The All 4 Inclusion Pod

#16 "How Society impacts Disability" with former Exeter Chief Don Armand

July 06, 2022 Scott Whitney Season 1 Episode 16
The All 4 Inclusion Pod
#16 "How Society impacts Disability" with former Exeter Chief Don Armand
Show Notes Transcript

In the last episode of Season 1, Don Armand and I discuss some of our listeners responses to the question - "How Society impacts Disability?"

The former Exeter Chief rugby player is not afraid to challenge both sides of the coin. He has a mindset that if everyone works together to solve all of societies problems including being inclusive to people with disabilities, the world will be a better place.

Links for Don:

The Gaming Athlete | Equipment Designed For Gamers

Don Armand | LinkedIn

Don Armand (@don_armand) / Twitter

To get the most up to date information on us, please join our mailing list on our website

www.all4inclusion.org

Voiceover for intro and outro by Jennie Eriksen | LinkedIn

Music granted free of charge very kindly by Music: https://www.purple-planet.com . The track is called Hope and Inspire.

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Scott Whitney:

Hello, and welcome to the next episode of the All4InclusionPod and in this podcast today, we are going to be talking about how society affects and impacts people with a disability. So today I am joined Don Armand. Don, can you introduce yourself to the listeners, please?

Don Armand:

Hi, everyone. My name is Don Armand. So I'm a recently retired professional rugby player, going into a new venture of my own called the gaming athlete. And I'm grateful to be here, and thanks for listening.

Scott Whitney:

Excellent. Now, thank you for for coming on. Now, I always start these podcasts, these particular types by saying I'm going to flip a coin, and we'll decide who goes first. Yeah, but I've never got a coin on me. So the first time I flipped a bit of a key ring, and I lost. The second time I put something in my hand, and I lost. So I think I'm just destined to always go second. Yeah. So we've asked people who follow the show to send in what means to them when they hear society affecting disability. And we've got a good amount of responses. There's a few pages worth there in there.

Don Armand:

Yeah, I read through them. I'm actually trying to get them on my screen here. And there's, I mean, very different, very interesting answers, which I'm sure we'll delve into. But I suppose it just shows. Even within a community, there's such a diverse mindset and opinions and the way people see life, that by the end of it, I said to myself, and I actually chatted to my wife about it is like, I feel like the best thing to be doing is trying to find similarities, rather than differences. Because I feel like every look at the moment people are trying to find differences, highlight them, show them why they're different. And I get I get that there's a need for education, and understanding. But I'm also like, is there a way to do it where no party gets distressed? No one feels like they're losing. And everyone actually just works together? I don't really know the answer. Those are just my plain, my immediate basic thoughts on it, I listen to a lot of books at the moment. And a lot of them are just, you know, into if you look at the psychology of how people work, you get along better in business deals in friendships and relationships, when you seem to have extreme opposing views. But you work from the middle, ie what you are similar with. So I was trying to find a similar trend there. And I suppose we'll discuss it more as we go.

Scott Whitney:

Yeah, that's it, I guess, you know, we want to have everyone pushing towards a common goal. But lots of ways to get there. And I guess the people who have a disability that have given us responses, will more likely look at it from their perspective. So someone in a wheelchair, we'll look at it from a wheelchair user perspective, someone who's got autism will look at it from an autism perspective. And then people in a wheelchair, you know, can look at it different ways again, so,I've given you the good job of getting started and choosing one to get us going. So I mean, no pressure with that.

Don Armand:

No, that's fine. I mean, there was let's just go with the first one, I suppose. The first one is, can I say the person's name? Or should I just read it?

Scott Whitney:

No, no, you can say the person

Don Armand:

So I as Jill or Gil, I'm not really it's with a gi l. gi l l sorry, Haron. And they've said "what comes to mind is society doesn't want our needs to impact the routine. Society doesn't want to know unless they've had prior personal experience and society thinks we should stay at home as we surely couldn't possibly want to be able, couldn't possibly want to be want or or be able to experience life as they do. I must add that's only last few years that I found some attitudes have changed for the better. Unfortunately, I've come up against some very negative managers, peers, colleagues, still lots of work to be done." So going into that, that is this. There's so many ways we can look at it and it's good that she says Gill That you know, okay, so jealous found in bosses, managers, peers, colleagues, which are the people that she would probably be or he is she or he, the day that they would be interacting with, on not most, if you get to me so that we talk about a circle of influence is their biggest circle of influence. And so when you have that circle of influence, sometimes you extend it and think that everyone's like that, for obvious reasons. The challenge, I suppose, is being in a position where if you are having an experience, and that's the way you're receiving is, how do you get people to see things from your point of view? without it sounding like you're, you're demeaning them for not seeing agenda? Does that make sense? Yeah. Because take away the topic that we're talking about now, and it's going to society, communities, different walks of life, economic status, whatever it is, you I could say, from my point of view, I'm walking around, and I will meet people that are completely different time, they just don't understand how and they do things completely differently. And it is very challenging on a completely different level. I'm not, I'm not trying to equate it. But what I'm trying to do is get a similar goal where I could either go, they don't understand it, they don't want to understand it, or I can say how do I get them? How do I create a similar common ground where I can go, Look, we both are here to work. We both Yeah, to excel as people. I am clever, I can speak. You're clever. You can speak let's work from there. Do you know that my limitations are this? How can we work together so that my limitations are not limitations anymore? And then seeing if people change that way, is probably the best. And I guess that's what's happening slowly and surely, with more organisations coming to the fore, and actually realising that they aren't accommodating to people that have different challenges and fixing it. I think that the issue is when people know that there's when organisations, peers, people know that there's a challenge, and they don't make an effort to fix it. And then we go, that is our biggest challenge. I don't think the challenge is society in my uneducated, and inexperienced position. And this is probably why it's really good for me on the podcast, is I don't think people will go on purpose to exclude people. But the way humanity works is sometimes you get involved in what you're about and your closest influence. And you don't kind of worry about anyone else until they come in your face. And they go, well, that actually doesn't, I can't do what you're doing. And you go, Oh, why? And then they say no, okay, fine. So, for instance, we've got a pool that we rent out. And we've had to change the entrance for where we've had because it had a nice long steps, and I was changing the entrance, we can't have a ramp because it's too steep. For say, wheelchair access, and it's something that I did think about, but there's literally nothing I can do to change it without getting grants extra things like that, to make sure that there's so I'm in a position where I really want to help, but I can't and I'm waiting for a day where someone in a wheelchair comes to me and goes, you know, you haven't thought about making sure that I have access to your pool. And I go, I really have, but I don't know an answer. Can you tell me so we've already had someone that comes in a wheelchair, but they're able to get out the wheelchair and walk down and I went to them before they got to the thing we said we've looked, we've changed. We've changed the entrance, the stairs are a bit shorter, slightly, you know, slightly steeper? Is there something that I could do say a ramp that I could a temporary ramp that I could put in that would suit you coming down? Just to make sure that I'm accommodating and trying to learn? And they said no, no, don't worry, we can get out where's in my head, I pictured that that could have gone one of two ways it went the way it did. Or they go, are you I mean, I can't believe you didn't actually think about putting a ramp and it's so easy to do. But it wasn't because I came with a similar ground started with a similar ground. And I said, you know, I've really thought about not just is there something that you know about that? I perhaps don't and you could teach me and how I suppose in summary, how do we get say, Gill, who's put that comment on there, to be able to work with managers, peers and colleagues in a way that they do it because they want to learn and influence them because they want to learn rather than maybe Gill putting herself in a corner or isolating herself because she feels that they don't want to. Does that make sense? Yeah, like I went on a long ramble there with a lot of thoughts.

Scott Whitney:

Yeah, there was a lot thrown out there. But no, I mean, I know Gill fairly well. So she's with with a couple of her conditions which I'm privy to and obviously you're you're not there's there's been a lot of times where her attendance in work physically in an office. Haven't hasn't been possible. But if you was to spread, spread out and say, right, over 30 days, I want you to give me X amount of hours work, she would be able to do that. Really good quality. But the, you know, the people that manage her and support her just haven't haven't supported in that way. And I feel when looking at what Gill said, and actually taken it completely away from from Gill, I feel we've got an issue in the UK with first line level managers. I don't think they've got the training and the support that they need to be able to support an employee with a medical condition. So if someone came to them and said, You know, I've got autism. And that was, you know, the start of the interview, when they're actually conducting the interview, then, are they thinking, clearly, are they you know, instead of just having an open conversation and say, How does this impact in work? And what can I do to support you? I just feel I just feel businesses need to invest more in that first line of management. Because, you know, if you that first line managers will eventually be senior managers. Yeah. And they will then reinvest into those first line managers. Yeah, I'll just, I just think that's when we look at society, that's something that we could we could improve upon.

