I am a mom of a special needs child. I like to say it doesn’t define me as a person but it does play a HUGE part in our lives.
In the Spring I wrote an article for a special needs community I’m part of (SPD Bloggers Network) about my youngest son. I think that article is not only valuable for parents struggling but leadership development overall. We all strive to evolve as people and I feel I never personally stop learning how to be a better mother, leader, friend, daughter, wife and so on.
In our lives we all get to points where we are frustrated, don’t feel like we have a path or things are running in circles. I feel like this often at home in regards to my youngest son. So I’d like to share a personal story and leadership series book that really helped me through the process. I hope you all enjoy.
Patience is Not My Virtue; Focus on Your Strengths
It has been in a particular month of very stressful low ends of the of the bell curve for my littlest guy. He’s becoming more and more difficult for me to handle. I’d say some of it is being three years old but a lot of it is he is changing and I need support changing with his changing body.
Transition has always been very difficult for him. Anything different in his routine is very difficult for him to handle and getting him to change activities (from eating to changing clothes, getting from the house to the car..etc.) takes a lot of time and patience on my part. I’m struggling with finding the right technique and patience to work with him. I’m doing it but it’s completely wearing me out and every activity can take a long time. For example the other day it took me two hours to get him to pre-school and it was a disaster.
I thought I might have some magic solution if 1) we made some changes based on his occupational therapists recommendations and 2) he will be in special education pre-school per his psychologist recommendation on his individual education plan (IEP). He’d get the tools he needs (and so would I) in turn resulting in a little more patience for both of us. Then of course we hit a HUGE IEP roadblock.
I felt that I had the wind was just knocked out of me and there were any options available. I sit in my office at 5am and I keep thinking how “patience is definitely not my virtue” but I’m not giving up on finding what works for my littlest guy. I look up on the shelf on my desk and see this book called “Strength Finder 2.0 from Tom Rath.
Strength Finder 2.0 is a book (one of many) I used as a tool when I was working in the corporate world that comes with a framework that helps identify what an individual is good at. It has 34 themes (or characteristics) that an individual can carry attributes of and highlights four strength areas for you based on a quiz you take. Once your characteristics are highlighted it talks about it and then identifies “ideas for actions” and “how to work”.
The reason I bring up this book is it was staring at me as I sat down to write about not having patience and my son’s struggles. So of course I picked it up and started scanning through the characteristics I remember I fell into. ARRANGER, BELIEF, CONNECTEDNESS & RELATOR. So basically to sum them all up for me: I face complex situations and come up with solutions in creative manners. I have a very strong belief system that can’t be “rocked. I connect with “chosen” individuals I have lifelong relationships with I can relate to that have similar passions and would do anything for them.
So when I look at this book it reminds me that even though I haven’t been feeling patient I know it’s a result of the fact that my current plan didn’t work and I need a new one. So I go back to the actions page and some up with a new plan of attack for my son based on my reminded strengths….:) The book put me back on track.
So if you’re a professional, aspiring leaders, mentor, mentee or parent, I definitely recommend this framework and book. It’s not for just for corporate individuals. Anyone can find or be reminded of their strengths. It helped me to remember that even though “patience is not my virtue” I have to refocus with my strengths and be patient to get to the next chapter.
THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED AND I WANTED TO SHARE IT WITH ALL OF YOU!
Director, Smart Mentoring
change management, leadership, self development