This Disrupt Your Career Exploration Webinar course concentrates on looking into one’s strength, interests, personality, aptitude and creating strategies to overcome any obstacles related to executive functioning deficits that may keep one from pursuing their dreams in a particular career.
How can this class help me?
If you are struggling with deciding what career is best for you or how to incorporate your best strengths into a career, this will help you to reach your own potential in a given career.
Who is this class geared toward?
This is course is best for a college student or recent graduate. High school students who are looking at which major to declare will find this beneficial as well.
What types of things will I be working on?
Career Development and early career dreams and interest
Skills, accomplishment and aptitude
How personality traits factor into career choices
Prioritizing work and leisure values
Personal challenges and possibilities to overcome them
Is this class for graduating seniors in high school or younger?
Yes, if they are contemplating which major to pursue or career path
Is this class for students in college?
Yes, this is an excellent course to identify your strengths, interests and pathway to your dream career. Or make sure you are on the right track and what steps to take next.
What about adults taking this class who are in the workplace?
This would be a good course for adults who are feeling that they may need a change of career to redefine themselves or find a new passion that better aligns with their interests, skills and lifestyle. We will be offering a class geared towards this type of client in the near future.
DON’T MISS THE ONE COURSE THAT COULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE!
College is a big deal, especially for incoming freshmen. It is the most awaited time for students to finally have their freedom, freedom from home, freedom from their parents’ rules. Entering college is a new era of making friends and opening up themselves to the excitement and fear that goes along with it.
And then comes Covid-19
It’s like someone just popped all the balloons at a party and turned off the music! This has had such a significant effect on college life that many students are opting to take a year off and wait this out.
So, what about the students that are going ahead with their college plans for this year?
Adapting to a new normal is filled with uncertainty, fear, and disappointment. Let’s discuss some of the possible challenges that you may encounter along your college journey and what possible solutions you can do to still create memories.
Cut the cord and finally have some freedom!
Now that COVID-19 has turned the world upside down and schools have transitioned to online learning, you might feel that you’re still stuck if you are living at home. You still live in the same house as your parents and you still have to follow their rules. So much for you cutting the cord and being independent, you are thinking.
While at home, challenge yourself to be more independent. Do activities alone, finish some chores alone, or give yourself time to the things you need to learn before wanting the freedom that you’ve always wanted. Do you know how to balance your bank account? Know how to set up utilities in your name? What bills do you pay on your own? Take some time to set yourself up with some personal finance skills needed to be genuinely independent while staying at your parents’ house. You might just get some useful guidance and input. Trust me, they will most likely be very eager and willing to help you out!
Social Life Stifled!
If you do have some classes in person, making new friends while not meeting other students without wearing a mask is awkward at best. How are you going to know them? Maybe you have an online class that is hybrid with some in-person and some remote learning. In this situation, you can get the benefit of actually seeing the person without a mask! I know seeing them online is different than knowing them personally, but it can be a hybrid situation like the classes themselves. It will certainly give you something to look forward to when it is safe to go out with friends without masks. Having something to look forward to is a good feeling too. Making new friends in the middle of this pandemic is one of a kind experience for sure!
The excitement of a change of scenery after so many months at home…
One of the things that you might be excited about college is the change of environment. Arriving on campus and realizing that you are still: confined to wearing masks, staying in your dorm, pod or apartment to study, eat with little socializing can leave you feeling disappointed and frustrated. How can you really have the freedom to explore and enjoy the new scenery change if you are so confined? Maybe, this is the time to take up hiking or biking. Often college towns are in ideal areas for outdoor opportunities. If you did not get to leave and remote learning is your only option, you can look at the positive. A good thing that studying at home can offer us is being in the comfort of our own home with no negative influences and distractions around you. You might just have a stellar academic semester. During this challenging time, appreciating the little things at home is one positive way to look at it.
As you navigate this fall with Covid-19 and college challenges, think outside the box and find ways to make it work out the best it can for you. It is a good practice to find the positives or lessons in the face of challenges. When this pandemic of over, you will be better equipped to face whatever the next challenge is in life.
Willingness, Desire and Determination Led Me Here: Dr. Lisa
This is the final part of a 4-part story of one very brave and dedicated TBI survivor. While this story concludes here, I can assure you Lisa is not done. She has more ambition than I have ever seen in a person. She is your comeback kid in spite of so many obstacles placed in front of her over the years. These stories only scratch at the surface as to the challenges she has faced and endured throughout her life.
