Life Coach

2016: New Year Musings 

I quit my job on 12/31/15 and I’ve been on a journey of learning and experiencing ever since. I’m not making the same type of “change” (but I have never gone without for either my needs or wants). I don’t get to dress up in skirts and heels all the time and I don’t work alongside a whole heap of people. Wait. This is sounding more appealing as I write it. Lol! But if quitting a job yields the year I had, I kinda wish I had done this sooner rather than later. My year in review reads like a cross between a travel/self-help/spiritual/relationships book. I had fun. I really did. 
I traveled. To Martha’s Vineyard, The Poconos, NYC, Hawaii, mountains, beaches and all the other places in between. I ate garlic shrimp from the side of the road. I had pasta in a cozy New York restaurant. I stayed in a cabin one week and a multimillion dollar golf property the next. I enjoyed mountain living sitting on a porch in a rocking chair. Walking alongside a lake enjoying the late summer breezes. I enjoyed it all. 
I stretched myself professionally. Working in spaces with people I would not have otherwise been exposed to. Learning new systems, processes, approaches to the body of work in mental health. My brain appreciates the growth. My mind is excited to know learning is still my first love. 
I made new connections. Joined a mentorship fellowship and a leadership fellowship AT THE SAME TIME. While I wouldn’t recommend doing this simultaneously, I’m kinda glad I did. I experienced mentorship from different perspectives in leadership and personal growth. I’m blessed to have been mentored by women who look like me and by others who didn’t, but were willing to extend themselves all for the greater good. 
Tons of other things happened along the way in 2016. Some stupendous and some just downright stupid. I learned that when you exit certain circles, there will be those who write you off and out. There others who reel you in and make the experience so much more bearable. I started the year feel irrelevant and realized my relevance was based on the wrong things for the wrong reasons. Lesson learned. 
I was Indiana Jones looking at the chasm between where I was and where I needed to go. I took that first step and threw the dirt. I then saw the invisible path really wasn’t invisible. Many along the way served as the visibility I needed to keep walking one step at a time. The referrals. The calls. The references. The heads up. The emails. The opportunities. And when their voices dimmed, there stood God reminding He had never left me and never would. Even in the silent times. 
You may not have plans to quit your job. But I’m sure you’ve got some deep seated dreams you need to step out on. Scared money don’t make money. Closed mouths don’t get fed. You get the point. I had to crucify my personality and my fears on the cross of change to BEGIN to change to SEE change coming. It won’t be easy. Trust when I say. I went from buying a pair of shoes every week to buying a pair of shoes on a quarterly basis! Joking. But you get my point. 
It’s okay be scared. Goodness knows I was. Let your fear be a driving force. Not a hindrance. Here’s to 2017 and all that it holds. 

Random Thoughts, Uncategorized

No More Financial Aid And Other Post-College Realities

David McCoullough’s inspiring 2012 “You Are Not Special” commencement speech is the real deal. In pushing his graduates off the proverbial cliff, he reminded them that life would not hand them anything and that “carpeing the heck out of the diem” should not just be a fancy Greek phrase, but a way of life.

With younger family members crossing the stage from college into the real world in a matter if days, I wanted to take a spin at the in your face approach to confronting reality. This “YOLO” generation tends to hide behind Barney and his friends when they don’t want to face the heat of reality. Well head for the big purple dinosaur for this one!

Financial Aid Expires
Grants and scholarships are free. Student loans are not. Hope you enjoy the next six months of freedom cause it’s about to get real. Student loans is like the sun. It will be back tomorrow. Deferment, forbearance is a nice temporary reprieve but interest still accrues.

Get Some New Friends
By now you should have dropped about 75% percent of your pimple-faced high school friends. And soon you should be dropping the rest. Unless you’re all on the same playing field, going in the same direction, the reality is that you will not have much in common with the friend who still wants to ride his bike around the neighborhood or the one who wants to gossip about old frenemies. Cut them loose.

No More Excuses
Your parents and older family members will have no problem watching you drown in quick sand if they placed the warning signs up and you ignored them anyway. Some may want to throw in a rope when you are waste deep and there will be that masochist who will only send in the calvary when it’s just your index finger still above ground. You have got to remember that you are no longer some kid who has to be bailed out every time. Spending a few days in jail WILL build character. If you don’t know-ask. People aren’t mind readers and yours is way too complicated to try and figure out.

Not Everybody Has To Like You
No one will care about your GPA, how many clubs you were in, what sorority you joined, and that you were captain of your basketball team. Many will think you’re an entitled, lazy, millennial brat who is out to get over without working hard for it. You will spend at LEAST the first five years of your career having to prove otherwise. Don’t take it personal. Find a seasoned mentor who will keep it “100” with you. They will help you bring the best you to the game. You will have won some people over with strong work ethics, a team-player approach, and knowledge base. The rest won’t like you still but they will respect you.