Don Armand:

So just on that, I think it's a good comment. And it's something I think about a lot is, perhaps maybe we're trying to talk about something that is a consequence of an earlier. So what's the source of why we got people in a position where they're not thoughtful of others, and take away the the physical challenges or the neurodiverse challenges that people have, when we go society as a whole Do do you think every member of society feels like on a daily basis, they're thinking about others? I say, I don't think they do. I think there's a big proportion of society and communities that do and there's people that are trying their best. But the way that the modern world is going is it doesn't lean towards being able to do that. Because you think about how social media influences people to the negative things are the ones that get all the clicks, the drama, that will get the clicks. So everyone sees a negative asset in the world, you haven't got, like correct role models, if you've watched Jordan Peterson talk about role models, and how the impact of just having a single parent household means the balance is out there, that generation grows up without the balance. And I know that's getting quite deep. But that when you talk about line managers, you go right who's above them, that's missing the fact that that's an important thing to be inclusive, it's important to think about others. So it's a big thing for my brand's when people buy from me, I put in a note, and whether it is just a word called Ubuntu. And that's an African philosophy saying we are who we are through others. And if we get a movement like that, or thinking like that, then I am I like to think that when Gill goes into a workplace and says and, and talks to the managers of the top bosses, they because they are saying I am who I am through you will go How can I best, you know, accommodate what your strengths to make sure that I'm also a better person, and that the company is better. And then I feel like if we managed to get a formula for that, or enough people thinking that way, then it's not a fight at the bottom level to make sure that certain things are in place. It's actually we're already doing it. I'm already talking about as soon as you come in, and in an interview, say I'm autistic. I go, that's cool. What are your strengths? How can you what you bring, make the company better? And how can we bring make you better? And as soon as you work with that, that's going from a place of similarity out and then working with the things as they go, how I think the key to what we're going to be talking about is, how do we relate back to that where in each case we're going, how do we get the thinking of I am who I am through because it's not just say physically challenged, or neurodiverse, or its society on a whole there's, there's you think about anxious people depressed people, in those stressed people in the workplace bosses, everyone, I believe in their cause a good person. But at some point another society gets in the way and kind of deters your thinking or shows you the what you think is the right way. But actually what you're forgetting is that without connection without people, we're nothing. So how do we how do we solve that? And do we think if we actually got that to be a big enough movement and something that people speak for good, and do for good? Do all of these things suddenly start to get a lot easier to kind of solve and, you know, be accommodated.

Scott Whitney:

Yeah. Just before we move on to next one, I definitely think conversations are the way forward. And I think it's, you know, it's twofold. It's not just someone who's able bodied responsibility to have the conversations. It's also people who are disabled. The more we have conversation, and you know, I, the question I get asked most is about language. What's the correct language to use? For? For someone who's autistic? Is it a person with autism? Or is it an autistic person? I can't answer that question. Yeah. But if someone said to me, am I a wheelchair user? Am I a person in a wheelchair? Or am I on a wheelchair? I really don't know what the answer is. Because I haven't been a wheelchair user all my life. I, I and I really think, to me, it's more whether someone says says it with the right intent and the right meaning. So someone says something that I feel shouldn't have been said, but they say it with the best intention. Yeah, i'll just educate them and say, Look, for me, the reason why I would prefer you to use this phrase, instead of this phrase, is purely because of this. But I would have a conversation, and then I will build on that conversation. And I think, you know, that's the that's really the key. And, you know, if we look at how society affects disability, that's more conversation will mean that, that it will, it will sort of come in play a bit better.

Don Armand:

Yeah. I mean, I definitely, I definitely think it's not a one sided thing that needs to, there's not one side that needs to work on. It's both. It's, it's very intimidating, I would say, from what I've, you know, I'm new to the scenes I came on on this podcast, was no personal reasons for wanting to make sure everyone understands, I've, I've come here to learn. And I do reading through some of the comments. I'm like, they say, I don't want to be talked to like this, and I don't, but then someone else that's on that will say, I don't mind people talk to you. So it then becomes real, really intimidating to be able to create rapport for someone, say, I feel like I've got a good sense of how to sit and listen and make sure that I'm not saying anything that comes across the wrong way. And if I do, I'm immediately on, I hope that's okay, say I'm trying to learn. But there are people in society that aren't as thoughtful as that, who don't necessarily have any bad intentions, but will immediately be made to be a eyes, he's not really thinking about me where actually, he just doesn't know how to think about you. Yeah, and so it's about, like you said, is, you haven't been in a wheelchair long enough to know what you do, and you don't like, but actually what matters is people addressing you can have the conversation, and then you can go forward from there. But I imagine that there are some people in an able, able society or for correct me for not using the correct term there, that will go actually, I don't want to go down that route at all. Because whenever I see it happening, it just ends up with someone being offended and actually don't offend anyone, I'm just going to try and avoid as much as possible was actually that's not what you want. You want to be able to have discussions that don't lead to an emotional backlash from either side, you just want to go right, that says, if we say something, I'm going to do what I'm going to ensure that I don't get offended, but I'm actually going to learn from you and you're gonna learn from me. And people will leave a conversation like you said, educated and together and connected. And I think that's that's got to be the key to being able to address a lot of the comments and a lot of the challenges and a lot of the you know, the organization's and society societal, you know, expectations on each other. And I think when we start with that, it's as simple. It's not simple. It's a, it's an it's a start that everyone can understand. If you're not, I mean, and go from there. And if we all try to go from there, I think I think we'd make it would make some good headway.

Scott Whitney:

Yeah, definitely. Definitely. But it's tough. I So right, so for my first one, I've gone down the down the list agree. a little bit, and I've got one from and I'm not sure if I pronounced the name correctly, but it's Juana Poareo. And it's, "I've been thinking about this. I think society disables us even more, in addition to our disability, because there is a variety of disabilities and people are often ignorant, not by choice that sometimes about them, how much education needs to Fall on us and on them." And actually it links a little bit to, to what we were saying. Yeah. Now. I actually work with Juana now. And she's, she's based in America. And in my opinion, she's one of the best podcast marketers that I know. But one of the key skills, no, no, that's a completely wrong phrase. One of the key kind of senses that people will think you need to be a really good podcast marketer is to be able to hear yet she is profoundly deaf. So she's started to do some little bits, little bits for me now by bit more, because I haven't got the time to be able to do them. But she, she uses the Well, no, first of all, she educated me into why my podcast shouldn't only be audio, but there should be transcripts that go alongside it. So every podcast is now has a transcript alongside it, so people can read it, as well as listen to it. And then, on the back of that, I found out that people with some people with autism prefer to read a podcast instead of to listen to it. And it's actually opened up my audience base. So her educating me as, as has helped me loads. So but because she hasn't got the sense of hearing, she then reads the transcript. So in depth, that she picks out the best 20 / 30 seconds. segments, segments, yeah, little clips. And then she can just put them straight on to onto a short video for me. And because of the transcript, she knows exactly where to go to, in the, in the podcast, to be able to cut it out. So yeah, I think she's she's got a disability of a hearing. But she doesn't let it get in her way. However, what about all the videos that are put up with no captions with no transcripts? And that would then be society, choosing not to do that, which then disables her from being able to understand someone else's product or someone else's service?

Don Armand:

Yeah. So I would, I would, only thing I challenge on there is the "choosing" because I agree with what she said often people are ignorant, not necessary by choice. So for instance, yeah, for instance, if I'm putting out videos, I'm starting a business, I'm trying to, I'm trying to help people understand why I'm doing it. In order for me to put the subtitles on to createtranscript that creates an extra level of know how that I don't necessarily have. And I've looked into getting translations done everything, but that costs more money. So whenever someone's trying to help you at this stage, they're like, we're going to charge you extra. And I'm like, I don't have the money to do that. Even I'd love to. And that was just by someone approaching me. But that leads me on to I love I love her point of there's a variety of disabilities and people often ignorant, not by choice. But if you think about the world we live in today, how connected social media, not connected, how easily accessible social media makes everyone so now you've got a variety of disabilities that you've got to cater for when interacting. If you think about your day to day routine, pre when you were were in a wheelchair, how many people that had various challenges, did you know and interact with

Scott Whitney:

it was less a lot less

Don Armand:

So in my experience of rugby, so nine years of professional rugby. I have seen one lady that works at where I used to work in a wheelchair. And I've come across one or two or three autistic children after the game. And one friend, he's a fan but he's a friend now that is deaf. And I've tried to learn the basics of sign language just so I can kind of say thank you for coming. We tried to do it for our kids so that they could too. But my point is, I've come across 1000s of fans, 1000s of people. And even within that I've only come across, say three or four different types of additive for lack of a word for better word is disabilities or, you know, you know, I'm saying so, when you are interacting online, and we are trying to make sure that everyone's included, I would love to see a business that comes up with a, a course document resource that can cover forms or communication or interaction that would enable us to make sure that every single person that's commented on that would feel like their needs are met. And it would be a big challenge, because if it was easy enough, would already be done. So when she says, Where does the education fall on us? And on them? I think the answer is on everyone. It's on how do we come up with something that makes sure that everyone is covered? Because? Or do we say is that expectation unrealistic? Because if we're trying to make sure that everyone's included, are you then also looking at different levels of society, different levels of social skills of people that are able, that are normally able, but they may have certain things with their moods, or their interaction or, or that kind of so we make sure that we also talking to the anxious people, that depressed people? And where's our resource? How do we do that? And I'm not putting it up as a wall or anything. I'm just this is a thought. And I'm like, there's our there's our challenge is if we are, if we if if Juana has that was right way of saying it has come up with a transcript for Deaf, that's brilliant, she's got that that's easy enough plugin. But then there's neurodiversity. There's, there's so many different things that you'd have to go is where do you where do we want businesses to start? Are we going on a case by case basis? So we go to Gills case? And if she goes into workplaces, that she has those, you know, challenges, then that workplace should be open to going right, we're going to fit, make sure that we're able to accommodate you and then go by case by case basis? Is that a better solution? Or is that going? No, that's not enough? That's me just asking a question. It's not necessarily going a bold statement.

