Navigating Life Challenges with Purpose and Progress (not perfection)

with Shari Leid

In this episode of Beautifully Complex, I have the pleasure of talking with Shari Leid of An Imperfectly Perfect Life. Together, we’re talking about purposeful living and parenting and celebrating gradual progress over the pursuit of perfection. Shari shares her deep insights on the value of recognizing and fostering the inherent strengths in our children. We confront societal expectations head-on, discussing the critical importance of valuing imperfections and the individuality of each journey. This episode is rich with reflection on the concepts of resilience and authenticity in the context of modern parenting.

3 key takeaways:
    1. Embrace Individuality and Neurodiversity: Celebrate the unique qualities and strengths of neurodivergent kids, teens and adults.. Shari and Penny discuss the value of building confidence and resilience by embracing imperfections and recognizing that differences make us beautifully complex.
    2. Focus on Progress Over Perfection: Both Shari and Penny advocate for a shift away from the pursuit of perfection in parenting, emphasizing the need to acknowledge progress and the present moment. They suggest fostering an environment where mistakes are viewed as opportunities for growth and teaching children to reflect on their experiences instead of outcomes.
    3. Strengths-Based Parenting Approach: The conversation underscores the necessity of adopting a strengths-based approach to parenting. This involves guiding kids to find self-acceptance, encouraging regular self-reflection, and modeling vulnerability. By teaching kids resilience, grit, and healthy ways to navigate failures and successes, parents can support their children’s journey towards becoming confident individuals.

You’ll Learn

  • How to celebrate the uniqueness and strengths of neurodivergent kids to build their confidence and allow them to navigate their personal journey more effectively.

  • Strategies for guiding children to compare themselves in healthier ways, fostering appreciation for the uniqueness in themselves and others, instead of succumbing to societal pressures for conformity.

  • The importance of modeling imperfection and embracing differences as a means to build confidence in children, teaching them that imperfections are not failures but part of the human experience.

  • Ways to teach resilience, grit, and effective navigation of friendships and failure, including the value of allowing children to fail and learn from their experiences.

  • Techniques for adopting a strengths-based approach to parenting, focusing on progress and the present moment, detaching from outcomes, and embracing mistakes as opportunities for growth.


  • Subscribe to Clarity — my weekly newsletter to help you get clear on how to be the parent your neurodivergent kid needs.

  • Work with me to level up your parenting — online parent training and coaching  for neurodiverse families.

Some of the resources may be affiliate links, meaning I receive a commission (at no cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.

Today’s Guest

Shari Leid

SHARI LEID is a former litigator turned-mindset and life coach and the dynamic force behind An Imperfectly Perfect Life, LLC. In her flourishing coaching practice, she specializes in guiding clients who feel trapped in stagnation, empowering them to sculpt the life of their dreams.

Renowned as a friendship expert and national speaker, Shari’s insights reach far beyond individual coaching sessions. She’s been interviewed on major networks including ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and CTV, and was profiled on the TODAY show in April 2023. She’s written for and shared her expertise with HuffPost, Real Simple, PureWow, AARP, Woman’s World, Toronto Sun, and Shondaland. She is the author of The Friendship Series, which includes three books: The 50/50 Friendship Flow (2020), Make Your Mess Your Message (2021), and Ask Yourself This (2022). She is currently writing her fourth book (tentative pub. date: February 2025), which chronicles her extraordinary journey across all 50 states in 2023 to break bread with 50 different women.


Shari Leid [00:00:03]: Keeping that communication open, I think as parents, that's the best thing that we can do, and be vulnerable with ourselves too and share. Age appropriately that, hey, this is what happened, and it didn't work for me, but look at where this led me. Or what do you think about that? And be in that conversation with your kids and celebrate the strengths in those messes.

Penny Williams [00:00:27]: Welcome to the Beautifully Complex podcast, where I share insights and strategies on parenting neurodivergent kids straight from the trenches. I'm your host, Penny Williams. I'm a parenting coach, author, and mindset mama, honored to guide you on the journey of raising your atypical kid. Let's get started.

Penny Williams [00:00:49]: Welcome back, everybody. I am joined by Shari Leid today, and we're gonna talk about perfection and things that are better to be striving for than perfection, and and I'm sure we'll talk to you about why that is important. Why a drive for perfection that I think we get from our culture and our society isn't really serving us in the best way possible. But first, Sherry, will you just let everybody know who you are and what you do?

