A light toward the future

Photo of Laurel Lambert

Photo of Laurel Lambert

Guest blog by Laurel Lambert

Laurel’s daughter, Peta, and her friend Natalie, recently purchased a unit with the help of a mortgage. They also live in the Hunter, NSW, and have been through the NDIS. She says that one of the biggest factors in making change is having an ambition that is worth the effort and that you know, deep down inside yourself, will help you to be in a good place.

Want to hear more from Laurel about preparing for change? Click here and join us for our next webinar on 20th April!

We are here, at the pointy end of social reform. For those Australian citizens who live with disability, the National Disability Insurance Scheme promises greater possibilities through improved choice and control over one’s own life. Those among us who live with disability or love someone with a disability, welcome this change.

At the same time as welcoming such a reform, there are many among us who also ponder the question about what this may mean personally, how might it look, how might it feel. Some of us see it as a trigger to wonder what it would be like to live another way? The potential stirs feelings within us like hope, anticipation, uncertainty and anxieties about future risks.

Should I, shouldn’t I, will I, won’t I, I can, I can’t.

Such emotions are completely understandable when faced with such predicaments because for a long time, people with disability have been cocooned in services that have been prescribed by others. Choice has been limited to a pre-determined menu of activities. Such circumstances inhibit the ability to think beyond one’s daily parameters.

Being leaders in our own lives

Now, the ‘big ask’ that stands before us today is throwing up major challenges. This can be due to our lack of exposure to the notion that we alone are now responsible to shape our own destiny.

While ever we are alive, change will be an inevitable and many of us will be sorely in need of some solid leadership. Not the type of leadership that permits us to follow but the type that allows us to lead.

In a time of uncertainty, we often look outside to others for the answers. But in my own experience and in my work with other families in my community, I see that we actually have what is needed to make the most out of change.

Deep understanding

To take a step into change like this (what might it be like to live another way?), transformational leadership is needed. Such leadership can only be born out of a deep understanding of the individual, for this is the instrument through which one can motivate the person to desire change.

It is crucial that any aspiration must be formed out of the person’s own genuine insight and knowledge that there is a place where they truly wish to be.  Having something to hold on to, to aspire to, is a great driver through uncertain times.

For my daughter, and her good friend, having their own home, and more than this, owning their own home, was the light that helped us move through all the uncertainty of change.

Allowing free exploration of ideas

Secondly, it seems perhaps obvious to say, but we had to match this intimacy and knowing of the person with a creative, optimistic and welcoming environment in order to achieve this outcome.

Igniting enthusiasm, selling the benefits and painting a picture of future accomplishments, I found invited participation and developed a unified theme. Creating these shared values also fosters an attitude of continual growth and mutual respect.

We are also in a very good place to bring forward the other skills needed to bring about such desires and ambitions.


Firstly, the ability to know the kinds of communication styles that are going to work best for the person developing their vision. Without this a clear and honest outcome will not be achieved. Secondly, working in a framework of humility and authenticity, never forgetting that the ‘leader’ works to stimulate the environment, not create the thought.


What I also learnt to see is that some processes capture the imagination and energy of the person, and others do not.  What we do need to learn is that it’s OK to eliminate a pathway and try again if necessary. Perhaps a different technique may invite better outcomes. Reinforce our optimism that all is not lost, we are all still on our ‘L’ plates.

Letting go

Lastly, a key trait of the ‘leader/facilitator’ is to know when to surrender the leadership and power to the person so that intellectual stimulation, individual consideration and eventual personal motivation to change the status quo can occur.

Yes, we might feel rightly worried and uncertain at the prospect of change. But we also possess the foundations, when directed clearly, that can so genuinely assist another to take control. It is these foundations we can refine and develop in order to produce the guiding light through change.

Let people own their world, be the architects of their life, let them work to change it and so become that person they wish to be. In the end, their life truly belongs to them alone.

Want to hear more from Laurel about preparing for change? Click here and join us for our next webinar!

More about Laurel:

Laurel Lambert is a parent, a guardian for several others & a representative for several more women living with the NDIS. For many years, she has advocated for people to live inclusive lives. Laurel has worked in the voluntary & paid sectors of the disability industry for over 40 years. Currently, she is the Chairperson of a carer group whose mission is to build good lives for their family member with disability.

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