The Most Common Questions People Ask Me

Small rocks and pebbles scattered on the ground. One larger rock has a question mark written on it in black marker.
People often ask me how to make their life better without changing things. The answer might be unsatisfying, but it's simple.
The Most Common Questions People Ask Me

Three questions with one answer

Since I’ve been more active in both coaching and autism advocacy, people have asked me lots of questions. Here are the three questions I get asked most often: 

(Intensity warning: blunt answer.)

“How do I get out of burnout without changing much in my life?”

“How do I find friends without putting myself out there and risk getting hurt because I’ve been hurt too much and people are crap?”

“How do I know/get what I want, or make decisions, without rocking the boat for anyone?”

The answer to all of them is: you don’t

The answer to all of them is: you don’t.

You can’t get out of burnout without making significant changes in your life. 

You can’t find new friends, or deepen existing relationships, without risking getting hurt.

You can’t figure yourself out without rocking the boat.


Broken down to its essence, you can’t feel better in a system that hurt you without changing the things that hurt you in that system. Or at least your very small part of it.

All the crap that’s sapping your energy and holding you back from your power is exactly what the system wants.

You don’t have to go out and change the whole world before you can feel better. Thankfully. But you do have to make changes in your life, work, relationships, internalized ableism, anxiety, and all the other crap that’s sapping your energy and holding you back from your power.

Which is exactly what the system wants. Because when you do break free of swallowing its lies and hate, you will be able to affect real change, for yourself and others, and that means that it will have to change. And it doesn’t want that. It wants the status quo.

The system wants you to believe that you’re the problem, and it’s willing to do anything to make you hurt enough and be scared enough to sit there and stew in your own negativity, so you will never take the risks needed to make things change.

You have a choice

And it will be a risk. I promise you, it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to hurt, and it’s not always going to work out well, but things aren’t exactly peachy keen right now, are they?

So what are you going to do?

So what are you going to do? Are you going to do the hard work to heal your own crap and keep tweaking things until you’ve got some real progress, even when it’s unfamiliar and scary sometimes?

Or are you going to write me off, say I’m full of crap, that the world doesn’t work that way, and complain that it’s not fair? That is a genuine option. Lots of people choose that every day. You are welcome to, too. (I mean that genuinely, not sarcastically, or as a form of reverse psychology. You get a genuine choice.)

And you’re right, it’s not fair. It is so fucking unfair. And that’s the way it is. So what are you going to do?

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Picture of Heather Cook

Heather Cook

Hi, I’m Heather. I’m an Autistic writer, advocate, and life coach, and I'm building a life I love. I help other Autistics to build their own autism-positive life. I love reading, jigsaw puzzles, just about every -ology, and Star Trek!

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