Reflections on Neurodiversity and Self-Sabotage.


Gavin Hoole is an experienced educator and engineer with more than 25 years in industry. As a 3SC Member and professional with neurodiversity, he has shared his experience of self-sabotage with us.


I’ve encountered the intricate web of self-sabotage and its implications in my own life. Neurodiversity encompasses a wide range of conditions, each with its own set of challenges. Here’s my personal reflection on how self-sabotage intersects with neurodiversity in a professional context:


Understanding Neurodiversity: I’ve come to understand that my neurodiverse traits, such as ADHD, give me a unique perspective on problem-solving and creativity. However, in a society that often values neurotypical traits, it’s easy to feel inadequate, which can fuel self-sabotage.


Fear of Disclosure: I’ve struggled with the fear of disclosing my neurodiversity at work. The concern about potential bias or misjudgment can be overwhelming, and this fear has, at times, prevented me from seeking the accommodations or support that I genuinely require to thrive.


Imposter Syndrome: Imposter syndrome has been a constant companion in my professional journey. Despite evidence of my competence, I’ve often felt like I don’t belong, which has led to self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors that hindered my progress.


Perfectionism: To compensate for perceived differences, I’ve found myself succumbing to perfectionistic tendencies. The pursuit of unattainable standards can be paralysing and counterproductive, further perpetuating self-sabotage.


Executive Function Challenges: As someone with ADHD, I’ve faced challenges with executive functions like time management and organisation. These difficulties have occasionally led to missed deadlines or disorganised work, contributing to self-sabotage.


Social Challenges: Building and maintaining workplace relationships can be challenging. Misunderstandings or difficulties with networking and communication have sometimes led to feelings of isolation and fueled self-sabotaging thoughts.


Stigma and Stereotyping: The stigma and stereotypes associated with neurodiversity can be disheartening. The assumption that I can’t excel in certain roles due to my condition has occasionally eroded my self-confidence and triggered self-sabotage.


Lack of Awareness and Support: There have been times when I lacked awareness of my neurodiversity or had limited access to appropriate support. This lack of understanding and assistance left me grappling with unaddressed challenges that contributed to self-sabotage.


To overcome self-sabotage in the context of neurodiversity, I’ve found it essential to prioritise self-awareness and self-acceptance. Embracing my unique strengths and seeking support when needed have been critical steps in breaking the cycle of self-sabotage. Additionally, fostering a workplace culture of inclusivity, awareness, and open communication can go a long way in creating an environment where neurodiverse individuals can thrive professionally.


(10) Gavin Hoole B.Eng PGCE MA.ed SEND TAQA DipBom MIET IOSH | LinkedIn


Gavin Hoole, Dyspraxia Lambeth