Scott Whitney:

It really is kind of, I guess, like for me, or fortunately, I don't think, well, no, I know, every business cannot be inclusive to every single person. That's a fact. Yeah, we can try as we want. But we won't ever get there. However, we can be more open and we can be more inclusive. Yeah. And when I say about people choosing not to. I chose my words carefully. And I did not turn I'm not talking about like yourself here. I'm talking about businesses that put up a message. And there's, there's a great advocate called Spencer Collins in the deaf community, and he always will flag to them. I cannot understand what you're saying. I don't get your message. Because I am deaf. Have you thought about using a service such as X? I'm not talking.

Don Armand:

Okay, I get that I get

Scott Whitney:

that kind of, you know, people that can afford it. You know, they can. So yeah, so, to me, that is a choice. Now, I personally, I cannot find a service to caption long videos accurately. That would not take the time that haven't got and will cost. So more. That's why I use transcription. I use a company that that does those. Because it is reasonable. But I wish I could do that. But I can, yeah, do that right now. But kind of, I guess, is another example. And it's something that really kind of frustrates me and it never used to frustrate me because it never really had to frustrate me. I had it. I never saw it. Where I live my pavements are terrible. They're all slanted. So right, let's let's get let's I'll get off my high horse quickly about that. But you've got your drop curbs. Now, what really frustrates me is people parking in front of those, especially when there's loads of space. Now, I then cannot, you know, I've had to go before kind of two or three roads out my way to sort of come back. But if you look at that from an inclusion point of view, you kind of got potentially elderly people who want to be able to do a home I step elderly people like rollators, or young people are using them. But then you've got parents who are who are pushing their kids all have been inclusive kind of opens it up to everyone. And is that a societal thing? Is that an educational piece? And the kind of I guess my final thought on this is, we're both talking about this. From a UK perspective. Now, obviously, you didn't grow up in the UK. So I don't know what it was like walking around, where where were you grew up? I know, I've been to a place in South Africa called Mziki. For two weeks, and I did. I built some houses over there. And, and I know that, you know, when I'm struggling on a pavement like this, I will be going through earth, because there was no sturdy roads. Yeah. And, and I'm doing a recording a podcast in a couple of days with, with a couple of a couple of ladies in Uganda. And again, it's very, very different. So we can look or feel a little bit that if we're in a country like the UK, the US in you know, a lot of the countries in Europe, we've still very privileged regardless of the fact that we've got difficulties, there still others around the world, but a lot more.

Don Armand:

So I will complete I mean, it's really hard for me to say that we should all feel privileged in the UK. Because I do think that it's humans kind of will, if you're in if you're in the UK, first world country, you're used to a certain level of comfort. So you start to look at how do I get the next level of comfort. I consistently say, I'm so grateful for this country and how it runs, that I will never complain about public services, I will be super grateful for the NHS, if I were to wait for eight hours, I will not be complaining because coming from South Africa and Zimbabwe, I know the other side of it, I know, the safety of this country, no matter what, no matter what I have to go through to, you know, be just like, and this is from an able, you know, from from my point of view, is safety for me and my family is freedom. Coming from a country like South Africa, if the value of life for certain things, there's just a lot less. And, you know, I don't like to scare monger, I don't like to talk things down. But I will. When I moved over here, I'm just like, I cannot believe how safe how safe this country is, oh, my wife could go for a walk. And I wouldn't worry about if she came back half an hour late. And for me, that is a privilege. And I'm I'm grateful. But I do also think that it's a completely different set of challenges. And if we're talking about people's mindsets, if you want to just find gratitude, then that's great. But if you want to push for inclusion, it's you know, it's a different, it is a different challenge, because we in the UK and the US, you were built up your first country that economy runs well, you you get a pothole fixed, and within a week and less if someone makes sure that it's done power cuts. I've had one since I've been here. Like there's so many things that work that actually you probably do have the right to go right how do we make sure that as a society, we're pushing to go to the next level of inclusivity. Because we don't want the society to be the downfall of how good everything is. And so actually, our focus should be on society. But if you then going to Africa or South Africans and Zimbabwe we I can speak from, it's a different, it's a different conversation that we're having we go look, we know that inclusivity is going to be a thing that we fight for. But actually, we just need to make sure that that person has a wheelchair or crutches, or a service that gets him from home to work that has the ability to be able to load a wheelchair onto the vehicle. Because without that fighting for it as inclusivity in the workplace, actually, it doesn't matter because they can't even get there. So it is an interesting point. But I do think it's, it's it's kind of like this, we have to realise that UK is a built up country and actually the fight is to make sure that society is is inclusive and that society is making sure that everyone is building up and not breaking each other down. And I think that even if you make if you zoom out for what's the opposite route of magnify, if you zoom out to all walks of society, so just like I was saying is economic status and physical status mental like whatever it is, actually there is a case for society making sure that we don't lose grasp of what is important. What work - Health, Connection, people and as soon as you lose sight of that then you're going to get a lot more things wrong

Scott Whitney:

yeah definitely definitely right balls back in your court

Don Armand:

I'm just gonna scroll is there was so there was one that stuck out and it was the is Kayla Graham. Yeah, I don't know if you know her or not but Kayla Graham says "society allows the negative connotations and stigmas attached to disability disability to remain unchallenged. We can we can go into that sense but I'm fed up of hearing I'm sorry to hear that that must be difficult, you poor soul. But you're so young, I don't know how you cope, etc. I don't constantly consider myself impaired. Over the course of weeks, I was raped that caused that cause life changing damage. A week later, I had a mini stroke, went back to work the day after and then attended the COC part UK the following week. I'm far from great, but I'm still here more resourceful and resilient than ever. In my opinion, we're often viewed as less than pitied and our privacy invaded with overly personal questions were spoken to with limiting negative speech, which repels and poisons every aspect from self worth to education, work, etc. The world isn't broken, it was designed this way a society can start making positive changes when the core infrastructure of society has challenged pretty much what we've been speaking about. People are often so irrationally scared of different that we're making monumental advances in STEM, but regularly repeat the same harmful narrative and practices." So why this one stuck out for me is in that sentence, she is I'm far from great but i'm still here more resourceful. So she's obviously very mentally strong. But previous to that is she saying she doesn't like being talked as talk down to that must be difficult, you're more so. So if I was to say, I'm going to take a sit on the fence opinion here is how then with people not going to I don't I agree people shouldn't put to you. But if you put that conversation into someone else's persona, that's gone to the same thing. People, some people actually need to just be appreciated and acknowledged and get that pity. She's obviously at a much different level. So when I said in the beginning of the podcast, there's people that will like to be spoken to one way and people like the spoken to another. Are we then saying we need to make sure that everyone's on the same narrative? Or is she just saying that because that is her mentality type. That's how she wants and that's her opinion. And I go, I'm not really sure how I would how I would talk to Kayla, because I don't think I would go are you poor? That's poor, but kind of like what I did to said, I'm, I'm quite impressed that how are things are going, considering you've only been in a wheelchair, you know, very recently and how things are going, but I have to be very careful with how I chose my words. And it I wasn't necessarily comfortable with that, because I think you need to create a rapport before you know. So what is and and you know, what is the answer to that? How do we she's obviously gone through a lot but as a really strong woman and is forging on and that's great. But when you have that you know mental strength do you how do you then make sure that people are on your wavelength not chasing them away? Because they're not on your wavelength? Do you know what I mean?

Scott Whitney:

Yeah, yeah. So So Kayla, I probably know less than a few people on it. But I do know her quite well? And? And yes, she's, you know, there's so much you could have more she could potentially put in there. But I think what I like about it is it's balanced. Yeah, it's not, you know, it's not just saying, This is not good enough. That there's a real balance to it. Now, quite often when someone says to me, I'm sorry. The immediate thing that goes through my head is I'm sorry that you're sorry. It's, it's because you know, I you know, am I am I disabled? Yeah. Are there things I can't do yet? I'm still Scott. That hasn't changed. It might mean that if I take my kids down down the park now need a nap when I'd come home. When when before I didn't. Yeah. And did I expect to be in this position? No. But yeah, I just think there's a lot of lot of good lot of good people that can that can help you through it. But yeah, that's not everyone. And there are I you know, I know There's people who are disabled, who are lonely. Or know there's people who are disabled who are actually scared to leave the house, which I guess is a whole other thing? And will, there might be a comment in there about that. But yeah, I really get about saying that, you know, you're so young and sorry to hear that.

