Tag Archive for: Self Awarness

Some gold bars to show the importance of noticing neurodiversity

Noticing neurodiversity (or noticing anything else for that matter)!

How do I assist someone with ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia, or any other combination of the above (and sometimes more)? Did I mention PTSD? – well, noticing neurodiversity is key.

We have no medical training in general (unless you’re a medical doctor who transitioned to being a manager or HR leader, in which case I’d love to hear from you). There’s something about diagnosing that takes power away from the individual because we give them a label they haven’t asked for.

What we can do is pay attention to what is going on.

What does noticing neurodiversity look like?

Noticing can be defined as being aware of, whether or not a person is struggling with a specific task or thriving in a specific area. When we observe, we can approach them and say, “I’ve noticed that this appears to be a bit tricky; is there anything I can do to help, or, better yet, is there anything we could do together to support you?” This is much more effective than stating, “I think you look autistic,” or “your penmanship appears dyslexic”. Noticing is about reflecting back the data that you see rather than attempting to decipher what the data signifies.

There is significance in the term “we”

Are we drawing their focus to a problem they want to solve by noticing? The authority is in their hands; we must collaborate and ask them what we can do together. This is also essential because it keeps responsibility in the middle of the conversation, implying that power is shared rather than taken by one side. I’ve observed that this positively affects creating joint ownership and working towards a potential solution.

The power to move from noticing neurodiversity to asking

To notice, you must first ask. Nothing will change if we only observe and do nothing. Sometimes simply asking is all that is required for an individual to determine what is going on and what would be most beneficial for them to be successful at work.

Different places matter

Changing the setting or medium can be extremely beneficial when having open and honest conversations. If you need to talk to someone struggling, you might find it helpful to do so in a different place than you would usually talk to them. This helps in various ways because it allows individuals to think differently and makes them aware that this is a different type of conversation.

This is the ability of observation

Please make this a daily practice and plan how to use your observations to help your team and organisation be their most effective and innovative selves.

If you need a conversation, please get in contact.

Looking at a Promise to my future self

What is your promise to your future self?

When I joined secondary school, we had the opportunity to write a letter to our future self about where we wanted to be. I remember pondering over all the great things I’d like to achieve, including flying to the moon and playing rugby for England. Then I concluded that what I wanted at that time was to be the most successful bank robber in the world and retire to the Costa del Crime. I’m pleased to say my aspirations changed, I’m not sure that promise to my future self would have been particularly helpful for my long-term health and well-being.

How will your promise to your future self impact you?

It is easy to make a big hairy promise to your future self without thinking about the implications for the things we care about. Or volunteering to take on new responsibilities and projects that have far-reaching potential future impacts. The challenge is not to avoid big commitments, but to make sure we understand the implications of them and consider how they will affect our future self. I would always encourage you to take a moment, preferably in a quiet space to look forward and imagine what life will be like one, two, and even six months down the line with the choice you are about to make in mind.

Excepting and sharing your strengths and difficulties?

Neurodivergent individuals have a soup of traits that form strengths and difficulties depending on the situations based on their environment. If they have had negative experiences in the past, they will often choose not to share the traits that cause them difficulties. This can result in their needing to work far harder at the choices they have made and can sometimes break down if changes happen within the organisations they are working in. I mention this because the choices you make may well also have implications for the people you work with and collaborate with.

Will you choose when to go into conflict with others wisely?

Making promises to your future self inevitably involves change. With change can come conflict as our ideas and aspirations do not align with those who we are working with or collaborating with closely. One of the promises we need to consider to our future self is, when will we choose to go into conflict and what will we choose to do to avoid it?

Will you treat the things that have gone wrong as CPD?

Promises to our future self will often involve risk. This could be personal, financial, reputational or some other sort of risk. When things go wrong, they can often be expensive for us and the question we need to ask ourselves is are we prepared to treat it as CPD (continuous professional development).

As a side note, I have been on many training courses some of them incredibly expensive and have learned that we never fail to learn from the things that have cost us dear.

Will your promise to your future self allow you to hold firmly to your values and not compromise?

In my example, at the beginning of this post I talked about my aspiration of being a bank robber, but what I had not thought about was how this fitted with my values in terms of fairness and charity. Now, this is an extreme example, but it is one we should consider when looking at promises to our future self. Do our promises align with our values, for example, if one of your values is family, are you making promises that mean you spend substantial amounts of time away from home creating an imbalanced lifestyle.

Will you live in the reality of today, not the ifs and but’s of tomorrow?

When making a promise to your future self, are you prepared to live with the consequences. Are you happy that there will be things that you cannot do because of the choices you have chosen to do. It is easy to look back with ifs and buts, this is not an option if you made a choice and have stuck to it.

Will you be kind to yourself?

As you consider the choices that you want to make and the implications they may have for your future self I would encourage you to be kind. We have one life and it is full of adventure, challenge disappointment and grief.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
Albert Einstein

If these are questions that affect you, I would encourage you to reach out and have a conversation with someone you can trust. If I can help with that conversation, please feel free to get in contact.