mistakes

December 2016……Finale……..4th quarter 

As a therapist, I hear a variety of everything from individuals. My friends and family consult with me about everything. This year I have heard several times about people are ready for this year to end. Recently, someone told me they regret a lot of the decisions they made. Personally, 2016 started out a little rocky, but after MLK weekend I evaluated a few things and decided I did not want to deal with several things, and I didn’t want to feel like that anymore, so I made some personal changes. For the first time in a long time, I woke up to choices and patterns that led me down a road of destruction. At that moment I noticed that I should have ended some things a long time ago. I had a choice to feel guilty, or live with regrets, or find some compassion for the choices I made. The pain and rejection were information that I needed to evolve into the next chapter of my life. The thing about a lesson is once you learn them; you don’t have to revisit them again. Everything happens for a reason. Don’t stress the could haves.

I remember having a conversation with my coworker/friend, and she was explaining to me that 2016 was her year of “Yes.” I encouraged her to step out on faith and trust the process, and explore opportunities. During that conversation, I told my coworker that this would be my year of “NO.” 2016 was a year of me learning that to whom much is given…….saying “NO” may be required. I made a decision to focus on building myself, and if it wasn’t about advancing or elevating me personally or professionally then, the answer was “NO.” I was only interested in building myself emotionally, spiritually, financially, and mentally.
The remainder of 2016 has been an excellent chapter on my journey on this thing we call life. I was able to regain my focus and close out one of the most challenging hurdles in my life since boot camp, and I am counting down the days to graduation. I don’t have regrets about sacrificing and taking breaks from school to help someone. I can learn from the mistakes, and keep it moving. 

Career wise I have been blessed with several opportunities to work with PESI as a consultant and travel to new cities meeting new people. Another opportunity I was blessed to receive a call from someone who attended one of my workshops and extended the offer for me to teach at The Catholic University Master of Social Work Program. Receiving the request to teach has been a blessing because it reminded me how much I missed and loved teaching about the knowledge that I have learned over the years with my future colleagues. My real estate business has been doing very well, and I was able to assist with several refinance opportunities. Last but not least, I met someone that I wasn’t expecting to meet, but now I can’t imagine my life without them. As I am closing out 2016, I still have a few strained relationships that I am not 100% happy about, but it takes two people to make a relationship work. I am still praying about each of those situations, but I refuse to stress over spilled milk.

Therapist Advice:
You can’t expect for things to be perfect every day. You will make mistakes when it comes to love, life, career, and personal relationships. There will be moments when you will be the best and worst version of yourself. Take accountability, and commit yourself to living at your highest level of knowledge. 

You will have moments on your personal journey where you will struggle, but remember you are human. Life is about making the mistakes, but learning how to become a better person. Be gentle with yourself, and remain committed to growing and learning from the mistakes of 2016 so you can continue to offer compassion for all of the new lessons that will come your way. 

Life is what you make of it and if you choose to find the silver lining in situations; your struggles suddenly become your triumphs. We are in December make the last chapter of 2016 a great one.

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HAPPY SOCIAL WORK MONTH

This week I celebrated my 7th anniversary from when I submitted my first research proposal and presented at NASW-LA in Baton Rouge, LA. This week I presented at the NASW-MD Conference on Suicide Among Active Military Personnel and War Veterans. My first time I was introducing the information from my article I published with NASW, and I was very comfortable and not feeling nervous at all. I had an altercation to happen between two of the participants. I feel that I handled the situation very well. During my presentation, I provided a group assignment. One of the participants would play the therapist, and the other member would be the patient. While they were working on their task, I met a lovely retired neuropsychologist who greeted and congratulated me on passing my oral defense. We had a pleasant exchange of the work I have been doing with the VA and in the community.

After the group assignment was over, I had everyone provide their feedback. One of the participants was a newly licensed social worker and MSW graduate who expressed being nervous and not confident in the role of a therapist. I provided her with a little feedback. I explained it is important to speak with authority and conviction when you are speaking to people. As a therapist, it is important to know when to be silent. There is a great wisdom and illumination in both. When you are confused and nervous, ask your heart which is the best approach for that moment and proceeds with confidence. Practice being present with others. Listen, rather than just thinking about what you’re going to say next. People can sense when someone is listening to them. Being grounded and present is a gift to yourself and others.

I finished presenting and met with a few people afterward and exchanged information. The newly licensed social worker came up to me later and had several questions about my journey as a social worker. I explained to her that I have a strong support system and great mentors. She wanted to know how to gain confidence and getting her career started as a social worker. I explained to be generous in the giving of yourself. Even if it’s just for a moment. You could be the person who makes all the difference.

Trust the process of your life. On the journey, there will be some bad things happen along the way but having faith that something good will always come out of the situation. It may take a while to see the blessing, but eventually, you will. If I appear to be strong, it is because I have been weak before. If it seems as I am fearless when I am answering questions from participants it’s because I have been afraid in the past. When I am in front of other medical professionals, colleagues, or students, I always take the time to recite “for in him we live, move, and have our being.” I shake out all the fear and nerves that I am currently experiencing, and take a few deep breaths, and remember who is in control, and I began to feel myself returning to my center.