She still struggles with executive functions but has a wealth of knowledge and resources to help her navigate them to be successful. She is now Dr. Lisa who can help others with a wide range of mental health issues that are keeping them stuck from living to their fullest potential. She works with others now using her wealth of knowledge and personal experiences to have profound effects on many lives.
Overcoming, One Day at a Time
I went back to school with the focus of studying how mental health can impact the quality of life for mild to moderate TBI survivors. I listened to fellow TBI survivors discuss their struggles with low self-esteem, depression, and shame as these variables were reported to be the most common among the survivors. Negative encounters with people have turned me into an introvert, my desire to understand what other survivors and I experience has turned me into a researcher.
When I walked on-stage for my doctoral hooding ceremony, as a graduate with high distinction, I thought about all the obstacles, steps, motivation, and my desire to serve other people. School enabled me to mature in ways I could not believe. School was my rehabilitation process. The car accident changed my life no doubt, but school provided me with opportunities to learn.
When people said, “I can’t help you”, school taught me how to look for other resources to try to help myself.
Do not misunderstand, we all need someone, and at times, we need a professional to talk to. I need to give credit to my vocational-rehabilitation counselor because she has put up with a lot from me over the years. She met me when I slurred my words, could not form sentences easily, and I forgot so many things (even the counselor’s name at times), but the counselor also nudged me even when I wanted to be left alone.
Over the years, she has put me in touch with some great resources such as Michelle who have helped me learn in a face-to-face manner how to deal with things which I struggled and still struggle with. I do not mind sharing that Michelle has been of great help to me when I have needed to process overstimulation and processing issues.
Having someone who understands my challenges and who wants to help instead of belittling, is such a blessing. One thing among many, which I have learned is, my mind can tell me there is no one who seems to be willing and able to help me, that is just in my head.
Wonderful professionals aside, there must be a willingness, determination, and a desire to change. Some of the greatest help to change comes from within, and through faith in a power greater than myself. For me, that is God, through the love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.
I chose to share my story because so many people are stigmatized by circumstances beyond their control and in the end, each of us has a choice on how we deal with the cards life has dealt us.
In my case, when I hit an obstacle, it knocked me down and I had to muster the motivation to get back up and try again. Sometimes, it is people who have endured hardship in life who work the hardest to make meaningful changes in their lives. Did I prove the doubters wrong? I have no idea, and frankly, it does not matter because the biggest doubter was myself. If you would have asked me eleven years ago if I would be where I am today, I would have laughed until my ribs hurt.
Someone was watching out for me, carrying me when there was only one set of footprints, and believed in me when I did not believe in myself.
My life is not a bed of roses and I do struggle, but through all the trials, obstacles, and joys, yes joys, there has been one constant in my life and that is faith. Without faith, I would have died at my kitchen table ten years ago. Without faith, I would not have had the courage to move forward when I kept hitting negativity by others and roadblocks within my own denial. Though there have been many challenges in my life, I count my blessings and realize I would not be where I am today without the love of God and His faith in me, when I had no faith in myself.
Life is still a struggle and though I have initials after my name, I am still disrespected by those who cannot see past the blinders in front of their eyes and only choose to see me as “different”, “awkward”, or “odd”. The shunning, rejection, being passed-over for jobs I am more than qualified for, and the sense of not being good enough to fit in society, some would say it is all in my head, but when the same thing keeps happening and only the location has changed, it gives one pause. The other day, I was talking with a member of law enforcement, having a casual conversation and when he found out I have a doctorate degree, I thought he was going to fall flat to the ground. The look of shock on his face was somewhat funny, but at the same time, it was insulting.
In recent weeks, there has been a lot of discussion about inequality with most reference to race. Discrimination and presupposition are equal opportunity social bias and injustice perpetrators. People do not ask to be born a certain way, nor do people ask to be injured and disabled.
Learning to accept the difference between who they once were and who they are now is a huge challenge in and of itself. Being discriminated against because someone is different, that’s not only social unjust, it shows a lack of self-respect for the individual(s) who cannot accept difference from their own perspective.
My name is Lisa. I have many flaws and many talents. I am, different. I am, a TBI survivor. I am, TBI Survivor Strong.