Don Armand:

You know, I get I do, honestly, I get what you're saying. I think the difference is, I feel like she's very similar in thinking to where you've, I don't know, Kayla, and if you're listening, if I'm wrong, I'm sorry. But I feel like she's got a level of acceptance that's allowed her to just forge on the same way you have, where it's like, look, I'm in a wheelchair, that is what it is. But if I go to experiences that I've had, and I go, if I talk to someone that's been very down and very depressed, and I try and say to them, like, oh, let's you know, it's a, there's a different narrative, depending on where that person is at in their, in their journey, because there are some guys that I've spoken to. And I've said, Look, I'm really sorry that you're going through that like, Yeah, I know. Thank you for understanding or, and that's really helped them. But then there's others that are going to depression, you go, I'm really sorry. And like, I don't need you to be sorry, I don't want to be like, I just this is just where I am. And, you know, I need to and I'm like okay, fine, fair enough. Let's, let's see what else and it's kind of you create a rapport, it's not always going to be the right thing. But this I'm trying to emphasise, I suppose that it is a it's not. I wouldn't say tricky, but I think what everyone kind of said is it's, it's an education, and understanding and awareness piece, that's probably the most important. But we have to make sure that we on both sides of doing it to a point where we're not chasing each other away when we get it slightly wrong. Which I think is key and it's tolerance. And then that's when we go back to when she said the core infrastructure society's challenges. That's so right, as the core infrastructure size of society does need to be challenged. Because it's almost as if the popular the popular vote is the schoolyard bully other people that are the most popular, and it's not actually the decent people that are going well actually do. Do you pick up a piece of litter when you're walking past it on the road? Because you know that that affects how the road looks? Do you help an old lady across the road? Do you help? You know, the cliche things that you consider that I would consider being a good person just helping other people out, even though you gain nothing? That's been lost? Because we think about a narrative at school, you're gonna help a teacher with a books because they're really heavy. And then as soon as you do that, you get the other guy, there's Haha, you suck up your bully. I mean, you're a teacher's pet. And then also, you know, not you can carry your own books, or you also you can carry in books, but actually, you're just being a decent human being. And so my mom's raised me to be what I like to think is a decent person we are always try and think, you know, what are you going through? How can I? How can I connect? How can I make sure that what I'm doing isn't to your detriment? And that's sometimes to my detriment, which is a learn because I'll put others way before myself. But I think in the long run, if everyone did that, no one would be at a detriment, because everyone would be thinking about each other. And then you get this point where because everyone's helping, everyone's uplifting and then suddenly, you're in a better places society. So why I wanted to talk about what Kayla said is because it's, it is really important that when stuck out, but I think there's some very important points, then it's it's the in the core infrastructure, society is going to be challenged. And I think when I talk about similarities, I think that that's not a fight that Abla verse disable, or challenge for lack of a better word, that's a fight where it's actually humans, with humans versus, you know, a narrative. Yeah, is that way I think we're going that's where I think we're going wrong is the similarities is we all want to be in a better place. But everyone seems to be fighting each other because they all want to be in a better place. And different ways. Actually, if you talked about it, you'd realise that you just, you know, Gill doesn't want to not work, she wants to work in a way that makes her strengths, better for the company to make the company better. But then the boss is going, I don't really know about that. I'm gonna make you do it my way, which doesn't suit you. But actually, at the end of the day, if I was them, and I said, Guys, what's your, what's your bigger picture here? Company to succeed? Okay, well, then, if the company is gonna succeed, and you both work and your strengths, what does it matter how it's done, you know, if you you've got to get from A to B, and Gill does it from a and then slight deviation then gets to be an in the boss does a straight A to B, because that's his way, then that's fine as long as we get from A to B. So how do we get that? How do we get that as a movement, as a narrative as an understanding as a, you know, an organisation to move forward and go, alright, society. This is this is a role model of what we want to look

Scott Whitney:

And I think you know what you said they're like. getting about getting from A to B But you know, if Well, I have worked for corporate businesses, and I would never, ever want to be part of a team that get wants to get from A to B in the exact same way. Yeah, coming from your background of a rugby player, potentially, that's different. Because, you know, Exeter would have had a style of playing. And if you've got your backs wanting to do things differently to your, to your forwards. You haven't quite got that cohesion you need. But I, but even still, no, I still think you still want someone to say, No, this could be better. This is a different way of doing it. You want everyone to follow through with whatever the game plan is. But you still potentially want different ideas. And that's what I would have always thought off in business. But if we're coming back down to you know, the world's not broken, it was designed this way and about infrastructure and things like that. So, I mean, I'm based up in Manchester now. But but let's talk about down in the southwest. So we got the A 30. Do you know the A 30? That used to be such a terrible road. And they improved it, you know, we've and I can remember all the building work going on and things like that, that time? And, and actually, that's not a disability or an able bodied thing. That's just actually an improvement. But yeah, you know, there's there's so many things that if we wish to walk around in in 1960, we have been thinking, well, we can improve this, we can improve this because we've got a 2022 Yeah. So what we need is kind of people who have got 2042 ways of thinking to be able to, to be able to improve, improve us. Yeah, I think, yeah. I think that's what we need. And that's as a society. Like I said, That's not whether it's disabled or abled, it is just a way of innovation or growing or for improving,

Don Armand:

coming up with solutions, I think is the key thing. So if we if as an individual, you identify a challenge or an area that needs improvement, how do you then bring that forward with a solution rather than just highlighting? The challenge? Do you know what I mean? You then find the right people, and then you come forward to the solution together, and you actually act on it, or? I don't really know the answer. But these are, these are just questions that I think everyone asked like, what is what is the solution?

Scott Whitney:

Yeah, that's it. And you know, sometimes the person who's got the problem or finds a problem isn't the person who's got the solution. And the person who's got the solution doesn't even know there's that problem. And there's them together. So yeah, right. Okay. So Jane Iskander is just the one.

Don Armand:

That was the one I was going to choose go for this.

Scott Whitney:

Okay. Well, I was going to choose Kayla's. So you stole mine. "Society only sees the this and not the ability." Ah, so yeah, there's so many decent people out there enough. I've got so many kinds of great examples. But on one of our webinars, we had a guy called Richard Bevan speaking and, and he said, The best project manager he ever worked with, was someone who was deaf. And when we then had to work from home because of COVID, that project manager, then instead of having to turn his head to try to lip read lots of different people and potentially different conversations going on, captions came up on Microsoft Teams, and it made someone who was already the best project manager, an even better project manager. So that's focusing on the kind of ability and not what people cannot do. But, you know, I guess, again, this kind of comes back to that first line manager thing, or interview stages or even just through society as a whole. It's looking at people's strengths. You know, would Rob Baxter ever say to you, Don, the clocks in the red. This is on the touch line, but I don't trust Joe Simmonds. Step up. It's never going to happen. Is

Don Armand:

Without bad mouthing him, I won't say I won't say the Yeah, I think one of the one of the positives has kind of come it? opposite. I think I think there's two there's two things, there's because the one is I can't I can't really speak for, there's obviously going to be massive challenges within that where I completely agree with what Jane says, but then not sorry. And then I'm gonna say, is there an opportunity for the people that you want to see your ability? So as an individual that has, say, a disability? Are you able to go right, I'm gonna rise above the occasion. So I'm gonna rise to this and then some, so that you get more instances of that project manager where he was deaf, but what you knew is deaf, but he was the best project manager, because there were things that he did that were his strengths. And so it's, if society is seeing you, and this is a question, not a statement or a challenge, because I am completely uneducated in things that Jane would have had to go through, or seen. And maybe it's just not this easy. But if is there an ability for someone that is only being seen with this to go while actually, I'm gonna keep going with my ability until you see it? And that, that makes a stronger point, than trying to say to people stop looking at my dis stop looking at my desk, because it's like, don't think of a white cat, you're gonna think of a white cat or whatever that that's saying is, is? Is there? And is that is that A is that a big ask to go rise to the occasion, go, you know, I believe in you, I believe in your strength, I believe in your what you can achieve. I want you to show people that, are you able to show people that no matter if they don't see it, because, you know, in, in, say, rugby, if you believe in yourself as rugby player, you're going to get a coach that just goes, I only see the fact that you knock on. And he if you go, yeah, I can. Wow, I can only knock on. And he's never going to pick you because you're just going to rock out, you only see the fact that knock o. But if I said look, I do knock on, I'm gonna keep going, I'm gonna train hard. And I keep training hard and keep knocking on. But when I tackle, I'm gonna tackle someone and you're gonna be like, I don't care if he knocks on I want him there because he can tackle is there? Is there a platform to be able to do that? Or is that? You know, I want to be I want to be educated on it. Is that a big ask? Because actually, when people see the dis, it's got nothing to do with what's in your control. But it's got something to do with what's in other people's control. And there's nothing that can be done to change it other than trying to create an awareness and a movement over time that eventually is changes the big picture. Perception? out of COVID. There isn't many, but one is out of some of the people that were put on furlough, and some of the people that were were laid off, there are some awesome freelance creatives that have come out. And some of these people, you know that some of the things they do in are just brilliant, but they wouldn't be able to do them. If they was working for a business. Yeah, is their choosing to do some of their hours between two in the morning and five in the morning. Because one of the guys, he says, you know, my ADHD brains keeping me awake. So what I'm going to do is I'm just going to go with it, because it's keeping me awake. I'm actually in a really creative space. Yeah. So boom, on taking it. And he wouldn't be able to do that if he was employed. So I just think, yeah, there's there are some things now when you get in more businesses that are saying, let's work from home, let's embrace this. They're now starting to potentially see more people come up and speak out in, in society, which is then giving other people strength to piggyback on to that they're able to have that conversation with their manager and go that, by the way, did you know all this time I've been working for you, I've got autism, and you're putting me right in the centre. But if you've put me out to the side, I'm gonna have less distractions, and I'm going to be able to perform even better for you. So yeah, some of that can be on the person to really highlight it. But I guess we're going back to off first line manager, who there'll be some where they say, No, I'm in charge. I want you in the middle. Yeah. And and you know, they they haven't Got that education? Whether you know, and whose fault is that? Is it their fault? It's probably not. I mean, a lot of, you know, if you look at like a lot of contact centres and things like that, first line managers are quite often people that have been really good salespeople, or good salespeople don't necessarily make good managers. Yeah. So, you know, it's going back again, what you were saying about the human factor? You know, if you're, if you're a decent human, and you're an inquisitive human, you are going to try to find a solution. If you're not inquisitive, you might be blinkered to what you've always been told is the right way. And there's a lot of people that do things. You ask them why, why do you do it? Because that's how it's always been done here. Yeah. I mean, I guess my mind goes to, at what point of view see all these things and like happiness, and all that kind of thing is, if you have a line manager that goes, you use it in the middle, that's where I want you. Is it a case to go I'm going to, I'm going to put a lot of emotional time and energy into actually going, that's not where I should be, you need to see it differently? Or do you go? You know, what, I'm actually going to find someone some manager that actually goes, yeah, that's my strength, or is that and is that seen as a weakness? Or was that seen as a, you know, I'm just gonna choose me, I'm gonna choose my mission and choose my happiness? And if I don't think it's worth trying to educate, and I'm gonna find someone that does? Or is it a fight that you're actually really prepared to take on and go, I'm not budging, you're going to keep me on the edge, and I'm going to, I'm going to educate you, and then you go, Okay, well, maybe I'm not going to do it in in an aggressive way, I'm going to, I'm going to take the high road, I'm going to show you, I'm going to educate you, I'm gonna get you on board. And this is gonna be the best time I've ever had in my life. Because on the other end of this, I'm going to be super happy, and so is he and I will have achieved, you know, getting someone on board.

