Advice from CEOs with voice disorders — “Embrace it!”
We interviewed two CEOs with spasmodic dysphonia, Kevin Hancock from Hancock Lumber and Jaime Schmidt from Schmidt Naturals. In both interviews, the focus was on how SD has impacted their individual leadership styles. We asked the question, “what advice would you give to someone living with SD?” We were was surprised to get the same answer from both Schmidt and Hancock, “Embrace your voice”.
We can all understand the expression, but what does it really mean? If you look at a thesaurus to really understand the intrinsic meaning of a word you’ll find: hug, include, incorporate, accept, welcome, support, adopt, enfold, comprise, take on. It’s interesting that those are some of the same ideas that would also be included in the concept of self-love.
Acceptance is key
The unexpected diagnosis of SD probably threw your life out of balance. It likely impacted you emotionally, professionally, and in your personal relationships. There’s no doubt that you felt at least once or twice or a million times, that things were worse for you. But there is a theme from the folks with SD who participate and contribute to the organization; they all express some sort of acceptance of their SD. And that acceptance forces them to think differently about the events and circumstances of their lives. Schmidt admits that she plans business travel and speaking events around her Botox® treatments. She didn’t quit doing speaking engagements, but she has had to adapt.
So here is some advice from a few of the over 4 million Google results on self-love with a disability.
You need to practice being grateful, especially when you’re struggling with negativity, maybe even a little depression. Write down at least one thing you are grateful for every day. When you think about it, write it. After a time, you may just find yourself feeling a little better. Check out the free app called Gratitude. Totally free grateful logging. Search the app store for it.
Embracing something can lead to growth, helping you experience life in a new way, with a new perspective, that can transform your life in ways you never thought possible. And Hancock admits, “In losing a piece of myself, I found a better me”.