In gratitude

Today we spent the day assembling furniture, organizing our additional office space, shopping, cleaning and getting Suite 6 of Resilient Solutions, Inc ready! After fourteen years, it is time once again to expand. I found myself reflecting on my conversation as an applicant for the MSW Program 15 years ago. He had indicated that he was concerned about my abilities to succeed in this profession. How did I think I could do that without vision – eye contact, etc. I was not accepted into the program. I was determined and sought out another master’s program/path that led me to become a Licensed Clinical Mental Health counselor and achieve my dream.

Now, 15 years later what I want to say to him is:

Dear (Director of SW Program),

As we are expanding our office, I have been reflecting on the day when you questioned my capabilities as a therapist. I want to say thank you. Your questioning my abilities led me to a stronger resolve and determination that I could do this work. I knew that you would not deter me from this dream. I recognized on that day that your lack of education of what a woman who is blind can do in this profession is unfounded. It was a strong resolve and determination that said on the bus ride home — I don’t need to believe him. (I still hoped that I would be accepted into the program yet wasn’t surprised when I wasn’t.)

However, that disappointment galvanized my determination to FIND A WAY to achieve my dreams. I pursued another pathway that led me to a Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling and then to a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor.

For the past 14 years my private practice at Resilient Solutions, Inc has grown from me and another therapist to 16 therapists. Throughout the years, at times your voice has crept in my mind — yet there is a stronger voice that says – You CAN do this!

Thank you for helping me to build that stronger voice that says — YOU CAN DO THIS!! It will take a lot of work – you can do it. Believe in your dreams. A setback paves the way for a comeback (Evander Holyfield) is a quote I love. And another one that resonates: As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being redirected to something better. – Steve Maraboli

Thank you for helping me learn this lesson again. I recognize I am a passionate, grateful therapist because it didn’t come easy. I lean in and listen because you are correct I don’t make eye contact.

I walk inside the doors of our office grateful for the opportunity and privilege to work with clients and to see the power of healing in their lives.

I am full and not taking new clients at this time. My clients don’t seem to be concerned that I am blind. The conversation generally goes something like this — I am blind and that is my guide dog in the corner of the room. Now, tell me what brings you here today.

In gratitude,

Becky Andrews, LCMHC

Resilient Solutions, Inc.

Coast2Coast Prep

I’ve been getting asked a lot of questions lately on our upcoming bike ride across the country. Yes, you read that right – Steve and I are cycling across the country starting in San Diego, CA and finishing in St. Augustine, FL.

Tandem cycling represents so much to me. Over 20 years ago, as I lost more eyesight – had to quit driving – felt like I had to stop doing many of the activities I loved (had not yet learned I just needed to do them in different ways), we started to talk about riding a tandem bike! We bought one and for the first summer after not being able to drive, it seemed like an alternative for my young kids to get a little rest as they rode on the back to swim lessons and other activities.

After my ophthalmologist, indicated my eyesight (or lack thereof) was not safe for me to ride in the front, Steve and I began to ride together for recreation.

As I share in my book: Look up, move forward: “It (tandem cycling) opened up a new chapter of activity in our life and a renewed sense of freedom and vitality for me.”

I feel very blessed that my husband – my best friend loves to tandem bike. Anytime that our schedules allow, he is also eager to get on the bike and go for a ride. This is such a blessing and I am so excited to cycle across America with him! We will laugh – a lot, we will have some hard times, we will have moments that we will cherish, we will have difficult times where one of us may be struggling, we will have stress/concerns from home – family – friends that have us wondering if we need to get back, and yet we will continue on a pedal at a time to St. Augustine, Florida.

So, how are we preparing? We are both still busy – VERY busy in our careers so why now? Why this year? Today we are both healthy and able to do this ride. We don’t know what tomorrow brings so we will cease this opportunity and prepare to leave our careers for a brief time and make this memory. We will return home with new experiences and insight and ready to take on that next chapter of our careers and life!

So, what are we doing so far to prepare? We have joined a group – Bubbas Pampered Pedalers 🙂 that will do all the organizing/logistics of this ride. There will be 40 cyclists. We will arrive in San Diego (working out the logistics of all those details now — will probably rent a car and drive to San Diego with our tandem.) My guide dog, Georgie, will stay with a dear friend.

