I remember being five or six and knowing I was not the same as everyone else in my class. I wanted to be like them, I was trying really hard, and yet I was a zebra with spots and there was no way around it. I don’t know the world any different than being a spotted zebra. From time to time I run into other spotted zebras and it is so cool because we think so similarly. When I worked for other people, I never worked with someone who had dyslexia. So, everyone always thought about things differently than me. They had stripes and outnumbered me and I just assumed I was defective because of my spots.
It really was exhausting trying to fake being someone I was not, not knowing exactly how to fit in and my value. Three reasons not to want to get out of bed in the morning. So, I have spent most of my adult life studying and learning about my brain, what it needs to flourish and how I fit in in the world, what are the gifts these spots bring to the world.
Last week I was talking with a young person about all of the ways being a neuro-different learner works in the world of strips. It was wonderful to watch them sit up a little straighter and taller. They started to ask questions about how they could bring more to their job by using their gifts, how they could help their co-workers learn about people like them and what kind of limits to expect from themselves.
All of a sudden, they realized that while they were different, the world was a better place because of it. I pointed out that they bring to conversations, business, and groups an additional way of seeing the world and engaging with it. And it turns out that by adding in those additional perspectives we not only improve the experience for a few people, but we also improve the experience for many.
When I got done with this session I was beaming with happiness. The whole reason I started my business and do what I do is to lift people up into owning their spots, being proud of who they are, and learning how to best work with the spots instead of trying to be a striped zebra.
We all have our strengths and our weaknesses, once you know what they are you can start to lean into the strengths and ask for help with weaknesses. You can only be a poser for so long and other people will figure out you’re faking it and they won’t know what to do with that. Just be you and your best, people know what to do with that and they can be honest back.