Life is a journey, and as we will all travel along, and we will run into several challenges along the way. When you run into those challenges along the way, it is important to have a strong support system, and mentors to help provide support, encouragement, inspiration, and insight. It will come a time you don’t have a clue of the destination, but if you trust God, follow the desires of your heart, remain humble, and believe the desires of your heart then each step will lead you. You will begin to realize that the steps you are making in the right direction on your personal journey.

No worries every heartbreak, mistake, or experience will teach you something valuable. It will be your trip that nobody else will travel, and no one can judge. Friends and family will accompany you part of the way, and you’ll walk the rest by yourself, but you will never be alone. You will learn that people will want you to do good but never better than them.

Trust the process. Act as if you already the person you dream of becoming courageous, self-expressed, and compassionate. When you get anxious, nervous, or fearful, ask yourself, “How would the ‘I’ whom I want to become an act in this situation?” Then do it. You will be amazed how much you already are the person who you desire to be. As I continue my professional journey, I am learning that real success comes in small portions day by day.

May the work I’ve done speak for me: 

  

There comes a time in every adult’s life where they must be honest and in tune with their true feelings. A couple of weekends ago I was having a pity party for me being in class on Saturday, and Sunday taking a CBT certification course. Next weekend I will be working on speaking engagements and the weather is getting warmer, and everyone is enjoying, and I will be working. I started thinking when will I get the chance to enjoy my weekends and after work, and sit down and enjoy the fruits of my labor. During this same class, I was texting with one of my friends, and he asked me the question are you happy? You are always working. I had to take a few seconds to think about his question before answering. I replied to him “are you asking me if I am happy because I have a lot of things I am currently working on at the moment.” I explained to him that my goal in life is to make sure the work I have done speaks for who I am as a person. When I leave this earth, I want to ensure I used my entire God given talents.

After really thinking about his question I realized that I am taking this course because more certifications, equals more opportunity. Growing up my parents instilled in me the importance of working and having multiple strings of income or as my dad would say “multiple hustles.” Then I also realized I am enjoying the fruits of my labor. I have a home I love, and the potential to take care of all of my needs, and the majority of my wants. The horizons are high, and I will be able to enjoy other things even more once I set myself up for the future, but fruits are currently being enjoyed. Celebrating yourself is important!!! Don’t limit your radiant self-expression. You encourage others to shine brightly through your examples. There will be haters and people telling you can’t accomplish things. My favorite one was when people told me I would never pass through army boot camp. I am going on four years in the Army as an officer. I have learned over

the years I can’t share my joy with everyone but only with people whom I know will celebrate with me. Then there are times when I am working silently and systematically on things, and I share my joy with God by being grateful for happiness!

To have success, we have to be willing to sacrifice late nights, early mornings, and weekends. As we mature and we tend to have more associates, and our circle of friends becomes smaller.

Recently my coworker encouraged me to apply to be a speaker for a company. I thought about it for a while, and then I started to doubt myself. Having thoughts, I have not been in the field long enough to compete on the same level as the other presenters. I had to remember why I started this journey. I started presenting seven years ago because I started complaining about hearing the same boring styles of presentations, and I wanted to see and hear something different. I submitted my proposal several places and presented for no charge for several years before I started receiving compensation. Then I began to think about what my support system would tell me in times like this.

• God did not give you the spirit of fear

• I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me

• Stay humble but always ask God for your wisdom

• Always remember God placed you in that position so that you can deposit seeds into others.

I know that if I’m operating at my full potential, there is no one better than me. I’m the expert on my research. When you trust your skills fully then no one will be able to intimidate you. I decided to send my information and apply for the position. A week later I received an email about setting up a phone interview to discuss my research proposal I recently submitted. The phone interview went well, and they want me to proceed with the hiring process.

  

Michael’s Advice:

Utilizing your entire God given talents is necessary. I have several projects that I am currently working on at the moment. Don’t let any of your skills, goals, or dreams go to waste. It is important to put everything that was placed inside of you back into the universe. Whatever it is you are scared to try: writing your first book, becoming a makeup artist, getting your masters, or Ph.D., the opening of your private practice, opening a boutique, starting your own business. Your greatness could be wrapped inside. Bloom where you are planted and stop waiting for the right time. There is always someone who will be watching how seeds grow into beautiful flowers. In reality, whatever skills, or goals that have been planted inside of you was not for you, but for someone else. A few people are taking notes, copying, and looking up to you but will never tell you. You have an audience! Your story is the key that unlocks someone else’s prison. Share your testimony with someone. You will never know the power you possess until you release it into the universe. How we spend our time determines if we are moving toward or away from our goals. You might have an 8-4:30 job, but you can still allocate time towards your goals, dreams, and talents.

Daily Inspiration

I try to live a life with no regrets because we have choices in this life.   We learn some behaviors have some self/defeating consequences, while others have beneficial consequences. As human beings we can alter our lives by altering our attitudes of the mind. As you think, so shall you be.  Remember, there are no mistakes, only lessons.