Shari Leid [00:01:21]: Sure. Well, it's the perfect topic because my business name is An Imperfectly Perfect Life. Mhmm. I am a life coach. I'm also an author. I've published 3 books sort of on friendship, and I'm a mother to 2 adult children, young adults, one who is 22 and one who will soon be 24, who also happens to be neurodivergent with ADHD. So I'm right there in the mix with your listeners. And I really do understand, not just from an intellectual level, but just from a personal level of being a mom and navigating motherhood and being able to learn to focus on the progress as opposed to the end goal of something like perfection, which is basically impossible.

Penny Williams [00:02:11]: Mhmm. And what we talk so often about, and I think what I learned in my own parenting was that I really had to focus on progress. Even if I had goals that were at some point attainable, I really needed to focus more in the here and now and just making improvement. Because if I try to focus on those big goals that required a lot of skill building, a lot of change, then I felt really ineffectual. Right? Mhmm. I felt like I wasn't making progress when actually I was. And so I talk a lot with parents about, you know, let's look at just what is going on right right in here and now, and let's really notice when we're moving forward. Yes.

Penny Williams [00:02:53]: And celebrate that. Right?

Shari Leid [00:02:55]: Oh, the end goal of success, goals, everything, that really isn't where the the sweet spot is. The sweet spot really isn't that journey Yeah. And what we're learning throughout that entire journey. We miss the journey and all the little sweet spots if we focus on the end goal.

Penny Williams [00:03:22]: Mhmm. Yeah. You know, it takes a lot of sort of awareness on our part, I think, because of those because I want to enjoy my days and my life. I don't wanna always be hustling for more and more and more. Like, if we're never satisfied, then what happens? Right. There's consequences to that. Right?

Shari Leid [00:03:51]: Right. You know, our kids, they're savvy. They have, you know, these smartphones now and they know where they stand. And if they're at a traditional school where there's a lot of testing and Mhmm. That's how they're being engaged, I mean, they're getting so much of that from every external factor. So we, as parents, if we can be aware that we can model imperfection to our kids and then model the embracing of imperfection, one thing that I think is really great because we want to raise our kids with confidence. And it becomes very hard when our kids do struggle in school or they may be a little different than the other kids. And I think of confidence as meaning that you can figure anything out.

Shari Leid [00:04:39]: Right. And if we're able to show our kids through our actions that we're imperfect and, hey, look, this happened, but this is how I figured it out, and mirror that and ask our kids too. What happened? Well, what did you do? Mhmm. How did you figure that out? Because a lot of times, our children's pals aren't going to be the same as maybe the kid next door. And to build that confidence in their imperfection, I think we have the sweet spot that can actually celebrate the differences.

Penny Williams [00:05:15]: Mhmm. We have a manifesto of the neurodiverse family, and one of the tenants on there is that we are all beautifully complex and marvelously imperfect.

Penny Williams [00:05:26]: And that's exactly why we included it is because we're not going to have that perfect idea of parenting. Right? That perfect idea of what childhood might look like. We have to embrace that being different is okay. Okay. Mhmm. And so, you know, I even named the podcast off of part of that because I feel like it's so important, you know, and you've leaned into that in your work as well that we really are all imperfect. Yes. And there's relief that comes from accepting that.

Penny Williams [00:06:02]: There's a lot of relief there, I think.

Shari Leid [00:06:04]: Absolutely. And what I love to also bring up is that, you know, the word weird, the root of it is spelled wyrd, weird. You know, I've heard it's English based or German based, but it's wyrd is the root, and that means destiny or fate. Interesting. And so when we're able to embrace our weirdness, our uniqueness, we're embracing our destiny and fate. And what I like to point out to a lot of my clients that I coach, adults, when you look at the people that you admire, right, these stars, if we're talking about younger people, maybe it's someone like Taylor Swift or some of the, you know, the pop stars Right. Selena Gomez, whoever it is. When you look at them, there's something very unique about them that they've embraced.

Shari Leid [00:06:50]: Mhmm. And that's what makes them interesting. And so I love that that, you know, you embrace that idea weird, meaning, you know, the root your fate or your destiny. Things happen. Yeah. And, you know, you could call that imperfection, but I call that uniqueness.

Penny Williams [00:07:06]: I love that.

Shari Leid [00:07:07]: And the world starts to open up to you when you can embrace that.

