Patience, Persistence & Perseverance Dominate! Time for Spring!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

There’s not much growing in our back yard at this time, but crocus which tells me it’s about time! Spring begins a new time in life, with excitement for what will arise out of the soil!  In fact, time is the essence of all life and an honored resource.Crocus
Crocus

Crocus, a perennial favorite!Crocus

I believe patience, persistence and perseverance are incredible qualities found in a person and in a beautiful flowering plant! All things produce when the time is right. Nothing can, could, will or should ever change this. It makes the most sense to follow Mother Nature’s lead and work with her rather than battle against her!

Back to my backyard where not much grows because of 2 main reasons, #1: our dog Bella the Aussie who loves the backyard and has many a good day carrying on in her canine best; and #2: the very large sugar maple tree with a huge trunk  covered in shaggy bark that supports many branches that tower into the sky!

Referred to as the Monster Tree!

Someday that part of the backyard will present itself in a better light! A professional limb trim helps, as does maintenance work and cleaning up in any home and yard (and business!) during seasonal changes throughout the year.   

I try not to grumble about picking up scattered mounds of dog poop and the thousands of sticks, branches and pieces of bark. Thank you oh monster tree for your beauty, shade and for housing the squirrels, birds and other wild things! Another harbinger I love to note is my first Robin sighting of the year! 

It’s impossible for me to embrace progress without patience, persistence and perseverance. I’m encouraged to find purpose in almost everything I do and strive to keep on keeping on until it all makes senseImage result for crocus

Image result for crocus

Image result for crocus

I’m able to find comfort in what I’m doing now and can find that the powers-that-be will grace me with accomplishment in the future. What matters to me most is finding happiness and success in everyday life with even the most simple things! My mind is made up that way!

successI hope you have a safe and enjoyable Spring Break! If you’re going on a road trip, feel free to take this map along!

Success is found after driving safely through Patience, Hard Work & Perseverance. Hopefully you didn’t veer off Dreamer’s road and got lost; or end up in Pain because I hear it’s a bumpy trip!

Contact me to discuss how together we can help your client uncover the road that leads to a successful litigation outcome.  Keep in mind even detours can lead to places you may not have ever traveled. Thank you for reading!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

 

Emotional Intelligence and Expert Testimony…Stay in the Ship!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I want to touch a bit on emotional intelligence. Basically, emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions in yourself and sense the emotional needs in others. I study this interpersonal skill and certainly am not an emotional master, but I constantly challenge myself to control any “miffed” (annoying) emotions that are connected to stressful situations.

Miffed?  Mad? Upset? Irritated?  Jittery?  Soft?  Antsy?  Optimistic?  All the Above?!?!

For example, when I’ve been on the witness stand in court (serving as an expert in my field of vocational rehabilitation), I’ve experienced verbal assaults on my work, my credentials, and even my vocation (don’t even go there buddy…), by the opposing attorney. This of course is stressful! However, because I know myself well and have thee highest regard for what I do for a living, I am able to calmly turn mean and rude statements into mush (metaphorically in my mind where it matters!) You’d be surprised how effective a concerned look and a calm statement or simple facial expression saying, “I hope you realize how that sounded” can be.

 

Mush you say??? Yuck. Get Out of Here. No Way Would I Ever Eat That.

Seriously though, emotions can turn into enemies if they get in your way during certain times in your life (like on the witness stand!). I like to think of emotions as waves. A storm has rushed in, the winds are fierce, and the lake is churning up white caps. THESE ARE THE EMOTIONS – the things that get us disturbed, all riled up and self-absorbed.  We liked the calm…

Emotional waves get in your way!

Now think, the storm will blow over and the lake will calm down. During the slowdown of the storm, the waves are just big, and in fact can be quite beautiful. THESE ARE YOUR THOUGHTS – and now you connect with the outside world….and to other people easily.

Calm those waves down!

Now think of a peaceful lake.  Become aware of your own feelings and realize, hey ~ this is what makes me special, my stuff really is helpful and I am good at stilling the waves. Calm yourself down right when the lake’s current does too. Now there is no distinction between yourself and the environment. You become a part of it. Everything clicks. The world is safe….and you are alive! (yet potentially still on that witness stand!)

“I know that I know that I know!”

