Coaching for Change
Thanks to coaching for change, I’ve seen a significant improvement in how I’ve handled the difficulties caused by my disability. I can’t recall ever giving up on a goal because of someone else’s criticism. What makes a medical condition that I deal with every day any different? I’ve always been driven to be successful in all areas of my life, whether they be personally or professionally.
Over the last few years, I’ve had to deal with a lot of changes in my health and the limitations it has imposed on me. I’ve gone from being a physically fit person to needing help getting dressed on some days. Every day, I live with limitations and agony, and with those limitations and agony come doubts, frustrations, and, yes, fear.
Nobody knew how terrified I was when I saw a flight of stairs I had to climb, or when I realised I had to sit/stand for an extended period of time, or when I had to smile when all I wanted to do was cry. It’s easy for those emotions to take over, and they have.
My doctor saw me crying for help because I didn’t know what else to do, how to make things easier for myself, or how to keep going if things got worse. Others looked to me for guidance, advice, and a sense of calm. It was difficult to be alone with my worries and fears.
‘How do you stay so enthusiastic about everything, how do you keep smiling?’ someone once asked. I keep smiling because there is always someone who is in a worse situation than me. Because I have far more reasons to live and be a part of this world than not. Because I have responsibilities that I take seriously, and because I can improve my days in any way I can with the right mental attitude. I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the mornings if I focused on other people’s opinions.
“I believe that the only courage anybody ever needs is the courage to follow your own dreams.”
Understanding what motivates you and how this can help you accept the challenges you face on a daily basis is liberating. I’ve come to terms with the fact that if the pain is unbearable and no amount of yoga or meditation will help, appropriate medication is the only option. I’ve accepted that I must be truthful with others; whether they accept it is a different story.
Don’t get me wrong: being honest about my limitations has resulted in discrimination (both indirectly and directly), a boss who belittled me in a team meeting because I needed extra time to walk to the office if I had to park further away than usual, a ‘team-building’ day of physical exercises that may cause more harm than good, and humiliation because other staff members were unaware of my health condition. Justifying w hen medication changes necessitate time away from work and the side effects impair your mental and physical wellbeing. Those are the times when I am cruelly reminded of my disability.
Accepting your disability is a difficult task. Acceptance can appear to be a sign of weakness, as if you’re giving up on life and your future. However, refusing to acknowledge your limitations keeps you stuck. It prevents you from moving forward, making the necessary changes, setting new goals, and achieving life balance.
Before you can accept your disability, you must first grieve. You’ve suffered a significant setback. Not only have you possibly lost your healthy, virtually limitless body, but also some of your future plans and aspirations.
Adapting to life with a disability is not easy. Simply because you are having a difficult day does not imply that you are not brave or courageous. Rather than pretending to family and friends that you are fine when you are not, be open and tell them how you feel or if you are having difficulty staying positive about your future. It will benefit both you and them.
I accept responsibility for what I can do in these situations and confront them with confidence. My personal and professional circumstances, I believe, would limit me.
Throughout it all, I’ll keep smiling, staying motivated, helping others where I can, accepting what I can’t control and embracing what I can.
What would I tell others in a similar situation?
Adapting to life with a disability can be challenging. We all take our health for granted until it is no longer available. At that point, it’s all too easy to become preoccupied with what we’ve lost. While you can’t wish for a healthier you or wish your limitations away, you can change your attitude towards or approach to your disability. You still have power over your life, and there are numerous things you can do to boost your independence, sense of empowerment, and outlook. Regardless of your situation, you can overcome your difficulties and live a full—and fulfilling—life.
- Determine your motivation and what you value.
- Acceptance is important, but don’t let what you’re going through defeat you.
- Ask for help when you need it, be angry and upset when necessary, and occasionally ‘wallow’ in self-pity, but don’t unpack and live there.
- Don’t let other people’s negativity rub off on you.
You are so much more than you realise, and you are worthy of every challenge you overcome and every success you achieve.
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
How can Coaching benefit you?
Life is more difficult with a disability, and you will have survived, and perhaps thrived, many times each day.
Coaching allows you to draw on previous accomplishments to remind yourself that you have the tenacity and perseverance to achieve your goals.
All of this can assist you in gaining a new perspective. Even the most severely impaired high achiever can benefit from the resources made available through coaching.
Furthermore, with many disabled people wanting to work but unable to find suitable employment, coaching may be able to help. It can not only boost your confidence, but it can also help you find the right career for you by discussing and revealing alternative options you hadn’t considered.
Below are some resources to help you achieve clarity as part of your journey.
Let’s have a chat on how to unlock your untapped potential and talent.