Penny Williams [00:07:10]: Yeah. When you just start treating people like individuals Mhmm. Instead of trying to make everybody fit in the same box And it's hard. It's hard to make that change as a culture certainly. And I think that's why a lot of our neurodivergent kids are struggling in school and Mhmm. In other areas because they're still expected to behave in neurotypical ways.

Penny Williams [00:07:33]: But also for us as parents to be able to step out of the norm and feel okay with it

Penny Williams [00:07:41]: Is a journey. Like, it took me years of really focusing on that to be able to reach that level of acceptance and sort of peace, honestly, with Yes. The way things are. And I think that really helped me to show my kid that it was gonna be okay. So instead of focusing all on ADHD, ADHD, schools, go like all the things that were not going well, which is what I was doing all the time. I learned...

Shari Leid [00:08:09]: I was doing the same thing.

Penny Williams [00:08:11]: Yeah. To shift that, but it takes work. You know, when I talk about this, when I do webinars and stuff, people are always like, it's not that easy. I'm like, no. It wasn't easy.

Shari Leid [00:08:20]: I mean,

Penny Williams [00:08:20]: it took a long time and a lot of effort, and I still catch myself. You know, I still have to be really mindful. But I think it's possible for everyone Mhmm. To be able to accept uniqueness and differences and look more from a strengths based approach. But you have to have the tools and the skills. Right? And I'm hoping that we can share some of those here.

Shari Leid [00:08:42]: Yeah. That's why I really love your podcast because when I was raising my, you know, my daughter, I didn't have podcasts. This is pre podcast, probably your kids too. And so you'd feel very lonely as a parent. You know, like, you're failing in all sorts of ways. And I came to the point where I realized that when I start to feel angst about behavior or something that wasn't working, And as you were saying, you know, trying to get somebody up to par, which and and the strengths then when you're doing that, the strengths fall away because you're too busy working on the weaknesses, and that's not gonna help anything. Yeah. I realized when I was gaining that angst, it was because I had in my mind what a journey should look like.

Penny Williams [00:09:23]: Yep.

Shari Leid [00:09:24]: What success should look like and how to get there safely. And finally realizing that my idea of a journey worked for me, but that's not the same for either my daughter or someone else. And once I was able to remove myself from that and detach from, you know, making it my journey, which it really isn't, and I know I don't you know, we don't own our kids, it became a lot easier. And Yeah. I was able to finally see the beauty in this different type of way of doing things, in this different journey. And that actually, a lot of people succeed and and do things their own way on their own timing that is quite remarkable, actually, compared to my checklist life that I had.

Penny Williams [00:10:06]: Right. Right. Yeah. It's a different world now, you know, and so our kids are going through different things. So even from that perspective, understanding what they're going through day to day, I don't feel like I understand it as with you. We didn't have smartphones in high school. We didn't have people taking video and pictures of everything we did inside. My goodness.

Penny Williams [00:10:29]: And publicizing it. I know. Right? And so there's so much to our kids' journey, I think, that we just don't get on a cellular level. We try to understand it, we try to be open minded, but there are so many ways that we can show them that we are working really hard to get it and try to really make them feel like they're seen and heard and understood. Mhmm. And I think that goes a long way to helping them be more comfortable with who they are and also to finding that path that's really gonna come to their version of success, their version of happiness. Mhmm. And I just takes so much work from us, right, to be able to get to that place where we can, I think, be the most helpful for them?

Shari Leid [00:11:19]: Yeah. And I had mentioned before we started recording that last year, I had this opportunity to travel to all 50 states and share a meal with a woman I didn't know in every state.

Penny Williams [00:11:28]: That's so amazing.

Shari Leid [00:11:29]: And as I was traveling and meeting these people, I start to think, you know, what is it that I meet somebody and I just naturally vibe or and our conversation flowed so well versus someone else where the conversation was fine, but maybe we weren't vibing quite as well. And really what it came down to is vulnerability and embracing imperfection. And I noticed when somebody on the other side, when we were sharing our imperfect moments of our life, that's really when we came together and bonded. And, you know, when we're able to, again, share this with our children, I mean, that's the best thing I think that, you know, in this realm we can do as parents is share with them that we aren't perfect. Right. You know? It doesn't mean that we're losing our authority and we're not right most of the time. Right. But sharing with them, hey, you know, this is what I had planned and it didn't work, and this is how I figured it out.

