You are not your disability

What do you think about the following statements?
I am dyslexic.
I am autistic. 
I am a loser.
I am Italian.
I am married.
I wholeheartedly disagree with the first three because they declare a term can describe who you are as a person. Nothing could be further from the truth.
As for all 5 statements, they describe what you have decided is most important about you and what should be the headline as you decide what you can and cannot do in relationship to the rest of the world.
I was having a conversation with a client yesterday who has made a habit of shutting down every teachable moment by declaring, “Well I have Asperger’s.”
“Are you telling me you can’t learn and grow?”
“No, but it’s hard.”
“Great! We can work with hard. Working with CAN’T is more difficult.”
As you know, I have multiple disabilities, but not a one of them tells you who I am. If you think you know me because I share a label such as ADHD or Dyslexia and you begin making assumptions, that’s called stereotyping. 
It’s human to do so because we like to know and be certain of things. It’s also a tremendous barrier between you and me because once you decide you’re right about me, it becomes my work to prove otherwise. Not an easy task. 
Many years ago I was at a networking event. I was speaking with a gentleman who asked, “Do you consider yourself an expert?”
“I consider myself human.”
This is my highest recommendation to you if you struggle to incorporate a diagnosis into your sense of identity. 
It’s easier to connect with others when you realize you’re both human as opposed to, “You don’t have what I have so you couldn’t understand.” 
So slam the door in their face. 
Not being able to relate to one experience doesn’t disqualify them from being able to relate to others. Get over yourself. I’ve observed that much of the isolation experienced by those with disabilities is self-imposed (much, not all).
The much I’m referring too is the stream of bullshit running between your ears that assigns difference to everyone you see. “That person can walk and I can’t, I’d probably be a burden to him so I won’t even introduce myself.” Follow me?
Carrying that conversation around in which you make up someone else’s mind for them is a detriment to your identity and your life. Instead of building relationships and a support system you spend a disproportionate amount of time disqualifying people from participation in your life.
What if, starting now, you live from the answers to these questions? 
1) As a human being and nothing more, what do I have in common with everyone else?
2) Of the experiences we all share, how would I begin a friendly conversation about one of them? 
3) What could I say to another human being to help them be seen by me as someone who gets it?
Seriously think about these questions, then hit reply and share your answers with me. 
The client with Asperger’s I mentioned earlier is a member of my group program and has an exciting career opportunity open to him because he’s opened himself up to improving his communication skills. It’s amazing to play a role in transformations like this. 
Thanks for being you,
P.S. I’m going to begin creating audio (podcast) and video versions of these articles which I’ll share on my website. 

You’re at your smartest when you know to do this

If you’re like me you enjoy helping other people. I also seeing help as a way of honoring those who have helped me over the years (and there are a lot). So it’s rarely a question of whether I can be of help, the question is how?

Yesterday I participated in a discussion in which a woman was asking for guidance on whether to support her father after he’d made a huge mistake. She’s estranged from her father who has been abusive, blaming and enjoys his substances. Her mother phoned asking for money to bail her father out of jail after he was arrested for DUI.

The dutiful daughter in her thought she should support him unconditionally, which (as she knew), she’d done in the past and his behavior hasn’t changed. She feared enabling him to continue this trend. 

Another part of her wanted to yell at him and tell him to get it through his thick skull that he did this to himself. She didn’t like that option either, thinking she’d only be upsetting herself as he found someone else to blame and ignored her.

Others in the thread gave wonderful support, suggested she already knew what she wanted to do but needed to act or that she needed to search her heart for the answer.

My responses in threads like this tend to be more direct and less fluffy. I suggested the following, “Sometimes the best help we can give is to get out of the way.”

It’s common to think of helping as taking a deliberate action to solve a problem. As I described above, she realizes that if she took the requested action it could perpetuate the problem. Who knows what the root of her father’s troubles are, but she knows she lacks the knowledge of how to address them.

Let me give you a scenario, you come upon the scene of an auto accident. You want to help but don’t know how. Suddenly, highly trained members of EMS show up and order you to get out of the way. How do you respond?

“I got this guys, I just need a minute to Google what to do.” Of course you don’t, you get your ass out of the way.

You know it’s one of those moments when the best way for you to help is to get out of the way, knowing that help is out there but it doesn’t need to come from you. 

Natural consequences can be tough to witness. You can decide to feel guilty for allowing them to unfold without intervening. But you and I both know they’re powerful teachers.    

