Career MatchMaker

I want to talk about a database that can help people pinpoint their Top 40 careers: CareerCruising.

You can use it with your Brooklyn Public Library library card at http://www.bklynlibrary.org by clicking on the articles and databases link on the left then searching on CareerCruising.

First: create a profile and sign up. Then take the Career MatchMaker quiz and save every quiz results sheet under a different name.

If you do not live in New York State you can get a Bklyn library card by signing up and paying $50/per year. Or you might see if your own library system offers this database or a similar one.

A free career match test you can take is at http://www.mynextmove.org on the Internet. I prefer the CareerMatchMaker. The careers I scored high on were career counselor, writer, motivational speaker, activist, and librarian. The quiz is eerily accurate.

It can save you from making the mistake of trying to fit yourself into a career that doesn’t suit you. The earlier you take the quiz the easier it will hopefully be to discover the work you’ll love to do and be good at.

In the next Flourish entry I will talk about the secret solution to stigma in the workplace.

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Having A Second Or Third Act

I like the idea that a person gets to have a second or third act in their lives.

My life didn’t lift off until I obtained my library science degree when I was 35 years old.

It’s not ever too late to do something new or to make a positive change in your life.

The photographer who shot me for my author website was 55 years old when he decided he wanted to get a job and stop collecting SSI. He retired with a stash of cash years later.

I attended school with a woman who was in her early seventies too. She had the desire to get a library degree even though she was at a time in her life when most people are winding down.

Doing what you want to do or what you love in your older years is payback for the struggle and hard times you experienced early in life at the hands of an illness.

You can find new things to do and love when you turn 50 or older.

I turn 50 in the early spring. Our lives aren’t over until they’re over. Each of us has good years ahead of us. I firmly believe that the best is always yet to be: tomorrow can be better than today.

The Aveeno skincare advertisement got it right:

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

Today is the only lovely day. No other day exists. Everything we do today can bring us closer to a better tomorrow. Even if things aren’t so good now we can expect that the future can be different and things can change.

Having a second or third act?

It’s entirely possible.

Setting Lifelines Not Deadlines

I talk about this more in Flourish: the beauty of setting lifelines not deadlines.

Using the term deadline indicates there’s an end: a result you achieve that is the end, that the process is over at a certain point in time.

This isn’t helpful because often people set goals that are restrictive, impossible to achieve because the deadline is too soon. Rome isn’t built in a day, neither are goals completed quickly. Nothing worth having comes without effort.

You can’t undo years of personal neglect in two or three months and then quit. Goal-seeking behavior is a lifestyle not an endpoint, so to keep striving to maintain health is imperative.

The gym has a whiteboard in the entrance foyer. Every week a new quote is written down. Last week the whiteboard proclaimed: “Don’t seek to be skinny by Tuesday. Strive to be fit. Fitness is forever.”

It’s true: setting a strict deadline to live up to demoralizes you, sets you up to fail. It’s better to remember that changing your life is a long-term process. It starts one habit at a time. Then you change another behavior. And so on.

It takes kindness and patience on the road to a new you. Focus on what you did do instead of what you couldn’t do. Cheer yourself on for pounding the treadmill 2 times instead of beating yourself up for not doing it 4 times.

I suspect a lot of goals people set aren’t based in science. Read the book Changeology by John C. Norcross because he details a scientifically-proven method of changing, a technique to make lasting changes.

We need to remember that it’s not ever too late in life to change something we’re not happy about, either an aspect of our lives or about ourselves. Completing one goal should not be the end; it should be the stepping-stone to other goals.

That’s why the mantra “Fitness is Forever” sums it up well: change is a process, and it’s not the result that counts.

The first part is the hardest. It’s often 80 percent mental, 20 percent the action: in terms of achieving success.

So: set a lifeline, not a deadline.

School is Cool

As hard as it can be, I recommend that a person with a mental illness who’s attending school follows through with getting a four-year degree.

Seek help at the mental health center on campus, get involved with ActiveMindss on campus, join a club.

