I thought I'd be a bit grown up and, rather than ending the year on a rant, celebrate what has actually been a full and rather successful year for me, Diversity New Zealand and our clients.
We began the sixth year of Be. Leadership back in March this year. A talented group of people spent a year of curiosity and inquiry into leadership, accessibility and other social issues. It's been an honour and privilege to spend another year working alongside Lesley Slade and the rest of the Be. Accessible team. I also had the rewarding challenge of working with Lesley and Megan Barclay in leading Be. Accessible while CEO Minnie Baragwanath was on extended sick leave.
It has been a week since the car accident and I've been surprised how much it has affected me. Someone said on Facebook to look after myself, and I didn't really pay much attention.
But I have had to give myself a bit of TLC. I've found myself playing the accident over in my head, so I've had to remind myself not to retraumatise myself (the brain doesn't realise the difference between an actual event and a memory).
The following is what I shared on Saturday night, added to by my co-director Lesley Slade, with the 2015 graduates of the Be. Leadership programme:
Leadership is a tough gig. Leadership development is even tougher.
It requires the acumen of leadership while sitting with discomfort, confusion and a reconstruction of self. It also requires staying in a process while wanting to run away; and leaving behind attitudes and behaviours you may hold dear.
I get a lot of people trying to help me. The less they know me the less helpful their help is. So it's useful and interesting to make the distinction between 'helping' and 'being helpful'. They are definitely not synonymous and are, so often, completely antithetical.
The most unhelpful help I am offered is getting my wheelchair in and out of my car. It's quite a complex operation — getting it in involves neutralising the wheels, clipping the winch to the footplate, winching it up the 45° ramp and securing it on its platform in the car. And getting it out involves the reverse.
Yesterday I received recognition by the Orangi Kaupapa Trust, which "reward[s] those people whose work benefits the quality of life in New Zealand."
It was a complete surprise to me. The Chief Executive and one of the Trustees arrived with two colleagues of mine. Lesley Slade and Minnie Baragwanath, with whom I work to run Be. Leadership.
I thought I'd forgotten the meeting had been arranged. Then slowly the plot was revealed: Lesley and Minnie had furtively orchestrated the award.
Here's a rendition of an off-the-cuff talk I made to Rainbow Youth's AGM this afternoon (with some added bits).
Happy birthday! That's what AGMs are really – birthday parties for organisations – so it's great to see so many of you here. I'm here, not because I'm young, but because I'm one of Rainbow Youth's patron's, which makes me feel quite old. But I'm not as old as most patrons...just so you know.
I work in the area of social change, and I often find it hard to explain what exactly I do. So I'm going to demonstrate it. At the end of this talk, by listening to it, you will have changed, just a little, as will I have also, simply by saying it. And that, in essence, is the nature of social change.