We have a lot of talk these days about equality and needing equal rights for all. Not a bad thing but, after a meeting with the lovely Esi Hardy of Celebrating Disability a few weeks ago, it made me think - how different are we really?
Esi was talking about how difficult it is for someone in a wheelchair to enjoy being in a pub where people mainly stand and therefore, they are essentially out of the conversation.
I realised that this is actually the same for those of us who are not necessarily as tall as others (as you may know - I am short!).
Standing talking to taller people can be very difficult. Personally, I find it hard to stand with my head tipped back as I try to look up at people. Secondly, in a noisy environment - I can hardly hear because the person’s voice is quite literally going over my head.
I’ve also been in the situation where I have needed to sit down and yet those around me have remained standing. This makes it difficult for me to participate and also they are literally looking down on me. The exact situation that someone in a wheelchair is in all the time.
As Esi and I talked, we realised that in many situations, it is not a question of needing to do something because of a disability, it is about general awareness, consideration and inclusiveness of everyone.
Being aware of your environment and who you are speaking to means that you can try and adjust your behaviour as appropriate. This is not always possible but perhaps more so than you realise.
Also, understanding that others feel the same is huge help - I generally feel that I am the short one but people taller than me also feel they are short and have the same problems. I wouldn’t have been aware of this as I’d assumed it was specific to me. I also hadn't thought of how similar it is to a person in a wheelchair until Esi and I had that conversation.
Opening up and sharing can help us all to a better understanding whether in your business or your personal life!
So when you are thinking about differences, why not turn it around and look for the similarities!
I work with people who are feeling overwhelmed and finding it difficult to find their focus, sound familiar? My top tips are available at toptips.bridginggaps.uk.