Categories: Lime Connect Q & A: Your Questions. Our Answers.
One of the great programs that Lime Connect offers is a Fellowship Program in the U.S. for rising juniors who happen to have disabilities. (By the way, the 2014 Fellowship Program application is launching this week.) We kick the program off with a 4-day Leadership & Development Symposium in New York City. Following the Symposium we ask our new Fellows to reflect, through writing, on their experience at Symposium and to share newly discovered perspectives on disabilty and success. I want to open this blog column in the New Year by sharing some of the inspiring thoughts and perspectives from the 2013 Fellowship class. Enjoy and Happy New Year!
"Instead of hiding and feeling ashamed of who we are, we have to show what we are capable of in spite of, or because, we are disabled. We must break curves on exams, out-perform our competitors, work hard as team players, and lead when called upon. By showing others our talent, our inabilities will seem inconsequential."
"We as future leaders have the unique ability to change the way others think of those with disabilities and ultimately change the world to our liking. However, in order to do this, we must start by changing ourselves. By letting go of any fear or shame we may feel regarding our disabilities we will be able to perform at our full potentials and show those with limited insight what disabled people can accomplish."
"As people with disabilities, we remain a minority in both society and the workforce. The Symposium has taught me that just because we are a minority in this sense, we are no less capable than the majority who may not be facing the same kinds of challenges that we do in everyday life. With the appropriate types of accommodations and the superb work ethic that we have demonstrated our whole lives as we advanced towards where we are today, we can accomplish anything that we want to in life. And if along the way we can inspire others who face adversities in their lives or prove wrong those who doubt us, then all the better."
"Yes, our disability is a part of us, and it will be something we will have to live with as we carry on through our lives. But what will ultimately define us as people is what we do with the abilities that we are given"
"I realize now that there is no reason why I shouldn’t let recruiters know about my hearing loss before phone interviews so that the interviewers will be aware of the need to speak clearly or to tell my manager that I may have to ask somebody to repeat himself or herself during a meeting. As much as I may not want to draw attention to myself by making people aware of my disability, I will only end up attracting more attention if my unannounced hearing loss starts affecting my job performance. I hope that by being upfront about my disability, I may serve as an example to others who had been trying to hide their disabilities that asking for an accommodation can do much more good than harm when it leads to better results in the workplace."
"I believe that asking for the necessary accommodations and working hard to produce real accomplishments is the best way to break the harmful stereotypes that people with disabilities are not valuable to companies. As disabled individuals, we are inherently creative problem solvers as we seek alternative ways to correct for or account for our disabilities in our lives, both socially and professionally. This creativity can translate to fresh approaches to solving problems in the workplace should we be given the opportunity and the chance to do so. Additionally, we have become accustomed to always putting in that extra effort in order to overcome obstacles we face. Perseverance in the face of adversities is certainly a value that must be present in the workplace in order for a company to be successful. The only way that we can help prove stereotypes wrong is to actually demonstrate that they are wrong through our concrete actions and accomplishments."
"We are not normal people; we are in fact extraordinary. We have tackled challenges that most cannot even fathom, and we have emerged victorious. When any of us confronts attacks of judgment, prejudice, or condemnation, we know exactly how to respond: fight back with wisdom, perseverance, and leadership by example. I have been inspired from witnessing every single one of us uphold the mission at Lime to break stereotypes surrounding disability – to judge us not by the color of our skin nor by the complexity of our conditions but by the content of our character."
"With my newfound realization of the stigmas people carry around disabled individuals I have reevaluated the way I should present myself in professional settings. I will obviously still be myself and I personally don’t consider my disability as anything more than an inconvenience to this day. However, from now on I will keep in my mind that my disability is on other people’s minds, whether subconsciously or not, and I must actively work to overcome whatever stigmas society has placed on me. This has been a great realization for me because it means I can make other people more comfortable about my disability and bring them closer to my own personal view of looking at it as something closer to a broken ankle than a life altering condition."
"The Lime Connect Symposium was incredibly valuable in helping me to understand the sheer potential and marketability of disabilities; for me, it confirmed that we are both an emerging market and human capital at its very best. Interacting with the other Fellows and the guest speakers, I have come to realize that disabilities can be equated to unique experiences, and they are a worldview that others do not necessarily possess."
"Life is about opportunities! The endless opportunities that present themselves in our world are what keep me going! The opportunities that I choose to take part in is what defines the person that I am. I believe that the biggest disability a person can have in life is fear! Fear can inhibit you from becoming the person that you are meant to be."
What inspiring perspectives do you want to share?