Autism Burnout: Connecting The Dots (Part 2)

Let’s Talk Autism Burnout was part 1 of this series.  In that post, I tried to frame the challenge of autism.   My purpose was to draw clear battle lines, so we wouldn’t make the mistake of fighting pain rather than finding purpose.

Autism is hard, and can consume our lives, if we don’t figure out how to turn the obstacles into opportunities.  Steve Jobs might call this connecting the dots.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

[Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]

I realize some may be tired of talking about Steve Jobs, since he has been in the news a great deal since his resignation.  My dilemma is I promised to provide lessons from Silicon Valley, which will help us overcome burnout.  No one typifies Silicon Valley better than Steve Jobs.  He has a great deal he can teach us about overcoming burnout.  So, let’s get back to this idea of connecting the dots.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. “

I believe in destiny, that each one of us is here for a reason.   I also believe time and chance happen to us all.   Connecting the dots has to do with taking whatever has come our way, and allowing it to lead us to our purpose.

I have seen this happen over and over again in the autism community.   Moms, dads, siblings, and grandparents taking up the cause.   These are the people raising the money, spreading awareness, creating breakthrough programs, and writing the software.  There are certainly others, but these families who have decided to find purpose in their pain, provide the sustaining energy to this passionate fight against autism.

Connecting The Dots

In the year 2000, if someone had asked me, would the small soccer game I organized to have fun with my sons be destined to become a global program, I would have said, “no”.   And yet this is exactly what happened with E-Soccer.

Looking back it all makes sense, but at the time I was simply trying to become a good dad.  E-Soccer was destiny, but it was invented to solve a simple problem. I wanted to help my sons have fun with me, and other families in the community.

I am not the only one.

Looking around the web you will find people like Rob Gorski, whose humor and honesty will help any family with autism know they are not alone.  There are authors like Chantal Sicile-kira whose books on autism and adolescence provide compelling answers and sustainable hope.  Finally, there are community builders like Stuart Duncan, who does everything within his power to make certain everyone touched by autism is connected.   These are just a few of the people I have discovered, who have connected the dots.  They understand autism is a challenge, but by connecting the dots have made it an opportunity to help others.   Everyone should do this, because one of the best ways to beat burnout is to connect those dots.

How can you find purpose in the pain?  How can you connect your dots?