Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Autism Answer: Choosing A Leader

It's voting season in the USA, leadership choosing season here in The States. 

I have a permanent resident card and love my life here in the United States. I cannot vote, so I tend to engage in the election seasons a little bit differently. 

I write articles, I debate concepts, I have fun conversations with my sons. 
For example:

Shay: Do you think I'm a democrat or a republican?

Me: Oh, honey! I suggest you never label yourself that way. It's one of the problems with the system, because once you choose a "team" you start gathering proof of why you're on the winning or right one, rather than truly listening to and considering issues. 

Shay: That makes sense. 
So, I don't call myself a supporter of anyone or any specific party, though I'm not unwilling to notice the party or candidate who approaches issues in a way I like. 

I do think it's smart to take a moment, alone, away from the influence of friends, family, and media, to know what you believe and what kind of leader you want. 

Here is an example of the kind of leaders I like to choose in my life: 

-----> Compromise but not Concede or Give Up on Issues
It's important to me that there is a willingness to compromise while knowing the value of holding strong to the core important values. When there seems to be no possible way to find a common ground or to agree on how to solve a problem, a leader keeps their eye on the core important piece and refuses to let go, though they can find ways to compromise on how it all happens. (I'm married, I'm a mom, so I know this can be done! It's exhausting and takes a lot of soul searching, but it's worth it!)

-----> Engaging Everyone To Participate
A leader isn't alone and isn't the boss of us. They are our visionary and hard working expert. They consistently remind us that we are responsible for voicing our wants and for exploring our talents and passions. We are responsible for discovering how we can help and for checking in with ourselves to see if we are still in agreement with the group. 

-----> Evolve on Issues but Rarely Have To
A leader is a visionary. They see deeper into the system and aren't easily swayed by it. They have a unique understanding of what's going on beneath the surface and what they KNOW to be right. In this way, they are consistent and strong in their beliefs. My favorite leaders fight for equality and fairness when it isn't "cool" because they know the value of it. They know it so well that they are willing to be laughed at, scorned, or considered crazy because that hurts less (though it hurts) than walking away from their core values and vision. 

-----> Keep The Big Picture On Display
Too easily we get distracted by the petty details and wander off into a tangled mess of seemingly important debates. I like a leader who keeps the big picture on display, who reminds us what we're working to create. I've lived long enough and made enough of my dreams come true to know the value of this. Every single time I've had a clear vision of what I wanted, I've gotten it. Despite all of the distractions that came along to busy me, all I ever had to do was remember that picture. When I get there, it always looks a little bit different than I imagined but it's unmistakably my dream come true. A leader, I believe, should continue to paint that picture for us and encourage us to do the same for ourselves. 

These are a few of the things I look for in a leader. I myself do not possess all of these qualities, and that's okay. We can't all be leaders! (Although we all are, for ourselves and at different times in our lives for others. However, some of us are leaders at the core while others are followers. Both roles are equally important and we are happiest when we take on our roles with purpose, passion, and open minds!) 

As I've shared with you often it was my mom, Lynette Louise aka The Brain Broad, who led me to believe in myself, in the possibility of equality for my autistic brothers, in the value of working toward a world who would accept and appreciate absolutely every type of living being. And it was me who chose to allow that leading. 

I suggest with all of my heart that you take some time to define what kind of leader you want. Whether you will be voting, writing, debating, calling your local politician, spending your money with purpose, speaking at an event, chatting at the dinner table, some of the above or all of the above, I suggest we always take the time to evaluate and reevaluate our leaders. 

[And for those of you unsure I enthusiastically encourage you to read (when it becomes available) my mom's upcoming book: The Seven Senses of Leadership: The Brain Broad's Guide to Leadership Sensibilities. The book is filled with fabulous insights, actions, and ideas for all of us! I promise to let you know when it has been published, some time in the next few months. Here's a link to my mom's book page so you can check out all of the books she's already published, including books she's contributed to, in the meantime.]

So, though I can't vote, I do. With my words, my money, my conversations, and with a willingness to know what I want, shift what I want, and believe in a leader who will work with me to help us have it. 

Be sure to choose a leader who believes in you as much as you believe in them, friends!

The relationship is a symbiotic one. 

Hugs, smiles, and love!! 
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

Choose a leader who encourages you to explore along the way, but also reminds you to keep going.