Scott Whitney:

When I was when I was a manager, and I was like hiring people, and you would see CV, one of the things that never came into my mind. And, and I would wonder now how many of these people were either hiding a diagnosis or wasn't aware that they had a diagnosis when you see people that are job hoppers. So they've been in this job for this three months, this job for four months, this job for six months, and they've never really stayed somewhere. Now from speaking to people and kind of getting a better understanding is, there's there's some neurodiverse people who just don't feel they fit in a in a workplace. So they go somewhere else, and they don't fit, and then they go somewhere else, and then they don't fit, and then they go somewhere else. And bang, they fit and they're there for 15/16 20 years. Yeah, and actually, by taking the time to understand someone, to really kind of get to know them and, and work with them instead of against them. It builds loyalty. And looking at it from a business perspective, a purely business hat, you're thinking, how much time am I going to save here with recruitment? How much money am I going to have to save with recruitment? And I guess they say it's like 20 odd percent. 15 - 20% of people in the UK are neurodiverse. But I guess they're only looking at those diagnosed. Yeah. So are you saying then that you want to only really take on people within you know, those that are, are maybe making a choice, either not to invest in their managers or not to take on people who are neurodiverse for whatever reason, or make the adjustments or, or put the effort into working? Are they saying that they only want to work with the with 80%? Hang on, you know, are they also then what's the message going out? I only want 80% of the UK to be my customer. So say has a you know, a lot to lot to think about on that.

Don Armand:

And it changes, changes. I mean, there's so many questions. You go oh, we were if I was saying if I'm on if I was saying we're on board getting trying to get an education piece, a understanding of society, where have we as a people trying to get the message out there gone wrong, that that person doesn't want to invest in that other 20% and only wants to stick to 80%? Because actually there's no real gems in in that 20%. And it just, I feel like if you invest in people will never go wrong. Even if people leave, you know, five years down the line, you've, you've valued that person. And whether they realise it or not, I think that's, that's I feel like that's gone away in some business sectors and some industries where it's, you know, this is a business as I run it, that's profits, and I get that, but actually, you know, the people run it, the people run your business. So if you invest in your people, surely, you know, your your business is going to go well, for longer. I feel like when you take a business first approach, it's all about money. It's all about profits. In the short term that looks great. But in eight years, 10 years time, it's all going to crumble, because, you know, the people are not going to be loyal, you spoke about loyalty. And so then it's like, okay, well, how do we get that? That message is a society to come back to people being important, I think it was with Richard Branson with Virgin, he looked after people Google, like, look how successful those companies are. Boeing at one stage looked after people, I watched that I've only watched a documentary on Boeing versus Airbus. And how Boeing made some crucial mistakes, because they started to worry about profits, and CEOs profit margins, and they're shocked stockholders and shareholders and all that kind of stuff. They stopped focused on people. And they, after a couple of years, just started to plummet, mistakes payouts, just because they started to cut people away, maximise profits. And if you say to them, Look, if you just focus on your people, you'd still be the most successful company in the airline industry. I think they'd go Yeah, okay. Yeah, you're right, let's, let's go back to it. So, I mean, I do think it takes, it takes someone that's an equivalent of Elon Musk type of societal impact, like his power, he's got to show people what he shouldn't be what is right. You know, it's people that you should be investing in businesses out there. Stop worrying about your profits, focus on your people. I think that's, that's who we need to get on board. And like, you need to call Elon Musk and you need to call Elon, get him on the podcast, get him to share it. And, and that would be how, like, you know, that's, that's that's how you make an impact quicker. But if not, then it's just I think it's just about being consistent with the message and making sure that you don't falter away from it. And eventually the wall will break down.

Scott Whitney:

Exactly. customers and your employees. Know your message. Yeah. All right. So we're back. This is your last one. Right? I've chosen my last one. So if we go on the runner things, you're going to choose mine so we'll see.

Don Armand:

Okay, so Graham Coath is hashtag number two, yes, one stuck out because I saw it in a while, I'll read it out. So he says, "true, we can remove all need for labels. Unfortunately, if we do being humans, we love labels, we do lose the mechanisms to support it's the million dollar question", so I suppose he's saying like, our do, do labels creates a negative connotation. But then do that. And I also created a support structure because there's a label. So if you think about the fact that autism, some parents will go, I don't want to call them autistic, I want to call them that neurodiverse. But then, when you get to say, I mean, I haven't gone through the process. When you get your child assessed, and they come back with autism, they say, you know, it's this type of autism, you know, there's a sensory thing here. So actually, when you act this way towards them, it sets them off when you don't, you know, it's completely different, you get along with them. So, in effect, what that is doing is showing you their strengths, and saying this is how you get the best out of them. But if you remove that label, then you go okay, well, I know that he's neurodiverse. But how do I then get the best out of them? So that was kind of I think that's maybe what Graham is trying to say is, when you remove the label, you lose the mechanisms to support so are we then labelling labels as a negative thing rather than a positive? That's my question to you. Because obviously, you've you've probably experienced it more than I have. Yeah.

Scott Whitney:

I guess kind of like, it's almost when you're when you're when you're in school, and there was lots of kind of phrases and then we'll use as derogatory terms on the going around, and actually,

Don Armand:

the bullies

Scott Whitney:

So they it will just started off maybe a charity calling a particular condition this. And then the school kids in the school start calling people out. So then it's just a derogatory term. So we've got to change. We've got to cut it out. But again, that's a society thing. That's a human thing. kids will be kids, but parents should be parents and what exactly is educate them?

Don Armand:

See, I agree with you completely, it's like kids will be kids. And the first thing I would do if mine, if I found out my kid was was saying derogatory things,I would educate them, and I would make them learn, I'd say that is hurtful to them, don't use it in a negative way, that's a strength for them and make them make, they can see it in different way, because that's my job. And I think, again, that's a conversation for another day. But I think that's also where society maybe is losing some some of its things as the parents aren't parenting their kids in the right way. So when the label of say, autistic is there, and then it's used in a negative way. It's like, oh, gosh, we've just lost the best opportunity for that kid to go, Look, I'm autistic as my strength, you know, I'm going to switch and I can focus for three hours. And I know that you can't, but I can, and I'm going to get all my work done in three hours, that doesn't mean that I'm any worse than you want to just, I just think differently. And then you get the kid that previously would have said, Hey, you're autistic going, that's actually really cool. Like, I've gotten to, I'd like to think I've gotten to a point where I've got a friend that is getting their their son assist assessed, and their assessment is coming back as possibly autistic and you guys, I don't want that label. You know, I've, I don't think like it just puts them at a disadvantage in school. And I go, I sent him I was like, Well, I actually don't think it gives you a window into how to get the best out of them. Whether you want to use autistic or not, don't like Don't, don't see it as a barrier. You've got to see as as positive because that's, that's how it's working. I am I stand to be corrected on this. Because I do know that some people like to be called neurodiverse. And I get that at every point is in society, you can't expect everyone to think the way you do, you've got to understand and educate and accept I think accept is a big thing is if, if you want to use autistic, use autistic and just use it in the way that suits you. If you wanna use neuro diverse, use neuro diverse in a way that suits you. And if you want to use none of those, you don't use labels that then don't, but don't lose the power that comes with those things, if that makes sense. or educate people to understand that, you know, that suits me that doesn't I mean, I've met people that have autism that don't mind that they go, Oh, I'm autistic, and this is what they've come. But then I've also made people go like, I'm, you know, autistic, but I don't really like to be called that. And so even within the society, you've got massively differences in differences of opinions of people that have they're going through the same challenge. So how do we find a common ground?

