What is life like being blind? When you think about it, you might imagine total darkness. You may think of limitations and the inability to lead a normal life. But what I’ve learned is that being blind or visually impaired isn’t about what you can or cannot do. It’s about learning the best way to accomplish whatever goals you’ve set out to achieve. It’s about creatively tapping into all the available opportunities that exist for you to live a full life.
I joined a conversation on Clubhouse, an invitation-only audio-chat application for iPhone users, and an incredible woman by the name of Kamille Richardson joined the stage to introduce herself to the room. In addition to sharing about the businesses that she runs, she also mentioned that she was born blind. I was immediately in awe of her, not because of her blindness, but because she hadn’t allowed it to prevent her from experiencing and successfully navigating this app. As she shared her story the entire room unmuted themselves and gave her a beautiful round of applause so that she could feel the love and support we had grown for her in only a matter of minutes.
Her audacity and determination to live a life with vision despite having the physical ability to do so, was beyond inspirational. “Living with vision means living with no barriers,” says Richardson. “Going out there and jumping over any obstacles or hurdles that may be in your way and just really living life to the fullest so that you can operate in your gifts and see them to fruition.”
In the midst of trying to accomplish anything, whether it’s launching a new business venture or being a good mom, we all pull from something to maintain our ambition. Richardson says her drive comes from within and from her support system. “They always say surround yourself with people who are going to motivate you, inspire you and encourage you. I have done just that. I always surround myself with positivity. That includes people, I read positive books, I have positive affirmations. So those are the things that keep me going.”
“…then doors of opportunities start swinging open, those windows of heaven start opening up and those blessings start pouring out because you decided to say yes to yourself” – Kamille RichardsonTweet
Richardson is the owner and founder of iSee Technologies, a company that teaches blind and low vision individuals how to utilize their smart devices. I thought this was incredible and had to learn more about how this all came about.
“People saw that I was able to use my iPhone and would ask how I was able to do it. So I would start teaching them and I would show all of my friends and coworkers at the time. I was already immersed in the blind and low vision community, of course, but I started working with them as a career. A lot of people who had recently lost their sight were really having trouble using their iPhones and that’s when I decided I was going to specialize in that group of people. That was going to be my target group.”
Richardson made it her mission to help everyone should could, especially considering she knew their struggle personally and had overcome it. “I wanted to come in and help them regain their independence and connect with their world,” she said. “When you lose your sight it can be very isolating. This gave them hope and confidence, and I work with them on mindset as well.”
When COVID-19 hit we all had to pivot in one way or another. I was interested in learning how she was able to maintain her services in the midst of a global pandemic. Of course, this wasn’t much of a challenge for her and she was able to maintain her ability to show up for her clients.
“Pre-COVID, I would go to the client, and if they were really new at using their phone, I would physically show them how to do the gestures in order to interact with their phone and navigate through the menu with the hand over hand method. Because of COIVD, we had to start using the Zoom platform. But from here, I realized I had to niche down even more and show people how to not only use Zoom, but shop online. We’re not trying to go into the grocery stores, it’s a pandemic, so I wanted people to be able to get their groceries independently. I showed them how to use shopping apps and things like Uber Eats.”
We all have as story to tell. A story that has the power to transform someone’s life, and if nothing else, allow others to realize they’re not alone. “I had been sharing my story off and on for about 7 years,” Richardson shared. “Again, COVID really pushed me out there.” If you’re not using your gifts, “after a while, God will hit you in the head and say I gave you this gift and I’m gonna need you to use it. So I have been literally working my way around the virtual motivational speaking circuit and it has been amazing. I love it. I’ve really been honing my craft and sharing my message and I realized that people really want to hear what I have to say.”
Through her motivational speaking and empowerment platform, Blind Girl Vision, Richardson inspires others and speaks on topics such as “Saying Yes to Yourself”.
There are several myths floating around about the blind community and I wanted Richardson to dispel a couple of them. Here’s what she shared:
- We are not living in darkness. There are varying degrees of blindness
- We are not living in the figurative darkness. We are business owners, community activist, we are mothers, we are fathers, we are church members, we are interactive, we live with vision
What I learned and loved most through my conversation with Kamille Richardson is that she owns a mindset of being differently abled and highly capable. People think of blindness and may automatically imagine setbacks and challenge. She proves daily that living differently is a superpower if you choose to embrace it, and it’s up to you to decide how and if you use it.
Connect with Kamille Richardson: