Day Three, Jacumba to Calexico, CA

Day three began leaving Jacumba, CA. The fun thing about Jacumba was the giant community hot tub we got to sit in after riding all day. Great people and conversation. Jacumba is a virtual ghost town on the border of Mexico with two open businesses. A convenience store and a Hot springs hotel where we stayed. It was nice and with our sore muscles it was a wonderful thing to enjoy. After the hot tub it was a shower, dinner, prep for the next day and then to bed. We did squeeze in a walk of the town that consisted of two blocks on shut down buildings so it didn’t take long.

The ride today was a climb of 1,100 feet then a huge downhill on the freeway I-8 where we reached 39 MPH blowing past everyone. Lots of fun after being passed by most on the climbing portions of the trip. The bike is solid and stable working well. With close to 340 combined pounds on the bike we are one of the slower riders on the up hill. Hold our own on the level and blow past everyone on the downhills keeping us about average overall. Its nice to have a group all wearing the same safety vests so we can see those ahead to know where we are going. They do a nice job of marking the roads but there were a lot of turns through San Diego that it was really nice to be in the pack.

It was interesting riding along the border of the country. Seeing the fence and the Border patrol. They are very active in watching out with trucks, Suv’s and some even on horseback. They drag tires through the washes to smooth out the sand each day so they can watch and follow fresh footprints. — Steve

Calexico, CA was our first Indoor stay of our trip. We all stayed in the auditorium in our air mattresses. It worked out well. The students hosted dinner and breakfast as a way to raise money for their school. Many of the students live in Mexico and walk across to Calexico each day. Their stories were inspiring of hard work, dreams and ambitions. We walked the streets before dinner and found a cute little restaurant to eat. That evening after dinner we heard from one of their teachers and the principal.

This was hanging in their school – it reads: I want every girl to know that her voice can change the world. Malala Your power is your radical self.

Today we cycled 51 miles. Making our total so far — 136 miles! Although we’ve cycled more miles in a row … three days is the longest we have ridden back to back days! We are so grateful for this experience.

On our way to San Diego!

Immediately after staff meeting on Thursday, March 5th we left to start this ride! We rented a van to take everything to San Diego, CA including our tandem bike that fit nicely – thankfully without having to take the wheels off in the Dodge Caravan. We needed to be to San Diego by the next day before 11 AM. We got on the rode – hoping we had remembered everything both in leaving our house /business for almost two months and had with us everything we would need for this adventure! My mom was riding with us to St. George so it was nice to get to visit with her on the ride down. We stopped in to drop her off and check on our house in St. George before continuing on the drive. We hoped to make it a few hours out of San Diego, CA. Steve was feeling good and we continued on making it to Temecula, CA! What a day! We would only have an hour left to go the next morning.

So much to think about and questions were creeping in — could we do this? Were we really going to cycle across the country!! We had talked so long and prepared so much for doing this and now here we were!!

This was a culmination of massive preparation. Fulfilling equipment checklists, food we like to eat while cycling took up one of the seven duffle and luggage bags we had. One duffle full of bike equipment, Extra tubes, tires, chains, tools, cleaning and lube, etc. Another full bag for my biking clothes, another for Becky’s, Then another each for our after cycling clothes, One huge one for bedding when we camp and then camping supplies. Some stuff we hope to never have to use such as dog spray and other stuff we will have to replenish along the way. Ready or not here we go! Super Excited!!!!!!

Next Step: Taking my guide dog to PDX to Debi

What would I do with my guide dog for almost two months? Thankfully, my dear friend Debi had volunteered to care for her! It was so wonderful to know that she would be in incredible care while we were gone. Then, it was super exciting to learn that they planned to come to the finish line in St. Augustine, FL when we arrived April 27th!! So exciting. Then, after we returned home, I would fly to pick up Georgie from another friend in Portland. The many logistics and support to make this dream happen were coming together. So grateful. Today – March 3 I got on a plane with Georgie my guide dog to meet Debi at the airport. She was at the gate and we had lunch and enjoyed visiting before she departed with Georgie girl and I flew home with my cane in hand. I had my harness to return home and had some people ask me what happened to my dog! I definitely felt a little empty handed not having my dear guide of six years by my side.

Follow our Coast 2 Coast Journey

https://www.facebook.com/becky.andrews.5815/videos/2531168920431606/?t=0

We are so excited to blog, IG (lookupmoveforward), FB (Becky Andrews, Resilient Vision) our journey from Coast 2 Coast on our tandem!

