"You don't have to think about doing the right thing. If you're for the right thing, then you do it without thinking."
~ Maya Angelou

November 30, 2012

Learning New Things!

I am so pleased to be back after taking a little break for the Thanksgiving holiday.  I am hoping that your holiday time treated you well, allowing for some time to breathe, reflect, and connect with those you hold close to your heart.  As we approach the end of another year, it presents us with that opportunity to look back, acknowledge what we have gained, what we choose to build upon, and what may come next.  As with all of my writings I use my own experience, as well as the learning that I receive through the eyes of others.  This week I find my inspiration coming from two sources.  One is from a book I read over the recent break, and another came to me yesterday from a fellow helping professional.  Both sources shared something in common, although the experiences are different, they both demonstrated the wonderful changes that come with learning new things...

One of the driving influences that I bring into my model of service is the need for self work.  When you are able to work towards progress, improving and expanding your experiences, awareness, and so much more, this leads towards valuable growth and development that not only impacts your personal self, but your professional practice and your ability to facilitate change for those in need. Therefore, it is not solely about learning new things, but how you apply what you have learned to change parts of your self in positive ways. I had no knowledge of the book How Starbucks Changed My Life until I came across it in the book store.  After reading the cover I knew I would learn some things.  It wasn't necessarily a desire to learn about the world of Starbucks (although I now have a better understanding/appreciation of their model, opportunities for their partners, and attention to service) but a story about loss, prejudices, respect, change, race, age divisions, and friendship that I would be exposed to within these pages.  As a social worker and participant observer it was exactly the kind of story that empowers and inspires me through the example of the life change that presents itself through challenge. It was the learning that comes with being witness to overcoming in a manner that impacts the quality of one's life circumstances.  It was another opportunity to add to my "work in progress" while reinforcing the idea that change comes when we do the work, while accepting and not resisting!

The other source of inspiration came from a comment that I received from someone that I have connected with through my Can You Hear Me? efforts. It was in response to our Learning Through Your Eyes Series and was truly rewarding as it demonstrated what I know to be possible when you are available to receive and embrace the change that comes with learning new things.  It was about the learning of oneself and how this translates into effectively helping others change for the better.  It was about stepping out of your comfort zone and working with a client that you never thought you could, but now you realize the gifts that you received as a result of this work.  It was about recognizing and acknowledging the difference that is made by just showing up.  These comments resonated with me because these outcomes are the true rewards of our practice, without judgement or vulnerability they showcase exactly why one chooses to be in this profession, and the benefits of such.  I am hoping that these comments will lead to more sharing and an opportunity for others to see an opening that will touch their own personal self, and professional practice.  You can see the entire comment on our facebook page.

As you move into the end of your week, may the words that I have shared allow you to feel heard, while providing you with further opportunities to work towards progress.  Be the change, learn new things, and you will receive wonderful benefits in return.  Head up and heart open, until next time...

November 16, 2012

Transitioning Into Opportunity

Op-por-tu-ni-ty- a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal, a good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success.  This is the definition that comes straight out of the dictionary.  However, the meaning can have different references, understanding, and attachments depending on how we see it.  This is exactly what has been in my thoughts as I strive to empower, support, and instruct.  It has come up in recent discussion as I am currently working with several MSW students who are at the end of their program requirements, set to transition into opportunity.  What will this transition look like?  What opportunities will present themselves?  How can I cope with the uncertain and unknown?  Will I be ready?  These are just some of the questions that come up as one prepares to transition into opportunity.  A process that can provide challenge, learning, and much needed growth!

It is important to recognize that there are two different processes going on here.  One would be transition (the idea of change) and the other would be the opportunity that will present itself.  You have to be able to respect the change, and the various forces that come with it, while being open to the idea of the possibilities and learning that can present themselves, this is opportunity.  The difficult part here is that change and the uncertain/unknown are often factors that produce fear, anxiety, and other stressors that can (and do) impact us in a challenging manner.  Therefore, what I speak to, and what I believe is often lost when we are immersed into the idea of transition (change) are the opportunities that we don't plan for or expect.  How many times have you heard "I never thought this would happen, but I am so grateful/happy/excited/ that it did."  What this means is that the expectation that you felt was necessary, had to be in place, and hoped for was not the one that presented itself.  What this means is that what you wished for, what you thought you needed to have, and what may have been causing some undue pressure didn't even make it off the ground.  You see, no matter what the opportunity is, the unknown or predicted, they are both opportunities.  I point this out to all of my students, and to any and all that can hear me, embrace the change, welcome the opportunity, whatever that may be, and use it in a manner that will empower you, support you, and move you forward to that place that will allow you to thrive!  