Lisa Marie Ansell, EdD, LPC, NCC, CBIS Licensed Professional Counselor National Certified Counselor Certified Brain Injury Specialist Adjunct Professor at a Private University
If you missed the previous parts of this story you can find them here: part 1, part 2, part 3.
A Damaged Spirit, Cognitive Struggles and The Determination To Overcome
A 4-part story of adversity, courage, hope and success for one TBI survivor
Lisa, with a damaged spirit and facing many cognitive struggles, embraces her disabilities in the midst of healing with the will and determination to overcome her challenges.
This is part two of a four-part series of how one traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor overcame obstacles to improve her quality of life when appropriate resources seemed out of reach. We learned how Lisa’s life changed after a terrible accident in Part I: Overcome Obstacles Instead of Being Overcome by Them. These obstacles and challenges associated with TBI survivors include many skills associated with execution functions of the brain. These skilled functions can be thought of as the command center of the brain that controls the cognitive processes such as decision-making, impulse control, attention, emotional regulation, and working memory.
Here is part two of her story.
Change Takes Time
Have you ever heard the term, “doing a geographical”? Many times, geographicals do not work but in my case, it saved my life; literally. Somehow, I was able to get a good job in another county. I got good references from people in the other community, I think mostly so I would leave. If people think they fooled me, they did not but I needed to go somewhere else to pick up the pieces before my pieces were so broken, they could not be repaired. The job did not work out even though I told the employer about the head injury and how it may take longer for me to get the information into my long-term memory, but once I got the information into my long-term memory, I was good.
The trainer grew so impatient with me, she snapped pencils in frustration.
I knew my time was done then.
So began my employment woes.
Headaches after the accident were brutal and constant. One day, after moving to the new community, I had the worst headache, my speech was worse than it had been since the accident (four years prior), and I thought I was having a stroke. To the Emergency Room I headed only to be diagnosed with a migraine and sent on my way. The clinic connected me with a kind patient navigator who turned out to understand my circumstances better than most, being a TBI survivor as well. This kind soul connected me with resources that assisted with getting services and referrals to people who deal with TBI.
I felt like the thunderstorms were heading east and finally, sunny weather was in my forecast.
The new community had their own ideas about my “strange” behavior and I again faced judgement and incorrect opinions. Employment opportunity labeled me “a liability” and spread the word through the county of my ineptness, which spread like a wildfire. There is nothing better in the world than being judged, tried, and convicted of being an indecent person by people who have no willingness to understand someone who is different, and in their opinions, insignificant. What if it had been them in the accident, how would they feel?
During my recovery, I have seen the kind side of people for the first encounter, then the (not so) subtle body language telling me to stay away from them. Talk about a self-esteem killer! It has been my experience that people push away what they do not understand, and rebuke what is different than their interpretation of normal. So, is their version of normal the norm for the rest of us? Why are they so special?
Just saying. Is anyone relating to any of this?
Aside from doctors and becoming a subject within a sample population for a research study to receive free treatment for my TBI in exchange for data for the researchers, I found another form of rehabilitation. Having been dealt more rejection after the accident than I had previously experienced in life, I found acceptance, in school.
Remember the words from the Junior Associate lawyer who pretty much told me I would not amount to much in life? If you do not, I did. Thinking I had nothing to lose, I applied to a university expecting to be laughed at (behind my back of course) but instead, I got accepted. Let me repeat the word, accepted.
Between the words of the Junior Associate lawyer and reading the word, accepted, I was motivated to prove all the doubters wrong.
School was tough. I did not retain the information within the reading assignments the first time, the second time, or even the fifth time. I had to reread the material repeatedly to comprehend enough to answer one question. I do not believe any of my professors knew how hard I had to work, they just commented on my being a good student.
While the rest of the world (it seemed) thought this “different, awkward, and strange” woman would not amount to much, I trusted God’s plan for my life, whatever that was, and each time I got a good grade, I felt accepted and more than my brain injury, I was learning how to process information, formulate sentences, and re-learn critical thinking skills.
I began to have belief in myself again.
Someone within the community who knew I was living out of my pick-up truck or a motel when I had money, told me about a job possibility they knew I had experience with. I was upfront and honest with the potential employer regarding my injury and after going through some hoops, I was offered a job and have been with the employer for nearly eight years.