Scott Whitney:

Yeah, I guess like, I think it is the right way, high functioning. People with high functioning Autism means that they're able to do a lot of maybe take on a lot of tasks and, and have confidence with their speech, and they're able to perform well, in different areas. They're not high performing, necessarily, every day. There are some people with autism who, who might struggle to speak on a particular day. And then you've got going completely to the other end of the scale, you've got some people who have autism, who, who will never be able to live on their own. So it's such a wide, wide range, and I've got a friend called Fil, who was on the last of these types of podcasts. And, and we was talking about his son. And he said, Well, my son's playing in the playground, And if he didn't play well, with another child, I would almost say along the lines of "Don't worry, I'm sorry, my son's autistic" and, you know, take his son to a different part of the path and things. And I, you know, I questioned him and I said, you know, so the, the other child that overheard that, yeah, it's then sign. Oh, hello, what, you know, I'm now able to use this, this, this phrase myself. So it can mean all of these things are tough. And this is why conversations are so important. Because there's never going to be something that's going to just fit everyone.

Don Armand:

Yeah, I mean, you've just reminded me and a point that Kayla said is what did she say I don't consider was about questions about people asking her. Um, I'm sorry. Let me just read it again, because there was reports already so that you know how you cope.

Scott Whitney:

because we didn't

Don Armand:

was the Kayla maybe someone else that they basically just said, when people ask deep questions trying to find out more about me or in the wrong way? I can't remember who said that. Okay. Oh, there our privacy invaded over over with overly personal questions is what's what's if we're trying to get under people to understand, I suppose maybe I'm taking that out of context, maybe, maybe edit that bit out?

Scott Whitney:

Oh, no. Do you know what I don't think you're potentially taken out of context. But we might go back and edit out if it is. So I know a lot of people who are disabled who have been questioned, along the lines are saying you're disabled? Are you still able to have a sex life? Oh, that's

Don Armand:

okay. Yeah.

Scott Whitney:

And things like that.

Don Armand:

Sorry, that doesn't even come into my head, because it's the last thing I'd ask. I mean, that I think the only time you ever asked if you've been friends for 10 years, and it's something that you know, that that person is comfortable talking about. But

Scott Whitney:

sometimes it's the first thing that comes to that comes to mind to some people, actually. So going back to kind of rugby, I can remember on, on BBC, there was an interview with Natasha Hunt and Emily Scarratt. And it was all in and around the, you know, there was questions about what is the most, you know, ridiculous things that, that people say, and or you're kind of always asked, and there was always questions around kind of showers and sexuality and things like that. And unfortunately, people jumped to the extremes. And some of it is ignorance. Some of it is potentially inquisitive. But have you earned that right to be inquisitive with that particular person? And, you know, when you're meeting someone, first of all, no, you haven't. You wouldn't even ask that question to someone, it's like me, walking up to an able bodied person, say, are you able to have you know, sex three times a week, they'd be like, that's very personal. So it's kind of you still have to, then we go, that there's still people. So you ask questions that are in line with what you do any person. And I don't know if it's wrong, right. Like I've seen a post I saw post years ago that said, when your child is staring at my child, and my child is in a wheelchair, it makes my child feel very uncomfortable, because you're just staring they feel like they're being watched. Rather just ask you, if your kid has questions, tell them to come over and speak to my child. Yeah. And then I say, Okay, so I've adopted but I know that some parents don't like, asking, they're like, are you can I say a question? And I go, okay, that's, that's fair. I respect your privacy. And then in my head, I'm like, Well, how do I? How do I educate my kids to be tolerant of like, what everyone else is going through? If everyone, some people get offended, and some people don't? Is that then when we go back to? Was it Juana that said, Where does the education lie on us or them? And it's like, well, actually lies on both is if you want other people to, if you want society to be accepting, we need to be able to be able to have conversations. So if my child sees someone in a wheelchair, and goes, Daddy, why is they in a wheelchair? I go, I don't know, go and ask them. They are human. If they want to answer they will. If they don't, they'll say I don't feel comfortable answering. And then I say and then you learn, that's what people will do. That's how you interact with people, you don't stay tucked behind their back, and judge you go and you talk to them. And if they're not comfortable, they're allowed to tell you that they're not comfortable, you have to respect that opinion. And so you kind of teach, I'm teaching my kids to be able to have conversations and connect, but also respect that some people aren't that way inclined and feel uncomfortable. And as they get older, I'll say you can start looking at body language, if you're approaching someone and they start to like, really shy away and you know, that they're super uncomfortable, then maybe, you know, take a hint. Yeah, if they're open to it, then you you judge accordingly. All you have to do is smile, be kind and and connect and you will you'll then create a connection and an understanding. Well, you know, let's kind of go to it. You know, you're having a chat with someone holding your child's hand. And you're focused on that. On that conversation. You don't see that your child's head turning and, and staring at me. Now, the reaction you would get or not you would get your child would get from me would be a wave or thumbs up. Because I don't want him to say, Daddy, do you remember seeing that? That man in a wheelchair? I want him to say daddy, there was a man who was waving have made an eating really nice or, you know, and I think that's kind of something that I've always kind of taken, taken upon myself with, with children. But, you know, I guess, you know, if people have been in a wheelchair for 40 / 50 years, and they've, they've had that for 40 or 50 years, they might not necessarily on a bad day, yeah, someone a good day might not necessarily have the kind of patience to keep that on, I'd like to think I will, because, because I feel it's my kind of something like a mission or passion to kind of talking and educating people. And yeah, it's not for it's not for everyone,

Don Armand:

no, but I think we need to remember that it's that is humanity and society on the whole with the able bodied, some people are friendly, and some people aren't just because you're in a wheelchair, it doesn't mean that you have to be super friendly to make sure everyone understands, you know, everyone's going through their own battles and deal with it their own way. And it's for the people that feel passionately about things to, you know, be the ones that are out there and going, this is what I want everyone to be able to understand. And then that's fair. And then the people that go look, I'm, I'm in a wheelchair, I don't particularly feel like being friendly, I'm just gonna stick to myself, then that's, that's okay, too. That's the point of societies you have to be, you have to be accepting, and you have to make sure that, you know, you understand that everyone has their own their own journey in life that they have to go and deal with.

Scott Whitney:

Indeed, indeed, right. So this is a last one. And it feels like there's always a lot of pressure picking the last one. But I've gone for Jody Greer. And I think it's a, it's a really good one to finish on, since you stole my other good one to finish on earlier. "So there's still far too much us and them thinking, we're all just human accessibility helps everyone. And no one knows if they too will become disabled. I wrote a blog post called on not an ally on exactly this subject." And, you know, 37, I became disabled, you know, I've been disabled for two years. When I was 36, it was never going to happen to me. Well, it wasn't never gonna happen to me. But it wasn't something that was in my, in my kind of mind to think, you know, what have I got, you know, what about what's around the corner for me? And then I had, you know, a whirlwind of things thrown at me. So, yeah, it could happen to anyone, there's absolutely no discrimination there. There are things that we can do to look after ourselves. But even still, it doesn't kind of it doesn't. Even if we look after ourselves, it can still happen to, to the fittest person. Accessibility helps everyone. Right. And, and there's, there's a friend in Canada called Anthony Frisina. And, and Anthony said to me, you know, in Canada, the part Canada is in its snows a lot. So in I can't remember if he said it is his local library, doctor surgery or whatever it was. But because the people go around and they start clearing things, they was clearing the steps. There's ramps to these places, they were clear like the steps or library than the steps to the doctor's surgery than the steps to the office Brompton steps to here. Now he's in a wheelchair, he cannot walk up steps. And he's got a heavy duty wheelchair as well. So he, you know, it would be tough for someone to pick up and carry it if he even if he was able to take a few steps. So but clearing the steps. That is saying, in a sense, we're only, you know, taking in people who can walk up steps. But if they cleared the ramps first, ie, you know, the concrete ones that bend around, Anyone could walk up them. Yeah. So, coming back to that, except just those three words, not the whole post here. But accessibility helps everyone that feeds back to, to Anthony has spoken to me about before.