As I have come to learn, through many of life' lessons, there are opportunities that may not always equate to success or achievement (in the traditional sense) but these are the opportunities that will provide you with many rewards. These are the opportunities that will enhance your development, empower you, and give you that wisdom that allows you to walk through life with your head up and heart open.  There is much to experience when you transition into opportunity, as long as you can see it.  I encourage you to be available and present when you are in this place and space, because when you are, you will more than likely be given opportunities that will change the quality of your life long term. The short term may seem like the most important at the time, my hope is it that you will be able to recognize and appreciate the difference, while you learn and grow in the process.

Until we meet again, be well to yourself as you move into the upcoming holiday.  May you be mindful of and thankful for all the wonderful gifts that life affords, the ones that don't cost anything other than your time and availability...

November 9, 2012

Change Will Not Come...

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." 
~Barack Obama

I have returned, and with that I hope these words find you well.  Today, I am touched like many with the energy that comes with another opportunity.  What exactly is that?  Another four years to see where we can possibly go.  I do not use this forum as a political platform, not my thing, and so I am mindful and aware of this, my intention here is to enlighten, empower, support, and help you help yourself.  It just happens that my inspiration this week is reflective to what we all were exposed to this past week, "change."  No matter how you see it, what the past few have looked like, or what the future ahead will be, we are presented with another opportunity.  This is an important part of the process of "change" as often we can overthink what we don't have, not what we do, and all that goes into being upset and disappointed because of... So, I present to you what most claim to know, but can't always understand.  The idea that we must recognize the progress that has been made, the steps taken to decrease and eliminate some barriers and obstacles, and the opportunity to move forward.  Now, for some these are just words, with no plausible outcome that equates to success or benefit.  Well, what I will say about that is that if you measure success or benefit as a positive gain based on a few parts of the sum, but not the whole, you would see exactly what you want to!

We live and breathe in a country that provides us with more opportunity to better our selves than most around the globe. There is no mystery as to "why" many choose to come here, start over, and work towards a better day.  We also live within a culture (at times) that spends more time than needed focusing on what can not change, versus what we can.  With that being said I am hopeful because I know what "change" represents, I understand what it takes to be part of the process, the solution, not the...  Does this mean that there will be no challenge, disruption, setbacks, and all that comes with "change?"  No, it does not.  What it means is there is an opportunity to move forward (i.e. progress), as long as you can see it that way.  Am I optimistic and hopeful? Yes, I am but I am also very in tune with what is real, predictable, and all that goes into being honest and open to "change."  Stay with me, the idea here is not that everything that is perceived as negative and impacting us in a detrimental manner will somehow disappear.  No, the idea is that it will become more manageable, we will find ways for things to work with us (solution focused), not against us, and we will create the systems of support to help when needed.  Whether you agree with this one (think candidate) or that one, the same outcome is spoken about when it comes to our future, "change."  How that will translate to what the outcome(s) will look like is going to be different, this we know, and often this is what really speaks to their (candidate) audience and the ideologies, norms, values, and all one may subscribe to, how will this change affect and effect my (individual & family) story.

The example I have shared, based on the recent transition for another four more, is just that.  However, there are several opportunities within these words that can provide you with an opening when you are presented with "change."  Embrace what you can control, and what you can not, ask yourself "how can I learn from this experience in a manner that will add to my bucket, not?"  It's your choice as always, but being hopeful and resilient can and often do provide one with positive opportunities.  If this sounds familiar, you just may have heard these words somewhere over the last several months, perhaps... You be well out there, keep your head up and heart open as you take care of you own needs, while impacting those in need.  When you give you receive!

