Almost anyone with a disability can tell you that we are often thrust into the spotlight, even though we never asked for that. People with disabilities are too often seen as “brave” or “strong” or “inspiring,” when in reality we are just living.
This is in no way to diminish the struggles of “just living” while overcoming a disability: believe me, we understand that hardship. But to be called “heroic” or “inspiring” just because we have a disability is cheap. It feels like it dismisses us.
We are thrilled to talk to Drew Dudley, a man who’s taken on the challenge of strengthening everyone’s leadership skills. Many people, especially most of us with disabilities, don’t recognize themselves as a leader, and Drew hopes to change that. What defines a leader to him is someone who willingly chooses noble response to whatever he or she faces in life. That choice may seem familiar to the population of those with disabilities: choosing a noble, meaningful reaction to our circumstances is how we get through life!
Drew served as the director of one of Canada’s largest leadership development programs at the University of Toronto for 8 years and then as national chair of a charity supporting the work of Cystic Fibrosis Canada. He has been featured on The Huffington Post, Radio America, Forbes.com, and TED.com, where his TED talk has been voted “one of the 15 most inspirational TED talks of all time.”
Drew talks to us about how people should recognize themselves as leaders, even though they may not see themselves as the picture of an ideal leader in their minds. Leadership is seen in whatever little actions someone takes day-to-day: if you choose to react to something in a positive and an unconventional way, you’ve become extraordinary and exhibited the qualities of a leader.
Drew talks to us about his popular TED Talk and how he almost didn’t give it, because he felt that he was “just a teacher” and his story was really simplistic. But his students reminded Drew of what he had taught them: never define yourself with the word “just” because it gives people permission to expect less of you. Drew gave a talk on how his forgettable statement made a lasting impact on someone else. (Fitting.) He encourages us that if we live and behave mindfully and intentionally, we may never know what small action of ours may impact someone else.
Drew is generously giving all listeners of this podcast 50% off of his online leadership courses! To get this awesome deal, visit DrewDudley.com and follow the prompts to enroll, or try the free trial, of Day One Leadership.
We want to thank Drew Dudley for speaking with us and encourage our listeners to begin seeing themselves as leaders and encourage you to grow in that.