I routinely recommend allowing natural consequences for the parents of children with ADHD and Asperger’s that I coach. The key is knowing how to have a conversation with your child about those consequences in a way the child will listen and learn. Many of these conversations are recorded and are available at

Thanks for being you,


That time I got hammered at the movies

What inspires you? Is it a person, a place, a memory.
I look for inspiration wherever I go. It’s a key habit in maintaining a positive mindset, especially on the more difficult days.
I found a particular piece of inspiration in a superhero movie, Thor of all places. Stay with me here, you’re going to like this. 
Thor is the God of Thunder, a character from Norse Mythology who pummels the bad guys with his mighty hammer Mjolnir. The mythology of which he’s a part plays a vital role in his identity and sense of purpose. He eludes to this somewhat in passing throughout the movies but when he does, my curious mind responds with, “What the hell is that” and I begin researching.
One of those shares turned out to be profound and one I suspect was lost on many audience members. It was in his description of Yggdrasil, the world’s tree. Also known as the tree of life, it symbolizes the reality that everything is connected. From the movement of the stars to the inner workings of our own cells and how that functioning on a microscopic level affects the workings of your own body.
Okay, enough with the science lesson. I went so far as to buy a ring with an image of Yggdrasil on it. Why Brian, are you a kook or something? Well, the jury is still out on that one.
No, I bought it because my raging ADHD is attracted to visual cues (e.g. lists, notes, reminders) that prompt me to keep top of mind the things I’ve decided need to be prioritized in life. In this case, the reality that we’re all connected.
This fact, this belief, this value, impacts how I treat other people. It reminds me how important service to others is. “But I don’t need a reminder MR. KING, it’s just who I am.” Good for you, have a cookie. For those of us with brains moving at a million miles an hour and the ability to forget things as soon as we hear them, reminders are critical to living our lives. 
How convenient that something as simple as a ring helps remind me of a core virtue. It’s nice to look at too. What inspires you?
My online community inspires me as well. Its greatest strength is the feeling of connectedness they share, no matter where they reside in the world. The closest group are those in The Resilience Warrior Program, they love and support one another in a way that’s a thing of beauty. You need to experience it for yourself
Thanks for being you,

You’re enough, I can prove it

Your sense of self-worth can be a fickle bitch, am I right? 

It’s important to have a rock solid foundation for keeping it in place, as much as possible.

A few days ago in my Facebook newsfeed I noticed a trend of people commenting about their shaky self-esteem and looking for suggestions to strengthen it. I brought this topic to my clients during one of our weekly coaching calls and we reached some powerful conclusions.

I suggested that the belief you are good enough is a belief you’re under no obligation to defend. You can simply choose to believe its true. Why? 

Because you don’t need anyone else’s permission or approval to believe that you were created within an inherent value. 

A few others on the call shared that their belief in themselves as children of God helped them experience a sense of inherent worth. 

I added a quote from astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson who said, “We’re all made of star stuff. Everything in our bodies originated someplace else.” Meaning someplace else in the universe. 

So whether its God or the universe, you are the expression of something bigger than yourself. A wave in a vast ocean. In a cosmic sense, this is no longer a belief, it’s a provable fact. 

Here’s where the real power lies. Once you accept this fact and live like you believe it, watch what happens to your thinking and behavior.

You act one way when you believe you don’t matter.

You act in an entirely new way when you believe you’re the expression of something greater. When you believe those around you have the same inherent worth, holy shit, watch out! 

These are the kinds of conversations we have during our weekly coaching calls in the Resilience Warriors Program. Pretty Amazing huh? Check out the program here

Thanks for being you,


My son really pushed me yesterday

Living with one disability can be a real bitch let alone living with several. I’m known for my ability to turn any difficulty into a positive but I’m human. 
As a human being who also lives with anxiety and depression, my brain often goes negative first and it’s from there I find my way to the positive. 

Yesterday is a prime example. My wife wanted to go to an arboretum with the boys and I and I was having a flare up that made me want to stay in bed. I saw the disappointment in her eyes as we rarely get to do things she wants to do. So I got myself moving and off we went. 

I used my wheelchair to get around and I became tired quickly in the humid air. I kept trying to muscle through it as thoughts of, “I don’t want to slow anyone down,” “I don’t want to be an inconvenience” entered my mind. 

I felt conflicted as I really needed help but was making myself feel guilty. Until I heard a voice from behind me ask, “Do you want me to push you Dad?” 

My 15-year-old Aidan saw me struggling. I responded, “Do you mind buddy, I’m starting to get tired?”

“Not at all.”

I felt such a relief. 

Something about being offered help in that moment felt better than asking for help. My ego was protected, I suspect.

After a bit, I took the reigns back, until we approached an incline in the path. With collar bones that like to partially dislocate I knew it was unwise to try and muscle my way up. 

I asked Aidan if he wouldn’t mind helping me up the hill?


I helped a bit so it wasn’t too hard on him.

It felt like a team effort and I expressed my gratitude to him for his willingness to help out. He seemed eager to help but unsure as to when to do so. His willingness made it easier to ask.

As I reflected on the day and the guilt I created early on. I realized that had I continued to selfishly protect my ego the whole time, I likely would’ve been miserable and I wouldn’t have had those special moments with Aidan that came via his helping out his old man. 

I was reminded that there are many ways to model strength. One of them is a willingness to ask for help.  

It’s like I teach in my Resilience Warriors Program. Vulnerability is an act of courage because it invites someone to join you in a very human moment and trusts them to support you there.