By Sarah Glass, a member of the SkillCorps® Netherlands October 2018 team
I’ve never considered myself to be a leader. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a solid number two in most of my professional positions. I also do not hide the fact that I have Attention Deficit Disorder. I strongly believe that some aspects of my ADD are a strength, I also realize that I have limitations. So when I was asked to join Leadership Academy and lead a team, I was very hesitant.
Attention Deficit Disorder affects all individuals differently. In my case, I frequently forget where I placed my belongings, leave things behind, struggle with budgeting, I run late more times than not and easily get lost. You can clearly see why I thought I was unqualified to lead a team.
When I discussed my hesitations with the staff at the Global Autism Project, they reminded me of all the qualities have that would make me a good trip leader. My tendency to hyper focus allows me to notice things that many people miss. This can be a helpful skill when working in a clinic where the staff speak a different language.
I am very flexible and typically think outside of the box to come up with novel solutions for problems that seem impossible to solve. I am able to work well with others and strive for collaborations. I have also developed systems over the years to manage my symptoms. These systems have enabled me to develop highly individualized programs for students that have deficits in Executive Functioning.
After leading my first team this year, I am happy to report that nobody was lost, we made it to most places on time, and my team made many successful contributions to the ongoing work at Stichting Reach. The Global Autism Project sent two leaders in training which supported me throughout the trip.
Additionally, I was upfront with my team about the areas where I needed help. They were absolutely amazing and understanding. On teammate, Caroline, was gifted with navigation and mapped out our daily travel. Another teammate, Kelsey, had a mathematics background and helped me with organizing the budgeting paperwork.
Ultimately, leading my first trip reminded me that everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses. No one individual is perfect in every aspect of their lives. SkillCorps is about working together as a team. We combine the best that everybody has to offer and develop something that is beautiful and unique. This trip has opened the door to the whole word of possibilities. I am excited to continue on this journey.