You Are Not The First
I know you hear this a lot and you will continue to hear it. Unless you are developing the serum for world peace, cure for AIDS, or have discovered the Fountain of Youth, get in line with the rest of us. There are plenty of hard working, driven individuals of all ages out here and we have all been down this road a time or two. Once you figure this out, try not to make the same mistakes of those that came before. Keep humility closer than your own skin. Arrogance and pride isn’t a good look. God don’t like ugly and he isn’t too fond of pretty either.

It’s Okay To Be Scared
This world is huge and filled with people who may not mean well. There are ugly things lurking in every corner, waiting to pounce. Everything from depression to death will come at you. No where is it written that you have to pretend that all is okay when it really isn’t. Reach out for the help you need. It’s the human thing to do.

Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth
The Bible is chock full of wise proverbs. King Solomon learned things the hard way and we have his words and many others in the Bible to keep us on track. Don’t let your Bible app collect internet cobwebs. From how to make friends to who to choose to marry, this life altering resource just never gets old.

So cross that stage with ya bad self! Make us proud to see that our money, energy, time, (and Lawd help us!) patience wasn’t wasted on you. Time to make your mark you college graduate you!

Current Events, Family, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized

Little Black Boys

I have always been a sucker for little black boys with beautiful eyes and gorgeous smiles. Something they all seem to have at that age. When they grow up to be handsome young men I am thankful to say I knew them when.

Not all of our little black boys are making it into full manhood safely these days. Of the many that came through my doors in my years as a school social worker, I can count on only a few set of hands how many made it to post secondary education. College education for me isn’t the litmus test but it represents a safe haven and a sifter for the many black men who have managed to beat the odds that are stacked against them. College is that holding place where I would know that both learning would take place and that for a moment in time, our black males can be held safe.

I spent half my time jamming common sense and wisdom down my youngest brother in law’s throat during his adolescence years. Angry the day he came home wearing a long baggy white shirt instead of the uniformed ones that were waiting freshly pressed in the closet. You look like a thug crossing that bridge to school on Miami Beach I said. Me and his brother, my husband, would have knock down drag out debates on how to best reinforce pro social behaviors. Society won’t be too friendly to him and we have to prepare him now I said.

He spent most of his days rubbing elbows with children of TV executives and diplomats and most of his nights on the football field. We kept him too busy and too tired to care about much of what was taking place on the block. Yet on that winter break when he was home from college and tied up with other friends, detained by police down the street, we would remind him that you can’t take everybody where you’re going. When a friend of his, another college student, would witness a childhood friend shot and killed right next to him, we remind him yet again, you need new friends.

No child should have to be told that they have to forsake their childhood friends. No child should have to be told to stay away from their running buddy, the friends who they rode bikes with and enjoyed living out their youth with. Yet it’s become our reality.

I worry about my brother in law sometimes. I worry that he is losing his core identify as he slowly loses friends. They aren’t all dying but they are dying little deaths in the form of drug abuse, a life of violence, and social immobility. Relationships he formed are slowly losing their depths as his quest for personal achievements and dare I say survival takes precedence.

Our roots are what keep us grounded and as more of our young black boys’ blood seep through these concrete streets, those who are left behind begin to stand alone.


Social Work Month: Why Social Work Is Sexy Part Deux

Three times a year I make it my business to trek 20 miles to my alma mater, Florida International University and sit on a Humanities class panel of guest speakers. It’s the least I can do for the school where I got my first degree in this field. This year I went on my birthday of all days and had my hubby in tow. Wondering all the while, why do I still do this? Then looking into the fresh faces of these students, I remember why I will come every time they call.

The Millenials are at such a loss, gripped in fear of making the wrong degree choice, paying too much money, and not landing a job right after college. I have sat next to FBI agents, attorneys, journalist, educators among others. No student ever thinks first to consider social work. So I come and play part life coach and part social work salesman, angling to make my profession look sexier than a Sports Illustrated Model.

My Spiel
-No we don’t take children out of homes. That’s what case managers (not to be confused with social workers) do.
-Yes, my clients come in every income bracket, every God-made shade, and every zip code.
-Yes, if you are ADD, OCD, ADHD with a hint of narcissism, then you will enjoy one minute sitting at your desk working on a substance abuse data report then in the next grabbing your bag and heading off to a school crisis. Such is the life of a school social worker.
-If you have no qualms about sitting on a crate in a leaky home or on a Louis XVI chair in a hi-rise condo, then this might be the career for you. Such is the life of a home health medical social worker.
-If you plan on writing a book or a Hollywood script one day, you will certainly not lack for themes and narratives to choose from; we can’t make this stuff up people. It’s all true!

So I won’t get tired of fighting traffic and that god-awful parking system to put my profession in the spotlight. As long as there will be human beings, there will always be a need for this profession.