Understanding the effects of wind, waves and currents is not an easy subject to master. Waves (humans who may be intent on verbal attacks) behave differently under a large variety of different conditions.

So to be familiar with all, or at least rough water conditions, a professional seaman (or how about an expert witness such as myself?!), uses knowledge and skills to confidently control the ship through to the calm following the storm. That’s what it takes to be a good expert witness. I’m here to help you help your client. 

In another blog, I continue with another element of emotional intelligence ~ EI ~ stay in the ship!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Golfing and Communication, Using Tee Ups Effectively!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Been on the links yet? If not, hopefully very soon! I enjoy golfing and teeing off is my favorite part (not that the ball goes much more than 100 yards or so). I just really like it when my ball flies high and straight! 

Image result for golf course cartoonIt makes it much easier to smack the ball into the air if  the tee is adjusted in the ground just right, not too high or low. Read: Maximize your efficiency either long distance or not as long depending on the goal.

Colorful Tees

 

 

Place the tee in the ground at the right height!

However, teeing up may not be such a good thing, especially when not on the golf course. Off the course, a tee up is a phrase to transition to introduce your verbal message. It’s a style of communication that’s often used to soften what’s coming, obscure meaning and, at times, “signal that bad news or dishonesty” is on the horizon.

Image result for golf course cartoonHave you noticed that often, those who are known to lie or bend the truth the most are the ones who say “to be perfectly honest” the most? At least that has been true in my personal experience. If a person has to announce their honesty before they speak, maybe they aren’t always truthful.

Sure, I use tee-ups and I am very conscientious of it. I catch myself and reiterate in my mind how I feel when I use them. A tee-up can be impolite and can also draw less attention to what you really need to say.  When I hear others use a tee-up phrase it makes me think about how they’re communicating and what may be motivating their behavior or thought.

I Hate To Tell YouI Hate To Tell You, But.

When a tee-up is used to preface a neutral statement, it can potentially appear to make the speaker sound formal, conscientious, or sophisticated. When used before a negative statement, a tee-up can be condescending.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but all in all” they signal a weakness in communication. Whether you mean it or not, tee-ups make a listener shut down. The best way to circumvent that is for the speaker to stop using tee-ups whenever possible.

Other examples of a tee-up phrase are, “To tell you the truth”, “To be perfectly honest”, “I hate to be the one to tell you this, but” ,“Believe it or not” ,  and “I hear what you’re saying.”  How about this one, “Don’t take this the wrong way!” What are we really saying when we use this phrases? Not much.

My personal favorite is “without a shadow of a doubt”. I’m not really sure if that’s a tee up but I said it the other day to Randy when we were in some sort of philosophical discussion.  (Get the picture?)

Proceed With Caution

Proceed with caution when you hear a tee-up!

There are various reasons for communicating this way. These “tee-ups” are a good way to lie, because it softens the blow a bit by distancing you on an emotional level. The bottom line is when a person uses a tee-up it almost always has to do with emotions.

Tee-ups are yellow lights. If you are about to utter one, slow down. Proceed with caution. Think about what you are about to say or write. And put your communication in the right context from the beginning! You may find this related Wall Street Journal article of interest, It’s titled Why Verbal Tee-Ups Like ‘To Be Honest’ Often Signal Insincerity and can be found at: online.wsj.com/news/articles/

“But then again”, a tee-up may make it easier to say something difficult or buy a few extra seconds to collect your next thought. “Yet all in all”, they can become communication habits that waste time. The person who you are talking to can get stuck on the tee-up and not listen nearly as well as you had well-intended. If you really have something serious to talk about, it will help to use your body language and tone of voice efficiently.

“Okay, don’t freak out, but” if you are feeling a need to use tee-ups a lot, perhaps you’re saying too many unpleasant things to or about other people. Sometimes, the shiny feather (fletching) on an arrow can distract you from the barb; often, it just makes it hurt more. More likely than not, your message will miss the ultimate target.

Precept Golf BallI use this kind of ball! Precept: Noun: a general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought.

If you whiff on the first shot, you can tee-up again, but you have to count the stroke and you’ll need to work harder on your game! Ill think of my precept golf balls next time I use a tee-up (or whiff) and will then try to regulate my behavior or thought. The greatest precept is continual awareness. Do you want to do the same? Or would you rather just go golfing with me?

