I’m not stupid, or lazy; I’m dyslexic, and we need more neurodiversity in PR

I’m the CEO and founder of Blurred. I’m also dyslexic and believe we need more neurodiversity in this industry.

We need more neurodiversity in this industry, argues Nik Govier
We need more neurodiversity in this industry, argues Nik Govier

Greta Thunberg has shown us what someone with autism is capable of, and I believe that my dyslexia is a gift.

Not just because it’s where my drive comes from – the desire to prove those “stupid and lazy” categorisers wrong – but also because I bring something different, and valuable, to the party.

I might not be able to spell or write by hand, and don’t even try to talk to me about time differences, or the clocks changing, or if a meeting is moving backwards or forwards.

And I get unduly stressed by things that others find simple. But the positives far outweigh the negatives.

It’s a wiring thing. I see things others don’t. I see the entire picture, instantly.

I can fast-forward and rewind scenarios in seconds. I can see the opportunities, barriers and potential in less time than it takes to move my hands to my keyboard.

There’s a reason why GCHQ has started actively recruiting dyslexics.

Granted, it was harder when I started out, but it never hindered me. My drive took care of that.

And today I’m fortunate to be in a position where I can thrive and where my neurodiversity is free to do its thing.

My daughter is dyslexic, and my son is being tested because the signs are there.

And it’s a joy for me to see them develop in a more evolved world where they’re not being mis-categorised. In fact, schools are starting to recognise dyslexia as a gift.

I know I’m good at what I do but I’ve always doubted myself intellectually.

My grades were never great and it dented my confidence.

When my daughter was diagnosed, they also placed her in the top one per cent of the country in terms of intellectual ability.

I cried. Not because of the potential for her (I believed that regardless), but because it made me think that maybe I’d been wrong about myself all these years.

That maybe she’s a chip off the old block in more ways than I’d thought. When I was diagnosed – late – they knew a lot less then they know now.

I’m talking about this because it’s important that people – in the industry and more widely – understand the benefits neurodiversity can bring.

Brains that complement each other are vital.

In a new book by Fernette and Brock Eide, they say that dyslexics are “especially good at putting together big pictures, or seeing larger context, or imagining how processes will play out over time”.

They say dyslexics have the ability to “view something from multiple perspectives” and that they can “see connections that other people haven't seen before”.

They also say that “these individuals excel in fields where telling and understanding stories are important” and finally they state the ability to “reason well in dynamic settings when the facts are incomplete or changing”.

Tell me these attributes wouldn’t be useful in your organisation?

But I’m also talking directly to others who are neurodiverse and might just be starting out.

To you I say: you’ve got this. You’re an asset to any business. You bring something different and different is vital in the highly complex world we now live in.

And, finally, I say that 'stupid and lazy' to some is 'gifted and special' to others – and the more of us that understand this, the better we all become.

Nik Govier is the founder and chief executive of Blurred

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