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Work, Asperger’s, Fun, and The Future

Submitted by on Tuesday, 15 November 2011

I wake up each morning determined that nothing will bother me today. I go into the shower where I feel safe – I breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that there is nothing I can do wrong there, that I can’t break some sort of rule, or get annoyed by a seemingly inane proceedure that everyone else finds normal. Or have anyone annoyed with me.

I recently began watching The Big Bang Theory – a TV show about a group of Asperger’s people. They are charming and delightful, and act as I would like to. Everyone seems to accept them. In my world, this isn’t the case. I can’t make up a lengthy list of rules and get the world to buy-in to them.

In the world of business, where I have been living for 30 years, there are different sorts of rules than ones I easily comply with: Multinationals with silos, so purchase orders have to go to 6 countries (really) before I can get paid months later; People who promise to call on Tuesday but never do; Colleagues that stop speaking to me for nothing I can discern – but obviously something I”ve done or not done as great ‘friends’ disappear; Prospects that think I talk too much (I’m sure I do). Each hour of each day is fraught with land mines I must maneuver – all well outside of my comfort zone or capability. Visiionaries, though, have been kind. As the mainstream comes in to adopt my concepts, the path is more difficult for me.

Wherever I turn I am hit between the eyes of being a round peg in a square hole. I can see the world from where I stand, but it operates with rules that make no sense to me – and the ones I”ve adapted are useful merely a portion of the time, when I remember to use them. Otherwise, it’s all confusing, annoying, undecipherable, or inane. It’s soo much safer when I’m alone.

WHAT TO DO WITH CREATIVITY

My biggest problem is my highly creative mind. Since I was a girl, I”ve studied systems and decision making, and have spent my life developing ideas and models far ahead of conventional science. I have patents, trademarks, and copyrights. I develop technology around decision making and decision making games, and marketing automation concepts and new sales paradigms. I have made most of them into money-making entities through grit and good friends (plus the ideas are pretty good).

But the work would be so much more successful and reach a much wider audience if I didn’t turn off so many people with my annoyance, or my demanding/pushy nature. If I could do nothing but think, invent, create, I wouldn’t have to deal with folks who demand normalacy.

I’m not even aware that I’m being pushy or annoying. It’s just that often, the system I’m being presented with makes no sense to me, and doesn’t follow any rules of logic I understand. In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon once said that he had to leave his friends in his apartment because they were “Having fun wrong.”

Note that many of the original thinkers (and most are probably Asperger’s sufferers) have been known to be rude, pushy, obnoxious – Glenn Gould, Bobby Fisher, Einstein, Steve Jobs – as well as brilliant. They have either gotten others to do the work of managing the external systems, or they go off into solitude and live a monastic life. And, most of them are men, whose wives or assistants pick up the social pieces, and accept and love them because they are brilliant.

It’s so much easier to live alone. No one to hurt, or annoy. No rules to break. No faces that fall as they relate with me at a party. I get a knot in my stomach each time I think about going out to anywhere other than the movies, or the bookstore, or to meditation.

THE DEMONS I LIVE WITH THAT ARE THE NORM TO OTHERS

Of course, I have friends who love me just as I am. But I don’t live with them, and when I’m not in their company I’m fighting demons – the world of business, for me, is fraught with pain on a daily basis. I’ve devoted over 20 years to changing a paradigm in a field that didn’t want me, or didn’t want to change, or didn’t accept me with my uniqueness. Thankfully, the material was good enough to work beyond me, enough for me to have made a difference.

Of course, if I were more normal, it would have been far easier for them to accept/welcome the change. But that said, if I were more normal I wouldn’t have had the brains to have invented the concepts. And because I”ve known that my models are so important, I’ve spent years taking programs to learn to relate better – group therapy, coaching, therapy, holotropic breathwork, nlp… whatever it took to keep me going and make me capable of being ‘good enough’ to put some pretty good stuff into the business world. Folks with my level of dysfunction don’t often get as far as I’ve gotten; and I’m aware at how far there is still to go that I’m incapable of achieving.

So I’m going to quit working, and seek ways to be happy – in an accepting community, hopefully. I’m now going to take some time to figure out what is next: maybe sit on a mountain top in Peru, or move to another country.  So long as there is a spiritual element, a place to create, and joy on a daily basis, I’ll put it on the list.

For now, I’m completing my Buying Facilitation® work in the sales industry, and stopping my blog. I’ll continue working with my new IP around decision making contact sheets (because it’s fun), and be here for coaching clients. But whatever makes me unhappy will be, forever, off the list. I’ve done my work in the business community, and hopefully I”ve made a difference. Now it’s time to make a difference in my own life.

I’ll end with a quote written by John Parker that appeared in the Sunday New York Times Book Review regarding John Lennon: “Cruel at times, chaotic, dissociated: on his bad days little more, so it seems, than a gigantic human flaw through which the shifting light of genius displayed itself.”

It’s so good to know that I’m not alone.

sd

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  • Dragos Tranca

    I am one of the Sharon Drew friends from overseas. A friend described in this post. I feel the same like Sharon Drew regarding the business world and society around me. Reading her post today, I understand her feelings but I can’t stop thinking that I will not be able to read her comments, post and news almost every day. And this is make me sad.

    Another great spirit is moving ahead, again!

    • http://sharondrewmorgen.com sharondrew

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  • Jim Vaughan

    The world is a better place due to Sharon Drew’s work and her unbending spirit.  It pains me to think that this concept is too difficult or represents too much change for my business brethren to adapt and see the huge benefits.  In time, like all geniuses, she will be recognized for changing how business is done on a global basis.  I don’t share the demons you battle on a daily basis, so I cannot fully appreciate how difficult it is but I wish you well on the next step of your journey, dear friend.

    Jim Vaughan

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  • http://Visiblegains.com PKriss

    Sharon, I was very touched by the honesty and humanity that you expressed in this post.  I wish you the very best in whatever comes next.

    Peggy Kriss

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  • http://www.accuratealways.com StartupNinja

    Sharon Drew, Thanks for your honesty and bravery, both in the day to day sales coaching and in this post. Say “hi” to the mountain top in Peru. Maybe I’ll get there someday as well, but for now, I’ll keep reading your books and keeping the faith. Thank you for all you’ve done.

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