Disability: Show up with purpose and challenge with compassion.

11 October 2022

This is my second post where I expand on my recent LinkedIn updated profile.


“I’m known for showing up with purpose and challenging with compassion”.


For me, “showing up with purpose” is about having the commitment to be present and the intention of aligning my values with my impact.   Much is spoken about purpose and purpose-led leadership at the moment. Smarter folks than me will have a whole lot more to say about it, but I find these two questions are key:

  • What gets you out of bed in the morning?
  • What change do you want to be a part of?

I find considering these questions helps with engagement and energy and provides clarity and context.


I used to find the prospect of providing challenge deeply uncomfortable. Yet, it is now one of the things I am known for and one of the reasons I receive repeat business and invitations to sit on boards.


I reframed how I viewed challenge. I realised challenge did not need to be confrontational. I recognised most of us appreciate respectful challenge, and none of us appreciate feeling judged. When you challenge with judgment it makes it really hard to create connections. Judgement creates defensiveness and breaks down rapport. The antidote to judgement is compassion.


Challenging with compassion goes way beyond kindness. Yes, it’s a kinder way to operate, but it is no less about impact. I want to make lasting change. I want workplaces to be more inclusive for disabled people, I want greater representation of disabled professionals at leadership level and I want disabled people to believe they can. so, I need those I challenge to be invested in the change I want to see. I want them to consider what role they can play and I want them to have the courage to take action. When previous or live decisions are open to challenge it opens up alternative perspectives and opportunity for change.  


A workplace culture that welcomes challenge is really healthy. I’m really clear that, without challenge nothing changes. So, we have to find comfort in our discomfort to challenge the status quo. I still find challenging can take courage. In short, challenging can feel challenging. However, when I approach it from a place of compassion it feels much more achievable, and much less daunting.

Lasting change happens when a critical mass gets behind an issue. In order for this to happen we need to take people with us. we need to, ‘show up with purpose and challenge with compassion’.


The challenge I provide can be on a one-to-one basis as a coach, or as a board member or inclusion trainer and consultant. Make contact if you are curious to find out more.