Coaching for Change
Your disability is your enemy!
Coaching for change has made a significant difference in how I’ve dealt with the challenges posed by my disability. I don’t recall ever being discouraged from pursuing a goal because of other people’s criticism of my disability’s limitations. There has never been a time in my life when I wasn’t driven to succeed in all aspects of my life, whether personally or professionally, so why should a health condition affecting me daily be any different?
I’ve had to come to grips with a lot of changes in my health and the limits it has imposed on me over the last few years. I’ve gone from being a physically fit person to struggling to get dressed without assistance on some days. Every day, I live with restrictions and suffering, and with those constraints and agony come doubts, frustrations, and, yes, even fear.
Nobody knew how scared 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 I wanted to cry. It’s easy for those feelings to take over, and they have.
My doctor has heard me scream 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 worsened. Others always looked to me for direction, advice, and a sense of calm. Being alone with my worries and fears was difficult.
Someone once asked me, ‘How do you stay so enthusiastic about everything, how do you keep smiling?’ I keep smiling because there is always someone worse off than me. Because I have far more reasons than not to live and be a part of this world. 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. If I focused on other people’s opinions, I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the mornings because those doubts and negativity would take hold.
“I believe that the only courage anybody ever needs is the courage to follow your own dreams.”
It’s liberating to understand what motivates you and how this can help you accept the challenges you face on a daily basis. I’ve accepted that if the pain is unbearable and no amount of yoga or meditation will help, I’ll need to take medication. I’ve accepted that I must be honest with others; whether they accept it is another matter.
Don’t get me wrong, being honest about those limitations has caused discrimination (indirectly and directly), the boss that belittled me in a team meeting because I need extra time to walk to the office if I had to park further away than normal, the ‘team-building’ day of physical exercises that could cause more harm than good and the humiliation faced because other staff members were not aware that I had a health condition. When medication changes necessitated time away from work and the need to justify this with medical evidence. 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 recognise your limitations leaves you stuck. It keeps you from moving forward, making the necessary changes, and setting new goals.
You must grieve before embracing your disability. You’ve had a major setback. Not only may you have lost your healthy, virtually limitless body, but also possibly some of your future plans and aspirations.
It’s not simple to adjust to life with a disability. Just because you’re having a difficult day doesn’t mean you’re not brave or courageous. Rather than pretending that you are ok when you are not to family and friends, be open and let them know how you feel or if you are finding it difficult to stay positive about your future. Both you and they will gain from it.
I accept responsibility for what I can do in these situations and use my self-assurance to confront them. I believe that my personal and professional situations would constrain 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?
It can be difficult to adjust to life with a disability. We all take our health for granted until it is gone. It’s all too easy to become preoccupied with what we’ve lost at that point. While you can’t wish for a healthier you or wish your limitations away, you can change how you think about and deal with your disability. You still have control over your life, and there are many things you can do to improve your independence, sense of empowerment, and outlook. Regardless of your condition, it is entirely possible to overcome your problems 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?
With a disability, life is more difficult, and you will have survived, and perhaps flourished, many times each day.
Coaching allows you to draw on previous accomplishments to remind yourself that you have the perseverance and tenacity to achieve your goals.
All of this can help you gain a new perspective. Even the most adamantly impaired person who is a high achiever can benefit from the resources available through coaching.
Furthermore, with many disabled persons desiring to work but unable to find suitable employment, coaching may be able to assist in finding a solution. Not only can it raise your confidence, but it may also help you locate the career that’s appropriate for you by discussing and revealing alternative options that you hadn’t considered.
Below are some resources to help you achieve clarity as part of your journey.
Wheel of Life
Spring Clean your life
Let’s have a chat on how to unlock your untapped potential and talent.
People don’t have a best before date