The Administrative Bent of People with SMA
Last updated: March 2022
Why we make great leaders, parents, and executives:
If you were born in the last 40 years, there’s a good chance that you have taken some form of personality or strength-finding test. Many of them draw attention to skills we are “naturally” born with, but I’m a firm believer that we also gain strengths from adapting to our life circumstances.
Learning to adapt and problem solve
Hard times lead us to develop creative ways to solve issues or problem-solve, fast. For those with a muscular disease, this is a frequent occurrence.
Although we live with a physical disability that causes physical weakness, we gain strengths in administration and guiding others.
Now I know every one of us is “bent“ differently. But I would bet that most of us who depend on assistance, whether from family members, friends, or caregivers, would score high on the administrative charts.
Let’s walk through an example: Some friends want to meet up for dinner. Not only do we have to consider whether or not that is fun, but we have to think through some other things.
“What’s the weather like? How will I get there? Can I get into the facility? What if I have to use the restroom? Can I enjoy the activities on my own, or will I need assistance with things like eating or drinking?”
All our lives, we have inadvertently experienced “training.” Training that some never get. But training for what? Perhaps it could be used for future positions, such as parenthood or a job title, such as executive, or leader of a company.
Thinking through solutions in advance
Our ability to analyze potential problems and to think through solutions before we are even faced with the issue is a skill that most employers would benefit from. And children need this from their parents as well.
Not only do we have the extra skill set of being great planners, but we view things from a 3rd-party perspective.
We consider potentialities, such as what will happen if we use the restroom, or who can help with that. We are also great life coordinators. We tend to be natural managers due to our reliance on others.
We need others. And that’s actually not a negative thing.
Not only can we plan ahead to know what we need and when we will need it, but we have the skill to coordinate others in fulfilling that role. In essence, I have been a “manager” since I was 18 as I began to hire and fire my own caregivers.
I know many people spend a majority of their life fighting to make the world more accessible, and to illuminate some of the issues we face because of our disabilities. And believe me, that work is needed.
Learned skills from having a disability
But maybe our perspective should focus on the strengths of the administrators within us. It takes a great admin “personality” to lead or manage a home schedule, with kids and a spouse. Or to lead a group of people to meet their current work goals.
Bottom line: skills you acquire from your disability set you up for success. Don’t disqualify yourself from a job or position in life because you can’t reach the printer.
Focus on the skills you have acquired from your personal situation, own the skill, and share its value with others.
Have you shared your SMA diagnosis story with us yet?