Shari Leid [00:12:23]: What would you do? Or, you know, if they're old enough to have that discussion. Or when they didn't come through, you know, a lot of times executive functioning. Right? A big issue. Mhmm. And time and time again, maybe it doesn't work over and over. Hey. Well, you did get to school. You did.

Shari Leid [00:12:38]: What did you do? How did you figure that out? That wasn't perfect the way it went. What could you do better? You know? Well, I messed up too. I yelled, and I shouldn't have. I should have done, you know, x, y, and z. Mhmm. But the more we could mirror and talk about these imperfect moments and build confidence by showing them that they can figure it out. And no matter what happens, they can figure it out. We we we still parent and teach them easier ways and try to get places on time and things done.

Penny Williams [00:13:07]: Yeah.

Shari Leid [00:13:07]: But giving them that confidence so they don't always feel like they're failing.

Penny Williams [00:13:12]: Yeah. Yeah. It was a hard lesson for me to learn, like Yeah. If you step in all the time, if you try to protect them all the time, they sort of internalize that that we don't think they were capable.

Penny Williams [00:13:26]: Right? Yeah. And they also don't learn grit and resilience and all these things. I talk a lot about being real with our kids because we can set this unrealistic standard. Right? And I remember, like, my childhood, I had a lot of expectations around grades and things like that in school, and I was able to fulfill that, you know, I had the skills and the intelligence to be able to, most of the time, meet those expectations, but sometimes it's really hard and sometimes I didn't meet those expectations and then I was grounded and I got in trouble. Right? And then I remember distinctly helping my grandmother move and finding my dad's old report cards with d's and f's on some of them And I went, all that time, you made me feel like I, you know, had to reach this perfect standards of a's and never knew that he messed up sometimes as a kid too, and he didn't always get the best grades. Right? Yeah. And I felt betrayed a little bit, honestly. Right? I felt betrayed.

Shari Leid [00:14:39]: I could just imagine. I could just picture that shock.

Penny Williams [00:14:43]: I'm like, oh my gosh, those 3 Cs I had my whole life and I was grounded every time and you had worse grades than that, but it was this traditional parenting that was all he knew, first of all. He did the best that he knew. Yeah. It was the way that you know, they were raised and he really wanted the best for us and that's where it came from. He wanted us to reach our potential. Right?

Shari Leid [00:15:06]: Right. Right.

Penny Williams [00:15:07]: I just remember that and I call back on that so often in my own parenting. Like, remember how you felt when you realized that your parent wasn't perfect. Yeah. And you could measure up, but you didn't know it. Mhmm. Right? And that's where I think just being so realistic with our kids, open about mistakes is so important.

Shari Leid [00:15:29]: Yeah. Teaching our kids, you know, I talk a lot about friendships. I know that's not what we're talking about today. But in that vein, I tell parents, you know, we work so hard to teach our kids how to make friends and how to socialize and Mhmm. We spent hours making these amazing play dates, but we don't teach our kids how to end friendships, which is a natural part of life. And I think in that same vein, we teach our kids how to succeed, how to get to places on time, how to, you know, turn in your assignment on time, do x, y, and z, and get this grade. We don't teach our kids how to, quote unquote, fail.

Shari Leid [00:16:06]: And there's an art to failing, and there's a value to failure, embracing the imperfect. Yeah. That I think is beautiful if we can get there.

Penny Williams [00:16:18]: Yeah. I used to rail so hard against that idea of letting your kids fail. Mhmm. I was so against it. I thought it was so awful. Why would you do that? You know? Because I was that protective helicopter parent for a long time. I thought that that was doing my best for my kids and had to realize that wasn't because they weren't learning to be independent. They weren't learning any grit and resilience.

Penny Williams [00:16:40]: They weren't even learning that they could do hard things. Right? And get through that. Mhmm. And so, yeah, a 100% on board with what you're talking about. I find sometimes my young adult kid will tell me that I'm oversharing. But I'm like, no, I want you to know.

Shari Leid [00:16:55]: Overshares. You're in good company.

Penny Williams [00:16:57]: I want you to know how not perfect I am. Okay? I need you to know that sometimes things don't go right. Right? And and it happens to all of us. And I've just I guess, because I was on the wrong side of that for so long, I'm, like, really swinging the pendulum heavily toward your mom is not perfect. Nobody is perfect. Yeah. But what can people do? What can parents do as adults to help to embrace this idea? Like, we're talking about it. We've done that work.