I’m reflecting on how this tandem activity started when I lost my eyesight and could no longer ride a single bike. Talk about turning lemons into lemonade!!

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.

Cycling Across America

No time like the present to make those dreams happen! After some contemplation – exploring options we did it! We are joining a team cycling across the country! We start in San Diego, CA in the spring and will finish in St. Augustine, FL. We can’t wait to share details of our training and adventure. And oh, so much preparation to do to be ready to leave for this adventure!

Yet as in all aspects of life … one step at a time, one task at a time, one mile at a time.  

So excited to share in this journey and experience the country on the bike with my best friend!!  With love,  Becky

Here’s a clip that shows us cycling .. I love living an active life! 

https://www.youtube.com/watcQ$Edp%zE()sbdCKM#g08t7mIh?v=DGrnJlxVRGY

Our Moments of Shift

I’ve been reflecting on some key moments of shift for me. You know that time when someone said you couldn’t do it and you said .. wait a minute, I think I can!! When we stop and make that shift for ourselves it becomes empowering.

I write about a couple of these moments in my book: Look up, move forward. I share an experience where I was challenged if  I could be a social worker. The Department head had questioned my abilities due to my eyesight. “By the time I got on the bus, though, my confidence had rebounded enough to reimagine the interview. In the new version, when I fumbled for the chair, I asked for assistance without apology. My answers to his questions were concise and decide. I cowered less, and asserted more, assuring him that I was ready for the coursework, that I understood the rigors of graduate school, and that i knew I could be an effective counselor.”

“But being rejected galvanized my desire to become a counselor. I knew this was what I wanted to do. I couldn’t give up but the path of least resistance had been blocked.”

Years later, I can appreciate this moment of shift.  I recognized that I didn’t need to believe his negative assertion about me and my capabilities.  As clients come into my office and I briefly share with them, I am blind – that’s my guide dog in the corner and we move forward with what brought them to counseling, I think how little this matters that I don’t see their face.

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

Look up, Move Forward

Oh, It’s fun to start blogging again.  Looking forward to sharing my thoughts about life as a therapist – author – speaker – woman who is gaining vision and insight while losing eyesight to retinitis pigmentosa. 

Why the name? Look Up, Move Forward?  It’s a mantra that I believe we continue to do in life as we navigate life’s challenges and joys. Here’s the story behind it (also the title of my first book: Look Up, Move Forward — my journey of finding my vision while losing my eyesight.  

The story goes as follows: 

After a busy morning at work, cricket my guide dog and I stepped out of the office for a walk. We had just got our stride when my cell phone rang. The call was from one of my colleagues and so I picked it up. My colleague was going through a difficult time. She needed to talk and I was happy to listen, hoping I could support her in some way that would help. I slowed down as we talked and cricket sensed that I was preoccupied. She slowed down too and then got distracted herself, sniffing along the edge of the sidewalk.  Hoping I could redirect her without interrupting my friend I whispered “cricket hop up. Move forward.”

My friend said, Becky what did you say? 

“ Oh sorry, cricket was just off focus. I told her to “hop Up and Move Forward.”  I thought you said “Look Up, Move Forward.” My friend Melanie said. That’s exactly what I need to hear.”  She heard a gift in my instruction to cricket a bit of wisdom that has stuck with both of us. Cricket gets all the credit for the insight that day and for teaching me a lesson I treasure. 

So often were encouraged to just move forward during difficult times or press on through challenging circumstances. The frequently prescribed remedy is to get moving again or to keep moving through pain. Obviously I believe in movement – I love movement. Moving forward does play a role in healing. But just like I asked cricket to “hop up” or “look up” first real progress requires a period of refocus, a sort of pause in our lives. 

For me looking up is often seeking spiritual help, but it can also be taking a moment to look for silver linings, or to bask in gratitude for the silver lining, or to bask in gratitude for the beauty in my life. It’s the quiet moment of contemplation or the consideration of my values and how to incorporate them into the challenge. When I take that moment to refocus and reflect on my motivation and desires, I feel the strength to move forward with purpose and determination. Then moving forward really does make sense.

Share your thoughts on Look Up, Move Forward.

Becky

Becky Andrews, LCMHC

www.beckyandrews.info
www.resilientsolutionsinc.com
www.oasiscenterforhope.com