Do what it will take to graduate even if you don’t have a high GPA at the end.

At University, I was a disc jockey at WSIA, 88.9 FM the college radio station. The two years I was an on-air personality were the happiest time of my young life. It made the prodrome easier to go through because I sought help and and no one I talked to could help me. So I had to do things on my own in college.

I’m certain that since this was in the 1980s things must surely have changed and that there is help for individuals attending school who have mental health challenges.

Log on to StrengthOfUs if you’re under 30 for resources if you’re a young adult with a mental illness.

It gets better. It truly does get better living with a diagnosis.

There’s nothing to feel guilty or ashamed about having a diagnosis.

My stance is that a young person shouldn’t get side-tracked into a long-term (over one year) traditional kind of rehabilitation program.

Going to college or getting trained for a job is in my estimation a better activity.

School is Cool.

Goal Setting

Engaging in goal-seeking behavior in recovery as in life is the secret to being successful in having the kind of life you want.

Achievements are something to work towards not wait for. Wishing for things to happen won’t magically make the results appear.

This is the number-one reason I recommend writing down goals and reviewing them as often as you feel you need to. Do two things each day to advance yourself in the direction of your dream(s).

A reputable female researcher suggests a person should set challenging goals to have the best chance of obtaining them. Framing in your mind an outcome that is easy to achieve makes you less likely to take repeated action to go for it.

I recommend starting out by obtaining an easy win only because for most people diagnosed with schizophrenia there might have been so few wins in their life before they got sick. Once you rack up this win, you can act resilient to set goals slightly beyond your reach.

It’s your choice whether you keep your goal(s) private or share them with a trusted friend or family member. Either way is fine whatever you decide.

The key is to not quit. Setbacks are often only temporary on the road to long-term success.

Often a dream is no more than an intention you tell yourself in the quiet of your own head. The intention takes on a force of its own and your thoughts start to rumble, urging you on because to not do what you want to do isn’t acceptable anymore.

Try. And try again if you don’t succeed.

It took me 10 years to be able to publish my memoir.

No kidding.

WordPress Site

I’ve created this WordPress site to better organize the themes from the Left of the Dial blogger account.

The Flourish page details information from my two non-fiction recovery books.

The Left of the Dial page excerpts scenes from my memoir and continues to be the source of upbeat, optimistic posts.

The Reviews page is the place for the ongoing book reviews and other reviews about things such as DVDs and other blogs.

I expect to fine-tune the writing here at the WordPress site to be consistent in when I post.

I strive to post on the Flourish page on Monday and Thursday. I strive to publish on the Left of the Dial page on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. I strive to post on the Reviews page at least once a week.

As always:

I’m happy to read your comments.

Overcoming Doubt: Put Your Binders On

This blog will talk about techniques in my book.

I wanted to detail using binders. You can put your blinders on in a good way to be blind to the self-doubt that comes on.

The doubt will come on as surely as church bells chime out every hour in some places. The self-doubt is a part of life. To overcome doubt I recommend using binders to store information on different topics to keep you armed with hope and faith that you can do what you want to do.

I have binders for goals, recipes, fitness and fashion. The fashion binder is a look book of magazine photos I’ve torn out to refer to for possible outfits to create. The fitness binder contains Internet print-outs on health and nutrition. The goals binder documents the things I want to achieve throughout my life.

In Flourish I detail a specific strategy for setting goals.

I recommend using binders because they’re handy reference tools for quickly getting information at your fingertips to help you succeed in life.

Buy the ones with clear sleeves on the front and back so that you can insert inspirational quotes on the covers to read to be uplifted. Get tabbed dividers to section out each sub-topic.

I will talk shortly in the Reviews section of my WordPress site about a magazine that’s nifty for finding information to place in binders.

Each of us can use our doubt as a motivating force to be resilient and tackle new goals. Using the binders can help in this regard.

I’d love to hear from others who might use this technique. Has it worked for you? What else can you recommend?