We have an amazing coach, Diane, helping us prepare our bodies for this ride.

Steve is preparing a lot of the details for the bike and business aspects of being gone. I am looking at what needs to be done at Resilient Solutions, Inc our business to be able to leave for that long. Step 1 – making sure our office is fully stocked for 6 weeks. LOTS TO DO – for sure! However, a step at time we are going to be SO ready for this!!

I leave you with a picture of me the summer of 2000. We had just started to ride our bike – our shiny new red Burley Duet when we fell. I broke an arm. Ten days later I fell again and overcompensated and broke the other arm. That summer was spent in casts and surgery followed in December.

The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall. — Vince Lombardi

We rose again and have been riding ever since. On the back of the tandem I find much clarity, creativity, joy, and peace. I love the breeze as I ride in synch with my captain that I love so much. This also became the space where … if I can be active in this way … how else can I find a way to be active with vision loss. SO MANY OPTIONS as we find a way.

We all take falls and get back up. Share one of yours!

Soft Skills Presentation

Saturday I was invited to share with a group about Soft Skills. To be honest, I needed to do some reading up to understand the term Soft Skills.

Here’s a little excerpt from my sharing. I love the opportunities that I have been given. I love learning and connecting with others. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share all that I have learned as a business owner at Resilient Solutions, Inc.

So what are Hard Skills and Soft Skills and how do they pertain to us as we seek to get that job/career? And also then grow and thrive in our career?

Hard Skills are: those technical/specific skills.  In our business( the schooling/training/license that goes with LCSW / the training that goes with learning computer program Therapy Notes, etc ; the training to be a yoga instructor and the training our billing specialist has on insurances, etc). Hard Skills are usually specific, quantifiable of what is required for the job.

Now what are soft skills – let’s look at the importance of them that will motivate us to take note on these skills!

A study conducted by Harvard University noted that 80% of achievements in career are determined by soft skills and only 20% by hard skills.

Studies by Stanford Research Institute and the Carnegie Mellon Foundation among Fortune 500 CEOs established that 75% of long term job success resulted from soft skills and only 25% from technical skills/hard skills

If hard skill is an engine than soft skill is a lubricant on which the hard skill engine runs!

A person’s soft skill is an important part of their individual contribution to the success of an organization. Soft Skills enable people to navigate their environment, work well with others, perform well, and achieve their goals with complementing hard skills.

In order to succeed at work, you must get along well with all the people with whom you interact, including managers, co-workers, clients, vendors, customers, and anyone else you communicate with while on the job. These are the types of skills all employers value.

Soft skills are the interpersonal attributes you need to succeed in the workplace. These are related to how you work with and relate to others—in other words, people skills.

Employers want employees who are able to interact effectively with others. These skills are also very hard to teach, so employers want to know that job candidates already have the soft skills to be successful. Just as we are increasing our hard skills in preparation for that job — we need to be practicing our soft skills as they are so important.

Lets talk about some specific Soft Skills

You can be practicing and developing these skills and emphasize them in job applications, resumes, cover letters, and interviews. Showing the interviewer that you have the skills the company is seeking will help you get hired. As I interviewed five different people in the past few weeks — I noted which ones responded back and thanked me for the opportunity to interview. For me, this is an indicator on soft skills that are important to our team.

Following is a “top ten” list of soft skills compiled by Eastern Kentucky University from executive listings:
Communication – oral speaking capability, written, presenting, listening, clear speech & writing.
Courtesy – manners, etiquette, business etiquette, gracious, says please and thank you, respectful.
Flexibility – adaptability, willing to change, lifelong learner, accepts new things, adjusts, teachable.
Integrity – honest, ethical, high morals, has
personal values, does what’s right.
Interpersonal skills – nice, personable, sense of humor, friendly, nurturing, empathetic, has self-control, patient, sociability, warmth, social skills.
Positive attitude – optimistic, enthusiastic, encouraging, happy, confident.
Professionalism – businesslike, well-dressed, appearance, poised.
Responsibility – accountable, reliable, gets the job done, resourceful, self-disciplined, wants to do well, conscientious, common sense.
Teamwork – cooperative, gets along with others, agreeable, supportive, helpful, collaborative.
Work ethic – hard working, willing to work, loyal, initiative, self-motivated, on time, good attendance.