessica Cox
Jessica Korff: What does RED symbolize to you?
Jessica Cox: I’ve always seen red as a power color. Being in the corporate world, red and black are regularly combined to express power.
Last quarter many of my speaking clients requested that I do my motivational speeches via zoom wearing red. It felt great wearing a color that I don’t normally wear. I felt confident and powerful which is something I always yearned for. Confidence wasn’t something I had my whole life. It was definitely a journey that continues. For many years as a young person, I lacked significant confidence. I was always so externally focused instead of looking inward and working on development of that.
I can proudly say that I’ve come a long ways and hold my head up high despite the threat of rejection.
Jessica Korff: What does Success REfashiond mean to you?
Jessica Cox: I believe Success refashioned is a reinterpretation of what was previously considered successful. For too long, we put the definition of success in a box. I always share with my audiences to, “Think outside the box!” This is the ability to shift the perspective on how we see anything, whether it be challenges, people, or success.
Jessica Korff: Tell us about you, on a personal level
Jessica Cox: I am married to my husband Patrick. When I am not working, I love to fly airplanes, practice Taekwondo, cycle and swim.
“Think outside the box!”
Jessica: Tell me about what you do.
Jessica Cox: I am an international motivational speaker and coach. I have been speaking now for 15 years in 27 countries. I run a business that facilitates international speeches and coaching. Through my speeches and coaching, I help people achieve their ownimpossible.
Jessica Korff: Why is the work you do so important?
Jessica Cox: We live in a world that is surrounded by negativity. There are negative voices from people around us. I heard it once said, “the average person receives 180,000 negative imprints by the time they are age 18.” Unfortunately, that contributes to our self talk and low self-esteem. Many of us start off with childlike optimism but as we get older we lose sight of our dreams. We have to be reminded that those dreams are attainable and that we can achieve our ownimpossible!
“The Average person receives 180,000 negative imprints by the time they are 18.
We have to be reminded that those dreams are attainable.”
Jessica Korff: What are you curious about right now?
Jessica Cox: Wow. Could be anything? I’m not really stumped on a question often but that’s pretty good one.
I think I’m curious, since you are a mother of four, right I’m curious about the whole motherhood thing.
I’ve spent a lot of my years as a traveling businesswoman and I know it’s not conducive to a life for a mother just yet. I mean, I know you can make it work, because anything can be made to work. Whether that means, you know between my husband and I juggling that, but both him and I travel together. Him as my manager and me as the speaker, and so that lifestyle is very different from someone who would start a family.
But I am curious about, would that work with my career, and how would that work and how can I go about doing it if it was something I wanted to pursue. I don’t know why I’ve kind of built it up so much in my head that it wouldn’t work with this career, and like I said I’m the type of person that sees things as you make them work, but I don’t want to have to neglect one or the other. I would like to balance both and not have to choose one or the other.
Jessica Korff: Who are three people that were most influential on you?
Jessica Cox: Three people, and because I know where this is a women’s magazine, I’m gonna pick the three women who were a huge part of my development. My mother, my aunt, who was like a second mother, she lived with us and I even called her Naynay, which translates to mother in the Filipino language Tagalog. So I essentially was calling my mom, mom and my aunt who is a second mother to me also mother if you translate what Naynay means in Filipino.
So I was calling them both mom they just really excelled, in my eyes, as being this tremendous example of strain, hard work, fortitude and love and that was just so wonderful to be encompassed by such wonderful women who I knew that they’re the roots are deep in the Filipino culture and that their mothers and the women in their lives were very important.
Another third woman would be my own mentor in life Barb. Barb is a woman who lost her arms at the age of three and I first heard about her when I was about 18 and around that time when I was basically going into the world of adulthood and I
didn’t know if there anyone else lived life the way I live my life, without arms, using their feet. So this woman, she did everything, cooking, and taking care of two sons. The moment I heard her story and I think it was, in particular, when she picked up her son, because I wondered how do you carry a baby without arms, but the way when she carefully picked up her son, I was like “wow she’s figure this out, then obviously motherhood is not a question at this point.”
So to go back to the previous question the motherhood thing was not related to whether or not I could do it, it’s more of how will I do it with a profession I have. so yeah those three women were instrumental in my life, Barb really help me just believe I can do anything if I want to be mom I could do it and and she was beautiful fit and did it all. she remains that source of the information for me whenever I need anything, I text her and within seconds she sends a text that answers my question.
It is because of her relationship with me I am now committed to at least 20 young girls born without arms. And I may not be a mom to biological children but I feel in a way as a mentor and someone who is there for these other girls who were born without arms and don’t feel like anyone understands them is powerful experience. It’s funny how in the process of stepping into that world as a mentor, it made me need to be a stronger leader knowing who I need to be for these young girls.
“I am more than a disability, I am more than my not having arms”
Jessica: What would you say is something people misunderstand about you?
Jessica Cox: I think people see me from the outside and they think that my not having arms, they see that it defines me, entirely.
They don’t see that I am more than a disability, I am more than my not having arms.
So that part people get wrapped up in too much, we are very focused and centered in on what we see, but there is more to a person than that. There is more to a person than their body or whatever it is that may seem to define them.
I think that’s what people need to understand about people with disabilities, is that they are people first, before they’re disability.
Jessica Korff: What inspires you or helps you show up as your best self?
Jessica Cox: Knowing that I am part of something bigger. I think I relate that to my faith, my spirituality and I relate that to this understanding that its more than just about me. Its about everyone in this whole scheme of things and how we help each other and this whole cycle of giving to the world and other people being there when you need them. So understanding that how that all comes together and there is something greater, and my faith in God, is what helps me every day I think.
Find out more about Jessica Cox and her journey at www.JessicaCox.com
and if you know a woman you would like to nominate as one of our 2021 REfashiond Icons, please do that HERE>>