"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

December 28, 2012

Stay With It!

Alright, the last post of 2012 it is. What a great year it has been, as I have been afforded opportunity, growth, and the learning that only presents itself when one is patient, persistent, and resilient.  Like many of you I am sure, the last week has been spent with family and friends, embracing the moment while reflecting on the past, looking forward to the future, and hopefully staying with it all.  Often, at the closing of one year we find ourselves in that place that has one self-evaluating, going through that thought process that hopes, aspires, and...  It may be happening on a conscious level or not, but one thing remains to be true, it is there.  So, when I say stay with it, I am defining the process that allows you to accept where you are at while continuing to work towards progress.  If this means working towards future goals and outcomes that is it, but it also can apply if you are avoiding and resisting what has yet to come.  Therefore, wherever you find yourself, you have a choice, one that can lead to change if you...

A common theme in many of my writings is pointing out what is not too difficult to see if you are available to it.  Often though, when we can't see it we tend to convince ourselves that all is good, no need to be concerned.  This process can be demonstrated by what one knows (think in terms of needed change) and how different this is than what one understands.  I often break it down like this, when you "know" something you most often are avoiding and resisting what is affecting your life in a unhealthy and negative manner.  When you "understand" you are most likely taking action towards addressing what the problem area is, and it is this process that leads you towards change for the better.  As a helping professional you are trained to help someone in need help themselves out of the difficulties and challenges that present themselves.  Being immersed into this type of work, and the process of (which includes much), can be overwhelming, consuming, and...  Thus, at the end of the day we can easily find ourselves with no more to give.  When this happens usually we are the ones who suffer the most and this is what impacts our personal and professional self.  At the end of the year, a time when we see a break from work, often we are so ready to have some time off that we crash out and don't always take care of our needs in a manner that helps us help ourselves.  What I aspire to demonstrate is that through support, awareness, and the required effort to work on your own needs you can stay with it, in and out of your role as a helping professional.  Remember, it is OK to be vulnerable, to accept where you are at, and get the necessary help and support!

So, as I close down the year I look forward to adding to my foundation at Can You Hear Me?  One that will continue to empower and support, teach and reach, while helping you help yourself.  Changing for the better (whatever this means for you) is a journey, one that demands a certain level of attention, determination, and effort that will not settle for anything less than your whole self!  I hope these words and thoughts resonate with you, especially if you find yourself at the crossroads.  There are many in the profession who work and live with internal suffering, often wondering when, how, and where they will fall. I hope that I have given you some pause in order to take the necessary steps, because if you are able to see it, then the support, guidance, and help is exactly where it needs to be, the next move is yours.  May all those that can hear me have a safe and healthy one, while continuing to walk with your head up and heart open.  I look forward to what awaits in 2013! 

 About Author

Daniel Jacob, MSW  Email
Founder oCan You Hear Me? External Field Instructor at University of Southern California School of Social Work MSW@USC. Daniel has a Masters in Social Work (Families and Children Practice/School Social Work). He is currently nearing the completion of the LCSW testing process.  More about the man behind the mission ⇢

December 21, 2012

Capability vs Ability

*This is a post I put out last year.  I was in a different place and space at the time of this writing indeed.  However, the message and opportunity to empower, support and instruct have not changed.  As we approach the end of another year, an opportunity for many to reflect and contemplate, suppress and avoid, and once again be given a choice, may these words help you help yourself.  Head up and heart open!

 Change...  It sounds so simple, people use it often on a daily basis as a way to correct, improve outcomes, gain knowledge, etc.  However, I believe the greatest reward associated with positive change, is the ability to move forward.  We are all capable of having positive change in our lives, but often we are not able in making it happen.  Reflect on that statement for a moment.  Having  (personally and professionally ) had several opportunities to help others change ( for the better) I use this example in the most clear and straightforward manner that I can.  If you are in a state where your path in life is just a series of roadblocks with no sight of an opening, you often feel stuck, hopeless and helpless.  At this point you may not see change for the better as a way out because you are so frustrated, angry, tired, and all the other feelings associated with a life filled with roadblocks.  Your too physically and mentally drained to even think about taking action, and often many  convince themselves that it is easier to keep on suppressing.

This is where the work part comes into play.  You yourself have the answers, you just can't see them, and instead of moving towards a plan of positive change, you settle for being stuck.  This makes sense as I have mentioned prior it is easier to settle for being stuck.  It is hard, very hard to do the necessary work to get unstuck and move through and forward.  So, when I say that we are all capable of change for the better we are.  We are just not always able.  This is the underlying message in it all.  Capability vs Ability.  If you just look at those two words and there meaning, you hopefully can see the solution to getting through those roadblocks.  You can see that there is a way to change for the better. Furthermore, you have to really understand and remember that you must be patient with the process, you must!  While changing for the better is the hardest work that you will ever face, it does not happen quickly and often in the time frame that most desire. This is why we often have setbacks because we become frustrated or nonbelievers to the process when we don't see it happening as quick as we would like.  Well, ask yourself what option is better?  To have a life filled with negative outcomes and opportunities fueled by the actions and behavior that are creating such?  Or have a life (still with challenges and roadblocks, life does not provide a challenge/stress free existence) filled with positive outcomes and opportunities influenced by your ability to trust the process, be patient with it, and implement the appropriate skills/tools needed in order to change for the better?

My hope is that this example can provide you with an understanding that life is a series of learning opportunities that allow YOU to determine the quality of your life.  It is up to you and the choices you make that will move you forward, or keep you back.  I hope these words can provide that opening so that you will be able to start the process of changing for the better, with the understanding that the person writing this is the same person who had to learn this lesson, and will continue to.  Until we meet again may you be well to your day, and the day shall be well to you.

