Don’t we all want more?
I quickly earned a reputation for pushing the limits.
Asking questions has been a part of my life for a very long time. As a child, I rarely accepted “no” as an answer. This came from a deeply embedded part of my personality that said “do I have all the information…can I find a way to turn this refusal into a yes. Granted, that is not always possible and for some of the adults in my life- this was seen as disobedience, insolence and disrespect. It was rare for me as a child to find a decision-maker who was truly interested in discussion or hearing my (often loud) point of view. Perhaps you know a child like that? Perhaps you were that child?
I was surprised every time the people around me didn’t appreciate that I had questions or “talked back” about a decision I was asked (forced) to accept. It just never occurred to me that what I was doing was anything other than normal. Don’t we all have questions?
As a seasoned professional there have been hundreds of examples where choosing to be true to who I am and following the rules were diametrically opposed. In order to uphold the values and core beliefs I had- I was going to have to challenge the “status quo”. When I started my first company, Kids Matter Inc. I did so because there wasn’t an organization in my industry who would support the direction that I wanted to move in. So, around my kitchen table began the journey of building and nurturing relationships with families and professionals based on an understanding that disability did not have to be a cookie-cutter program and that living life to the fullest is a valid measurement of “effectiveness”. Now, 10 years later, Kids Matter Inc. has contributed to the success of hundreds of children and professionals creating a community of empowerment and boldly redefining where the limits of success can be set.
Knowing where I am going has been deeply rooted in knowing who I am and understanding that my questions, my vision, and my conclusions about what are possible come from within me not from definitions of “here’s the line” that is set by others.
Working across the layers of stakeholders in my industry has afforded me a perspective that uniquely qualifies me to see the issues from multiple perspectives at the same time. It fuels my desire to have an impact when teams fail to work together and sink into dysfunction. It inspires me to educate professionals and decision-makers to redefine who they are and give action to the values they struggle to engage. Can we do this differently? What do we not know? Where is the point of collaboration? These are the issues that drive me forward and propel my engagement.
The next step in my journey lands me solidly in line with my experiences and the theme of my story. Consultation, advocacy and wide-spread system change are not about “winning” for me. It is about making a difference that adds value to others. Asking the hard questions is my job and my passion; my role as a “loyal heretic “.
My definition of power is not about dominating others but about mutual transformation where I grow, you grow, and the way we do things evolves from “this is the way it is” to “what we imagined is now possible”.
I am looking forward to joining with you in your discovery of what is possible in your life, your team and your community. Together we can make the changes you envision a reality.