November 2, 2012

Do You See What I Do?

Good day to all those that can hear me!  Today, my words are inspired from a place of honesty, integrity, and the passion that fuels Can You Hear Me?  When I created CYHM? it was born out of having that clarity, insight, and availability that I needed in order to see my opportunity. It was influenced by many experiences that I had traveled through professionally, personally, academically, and of course the lessons that life always provides. Therefore, when I envisioned my mission, purpose, and overall vision, it made complete sense to me.  However, there is this process that takes place when you put your creation out there, for all to see, dissect, interpret (or misinterpret), and all that one could possibly overthink.  I have done my best to not go to that place of uncertainty or the unknown, you know, thinking about what I can not control.  I have learned much along the way, and that in itself has added great learning, growth, and development for me. I can definitely say that I have been all in, trusting the process.  So, today I thought it would be a great opportunity to share my thoughts, vision, and mission as it pertains to what I see for Can You Hear Me?

"Our mission is to empower, support, and instruct those who strive to help others change for the better, while enhancing our client's delivery of services in a positive, effective, and sustainable manner."  As you might of guessed these bold words are the CYHM? mission statementLet me now take an opportunity here to break this statement down:

What is it that we are striving to do?  Empower, Support, and Instruct.  Who are we targeting? Helping Professionals.  Who exactly are they? The professionals that strive to help those in need/at-risk (whether they identify with this or not) change for the better.   Here are some examples: Counselors, Teachers, Social Workers, Probation Officers, Case Managers, Medical Professionals, Psychologists, MSW/MA/MFT Students, Parole Officers, Interventionists, and to those that I did not mention, no need to feel slighted, I hear you!  Here is the Helping Professionals Model for further clarification.  What outcomes do we see with our services to this population of professionals?  Enhancing their services in a Positive, Effective, and Sustainable manner.  My goal is to support those in the field!  I want to be part of the solution (and their support system)! I want my clients to feel validated and heard.  I want to effectively instruct and guide, evaluate and assess, and support their needs in a manner that will help them help themselves.  With that being said, when you come for service, you will be in need, and most likely in a vulnerable place.  Let it be known that this is where we will start, and when I assist and support those in need, the process begins and the opening towards change will be set in motion.  This is a process that I get, primarily because I have gone through it myself...

Do You See What I Do? 
In order to even begin to trust the process of changing for the better, I had to let go of my pride, resistance, and avoidance of what I truly knew was pulling me further and farther from my life's work!  What does that mean?  When you are in the profession of helping others change for the better, it is very difficult to recognize, act upon, and want to address some of those issues that are negatively impacting your well-being and profession...     

Listen up,  I am not in the business of giving false promises, but one thing I do know for sure is that when you address what needs attention and you want to start the process, believe you can change for the better, and commit to the necessary work, the quality of your life (personal and professional) will greatly change!  It is hard enough doing the work that we as helping professionals provide, this we know.  I was tired of seeing the stressed out, burnt out, and checked out professionals providing service right next to me with no direction towards positive change.  I was tired of being a part of a professional circle that stopped working on their craft, or when they were mandated to, often presented with negativity and complaints.  I was tired of being witness to the professional that did not practice what they spoke to.  I was tired of being a part of a population that didn't quite no where to turn to for support, guidance and instruction.  I was tired of the resistance and avoidance that was being reinforced in a profession that should be all about changing for the better, in and out of the job site. This culture, energy, and exposure to these experiences were killing my spirit, and in turn it was killing me, but within this challenge I was given an opportunity, one that I am taking full advantage of with passion and drive!

Thank you for your time and availability, I appreciate it to the core.  I hope all those that can hear me have a better sense of what motivates, inspires, and empowers all that I put into Can You Hear Me?  Please be mindful that what I shared above is not a generalization of all those who strive to provide, there are many within the profession who are all about doing the right thing, and I recognize this and do not discount or dismiss their efforts and contribution to the field.  However, there is definitely a population out there that is well known, but often not addressed or supported. I'm going to speak to this, in a respectful and supportive manner.  As you move into your weekend may you be well to yourself, embrace what is important, and what is not, well you know what to do!