Talli Osborne was born without arms and missing bones in her legs but was raised to believe that it would not hinder her life. She travels the globe as an inspirational speaker. When she isn’t busy sharing her stories, Talli sings for her melodic-punk band in various clubs in Toronto. She shared what inspires her, how she inspires others, and her connection to Virgin Group Chairman Sir Richard Branson in a previous issue of The Edge, and this is an excerpt from that interview.
Motivational speakers usually try to strike a balance between content, style, approach, and passion in their delivery. When speaking, do you focus on any of these elements more than the rest?
I definitely have passion and an incredible mix of personal stories that I can make relatable to anyone. People leave my talks thinking about times in their lives that were similar to my challenges and feeling positive about the future. My approach is definitely a positive one. I never claim to be the victim; I always try to turn a negative situation into a positive one.
How do you ensure that your speeches convey positivity, hope, and inspiration?
I always keep a positive mindset no matter where I am or what I’m doing. So, when I give my speeches, the moral of each story is always a positive one. I focus on all of the positive things in my life instead of the negative.
I’m very passionate about spreading positivity, and when my audiences see me smiling and laughing, even though my life has been challenging, they can’t help but smile and laugh too. My positivity is infectious!
Do you prefer to bring about personal transformation, professional transformation, or both? What do you consider to be effective facilitation?
I’m all about making personal transformations happen. I want my audience to leave my talks feeling like they want to be the best person they can. I focus on self-love, accepting personal differences and the differences of others. I feel that I’m an effective facilitator because I’m honest, genuine, and I have the ability to laugh at myself. I’m very open-minded, and I’ll answer any and all questions from my audience.
What has been your greatest motivation to help others? When did you realize that you could inspire others by being an instrument of change?
I have always lived my life like everyone else. I do things like grocery shopping, going to work, and taking out the garbage like anyone else would. I have received an incredible amount of positive feedback because of how I conduct myself. People see that I’m living my life, even with my physical challenges, and this makes them re-evaluate their lives and their way of thinking.
I’ve always been a good storyteller and I love being on stage, singing and entertaining. One day I thought, “Why not share my story and inspire as many people as I can?” After the first time doing it, I just knew that it was what I was put on this planet to do. The reaction from every single audience member reassured me of that decision. Everyone is inspired by someone and I’m so fortunate to be given a gift that can change lives.
How does it feel to be recognized and endorsed by Sir Richard Branson, the Chairman of Virgin? How has this impacted your career and life as a whole?
It feels incredible! Richard Branson has always been an inspiration of mine. It’s mind-blowing that he even knows who I am, never mind receiving his endorsement. He inspires me to work hard and to always stay true to myself.
How significant is your involvement with The War Amps? How has being involved impacted you personally?
My volunteer work with The War Amps’ CHAMP Program allows me to help other kids who are missing limbs live life to its fullest and to give hope to these kids and their parents. I have made some lifelong friendships through this program and I feel that it has been some of the most important work that I’ve ever done.
How have advancements in technology and the emergence of social media affected your life and the work that you do?
Most of the advancements in technology excite me! Voice-activated software is now the norm and touchscreen devices make life much easier. The advancements in myoelectric limbs are incredible – but it’s not for me.
I’m often asked why I don’t wear prosthetics and how I feel about the advancements in this department. I used to wear prosthetics because I really wanted to be and look like everyone else. But now, I’d rather be me and be different. My prosthetics never helped me; they were just for aesthetic purposes and the person I have grown to be would rather stand out and be different than fit in.
What message can you offer our readers who might be struggling with personal challenges?
Always focus on all of the wonderful things that you have in your life. No matter what challenges life will bring, you always have positive aspects of your life to focus on. Use the gifts that you’ve got to help others. We all have special talents; use them to make a difference in the world, somehow.
Mary Beltran | Contributing Writer