Bee Little

People generally have good intent and mean well.   We won’t talk about those rare few individuals that are totally mindlessly malicious.   Parents love to protect their children, friends love to protect their friends, and we like to protect ourselves.   We like to fit in.   Having a disability can leave you feeling like an alien.  The challenge is responding to an observation of thy are / you’re different or they / you can’t do that?

Bee Little Podcast
It’s easy to blame everything on the disability.   It’s easy for a parent to say oh its O.K. he’s harmless he’s disabled.   Or for a friend to say its O.K. he’s blind.   Or you to say yourself oh I can’t do it I’m blind or disabled.

I have on many occasions sat through friend’s family or myself making excuses for myself and my disability.  Then sit back and wonder why on earth I feel so bad.   Having your disability explained to someone else is so limiting.  I find it makes me feel handicapped.    I feel lesser than.   Belittled.   Using the disability as an excuse is such a profound handicap.    It sets limits it separates us and ensures we are not to be measured as everyone else.  It limits our expectations of ourselves and our own abilities.

I’ve had a parent explain that I am blind to an observer and I end up feeling like the freak side show at the circus.  I’ve also watched parents explain their child’s disability and see the child shrink away and want to die of shame.

In business I focus on organizational maturity and organizational change.   Too often when organizations are assessed they are told how bad they are and what they need to do to be better.   Instead I work on a different approach.  Let’s identify the successes the things that work and work well and build on those.

When I coach a disabled person or anyone for that matter I tell them don’t focus on your weaknesses as they will always be weaknesses.  You can reduce a weakness but it’s very difficult to eliminate a weakness or turn a weakness right around into a strength.   Instead focus on the strengths while reducing the impact of the weaknesses.

When I talk about my disability and my disabilities impact I talk in terms of logistics.  Things I need to do to accommodate my needs to ensure I can perform at my best.     Not I’m sorry I can’t do this or I can’t do that.   But to do this I need this assistance please.

I also try to focus on the result. Hey look what I’m doing or what I’ve done.  It’s taken a long time for me but I’ve realized its O.K. to ask for help when I need it.   The result is the focus on you the person and your abilities and not the focus on your disability ultimately facilitating inclusion.

My disability is actually a strength.   Because I see the world differently and because of the things I have had to do to adapt. I bring a very different point of view to my work and my life.    My disability helps me get to where I’m at personally and professionally.  It’s been hard and bumpy and man it hurts from time to time but ultimately Its O.K. to be me.

About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

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