P.S. Congrats Mark Calcavecchia, winner of our 2015 Principal Charity Classic!

Let me know what I can do to help you in a litigated matter involving work and disability. As far as golf, I really can’t help you there much other than to simply motivate you to have fun and don’t worry about whiffing….we all do it! Don’t get all emotional about it!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Happy New Year! Where is This Sculpture?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

A few years back, I took this picture while hanging out downtown after Mass. I’ve always loved this bronze sculpture that revolves like a globe! I just did a little research to find out more about it, which I love to share with you!

Sphere Within a Sphere

“Sphere Within a Sphere” by Amaldo Pomodoro, 1999

The sculpture “Sphere Within a Sphere” (Sfera con sfera) was placed in 1999…the same year my business was born. The sculpture is intended as a metaphor for the coming of new and a promise. This is my gift to you if you didn’t last through New York City’s time ball drop (or if you don’t watch it at all).

Do you know where it’s located (yes, Des Moines, Iowa, but specifically where?) Another “Sphere Within a Sphere” by this Italian artist can be found in the Vatican! And in New York City, too. Let’s Go! Did you get my question correct?

Taylor, my niece who currently lives in the DC area, has truly found Des Moines a cool place to be. A strong perception from a young professional who happened to be born here! My mouth still drops when I’m in the East Village…Iowa not NYC!

Enjoy our beautiful city’s artwork! Here’s a link where you can learn more about our city’s public art! Des Moines Public Art Foundation.

Cheer’s to Ringing in the Champagne GlassesNew Year! 

I’m not sure where I found this, but it rings true ~ Art is the expression of an emotion in a particular language—words, sculpture, paintings—so that we come to understood the emotion better.

Enjoy art and this how your emotions can shape your new year! I hope you also think about how I can help you help your client on a case involving work and disability! 

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

Counseling is an Art and Loving to Read is Too!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

This is a repeated blog entry from 5-14-12 and it fits right in with my writings on Art & Science. Plus I’ve included a video published 7/9/14 titled the Art of Counseling developed by CRCC (Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.)

CRCC (Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification)

:

A couple blogs or two back, I wrote about reading (and working!), and the type of books I commonly read. I held a questions and answer session with my daughter Arin, who is a connoisseur of books.

One Cute Bookworm

Arin is currently reading Heir to the Empire: Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, Vol. 1, by Timothy Zahn, independently, and Their Eyes Are Watching God, a 1937 novel by Zora Neale Hurston, for her English class.

Stack o Books

Grandpa Jimmie Botkin was definitely a bookworm as he would read up to four books at a time (I couldn’t do that!) My brother Mike Prochnow is another bookworm! I remember growing up he would be reading a book in the living room and we (his nice brothers and sisters) would “act up a storm” and try to startle him out of reading…never worked. We even contemplated bringing in the Iowa Falls High School marching band into the living room to see if he would look up from whatever book he was reading at the time. Pretty sure we’d be wasting the band’s valuable time!

My Grandma read a lot too! And my son Nick. He has a love of reading as well!

Nick reading a Harry Potter Book while lounging in Ann & Dick’s motor home.

And Randy.  Geez Leweez! He’s actually in a book club!

Check out this 30 second video I created titled Randy Reads!  It took Randy awhile to get the fact that I needed a little attention.  The point here ties back to empathy and counseling. The counseling profession is based upon a helping relationship. The counselor takes on the role of a helper. He or she tries to help one or more people, by providing counseling with respect to some kind of a problem, issue or concern.

 

Loving to Read is an Art!  Put Your Readers On!

In my opinion, Counseling is an Art and a Science. See, I have a Master’s Degree in Science and I’m a Counselor.  And Randy has a Master’s Degree in Art and he’s a Teacher.  There. Point Made, Right!?!?

Any comments? Send me a message at vocresources@gmail.com to let me know what you’re reading…and why! Thank you for reading my blog post! 

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

2013 Year of the Snake…Fear of em or Love of em?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

My sister Julie has had problems with snake(s) in her basement during the summer months in the past. She has actually learned how to deal with it rather admirably. I’m not sure if she had one last year or not, but I didn’t hear about it. Julie knows how to save em and send em packing! Here’s a great article about What to Do About Snakes [if you find one in your house!]