 About Author

Daniel Jacob, MSW  Email
Founder oCan You Hear Me? External Field Instructor at University of Southern California School of Social Work MSW@USC. Daniel has a Masters in Social Work (Families and Children Practice/School Social Work). He is currently nearing the completion of the LCSW testing process.  More about the man behind the mission ⇢

December 15, 2012

Give and Receive!

When you give you receive.  How do I know this?  I am fortunate to be witness to it, with the availability and awareness to recognize the opportunity I am presented with!  If you can see it then the openings will continue to show themselves.  I'm writing today from the mountains (the picture to the right is the visual) and couldn't ask for a better place and space to share from.  Today my reflection and words are influenced from having the recent opportunity to give and receive with aspiring social workers to be.  I'm wrapping up with my year serving and supporting MSW students with their field education practicum, so the reflection and evaluation process is in full effect.  This process, one that has involved guiding, teaching, empowering, and supporting has truly provided me with opportunity!  You see, when you teach, there is a dual process going on, as both the teacher and student are learning.  As it has been stated "when one teaches two learn"  and this is something that I have come to embrace!

I think back from time to time about the days when I was so far removed from the place that I find myself in today.  My journey as they say has taken me from barely graduating high school, to working as a warehouse worker, using and abusing, just getting by with no plausible direction to achieve. I transitioned from this world into the field of construction where I learned so many difficult but necessary lessons. This is where I learned about work ethic, responsibility, and the ability to gain strength from being educated the hard way within a culture and population of tough cats.  Then something wonderful happened along the way, I found that true learning and living come from the experience and the opportunity to fall, rise, and work towards progress through the most difficult and challenging circumstances!  It was at this stage in my life that it all slowed down for me.  It was at this point in time that I made a decision to change my life for the better and so... I began to educate myself while being immersed into the world of work to survive and pay the bills, and go to school in my spare time if you get what I am saying?  When I think about the past several months and the work I have been a part of, it empowers me in many wonderful ways.  I am able to bring the influences in my life that have shaped and guided me through effort, perseverance, patience, and resilience, while I give and receive in the process.  I am able to tap into the challenges and difficulties of my students and with out saying much, I convey to them that I understand, "I get it" while validating that "I hear you."

Yes indeed the ride has been amazing because of much... I own my story, and because I am able to better help myself, in turn I am able to help others in a positive, effective, and sustainable manner!  Life is really how you see it, use it, and learn from it.  If you take your story and all that goes into the process that shapes and influences you, and you are able to use it to change your life for the better, then the opportunities that present themselves will be of use.  If you do the opposite and approach the situation with the idea that you are not receiving what you want or need, then you are working against your most difficult of opponents, YOURSELF!   May these words find you in that place and space that has you well.  As you move closer to the holidays, may you continue to give and receive, because when you do I know you will see that all of the wonderful gifts that life affords are available. Head up and heart open!

December 7, 2012

Practice What You...

You ever have one of those moments when you are in the midst of it all, and then you stop and...  Life is so much about just that, the ability to pause, and catch yourself immersed into that cycle of challenge that often takes on a force and direction of its own.  The next step, the most important of all, is up to you.  This week I had one of these moments that allowed me to pause, breathe, and take another opportunity to practice what I know to be the only way.  My week has been a busy one, several projects going on at the same time, all of which are dependent on the collaboration and interaction with others. This in itself was the source of my challenge, waiting on others in order to move forward with something that I was prepared for, ready for, and waiting for!  I put myself in a state that had me sorting through, figuring out, and contemplating what I had no control over; another persons timing, work ethic, inability to effectively follow through and communicate.  All of these factors, and perhaps others that I do not need to further acknowledge had me in that vulnerable place, with my hope and being unable to complete my duties, and thus meet my own expectation. 

"All the advice in the world will never help you until 
you help yourself.” 
~ Fred Van Amburgh
If you've been a follower of mine for some time now then you may of have heard me discuss the idea of our own "expectation" and how this can ultimately lead to further challenge and difficulty if you are unable to meet it.  You see, when you recognize that it is your "expectation" and it doesn't always act accordingly, realistically, practically, and any other word that ends in "ly" that may fit this example, you are able to understand.  The source of my challenge and subsequent stress was indeed not being able to meet my expectation, and the experience of frustration and disappointment that presented themselves as a result.  So, I had to implement what I am able to practice because I have acquired the necessary tools and skills to do so.  I had to acknowledge, recognize, and appreciate where I was at!  I had to practice what I speak to, and what I empower and support others to do in similar circumstances.  I was now the student, and my lesson and further learning was calling my name.  I had to stop, breathe, and remember that everything will work itself out, no matter how it plays out I am still here, I am still giving and receiving, and I am still able to accomplish my goals at hand.  Therefore, it is unnecessary to create more stress for myself and my overall well-being needs, and it is time to let this one go! 
“No matter what happens, it is within my power to 
turn it to my advantage.” 
~ Epictetus 

I cannot be in the position to help others change for the better, if I myself do not practice what I know to be true.  I am here to say and share that the learning and opportunity to add further to our awareness is present at all times, as long as you are able to see it.  I have embraced the path that I am on, helping others change for the better, but I am nowhere to be found in the process of, if I can't help myself.  So, as you reflect and digest my words for the week, may this find you in that place and space that can help you help yourself, while continuing to move forward.  Thank you for affording me the opportunity to be heard.  There have been many rewards involved in my efforts to help others, and one of them is the ability and opportunity I have been given to help myself. I aspire to do many great things within this field, and I will always complement that with the self work that I continually put into action, because without me at my best, I have no chance to reach those in need!  May the weekend be well to you, and you be well to your time to breatheUntil we meet again...

 "There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.” 
~ Denis Waitley