Inspirational speaker, Nicky Abdinor, advises how to create sustainable attitude change and thriving in an uncertain environment.
Nicky Abdinor’s self-appointed tagline is that she was “born without arms but not without attitude.” It’s a punchy line, and it also couldn’t be more accurate.
Nicky was born with physical disabilities, no arms and shortened legs and she describes how her parents were totally unprepared for her disability. “In those days there were no scans to [determine] if you were a boy or a girl let alone if you had a physical disability. But I’m so grateful they chose to focus on my strengths.”
As she grew up, it was never a case of “can Nicky do this?” rather “how is Nicky going to be able to do this?”
Nicky believes her upbringing helped her to adapt to her disability and flourish. “A big part of my success is having that nurturing environment and access to mainstream schooling. I was encouraged to take part in all activities and I’ve learnt to do things just a little bit differently.” Nicky was unable to do things the same way as everyone else on a physical level but instead she used her acamdeic abilities and passion for human psychology to her advantage.
She now works as an international keynote speaker, registered Clinical Psychologist and founder of the non-profit, Nicky’s Drive.
Creating sustainable attitude change
Nicky’s work as a clinical psychologist focusses on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
The premise of CBT is the belief that “it’s not our situation determining how we feel or behave but how we think about those situations.”
It’s useful to recognise that so many of us could be experiencing the same or similar situations but we all have entirely unique responses to that situation. The key to actually creating sustainable change, Nicky explains, in our attitudes, beliefs and emotions is to understand the core thought processes that we implement on auto-pilot. An everyday situation such as a meeting with a manager could trigger a particular behaviour. “But we need to understand our thought pattern. We’re wired to think in a certain way and people don’t realise that you can’t truly change the way you think about a situation until you understand those automatic thought processes.
With some work, it’s possible to recognise your cognitive roadmap and what gets triggered, which is often linked to previous experiences and relationships.
Nicky explains that it is quite liberating to realise we don’t have to change our situation, “we can change how we think about a situation to bring about wellness and a better quality of life. It’s empowering to know we can’t change our situation but we can certainly change the way we react to that situation.”
Thriving in an uncertain environement
Nicky speaks passionately on the concept of uncertainty and how it impacts on our every day lives.
“A lot of people come for therapy because they are anxious about the future. A big part of what I do is help people learn to tolerate uncertainty. None of us have absolute control over what the future holds. Ultimately, people find it hard to tolerate because they place demands on themselves that they have to know whats going to happen.”
In a corporate setting the same applies. Leaders of today are concerned about reaching their targets, will there be another recession, what’s going to happen to the political landscape of my country and how will it impact by business? We want to know exactly what’s going to happen.
But, Nicky argues, we must learn to tolerate that uncertainty, which ultimately means teaching yourself to live in the present . “If we worry too much about tomorrow, we cannot enjoy today,””
When it comes to hiring talent, recruiters need to ascertain whether applicants understand this concept. “Can that person deal with uncertainty, does that person have the ability to recognise the limitations for going into the future. When we have the ability to understand uncertainty we can achieve so much more. Worrying is a waste of time and we need a bit of anxiety to motivate us to do the right thing, be ambitious and reach your goals.”
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Nicky Abdinor was a keynote speaker at Big Ideas Summit Sydney earlier this year and wowed our audience. You can watch her presentation in full here and get in touch with Nicky regarding speaking opportunities here (Procurious HQ couldn’t recommend her more!)