6 ways a leader with a disability can be a great achiever

The opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You may never have thought of the tenacity it takes to tackle a day with a disability or chronic condition, but as a business leader with a disability, have you ever considered that your successful experiences in your field with a disability can be leveraged to push boundaries? your role in business and take a step towards entrepreneurship?

As society faces new and difficult challenges, leaders demand a divergent perspective, and your creativity, forged to make the impossible possible, may be what the world is looking for.

Related: These 4 Mindsets Will Help You Ascend to Leadership Working with a Disability

Going beyond “no”

As a multifaceted business leader, remember how you dealt with the problems your limitation brought into your life. When you hit an obstacle, you don’t stop. You made a move, asked questions, and found a solution. You’ve overcome technical issues, mobility issues, and insurance challenges. A person with a severe disability does not accept “no” as the final answer and does not accept bad news as game over. This is your superpower gene: you’ve already paid your dues, rising above the norm to outrun the system and force organizations and agencies to cater to your needs. Perhaps now is the time to cash in on all that experience and rise to the level of a visionary, solving problems that others are content to simply accept as fate.

The power to go beyond the “no” is the first giant leap in an entrepreneur’s trajectory. Your reluctance to accept the way things are, your vision of how things can be changed, and your willingness to assemble a team of creative thinkers to help solve problems can all converge to create much-needed change.

The power to go beyond the “no” is the first giant leap in an entrepreneur’s trajectory. Your reluctance to accept the way things are, your vision of how things can be changed, and your willingness to assemble a team of creative thinkers to help solve problems can all converge to create much-needed change.

Related: 6 founders on when to take ‘no’ and when to persevere

Bringing the pioneering spirit

As a business leader, you understand the importance of fitting into the corporate culture and following the rules. However, the most famous entrepreneurs are visionaries. Disabled people are attracted to entrepreneurship because they can do things their own way. As a disabled leader, you’ve probably discovered solutions to allow you to contribute. You didn’t rise to your position alone; you probably had a tech help and support team. You had to be creative.

Your wisdom can now move you into the freedom of entrepreneurship. You can work wherever you want, delegate, work remotely, or bring other innovators into a brick-and-mortar space; you can produce the product that will change the world or sell the concept. The entrepreneur and person with a disability are willing to try a variety of things, willing to take risks, and willing to learn. As a person with a disability, you are not constrained; you rose to leadership by discovering solutions and finding alternative ways of working. This higher level of thinking is what is needed to start on the entrepreneur’s path.

Related: Disability and Leadership: Meeting the Needs of a Divergent Workforce

Unpacking your resourcefulness

When getting a diagnosis, dealing with a prognosis, or managing daily activities with a limitation, you’ve likely used information, technology, and people to support and accommodate you on your journey. This is not a trivial set of skills. Resourcefulness is a critical component in the entrepreneur’s toolkit. You likely lacked knowledge in all areas of practice. As a disabled leader, you had to listen to doctors’ advice, consider insurance bureaucracy, get a second opinion, and make an informed decision about your care. These experiences of delegating, seeking advice and using common sense will guide your move into entrepreneurship.

As you take on the role of visionary, you’ll have to lead with your feet on the ground, and that means leveraging information, people, money and resources to bring big dreams to life. Your life has probably been a dance between imagining a world without limitations and designing a world where limitations no longer stop people from living their dreams. This is the entrepreneur’s dance.

Related: 5 ways employees with disabilities help maximize a company’s growth

raising your vibration

Beyond resourcefulness, a business leader with diverse capabilities may see a gap in the market, an underserved demographic, and an underdeveloped technology. They see an unconventional way of doing things. They change the world. A dramatic example would be the technology that allows amputee pilots to take off and land planes with their feet.

Think of your own ideas to innovate your work or home life. Many people take their disability and create a mission-driven nonprofit. Some feel that starting their own business is a way to “break free” from the limited perceptions that the “fully capable” tend to have. Those who have taken this leap of faith have discovered a resonance or “vibration” where diverse thinkers are welcome and creativity thrives. Crowdfunding, beta testers, student contributors, investors, and volunteers: there are many ways to find the support you need to make your concept a reality.

You’ve leveraged your gifts by working for a company – now, invest that gift and take that visionary step; lead a team into new territory using what you already know and coaching others to question their perceptions.

finding inspiration

With insights from famous divergent thinkers and celebrities struggling with health issues, there’s no shortage of social media content to inspire you to reach higher and dream bigger. Disabled people produce short documentaries and videos, new music, art and podcasts, sharing their way of thriving with a disability. A cursory YouTube search reveals Hip-Hop artists using their feet to make beats, researchers assembling a team of volunteers to see a new product through to manufacturing, business leaders unraveling how divergent thinking generates new ideas, paraplegics discussing a day into their lives, legally blind documentarians sharing their world and a deaf tech prodigy explaining new software that helps people with and without hearing communicate more effectively with AI.

But you don’t have to surf the internet when inspiring people are all around you. As a leader with a disability, you know the power of networking. Find a group of people with diverse disabilities and take the time to listen to their stories; if you can’t find such a group in your area, start one. It’s important to get the perspectives of people who have walked your path and to know what it’s like to navigate life with limitations. You can inspire and be inspired by showing up and encouraging others, even as you are encouraged. Networking is inspiring because it allows for brainstorming, collaboration and fellowship, which bring inspiration.

creating your legacy

As a leader with a handicap, you may have developed a condition, such as progressive vision loss, or you may have been born with a neurodivergence, such as dyslexia. Once you’ve found your frequency and tuned in to the ideas of different thinkers, it’s time to make things easier for those now waking up to the reality of a disability. What can you create that will make a significant change? How can your team rethink, revolutionize, and reimagine traditional products for ease of use?

Many people become entrepreneurs because they want to be agents of change in the world, ensuring that those who walk in their shoes have a little easier time. It’s important to consider what your career says about you. As a business leader with a disability, you can focus money, people and time on areas you believe in most. You can take the lead, bringing the right people into the room to nurture the projects you’ve always wanted to complete. You can buck the trends, changing the trajectory of technological research to benefit those watching from the sidelines, waiting for you to rise to the penultimate position of leadership, the innovative helmsman positioned to change even the smallest worthwhile things in a challenging life. .

Leave a Comment