Saturday, September 9, 2017

Autism Answer: When Leadership Is Thrust Upon You, Learn

Me graduating kindergarten
"Tsara is thoughtful and quiet. I enjoyed having her in my class." ~Elementary School Teachers
I am naturally nervous with attention from people I have been taught, or I have chosen to learn, to consider more-than-my-equal. And so I quickly learned to stay quiet, be polite, and do as asked around adults or people with some sort of authority, real or imagined. That is why teachers always loved having me in their class. Until they didn't. Because I could only keep up the kind, quiet, do what they say with no questions asked charade for so long. 

Eventually (in my early teens) I felt a growing understanding that what I wanted and who I was mattered equally to what they wanted and who they were. But I was at a loss at how to make this shift. So I became moody and withdrawn (around adults and teachers that is, I was quite an obnoxious flirt with my friends!) until I became gone. Skipping class was my M.O. 

I tell you this only to help you understand just how improbable it always was that I would step into any leadership role. 

But as the oldest sister of a wildly weird rag-tag bunch of kids, labels of the professional kind and of the thrown-at-you-by uncomfortable peers and nosy inconvenienced neighbors kind, I found myself slowly (and reluctantly) advocating, explaining, and exampling the need for understanding, kindness, and expectations. 

In other words, I became a leader. 

My story, of course, is not unique or unfamiliar. Some people (like my mom) are born with a clear vision of how they want the world to behave and jump up on the nearest soap-box to preach, teach, and even beg. But many of us are more comfortable in an audience; in almost any audience at first. 

As we grow to know ourselves better we begin to be purposeful when choosing in what audience we are comfortable being. But still, audience. I am an assistant at heart but I have learned to assist only those I believe in assisting; those that help me connect with myself and my desire to play a purposeful role in the world. 

But as simple as this sounds, choosing a leader or choosing a group or choosing a team, and choosing well, takes skill. In point of fact, it takes Leadership skill. 

And so I learned to be a better leader. I learned and I continue to learn. 

As parents, friends, activists, advocates, siblings, and teachers, I hope you also learn and continue to learn. 

 “A Natural Leader naturally knows how to build herself using the world around her and the raw material of her personage. A Learned Leader learns to do the same. In the end, you can’t tell one from the other. So learn.” ~Lynette Louise (The Brain Broad)

As advocates, we need to hone and refine and enhance our Leadership skills. 

As I mentioned, many of us have had the work of "advocate" thrust upon us because of our passion, love, and view of things that comes from a different perspective. 

Admittedly, large portions of us (example: me) are uncomfortable or unsure in a leadership role. Though, we do our best. We speak or write or attend meetings or example and explain for our neighbors - and we hope that we are having an effect.

With this in mind I am obligated and excited to tell you about an upcoming event, back by popular demand!
Please, I encourage you, I encourage us, to take advantage (if possible) of the upcoming Annual Leadership Summit - Albany (Nov. 2-3) and, more specifically, of Lynette Louise (The Brain Broad) who is one of the renowned speakers for the event. 

And even more specifically, attend her cost-free "after party" where she'll host a gathering of folks interested in mental health and/or brain science, especially as it relates to Leadership, parenting, teaching, activism, and advocacy.

Share this with your friends, groups, and networks! 

Better yet, attend this with your friends, groups, and networks!

Lynette is only one of the fabulous speakers who are presenting at the event. Don't miss out!

More info and links here: Recognize, Choose, and Become Better Leaders with Lessons from The Brain Broad

As advocates and team builders for our children, as educators and teachers for other people's children, as parents and siblings in our home, Leadership skills - particularly when taught by a special needs team builder, educator, teacher, and parent - are always necessary and valuable. 

Plus, the event is healthy fun!

 “Ideas don’t grow simply because they have been planted. They must fall on fertile soil.”~Lynette Louise (The Brain Broad)

Take steps to be sure your brain-soil is fertalized for the healthiest ideas! 

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

 P.S: I understand that attending an event can be overly challenging or even impossible. Sometimes an event comes along that we know, we know, we must do all we can to make happen. (Like the time I took my sons to see Mariana's Trench in Dallas, TX and so we ate cheap off-brand noodles every day for a month, or the time I went to New York for a Publicity Summit and I could only eat what was offered free in hotel lobbies the entire trip.) Those are the things we do and we never regret. 

But when an event comes along and we know we want to go, and we know it would be good for us, but we also know that it's not quite exactly worth the sacrifices or challenges at the time, we let it go. I get it. I do that, too.

So, here's the next best thing! If the Annual Leadership Summit America - Albany, NY isn't going to happen for you, no worries! Use that same Leadership skill (the one that determined this was not the event you would attend) to purchase Lynette's Leadership book! It's filled with fabulous, insightful, surprising, actionable, and weirdly exciting Leadership Lessons! Follow this link for more about the book:

And if you are attending the event, bring a copy of the book with you! Lynette can sign it if you'd like, plus it will give you a head-start on learning Leadership skills that you can then build on. You're such a clever leader for thinking of that! ;D