31 Days of SMA: How to Become Successful and Independent

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by BNS Staff |

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How to become successful | SMA News Today | The Soule family poses outdoors in front of a garden and some type of building in the background.

From left, Kevin, Bryce, Drew, Judy, and Delaney Soule. (Photo courtesy of the Soule family)

Day 31 of 31

This is Drew Soule’s story:

Living with SMA is not for the faint of heart, but someone has to do it!

People ask me all the time how I became successful and independent and remain positive despite the challenges and obstacles I’ve faced. My simple answer is mindset.

My name is Drew, and I’m 28 and living with SMA type 2 in Redondo Beach, California. I grew up in Illinois, just outside of Chicago, and was raised by my two fabulous parents, Kevin and Judy. I have a twin brother named Bryce who is able-bodied, and a younger sister named Delaney.

My parents are by far my biggest inspiration in life, as they’ve worked extremely hard to overcome adversity in their own lives. They taught us that hard work truly does pay off, which is the mindset I embody every day.

By day, I’m an HR business partner working for Pinterest, and I previously worked at Northrop Grumman, supporting engineering leadership and building high-performing teams of engineers who solved some of the most difficult problems on earth. To be successful in this environment, there are two tips and tricks I want to share to help you see similar success in your life.

Most importantly, get yourself marketable skills backed by accredited universities and degrees. I received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in six years from the University of Illinois without having to pay much out of pocket. Leverage rehabilitation programs and scholarships, and go find grassroots sponsors to get you through the schooling.

Take it seriously. You will only be afforded one opportunity to prove yourself. Figure out what you are passionate about, what is in demand, and what the growing career paths are. Find a mutually beneficial goal to work toward.

Lastly, prepare to face many hurdles. Building a care team is not something that can magically happen overnight, and it is inevitable that you will end up hiring people who don’t work out. Be patient with this process and act with compassion, empathy, and optimism, even in the most difficult times, and you will surely overcome all the obstacles in front of you.

SMA News Today’s 31 Days of SMA campaign will publish one story per day for SMA Awareness Month in August. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofSMA, or read the full series.