The job schedule worked with my academic studies and eventually, I was able to move into my own apartment after seven months of living in my truck or in a motel. I still get people who judge me and think they have the right to draw erroneous conclusions as to why I am the way I am, but I really don’t care anymore as I trust my abilities and know my job. If I cannot do my job due to having a tough day with overstimulation, I have an agreement with my boss that I will call and take the day off.
There have not been many days I have had to call off work for overstimulation reasons. But the words of people who have tarnished my reputation have created a disrespect of me within the employment that no matter how much I recover, to them, I am just the pain in the butt who shows up for work and does her job.
Gossip kills not only a reputation, but it also does damage to a spirit.
As I sign-off for this post, I am going to share with you that this “awkward” and “different” TBI survivor graduated with honors and received a bachelor’s degree five years after the accident without using accommodations.
My determination wanted to do the work without crutches; I needed to prove to myself that I could do it.
Walking across the stage to shake the hand of the university’s president with one hand and grasp my diploma holder with the other hand did so much for my self-esteem and belief of becoming more than my brain injury.
To the doubters, it almost felt like I was giving them the bird, though I knew there may be nothing I can do to prove them wrong in their own minds. But to myself, I found a part of me that I did not know existed before the accident. Maybe there was a blessing in disguise within a terrible experience.
Give the gift of presence this holiday. It is what makes for lasting memories as the gift that truly keeps giving!
Practicing “Mindfulness” as the Key to a Peaceful Holiday Season
“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.“ — Thich Nhat Hahn
This holiday season is a great reminder of what truly makes memories that will last a lifetime. It isn’t the number of gifts we receive but rather the time we spend with our loved ones. In short, it’s the act of being present.
A person struggling with ADHD or other executive functions may need direction this time of year on how to become connected to the true gifts of the holiday season of love joy and compassion. The term “mindfulness” is the energy that helps us recognize the conditions of happiness that are already present in our lives.
As Thich Nhat Hahn, the renowned Vietnamese Buddhist teacher would remind the world to do — Be present, be in the moment and Enjoy life.
Here is a list of some ways you can help create a peaceful holiday: being mindful can bring you joy in every moment.
Be connected to your breath. Conduct a simple breathing exercise of inhaling and saying to yourself, “I am here” Then, breath out and feel the air leave your body for a few seconds. This can bring you back into the moment and leave you feeling connected with yourself, again.
2. Pick a healthy way to take care of yourself. Take a walk. Walking mindfully and slowly while paying attention to the sensations on the bottom of your feet offer other personal experiences. Notice how the body moves as you walk with awareness. Take one step at a time.
Prioritize your time. Start each day with a few minutes of quiet time. Reflect on the day ahead to help you prioritize your tasks and stay in tune with your emotional state. Recognize important things that need to be done. Identify any stressors and decide how you plan to address them. This process can help you follow through successfully each day.
Actively listen to one another. As students get excited for the holidays and receive an academic break from school, it can be a stressful time in the household. Elementary students are exploding with boundless energy while anticipating once-per-year events. High school and college students are studying frantically for their final exams. Parents are preoccupied with navigating their holiday to-do lists.
The combination of feeling overwhelmed, being excited with the seasonal events and the reality of academic stress can severely affect family relationships.
Now is the time to encourage one another to identify the feeling.
What emotion are you experiencing? Are you sad, stressed, angry, anxious, joyful, disappointed, excited or embarrassed? Accept the authenticity of your feelings and express the emotions verbally.
By expressing your feelings it can release negative emotions. Also, by being an active listener, you can demonstrate that you are present and validate the needs of others.
When you practice mindfulness, you are in a state of concentration. Because you are aware, and can sustain that awareness, it is said that you are concentrated. By being fully concentrated, you have an opportunity to make a breakthrough – and to achieve insight.
This practice of cultivating stillness in your life, loving speech and deep listening will bring joy and happiness to others and yourself. This holiday, achieve the true gift of happiness and joy by being in the moment and being present for others. It may be the most joyous season yet when all feel that their needs are being heard and therefore met.
Michelle R. Raz, M.A. Ed., is a professional executive function coach and educational consultant. Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD, PTSD, Stress, TBI’s and ASD find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog or purchase my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose. It is packed full of exercises and strategies you can put to use immediately.