There’s no justification for the persecution of these animals!

The point of this blog is not only to point out this is the year of the snake, but it is also to pay attention to what fears some people have. When I work with a client or assess an individual, it is likely that some type of fear, resentment, “issue”, or negative feelings are brought to the surface.

Therefore, it is important to make note of what fears [irrational or not] are part of a person’s daily living. By the way, snakes are great garden predators and only can benefit your garden (plus their droppings are excellent fertilizer since their prey is so well digested)!

Fear exists only in your mind and only in the future…

Fear can be defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

Ultimately, all rehabilitation counselors have the same goal to help individuals cope and heal by altering their focus in life. We help others understand that although things may have altered dramatically, deep down, the person is still the same – a human with unique fantasies and fears, hopes and dreams, achievements and disappointments.

By working together to come to an understanding of the individual’s abilities and limitations, rehabilitation counselors can help the individual work through the various stages of loss…and emerge on the other side with a fresh outlook on life and the determination to make it through whatever challenges the disability may throw their way.

Read the Full Page: Rehabilitation Counseling – Rehabilitation Counselors  AllAboutCounseling.com

At a recent brain injury rehabilitation conference, the key note speaker stressed “most people will learn to live with the changes in their life if they explore and  focus on the “new you.”

Will this be the Year to Address Your Fear?

I am a fearful when Mother Nature exudes her wrath upon Earth, being relentless and there’s no stopping Her during a scary storm.  But clearly all one can do when She strikes is to be prepared. Make sense? Be prepared, get help and know what you can do to help yourself and your family if fear gets in your way of daily living.

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Emotions and Changing Your Mind…Don’t Lose Your Keys!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I mentioned in my last post that I would write more about my brother. We referred to him as: (and his name has to be said really fast) Steven John Patrick Henry Murphy Fred George John Prochnow. This is all I’m writing about my brother Steve at this time because I chose to change my mind on this week’s writing!

Change is what makes me go around and around! In this post I’m going to write about emotions and relationships.

During my master’s level coursework at Drake University, I started studying emotions and continually learn how to apply what I’ve learned in my own life.

Over the years, I’ve come to realize and accept that I’m pretty adept at identifying a person’s emotions. What to do with that knowledge is what matters, especially as an empathetic rehabilitation counselor like me, with abilities to sense people’s emotions, and imagine what s/he might be thinking or feeling, and consider how I can help (if needed to help).

Randy and me at home after a photo shot at church ~ Fall 2011 (The above was a photo taken by a son, the actual picture in our church directory looks like we’re related to Frankenstein!)

As a complex creature each human is driven by emotions, beliefs and various points of view that most likely do not coincide perfectly (if at all) with yours (Now, Now Randy).

It can be difficult to understand all the emotions sailing around another person’s head, especially within a cultural context and from situation to situation. So to make it simple, let’s just consider basic emotions that could be experienced.

Basic emotions

Emoticons

Anger

Happiness

Fear

Sadness

Surprise

Disgust

On top of basic emotions and beliefs, you or the other person may also be in any state of HALT – being Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. (I am so happy I learned this acronym way back as a new mom!) If so (may want to first address any state of HALT ASAP: hungry: eat; angry: cool down; lonely: become involved in the world around you; tired: rest!), there will be a need to be more sensitive to any choices or decisions you make with that person.

 Figure this sweetie out?  

If bursts of emotion become too much to handle, what can you do? My way of answering this question involves taking a look at how people in love chose to culminate and sustain a healthy relationship .

You can sense how they appreciate each other. They freely accept their differences. They both are confident, responsible and believe in trust. They simply allow each other to be their own person. In my eyes, that’s the key….to the front door (if you want in).

The Keys to the Front and to the Back Door

And to answer the question regarding how to handle “emotional outbursts” rests in changing your mind.  Choose to judge the situation or circumstance in exactly the opposite direction. The key to the back door (if you want out) is to change the way you think and feel about yourself and others. It’ll work, trust me!

Just be sure you’re not letting your feelings turn into facts….that will never happen.

 Always Keep Both Keys on Hand And DON’T LOSE EM!

Please let me know how I can help you help your clients. If a persons’ emotions are significantly part of your case, I can provide the person’s true story which explain to others why emotions matter.

___________________

My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.