Today I’m excited to introduce you to Strong Girl Jessica Cox.
Strong Girls are smart, determined, goal-reaching girls. And I can’t think of a better example than Jessica. Born without arms, Jessica never thought of herself as disabled or handicapped. This is probably due to having such a great Dad. Her father told her he never shed a tear about her being born without arms. And her parents always treated her as capable.
Which is how we should see all people regardless of their limitations.
Jessica is grew up to fly airplanes, drive cars and live a regular life using her feet the same way others use their hands.
She’s also an internationally-known. inspirational keynote speaker and holds the Guinness World Record for being the first armless person in aviation history to earn a pilot’s certificate. She’s traveled to more than twenty countries sharing her message of courage and hope.
Doctors don’t know why she was born “differently-abled.” But Jessica has made achievements with her feet that most people only dream of.
Born in 1983 in Sierra Vista, Arizona, there were many questions at the time about whether Jessica would be able to live a “normal” life. But Jessica’s father had full confidence in her potential. With the support of her parents and family, Jessica explored the world with her feet, even studying dance in her home town.
When the first performance arrived, she asked to be put in the back row but her dance teacher told her there was no back row. When she finished the routine, the audience’s applause gave her the confidence to continue dancing for 14 years.
Jessica’s parents eventually met a Taekwondo instructor named Jim Cunningham. He told them that Jessica would be more than physically able to learn the art and that only her attitude could hold her back. At the age of 14, Jessica earned her first Black Belt in the International Taekwondo Federation!
After high school, Jessica earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Arizona. When talking about her degree, she frequently explains that psychology deals with the way people think, which has a greater impact on a person’s life than a physical limitation.
During college, Jessica found an ATA Martial Arts club and resumed training in the sport of Taekwondo. Even though Jessica already had one black belt in a different style, she had to relearn all of the color belt material. The instructors created a curriculum that would be accessible to future armless students. Jessica became the first armless person to earn a black belt in the ATA.
Jessica’s most famous accomplishment was learning how to fly. It took three states, four airplanes, two flight instructors and a discouraging year to find the right aircraft: a 1946 415C Ercoupe Airplane. Jessica didn’t give up and her determination put her in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Jessica’s slogan is “Think outside the shoe.”™
What’s your slogan, Strong Girl? Leave me a comment and let me know!