Being Different and Awesome with Living One-Handed Blogger Ryan Haack – Episode 106

April 4, 2014

I’ve had a lot of people in my life tell me to stop what I’m doing and go get a real job. Often, my response to that was, “Telling me to stop doing this work is like you telling me to cut off my left arm.” After the conversation I had with to today’s featured guest, I will rethink my mantra now. I got to talk to Ryan Haack, a dad, speaker and blogger who was born missing his left forearm. Ryan shares his life experiences at the blog

Check out the inspiring conversation to find out what Ryan is afraid of today. Spoiler alert: it’s not being one-handed.

Watch the show (uncensored & unedited)

Listen to the podcast

Share Some SHUT UP Love:

I won’t be able to offer who I actually am if I’m trying to be someone else. – @LivingOneHanded on #shutupshow (click to tweet)

Fun Facts:

  • Ryan Haack is a dad, speaker, and blogger who shares his experiences living one-handed.
  • Ryan was born missing his left forearm and has remained as such ever since.
  • In 2011, he launched to share his and others’ stories through writing, video and audio.
  • Ryan created a program called: Different Is Awesome! Acknowledging, Accepting and Celebrating What Makes Us Unique.
  • Ryan has also written for
  • Ryan gives talks to students and kids to teach them how valuable they are and to accept people who are different.

Defining SHUT UP Moment:

I had never seen anyone with an arm like mine until I was in my 30s and I saw a kid with his mom at a local restaurant. The mom came over to me when she noticed my arm looked just like her son’s. I had a chance to talk to them about my experiences and I left that encounter wanting to give the boy a hug. It’s the first time I thought I could help other people because they’re out there, I just didn’t know. I didn’t know what I could do but I knew I could do something to help.

I started a blog writing about random stuff. I started making videos and writing about experiences I’ve had. I’m a perfectionist whose perfectionism causes paralysis. For example, before I speak somewhere I put together a mountain of information and then freak out. didn’t arrive until December 2011. It took me a year to figure out what this means. I wanted to have everything perfect before I launched it. I since learned it’s okay; everything doesn’t need to be perfect. That was the genesis for wanting to help the community and brought me to the work I do today.


Growing up with one hand was no different to me than someone who grew up with two hands. I never had anyone to prove wrong. It was no different. I am much aware of it now than I was when I was younger. – Ryan Haack

I do some speaking and even now I still ask myself at times what makes me so special. I’m that guy with a blog. I’m not a paralympian. I haven’t climbed a mountain, nothing. – Ryan Haack

I have to be okay with who I am and not who I am not. I won’t be able to offer who I actually am if I’m trying to be someone else. – Ryan Haack

I want people to know they are valuable just the way they are. I think we all need to hear that from time to time. – Ryan Haack

I love to ask kids, “What does valuable mean to you? You’re worth something just the way you are.” – Ryan Haack

I really believe we are all the way we are for a reason. I believe I was created this way for a reason and I’m trying to live the best I can. – Ryan Haack

When your’e in it, it’s the most devastating thing ever. I get that. It’s completely valid and legit. I’m a huge proponent of feeling feelings. When you get down the road and past it, that’s the only time you can see it makes more sense. It is really cool to get to look back. – Ryan Haack

Ryan Recommends:

Ryan will be launching a Kickstarter campaign to promote his new book for kids about how being different is awesome. Stay tuned.

Ryan can speak at your school or community group, check out his speaking page for more info.

Find Ryan:

Find Ryan’s writing and work at