Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How to learn from each other

By: Torey Richardson, Health Support Professional

 Working at HCS has put numerous things into perspective, but most importantly made me realize how blessed I truly am. Often times we take the simplest things for granted without giving it much thought. Imagine not being able to verbally communicate your wants and needs -- and imagine the communication barrier that can create.
While many people are fortunate to have friends or family call and visit or even go home for the holidays, others for various reasons are not as fortunate. This is why forming relationships with the people who choose our services, and also helping foster relationships is crucial. By making these connections we are able to better support individuals by not only learning how they communicate, but also teaching others how to communicate with them. This results in limitless possibilities. Individuals are able to join groups within their communities, socialize with their neighbors, and much more. I believe it is our responsibility to change the stigma that ignorantly implies that if a person cannot verbally communicate, then they cannot communicate at all. There is so much that we can learn from each other, if we know how and if we are willing to try.
For people recently hired and for people interested in getting to know someone who communicates differently, there are many options to help you be successful:

·         Find out what the person likes. It is always easy to engage someone in a conversation about common interests.

·         Learn American Sign Language or other ways of communicating. (Heritage Christian offers classes that teach staff how to use sign language.)

·         Ask senior staff. They were once in the position that you may be in, finding it difficult to communicate with someone. They may have useful tips that can help.

·         AND GIVE IT TIME! A lot of the individuals that we support see many different staff members come and go. The person may just be shy so give it time and eventually they may come around.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

How to find direction

By Marisa Geitner, President and C.E.O.

We might say that the first step to citizenship is to have control over our own life, but the second is to give that life direction. - Simon Duffy
Control without direction can be a risky combination. We have all found ourselves there from time to time as we work hard to gain authority over our own decisions and life, only to find we aren't quite certain what direction we'd like to head. We are just certain that we don't want others deciding for us. That's when we take a breath and remind ourselves that understanding our goals and purpose is a journey not a destination. It’s the discovery along the way that makes life so interesting.

When it comes to contemplating purpose or direction, I find perspective means everything. A healthy balance of what was and what will be should be considered. Sounds simple enough. Although you know, it's likely we spend too much time looking backward -- consuming so much of our energy on what was, retrospectively turning over our experiences time and time again in order to shape our direction, our next step. While that is an essential ingredient in healthy self-awareness it doesn't alone get us where we need to go.

To shift to a prospective view we need to ask questions. Where have we been? What have we learned? What would we do differently? What outcome do we hope to see?  What is the next step?

Purpose is like any other innovative process, it doesn't follow a straight line and it's rarely predictable. It ebbs and flows with the twists and turns of the dynamic world we live in. And yes, I know where those twist and turns take us can be very disorienting. We all get lost from time to time. That's where perspective again saves the day, just ask the questions.

As our purpose and direction take shape, we need to exercise our leadership skills as well. Why? Because we don't succeed alone. We need to encourage others, those close to us, to come along with us. We need to take hold and lead others in the direction that nurtures and respects our unique purpose and contribution, while also being thoughtful of theirs. We need the support of our natural networks to enhance our discovery along the way. Those we share time with are influential on our journey.

Balance experience of the past with hope for the future. Welcome others into your direction and aspirations. Enjoy the journey as your purpose is revealed!  Happy travels.