Penny Williams [00:17:28]: Mhmm. What does that work look like? What can people do after listening to this to start to really embrace the progress instead of those end goals?

Shari Leid [00:17:40]: I think a lot of it is reflecting and teaching your kids to take the time to reflect. Mhmm. It involves, you know, detaching from the situation a lot of times for parents.

Penny Williams [00:17:51]: Yeah.

Shari Leid [00:17:51]: Not mean that you don't care, but detaching, I guess, from the outcome. Mhmm. Being attached to the outcome. And if you're more structural and your kids are younger, maybe it's a great idea to have a once a week check-in, saying, hey, what didn't go so well for us this week? You know, what did we learn from that? What are the opportunities? Because I'm of the big belief that our messes, our mistakes, sometimes are the things that lead us to our greatest opportunities. Mhmm. And these kids are creative. I mean, our kids are survivors. They're creative.

Shari Leid [00:18:24]: They are always thinking about how to make something work for them. And a lot of times, they won't vocalize how they've figured it out and what they're thinking to make things work. But to have these regular conversations, you know, and keeping that communication open, I think as parents, that's the best thing that we can do And be vulnerable with ourselves too, and share. Age appropriately that, Hey, this is what happened, and it didn't work for me, but look at where this led me. Yeah. Or what do you think about that? And be in that conversation with your kids and celebrate, again, you pointed out earlier, the strengths, you know, in those messes. What happened? What what wrong? Where what's the opportunities that, wow, that's a great strength that you actually still, you know, manage to get there on time. You know? Yeah.

Shari Leid [00:19:10]: Your hair wasn't that great when you got there, but you got there.

Penny Williams [00:19:14]: But it's progress.

Shari Leid [00:19:15]: Yep. It is. It is progress.

Penny Williams [00:19:18]: I think a lot of times we do those little activities with our kids, but we don't participate.

Shari Leid [00:19:24]: Mhmm.

Penny Williams [00:19:24]: So we're asking them to self reflect what was, you know, a great thing today and a not so great thing today, but we should be participating in that too. We need to be modeling that. Right? We need to show them that we also have highs and lows in our day to day as well.

Shari Leid [00:19:40]: And it gives us grace because a lot of times, especially as moms or parents, when we're right in the heart of things and we are you know, we're trying to make sure we're showing up with other parents around and we have eyes on us too, it gives us some grace if we also are able to take that moment and go, oh, messed up there. But you know what? Yeah. Nobody got hurt. You know? It was okay. I made a bigger deal of it than it was. It was okay. And it also allows us to go, okay, what's the easiest thing we could do here? Because we get so caught up, we forget that, okay, let me let it be simple. That's why I like to say too, is when things get so crazy for us that we're looking at these goals and we're trying to get there and we don't know how to get there and we have, you know, to satisfy this person, that person, this thing.

Shari Leid [00:20:28]: Taking a moment to pause and go, okay, let it be simple. What is the easiest thing I can do here?

Penny Williams [00:20:33]: I love that.

Shari Leid [00:20:35]: And we could say that to our kids. Okay. Let's let this be simple. What's the easiest thing you could do right now?

Penny Williams [00:20:39]: How do we simplify the situation? Wow. I wish I had known to ask that.

Shari Leid [00:20:44]: Mhmm. There's always one step that can make it a little bit easier.

Penny Williams [00:20:47]: That's great. Yeah. A lot of the journey for me in in my own mindset shift was looking at a lot of Buddhist principles, honestly, and I don't practice Buddhism. It's not my religion.

Shari Leid [00:20:59]: Yeah.

Penny Williams [00:21:00]: But there's so much acceptance within those what is, is, what is. Because for me, I have a lot of anxiety and I was very worried about my kids today, but also in the future. Right? And so I had to be able to get comfortable Yeah. With whatever was happening instead of fighting it. And so for me, that was really helpful to have sort of this grounding statement almost. And I would just repeat that in my head when things were hard. Right? But that helped me look at the simple Yeah. Fact of what was going on.

Penny Williams [00:21:47]: Right? Okay. This is what is happening. This is Mhmm. The card we've been dealt today. Mhmm. What can we do with it? And that takes away all that

Shari Leid [00:22:06]: Right? Can we predict the future? We can't. And we get so caught up on if this doesn't happen, you know, my child's not gonna succeed Mhmm. 20 years from now, or whatever it is. You know, it's like it's completely ridiculous because we cannot predict the future. Mhmm. So that is such a good point. Right? Let it be simple. When I did my travel there you mentioned Buddhism.

