Mark Grimm


Inspiration Is What You See: The John Robinson Story

John Robinson at HM ASTD conference

Having a bad day? What would it be like if you had no full arms and legs?

John Robinson was born that way, but you won’t hear any “woe is me” from him. “I don’t see what I am missing, I see what I have,” he told the audience at his keynote speech at the Hudson-Mohawk ASTD conference in Albany, NY on May 16th (ASTD just changed its name to the Association for Talent Development).

Robinson, less than four feet tall, tells the story of when he was waiting in line between his tall friends to get into a party. The line was moving slowly so someone shouted from behind, “Maybe the line would move better if you got off your knees.” The mistake left an indelible imprint on him. It was up to him to “get off his knees” and approach life differently — to take personal responsibility for “who and what I am.”

John’s inspirational story is the subject of a national PBS documentary, “Get Off Your Knees: The John Robinson Story,” and his autobiography, “Get Off Your Knees: A Story of Faith, Courage, and Determination,” was published by Syracuse University Press

We look for “what’s wrong with our self in the mirror.” I think you should “start your day by loving yourself.” Robinson was uncomfortable with how he looked until he started to see himself the way his spouse or best friends do.

Robinson has spoken to Fortune 500 Corporations to high school students about Overcoming Obstacles in Life, Businesses or Sales!

“I hope to give people a new perspective on their ability,” says Robinson, who founded his own seminar and video production business in 2010 after 20 years in TV sales and management. His company, Our Ability, tells stories about successful people with disabilities and provides mentoring to young disabled people.

“Opportunities are disguised as challenges,” he insists.

Still having a bad day?


U.S. Supreme Court Supports Prayer: Amen.

The U. S. Supreme Court will allow town boards to start their meetings with a prayer. It ruled 5-4 to uphold the action taken by an upstate NY town (Greece, NY).

For a long time, public prayer opponents have misinterpreted our freedom of religion guarantee. Freedom of religion does not require us to be a godless country.

Our founding fathers placed “a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence” in the close to the Declaration of Independence. As Justice Anthony Kennedy pointed out, the very first Congress supported prayers at the start of legislative sessions. As Kennedy wrote, legislative prayer is a “practice that was accepted by the framers and has withstood the critical scrutiny of time and political change.”

Of course, the opening prayers must be open to all forms of religion. Greece officials invited all faiths, and atheists as well, to give the opening prayer. No one should ever be restricted regarding their religious beliefs.

Banning religious expression does not make us a stronger nation. The power of prayer should not be underestimated and having less of it is not something I see as beneficial to our society.

The writer is a former Town Board member in upstate NY.