Our trademarked tagline at Akoio is: Conquer Life. And, for me, it is much more than a clever turn of phrase. It represents an approach to living well and enjoying life to its fullest extent by not letting fears, setbacks, or labeling get in your way.

As a person with profound hearing loss, I have often had to fight labeling or prejudice. Sometimes even well-intentioned folks can’t resist the temptation to coddle, condescend, or even marginalize someone with hearing loss or speech problems. Looking back, I’m grateful for the struggle, but it wasn’t always so.

A life lesson

I distinctly remember the moment when, as a teenager, I decided to take control of my own development and learning. As part of my public school curriculum, I was required to regularly participate in speech therapy. But, after 13 years of “speech sessions,” I had had enough! I knew how to communicate, I knew I could continue to learn and improve on my own, and I really wanted to focus on other subjects.

It wasn’t easy to overcome the habits and, frankly, prejudices of a few insensitive administrators and therapists. But, with my mother’s help and encouragement, I found my voice and declared my independence. (She also taught me to be kind and patient with those who don’t easily understand you or agree with you.)

And that has made all the difference.

I conquered my life in the way I saw fit. No more speech training. I engaged with subjects that mattered deeply to me and in so doing, I discovered my passions for design and technology.

Hail the conquering hero

As I reflect on this experience now, I can see that I learned a valuable skill—what I call conquering. To me, conquering is acting with intention. It is choosing to influence your circumstances and determining your own direction, and not letting circumstances (or labels or even setbacks) make default decisions for you.

It is not easy. And sometimes things like hearing loss, low vision, or limited mobility make it more challenging. Challenging, but not impossible. That’s why our mission at Akoio includes developing products and services that enhance accessibility and eliminate obstacles for users. We want to help pave the way for the great things you will do as you focus on what matters to you.

Upon reflection, I can see that successes in my career and personal life are really a series of conquered moments. The journey brings seemingly endless opportunities to conquer, and we get better with practice! So, do not waste any time doubting yourself. Never let others label or marginalize you (even if they mean well). Chase your dreams and pursue your aspirations. And, never, never, never give up!

Go ahead. Conquer life.™

How will you do it?

Please use the comments to share with me, and others, how you plan to conquer life.