Shari Leid [00:22:28]: When I did my travels, there's a woman I met in Paterson, New Jersey, and I later later found out it was a Buddhist principle that she shared with me. And I have was having some angst that I didn't speak up maybe when I should have. And I shared this with her, and she said, you know, it's because the person wasn't ready to learn. When someone's ready, when the student's ready, the teacher will come. And it's something I've been thinking about since meeting with her and I think that's true with the way we parent. If we're thinking about the future and we're trying to get everything in place and make sure that this person knows that and we speak up here and we talk to this teacher and we talk to this parent, that sometimes isn't our job. And if we let it be easy and just live in the present for the most part I mean, obviously, we're planners. But if we're able to live in the present, then we're able to see the opportunities that are available to us in the present.

Penny Williams [00:23:21]: Mhmm. Yeah. We talk a lot about how you can't change a mind that isn't open to being changed.

Shari Leid [00:23:30]: Oh, yeah. That's the same thing. Right?

Penny Williams [00:23:31]: And that kind of reminded me of it. Yeah. So, you know, if you're struggling with other family members who think you're just not punishing enough or whatever, you know, this happens to so many of our parents, and they always ask me, what do I do? How do I navigate the situation? And the reality is that if people are not open to thinking about something in a different way, doesn't matter what you say or do, they have to be ready. And, you know, in my own coaching, I've had meeting with parents where I gave them the information Mhmm. From my perspective of what was needed.

Shari Leid [00:24:06]: Yeah.

Penny Williams [00:24:06]: And they just weren't ready to hear it yet. Right? And I just have to remind myself it's not about me.

Shari Leid [00:24:11]: Mhmm.

Penny Williams [00:24:11]: And it's not about even the parent that they are. It's just that they're not in that place yet. I've told this story probably before on the podcast, but when my son was in 3rd grade, we were in an IEP meeting and I just kept calling them over and over because things weren't changing and getting better. I was like, okay, if you're not gonna listen to me, we're gonna keep sitting in a room together.

Shari Leid [00:24:30]: Yeah.

Penny Williams [00:24:31]: And his teacher looked at me and said, you know, you just have to accept that your kid's always gonna struggle. And I thought she was the most horrible person in the world. I literally got up bawling and left the meeting. I couldn't handle it, and I just wasn't ready to hear it. Because years later, I was like, wow. There was so much wisdom in that. Yeah. I wasn't in that place yet.

Penny Williams [00:24:53]: I couldn't accept it. I couldn't process it. I just wasn't there yet. Right. And I think that's a good illustration of what you're talking about is that sometimes people just aren't in that place yet even as much as we want them to be, our kids included. Mhmm. You know, it's their timeline, not our timeline.

Shari Leid [00:25:12]: Exactly. No. That's such a good reminder. And I love too that you heard it then. You weren't ready, but it resonated with you. Oh, it stopped. And yeah. Yeah.

Shari Leid [00:25:23]: You know? So we never know what we say, and it may come up years later where somebody goes, oh, that's what their experience was.

Penny Williams [00:25:31]: Yeah. And I've had that experience with my kids a few times now that they're in their twenties. There are times where they'll bring something up and I'm like, wow, You know, that was years ago. I said that to you. You really heard me. I had no idea. Yeah. It didn't feel like you heard me.

Penny Williams [00:25:44]: Right? But yeah. Things stick. So, yeah, what other advice would you like to give the parents who are listening or the educators even who are listening about really embracing the here and now and the progress?

Shari Leid [00:25:59]: I think, you know, the big thing is, 1, celebrating the uniqueness, the strength of your kids. If you're a parent or an educator, you are in such a unique position to shape this child who has all of this stuff coming at them. And a lot of times our kids, I think, when they are neurodivergent and they have anxiety and it appears that they shut down and they're not taking it in, but because they've heard it time and time again when they have not been coming up to par. So I really think it's time to celebrate. 1, celebrate their strengths. 2, let it be easy and share that with them. Let it be easy. 3, confidence.

