“Visioning Beyond Your Limits,” Part 3 in a five-part series on workplace transformation, recounts a recent journey to Barcelona- a hub for social innovation and ideal setting to activate impact creation.
This article confronts the limits of our existing business world and activates the source of systemic transformation: the individual leader.
Our workforce is confronting an existential challenge: How can people rise to build a better world when they are spiritually disillusioned by the system?
It’s deeply personal, shared by many leaders, who could tell you a personal anecdote of losing their belief in what they were building- and recognizing the illusions of the world.
Whoever you are and whatever disillusionment you’ve faced, here’s my advice: Use it.
Spiritual disillusionment is fuel for transformation. It’s through confronting today’s barriers that we deepen our understanding of what the world needs, enabling us to challenge the status quo, and work towards a better future.
While now is the time to rise and build a better world, rising above systemic barriers requires ingenuity.
In confronting my own barriers to inclusion, I’ve learned a transformational strategy: visioning beyond your limits.
By envisioning the best possible future and taking small steps forward to manifest that vision, each one of us has the power to make a difference.
The Power of The Individual
Change begins with one person.
Whether you are a CEO or a frontline worker, you play a crucial role in perpetuating- or transforming- the systems you operate within.
Every individual can catalyze systems change, starting at a micro level.
Consider the domino effect: a single event triggers a series of related events. Similarly, the individual is the catalyst for systems change, and it all starts with personal commitment.
Let’s apply this logic to the sustainable development goals. Every individual can contribute by connecting to a cause they’re passionate abut, often rooted in their own lived experiences.
Your cause: the through-line of your transformation, offers insight into what change could look like for the collective.
Your cause is what you consistently return to to activate your passion. It gives you reason to keep going, even when the defeat is overwhelming.
The Personal is Professional
My story of personal transformation- focused on fostering social integration- is interconnected with my Autistic identity.
Prior to receiving a diagnosis at 33, I lacked a frame of reference to recognize myself and rise beyond the limits of my experience. I faced the challenges of navigating a neurotypical world.
This iceberg model shows the social barriers to inclusion and can apply to any person within an underserved population.
Without having a frame of reference to self-identify, I was not being able to see the layers of systemic exclusion of the autistic experience, nor access my full potential. And I’m not alone in this challenge.
Women in their 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond are now receiving diagnoses to validate entire lifetimes of systemic exclusion.
In the life-changing read Divergent Mind, Jenara Nerenberg describes Autistic women are the “lost generation,” reflecting the discovery of a population in need of social advocacy, allyship, and accessibility. Through recognition, we are now able to advocate for ourselves and one another, and in the process, for any underserved population.
Social integration is the promise to underserved populations to reclaim our space in society- and open the space for future generations.
As the neurodiversity movement amplifies our identities, experiences, and ideas, I’ve created my own vision of how I wish to contribute to the development of a neuroinclusive world.
Building A Neuroinclusive World
During my own workplace experience in Barcelona, I had the space to take a step forward- starting with an initiative called Empowering Neuroinclusion in partnership with the Conscious Business Institute.
Empowering Neuroinclusion is an initiative to empower leaders to facilitate the social integration of a neurodiverse workforce.
When I asked myself, “What can I do today to make it easier for people like me now and in the future?” this initiative felt like a direct step toward facilitating more equitable workplaces.
The workplace is the place of highest potential for people to make use of their talents and be conscious contributors to sustainable development. With that in mind, this initiative is to facilitate social integration of neurodivergent identities and empower inclusive leadership.
The 3-workshop series is a demonstration of social innovation: how to take strategic action on your vision and make a contribution to society.
While Empowering Neuroinclusion offers one example of how to take action forward on a big vision, you too can initiate impact in the now.
Visioning Beyond Your Limits
We all have a vision within ourselves that’s rooted in the deeply personal experiences of our lives.
To access the highest possibility for yourself, it’s up to you to practice visioning beyond your limits: the current barriers you confront- whether internal, relational, and cultural.
This reflection practice is here to help you visualize the best possible future of our world and how to bring that vision into the now.
By clarifying your vision of impact and identifying actionable steps, you can initiate impact in the present.
Hope for Tomorrow
Once you have a clear vision, then what?
Innovating your approaches- how you choose to operate- is a central part to accelerating progress and sustaining your hope as you build for a better world.
Coming up in Part 4, “Innovating Your Approaches,” I’ll draw inspiration from visionary leader Antonio Gaudi’s legacy to explore what’s possible when you dare to break convention.
And if you ever lose sight of your vision, remember: Every step you take contributes to the social construction of a new reality.
As we each take tangible steps toward the realization of our own dreams, we become the architects of a brighter future.