So. I’m halfway through my business trip to Australia. Traveling is a passion of mine. However, rather than fly to the other side of the world for just 6 days as I did in Oct 2017 (which, without going into too much detail, caused me to become exhausted, which then led to my first TC in 2.5 years…!). I’m in Australia for a month in total, which, as I’m sure you can imagine, is a tad torturous.
Publically speaking with firms (and enjoying sights) in Perth, Melbourne, Canberra, and Sydney I speak to leaders who need to be less afraid of disability. It turns out that speaking of a horrid condition such as epilepsy can be motivating as well as educational – for both company leaders as well as team members.
Why travel to Australia again you might ask? I partially grew up in Sydney and have lived in Melbourne also, so I always feel drawn back to my second home. I also have clients/business associates/family/friends in each of the cities mentioned above.
Of course, epilepsy affects those from every background and within each and every country of the world. Motivating and educating corporate leaders regarding disability is particularly valuable and impactful; there’s a large number of people that they employ internationally, their corporate responsibility and indeed the resulting positive effects on not just employee health and productivity, but society in general.
You may or may not have read the guest blog by my ex-boss Leanne Flux (date: 26 Mar 2018), with whom I used to work. Leanne taught me to believe in myself. She wasn’t just my manager but was an inspiring, motivational leader. The person who made me believe in myself.
My positive experience with Leanne is something that I think of at least every other day. She has done and still does inspire me. We all have those select few in our lives who are positively impactful.
Pushing oneself forward professionally through personal stubbornness alone is not sufficient to maximise anyone’s happiness or long-term productivity.
We all need and deserve leaders who respect us and treat us as equals (with none of that ridiculous discriminatory nonsense). Leanne led and encouraged me. I was an intelligent, ambitious, well-read, honest, open-minded professional who always went “the extra mile. The whole “epilepsy business” did not define me.
Just 2 weeks after commencing my first role within the firm, I was asked what I wanted to achieve within my career and was positively shocked at Leanne’s level of support. I expected a “No, you aren’t qualified to transfer overseas. You don’t have a degree; you’re “just” a secretary” (which, at the time was my job title). Leanne supported me to become only the second person within the global firm to win a promotion overseas.
As incredible as the above is, the is no reason for anyone who is decent, professional and hard-working not to be supported by their manager, whether their disability is epilepsy, dyslexia, autism, a physical or mental illness… I could go on. We all have potential and to not be encouraged or guided by a leader would be shameful (and to be quite frank, rather silly (should a firm care about productivity, staff retention, PR, and occasionally good-will)).
Do you have any Managers/Leaders that have been supportive despite your disability? If so, let me know!