I'd like to introduce you to Dodge. He is a young man from the millennial generation who is not like most millennials. Dodge is different. He has to work incredibly hard to navigate each day. While we may take things for granted, like social cues or knowing how to interact with others, that is not the case with Dodge. Years ago Dodge was diagnosed with Aspergers (now a diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum Disorder). This means that while Dodge has an IQ that is off the chart, his EQ (Emotional Intelligence) is not comparable.
This young man has spent hours upon hours learning how to manage himself and manage life. He has experienced the lows of suffering through the cruelty of adolescence insensitivity and the reality of being alone as a young adult. However, through it all he has kept working. With time, he received a college degree and most recently landed his first permanent job.
In order to prepare for work, Dodge practiced things like a strong handshake and how to look someone in the eyes when talking to them. He made sure that he developed a structure and rhythm for getting up and dressing and getting to work. He overcame his fear of not knowing what to say or how to say it. He fought through the loneliness of not being understood. While these may seem like things that everyone must learn, Dodge must fight through the lack of social recognitions, verbal cues and a host of other challenges that are unique to him. Through it all, Dodge never gave up.
While I walk with leaders from across the world, there is none that I admire and respect more than this young leader. There are many others who are struggling and who are working and leading in ways that many of us may never see. Dodge is an example of what leadership is all about. Determination, perseverance, using what we have to be the best we can be. Dodge is leading each day and each day he is making a difference.