Shari Leid [00:26:43]: Building their confidence with this imperfection. Confidence meaning that no matter what comes your way, you can handle it. I believe you can handle it. Yes. These are things we need to do, and we didn't do it so smoothly this time. But I know we can figure this out. And I know you can handle it. And focusing on that journey.

Shari Leid [00:27:04]: Because just like we, as parents, get overwhelmed when we look at those goals, man, I can only imagine what it must be like to know you're neurodivergent, know that you have all these pressures on you and these goals and seeing your parents still freaking out. I can't I can't actually, you know, we know our kids, but I can't imagine being Yeah. In that position. Or it might be always harder for your child. Mhmm. Yeah. That could be true. You know? But if they have that confidence, knowing that it's no matter what, they will figure it out, that can take them a long way.

Shari Leid [00:27:45]: And they could do it without being perfect.

Penny Williams [00:27:46]: Yeah. Yeah. And just permission not to do it perfectly, but also permission for that journey to look different for them.

Shari Leid [00:27:52]: Mhmm.

Penny Williams [00:27:53]: You know? Because culturally, we're so, like, get in this box, follow the leader, do everything I say when I say it. You know, it's all about control almost

Penny Williams [00:28:01]: And sameness. So we, I think, part of our job as parents is giving them that permission and ourselves that permission to just do it differently. And the most wonderful stuff comes, I think, when we step outside those lines.

Shari Leid [00:28:17]: Yeah. And when we they're gonna compare themselves to other people. Show them that those comparisons are you know, if they wanna compare themselves to pop stars or, you know, whoever's out there, sure. But show them that that person's that way, or they have a following because they embrace their uniqueness.

Penny Williams [00:28:33]: Yeah.

Shari Leid [00:28:34]: You know? And or the other person, maybe even a classmate, what's unique about them? And that might be a little bit more difficult. But if you start pointing out the uniqueness of the people that they look up to or show them others that are unique kids are doing things that's their age, Those are the types of comparisons that, you know, you could kinda steer them towards. It's human nature to compare ourselves to others. Mhmm. But we could do it in a little bit of a healthier way. And we could show our kids how to do that.

Penny Williams [00:29:04]: I love just sort of teaching them to have a lens for uniqueness, to be looking for that uniqueness in others.

Shari Leid [00:29:12]: And that weird. I love that weird thing being fate or destiny, w y r d.

Penny Williams [00:29:17]: Oh, it's so good. It reminded me too as you were just talking about I think it's a Japanese maybe proverb or something Mhmm. Or just an idea where they fill the cracks in vases and things with gold.

Shari Leid [00:29:31]: Oh, yeah.

Penny Williams [00:29:31]: And so they actually stand out, the imperfections, instead of trying to hide them and repair them.

Shari Leid [00:29:36]: Yes.

Penny Williams [00:29:37]: And I've really leaned into that over the years too of just, you know, thinking that there is beauty in things being different. Things going a little bit messier or just embracing what is Yeah. Can bring so much more to us than trying to just fit and be like everyone else.

Shari Leid [00:29:58]: Yeah. And it's so much easier to be ourselves.

Penny Williams [00:30:01]: Yeah. It has been so lovely to talk to you, Sherry, and I really appreciate everything that you've shared. Some of yourself and your story and your time, I know that it's gonna make a difference for those who are listening. And I wanna make sure that they know how to connect with you more, learn with you more. So everything will be linked up in the show notes for this episode So you can go there and get Sherry's website. I'm sure social media, all of that good stuff. And that can be accessed at parentingadhdandautism.com/260 for episode 260. And I really hope that you will take advantage of the work that Sherry is doing and grow yourself.

Penny Williams [00:30:51]: Right? Because that's what it's about. Us, the parents, we have to grow to help our kids grow as well. Thank you again. I appreciate you so much.

Shari Leid [00:30:59]: Oh, I appreciate you and the work that you're doing. I wish you were around. If I could listen, I was would be able to have listened to you on my drives everywhere when my kids were growing up.

Penny Williams [00:31:08]: That's exactly why I'm doing it because it wasn't available for us. Right? And somebody needs to do it for sure. Absolutely. Thank you. Thank you. Have a good day. You too. I'll see everybody on the next episode.

Penny Williams [00:31:19]: Take good care.

Penny Williams [00:31:22]: Thanks for joining me on the Beautifully Complex podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and share, and don't forget to check out my online courses and parent coaching at parentingadhdandautism.com and at thebehaviorrevolution.com.

Thanks for joining me!

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