Don Armand:

Yeah, I completely I agree. I mean, I do think there's instances where accessibility like I always go to my pool. I'm like I in order for me to put a wheelchair accessible. I've seen these WESC which is I don't know what it stands for, but we used to take our kids for swimming lessons. They have like the harness the winch, the the I don't know what it's called the rail on the roof that is able to take someone that's in a wheelchair From the change room, always the pool, dropped them off. And I'm like, I can't see things like, how can I do that here? But I'm just unable to do that accessibility for that kind of thing, because it's it's big infrastructure. But I also am very wary, I hope I just hope that no one thinks that comes here that thinks I'm exclusive of everyone I just use sometimes you just got to do the best to your ability, isn't it? So? Yeah, there's a very fine line. I think it also goes to before when you said people choose not to, is from the, like, the disabled point of view is the, you could always put people always in the same pot, and then judge everyone in the same ways. Actually, it's not. And then that goes both ways, doesn't it? But funnily enough, like the accessibility thing, isn't the sentence I spoke on, I was thinking about because I agree with it, there's no way you can tell me that if something's made for everybody, it doesn't suit everybody. It's, it's actually a very powerful sentence, like you say. But when I was focusing focused on is, it's pretty much been the theme of what we've been talking about is there still far too much us and then thinking, and we need to, we need to find a way to change it to x and us. And I think the educate on both sides is key is because if you have the mindset that us and them, and you go into an environment, even as an able bodied person, you think that you are seen as us and them, you're immediately going to have your whole narrative and interaction as we are asking them. But if you are able to go, I'm going to, I'm going to try and make sure that it's us and us your whole way that you interact. Listen, talk will be from an US and US point of view, and you won't alienate anyone, because you're thinking, you know, we are together. And I think that's the educate on both sides is so key, it's like, any really successful CEO of a company, if things are going wrong, should be looking at themselves first, and making sure that they're the best they can be and then working backwards. And if everyone was able to do that, you know, if I'm trying to educate someone else on disability, look at myself, first make sure that I'm getting everything that I'm putting forward, right? And then go right, can we speak or vice versa? If I'm trying to be educated in the you know, disability versus ability type challenges? I go, where am I going wrong? What do I not know? I want to learn so that then I can go right? How can I help? Does that make sense? Yeah, it

Scott Whitney:

I was asked when I was a guest on someone else's podcast, you know, what is, you know, how can I learn? How can I best improve my knowledge? So that's a similar thing to how you kind of finished your last your last bit there and, and is to, I would search on whatever your you know, if whatever your favourite social media platform is, I would search out and connect with people of different disabilities. Yeah, and if you choosing the right people, you will learn and they will through their posts educate. And that is probably why would say is the biggest and best I can I can give. But, yeah, I mean that us and then thinking again, it's you know, there was so much to this kind of very sure thing. So the us and them thinking that all just humans, the accessibility helps ever anyone and no one knows if we'll be went on will become disabled. And actually, no one knows when someone that they're so close to is going to become disabled is actually I have I would rather become you know, and I have become disabled than someone that is in my immediate circle. And I still think is so much harder for my girlfriend than it is for me. I think it's so much harder for my kids than it is for me. But right let's get back to this us and then thinking so, Primark, they have low counters for disabled people and Primark, they have huge queues. If you ever go into Primark the queues are huge. It's not where I like to shop necessarily myself, but my kids do. Yeah. So they, they picked me out of the crowd off the queue the other day, and said, I can just go straight to that front of the queue, and they get someone to serve me straightaway at a lower counter. Now to me, that's not necessarily what I particularly want. I like the fact I can be served at a lower counter. That's amazing. My disability shouldn't put me at the front of the queue. Now there are people who are who are able to stand. But they can't stand for very long. Yeah. And the low counter won't help them. They still need the same size counter. But they're the people that need to go to the front. Yeah. And it's, I guess it's kind of involved in the right people in the right conversations to make these decisions. Because, you know, as far as I'm concerned, not everyone in a wheelchair will agree with me, and probably more won't than will. But to me, I'd rather just wait in that queue. And then just say to the person who's put up number five, come across, sir. Can we go into that low, low count? Well, I'd rather wait in the queue. I mean, my daughter was brilliant, because she had to queue for for less. I didn't know why they pulled us out at the at the time. But yeah, I mean, I don't think I should ever be jumping and getting favourable treatment because I've got a disability. Yeah. But at the same time, I should definitely, definitely not begin any. Any dis favourable treatment? Unless it's the situation with like, yourself and the swimming pool when you said to me, Look, I've tried absolutely anything. Is there anything that you can think of that? I can? I can do? Yeah, no, not really. Okay. Right. Well, yeah, I'm sorry. But maybe I can recommend this place to you or something like that. It's all very, it's all very pleasant conversation. And off we go.

Don Armand:

Yeah. Because if you remove the if you remove that challenge, if you go if you're just two people interacting, and I can't serve your needs, because they're different to what I offer, you'd be like, Okay, I'll find someone else. And that's, that's the bare bones of it. If as long as you've been decent people about it, and everyone's trying and being thoughtful. I don't think anyone walks away disgruntled.

Scott Whitney:

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. So that's our three each done. Yes. So let's tell us a little bit about the story behind the gaming athlete. The story behind it and, and why would it is and who it's for?

Don Armand:

Yeah. Okay, so the gaming athlete is is called gas for shorter just gas is just a shorter Scott can be called gaming athlete. The s don't know what it stands for yet. Lots of people ask, I'm keeping an open mind with it. But basically, it's trying to take a holistic approach to anyone that games, passive physical health products and mental health, just trying to try to create a brand that everyone can relate to. And they go, I want that, because I like the way it looks. But then once you once you buy it, you get value. So I started to say we started say, how important is sleep? Why is it important? You know, if you're able bodied, and you're sitting around all day, why is it important that that you actually move a little bit or whatever it is, the narrative is, it's about creating value, or if you're disabled, if you're in a wheelchair in your gaming, I go, right, I need to learn how I can create a product or a value or resource that makes you aware that gaming for 16 hours in a day, because it's the only thing you can really do. Actually, what else can you do that can kind of make you realise that you can do what you really love in a better way. So I'm trying to be all inclusive. And what I've learned over the last nine months is that by being all inclusive from the get go, I'm actually not really making anyone feel like it's for them, if that makes sense. And so I'm at a point where I know that in 10 years time I want to create a brand that is that's got everything that for anyone because I want my idea of what I think society should be or community should be to be put across in that brand. Where actually it's okay to stand up for being a good person being kind and, you know, the cheap laughs and kind of stuff that's not for me. So if you're in in your part of the community, I want you to make sure that community is helping you help yourself to be a better person, whether it's self development from a mental point of view or self development from a physical point of view. I want to try and create that in a brand and create kind of like a hub for gamers whether we provide the service and it's our brand or something, a product that we've done Let's, or if we've partnered up with someone that we like, those guys are amazing. Put them on the website, give them some traction, give them some WhatsApp publicity. Because I know that what they offer will help you. And it's about just that creates value. Do you know what I mean? So instead of trying to look at 15, different Google searches and search into 100 different things and not knowing whether that products right, I want to position it as it's a Gaming Hub, kinda like if you were to, or you normally use cricket. As an example, if your son wants to play cricket, you go to a sports store, and the guy has pads, his boxers gloves, he has a bat has a ball, and then a bag, and you know that he's ready to play cricket. So it's the same with gaming, if you want to game and you're a youngster you wanting to game, I want to create a store that you can go to, and we've got chairs, white chairs, important because of posture, blue light glasses, why because of sleep, you know, compression socks, why, because if you are actually sitting around all day, you're gonna get some swelling in your ankles and your legs and blood flow might be an issue with different heart things. And you do run risks of like blood clots on that they low, but there's a risk. And I want to be able to make sure that I'm making people aware of everything, so that they are able to take the best chance of looking after themselves. So it's not me going you need to do this, it's me just going or the brand is going, you know, these are things that we do these things that help try and help you find that internal motivator to go, Okay, I realise that I've gained two or three in the morning for the last two weeks, because I love it. But I also know that that really doesn't help with mood, overall health and immunity, and all the other things that come with it. So tonight, I'm going to get my two hour sleep and maybe for the next couple of nights, whereas before, without that education piece, people just carry on and get grumpy and then start to have a, you know, a negative effect on their daily life and not knowing how to fix it. Yeah. Yeah.

Scott Whitney:

Yeah. You know, I look at those blue, blue prism glasses you've got or blue glasses, I think it's on the website. And yeah, that's, you know, that's something that's going to help people who gain those hard hours. Because, you know, even if you then look at people who, who have seizures, you know, it's lessening that risk as well isn't there.

Don Armand:

So, I mean, there's the tech is actually quite amazing, just with glasses, I found this amazing UK company that create lenses. And they could very easily start up their own glasses company and be the best in the UK. But they're like we're not interested in selling, we love making lenses. And they can, they can do lenses for blue light blocking, for if you've got migraines, they've got a special lens that will stop the light interacting with you. I don't even know how it does blows my mind. It's incredible that a lens can stop the migraines from the screen. I also found the blue light glasses do that I'm not sure why I would never promote the blue light glasses has been able to help with migraines. But if you ask me, I would say they do because I've had people go I don't get migraines anymore. And I'm like, I don't even know why that's working. But it's great. And I can't really advertise it, then they've got lenses that can help with dyslexia colorblindness like that. It's, it's blows my mind that just with a simple pair of glasses, you can help so much. And so I'm trying to now create traction funding investments so that I can get those on board as quick as possible. Yeah, because those for me are immediate value. And it's like, it's not necessarily like you can always find an issue with it's I've seen debates on whether be like actually helps the glasses. And I'm like what actually they really do. Because put aside the science of the lenses. If I've created a awareness piece enough for you to go, well, it's nine o'clock in the evening, I'm going to bed in two hours, I better put my glasses on, you know, to prepare my my brain for sleep. It's not necessarily just about that. It's the fact that I've started to create a habit within you that when you put them on European conscious of your body and you're asleep. And you're you're starting to start all these little habits where I'm looking after myself. And so after two weeks, you're like, Oh, my goodness, actually, I really need to sleep. And that's because you've started to go, I should put these on two hours before I and you start to then create a snowball effect for better rather than being caught in that trap of a snowball effect where no matter what you do, you just gets worse because you're not actually realising what's making it worse. Yeah, yeah. And then so that's just the glasses. Now I want to be able to get products, I can do that across a whole range of things. And I know that things are out there. But they're really hard to find because it's a load of companies doing it on a one off as a one product thing. And they're great for the people that know about them. But what about the people that need them but don't know about them? I'm like what I want to create a brand that brings that all together. So it's also like a community, a society of gamers if that were actually the core purpose isn't to make millions and millions or for you the core purpose is to find you value. That's what I really want to try and achieve in the brand. And that's what I'm trying to learn at the moment. So I've just retired from rugby, now I get to go on different business, good business courses, trying to learn, try and connect. Just try and make sure that as this starts to grow, I'm growing it in the right way. Because I don't need to grow quickly and in the wrong way. Because I don't want to end up in three years time making loads of money, but actually just not creating value, because that would be hollow. It would not fill me with any sense of achievement, or that's not what I'm, that's not what I believe I'm, you know, that's not my mission is my mission is not to make money because money isn't. Money is a necessity, but it's the skin deep, but just you need money to be able to make an impact. But actually what you need to do is make sure that money is helping create a valuable impact. Yeah, it's probably the best way to put it.

Scott Whitney:

Yeah, no, no, definitely sounds a good way. So would you was You Are you a gamer yourself?

Don Armand:

I have always been. But I realised that because of nine years of professional rugby, I've fallen off the wagon a bit in terms of being able to be a good gamer. So I love gaming, I play a game called League of Legends. But I've obviously always gone from growing up on ps1 playing Sonic two before Sonic before that, ps1, all the games as they come out in the bar, we I happen to have a chip that will allow me to play copied games, I'm really sorry, Sony. And then you know how you develop as you get caught in that, like, I've always liked gaming, but I've always like been lucky enough to be sporty. So I've always known that I can game play sport, be have friends, and all that kind of thing. And I realised that there is a middle ground. And there's loads of positives of gaming, like autistic kids are, can shine when it comes to gaming. And actually so many different walks of life like neurodiverse, sorry, there's probably a better word to say is that gaming has so many positives, but it's like anything in life, everything has a positive if you're doing the right way. But if you're doing the wrong way, it can be a really, it can be a really negative thing. So it's about making sure that it's the right message, the right resources, the right narrative, that is done the right way. Because I think it's it's well needed, because the gaming industry is only going to grow, there's going to be more and more people going on the digital platforms is trying to make a career out of it or trying to, you're gonna get businesses that want to make a quick buck off it and it doesn't matter how they do it. And that's going to poison the well. And so I need to create a big enough impact that it actually makes other people go, I want to start a company that does the same thing. And I'm like, Great, let's make sure you do it the right way. And the more people you have trying to do that, the bigger impact you're gonna have around the world. So

Scott Whitney:

yeah, I guess, you know, I'm just picking on your glasses, they're done. Yeah, picking on him in a good way. So you've potentially got someone who's working on the laptop late at night. And I've done it before where I've almost shut my laptop down and gone straight to bed. And again, it's probably not something you want to actively promote as the reason for it. But I could go, right, I'm not going to be able to go to bed until I get this presentation done. But I am going to go straight to bed. So I've got these glasses for my gaming, I'm just gonna put them on.

Don Armand:

Yeah, so I mean, the point is, it's I don't ever want to come across as gamers, you need to be gaming less, because that you lose them immediately. The point is to create, like I've said, you create a common ground, where I go love gaming to, I used to like a network game till four in the morning, take my lap my desktop over to my friend's house and play Dota two or four in the morning or League of Legends where we LAN cable up to each other. But my point is, is like what you've just said, if you're gonna go to bed at two in the morning, I'm not saying go to bed at 12 Go to bed at two in the morning. But put these on at 12 because you know that that's going to give you that much better quality of sleep is not going to give you more sleep. But your deep sleep is going to be better because your brains had two hours to start prepping itself to get the melatonin going so that you actually get a better sleep. And what happens when you start doing that consistently is you're then able to make better decisions about what you do on a day to day because you're actually what better rested and your mood is in a better place. And the whole, like, the whole function asleep blows my mind like I've done I've done a stream on it where I did a week's worth of research and you've got people who've been doing for 20 years screaming about how like a core pillar of society should be eight hours sleep like that should be a fundamental thing that we're all raised to do and you'd see a massive difference in height everyone is and I'm like how do we achieve that importance? Because when you look into sleep, it actually becomes a very frightening thing that when you go by actually can survive and fall asleep you go actually this is what's really happening. And then you get in the gaming industry whether it's like energy drinks are really popular and it blows my mind because you're gaming it till 12 At night at 10 o'clock you're like yeah, I don't want to say their brand but it's you got a massive count. of 250 grammes of coffee, which is the equivalent of six cups of coffee in a can, because that's what you see other gamers doing. And then you've now stimulated your brain. And even when you go to sleep, coffee, he's got like a caffeine or a 12 hour life, or half life or whatever. So 12 hours later, it's going to be like taking half a cup of half of shots of coffee. And so you actually don't get proper sleep, even if you're sleeping. And it's just, but people don't know any better. And so that's the point is educated, if you've been if I go, this is what's important, and you go not interested. I'm like, Cool, at least I've tried. And in two years time, you'll come back and be like, what it was that you were saying about sleeping, like, Hey, you go, let's go. And then they're on board. And you're like, that's fine, as long as as long as there's a presence. And I think it's, it's challenging, because, I mean, you're on the other side of it, but people generally don't know they need something until they need it. So people won't necessarily be open to knowing they need more sleep, because it'll help with their health until they're sick. And then they go, oh, you know, what can I do to make myself better, or now I'll take the vitamins now I'll take the zinc now sleep better. So it's trying to create like a brand that can put those important messages across in a positive way that doesn't chase people away, because it seems like it's a, you know, put it out there. I don't really know how to put that exactly into words. But try not to be like a doting parent more like a a friend or a godfather role model that goes over that, it's quite important to look after yourself, because then you can actually game happier, or you can just be happy. And it will have a spillover to people that work in an office. It's just at the moment, there's companies that will already have blue light glasses will be able to work in an office.

Scott Whitney:

Yeah, your screens to go over the things. I mean, even

Don Armand:

then, like these lights, these like LED lights that come off everything else other than your screen, they all have blue light emitted from them. And so you don't realise it's like, the new LED lights that are power saving last longer, are emitting the same blue light that your screens do, maybe at a lesser level, but it's, you know, what, why Where does your brain switch off? And where doesn't it? It's like, if you're not, if you don't know, putting on a pair of glasses means that even if it's a small amount of blue light, at least you've taken every preventative and you know, it's one step forward, and you creating a habit, and you're just creating conscious efforts to improve how you are. Yeah. But it's I must say it's only for people that are open to it, because people are not open to it just won't have the same impact. So yeah, that's a challenge.

Scott Whitney:

And I always think businesses, businesses performed better when they when they look at a niche audience, instead of trying to please everybody, because I think you've tried to please everybody, sometimes you end up just pleasing no one. Yeah. So

Don Armand:

now I find that, I think I think what the lesson is, is to try and start smaller one step at a time knowing that eventually it'll grow into what it needs to. So the best thing I can do is go write my niche, immediate niche audience is going to be people that are very similar to me. So maybe 27 and up, you've got a job, possibly a family, but you're going to be in the next couple of years looking for a way of self improvement. Right? Well, I'm going to do all my narrative or my marketing, everything will be towards you create as much value as I can. And hopefully, you know, that that helps you. So my end goal is in 30 years to have no customers because we've created such a big impact that everyone knows how to look after themselves. Everyone's raising their kids to look after themselves. And then everyone's like, yeah, we know what you're trying to say it's fine. And then maybe they go actually, you know what, I like your I like your logo. I'm gonna wear that because it looks cool.

Scott Whitney:

Yeah. And I guess, you know, looking at what I'm doing, I could I could take the same thing in 30 years time. If no one needs me, then then the My job is done. Yeah. So perfect. Thank you very much for for joining us today, Don. Pleasure. We've gone through we've we've gone through what you've put forward to us, we've picked out some great examples. There were some absolutely amazing examples, which didn't make the cut for one reason or another. And that was purely because of mine and Don's preference. We all may be associated with all the messages that we wanted to put out or people from a similar perspective as us. If you've liked what Don's been saying about the gaming athlete, there will be links to it in the show notes. So feel free to click on have a look at exactly what we've been talking about here at the end. And tune in again next Wednesday for the next episode. But thank you very much, everyone for listening. And again, thank you very much, Don.

Don Armand:

Thanks for having me.