Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live my friend. I am happy to have you around my table. In the past several articles, “Are You Living Your Truth?” and “Whose Life am I Living?” I spoke to the need to find, own and live our truth.
Apart from finding, owning and living our truth we may find ourselves trying to live someone else’s life. In the process, we may be trying to live someone else’s truth for ourselves.
In the process we may find that we have been living our lives in quiet desperation.
As a consequence, at the end of our lives; we may find that we never sang our song.
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” Henry David Thoreau
But thank God we can live our destinies outside the “box” of traditional employment. We can learn how to sing our song in ways that work for us.
The Song within Me
For many years I had no idea what song resided in me because I was led to believe that my destiny had to be sung in a certain way.
In searching for my destiny, I took both interest inventories, intelligence and personality tests.
I took these tests at different colleges and universities in an attempt to find my song.
The information and results from these inventories and tests proved to be helpful but only provided information.
A Life Changing Realization
In hindsight and what took me many years to realize was that the results of these inventories and tests never took into account the impact of traumatic brain injury.
Search for Suitable Employment
Serendipitously, I obtained a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling. I worked as a masters level rehabilitation counselor and as a certified rehabilitation counselor with several insurance companies and with the department of vocational rehabilitation in Florida. In both of these positions, I assisted individuals with work-related injuries and various kinds of disabilities in their search of suitable employment.
I was terminated from each of these positions. I eventually became a client of the Florida Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.
I became a client of the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation in Florida — while working as a vocational rehabilitation counselor with the DVR. I was put on probation and later terminated 4 months later from Florida Department of Vocational Rehabilitation as a counselor. I remained a client of the Deparment of Vocational Rehabilitation. while
I was later terminated as a client of the Florida Department of Vocational Rehabilitation due to an unsuitable job placement.
After being recruited to work as a certified rehabilitation counselor with an insurance company I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. After moving and beginning the job, I was fired 4 months later. After being fired from the insurance company.
After being fired from the insurance company, I filled out my 3rd application for SSDI. I also applied to begin receiving services through the North Carolina Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. After completing their evaluation process, my voc rehab counselor determined that I was unemployable.
Shortly after the report was written by my DVR counselor my 3rd application with the Social Security Administration was approved. I began receiving SSDI in late 1998.
Reality Sunk In
The end result from being deemed unemployable and declared disabled was that no one had an answer for me. An answer that would help me to find, own and live my truth. My educational pursuits in geology, physical education, nursing, emergency medical technology, theology, recreation, and rehabilitation counseling seemed to be for naught. Seemed to be for naught because I was unable to maintain employment using what I had learned.
“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed-door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” Helen Keller
Finding a Different Way
Based on the reality, that I was deemed unemployable and declared disabled; I could not use traditional employment to own, express and live my truth. Because I had a desire to still use my gifts, talents and abilities I needed to find a different way.
Although my educational pursuits appeared to be for naught, based on being deemed unemployable and declared disabled; I am glad I did not give up. I am glad that I did not give up on finding my truth and a way to use my gifts, talents and abilities in ways that would work for me.
Because I was conditioned to believe that my hope could only be found in the “box” (traditional employment), I thought that I had run out of options. I thought that my destiny was out of reach. But thank God that I did not give up. With time through turning over many proverbial “rocks” my path became more clear to me. My search and determination to find my path revealed that my truth and destiny was waiting for me outside the “box”. By continuing to look, the door opened for me.
My encouragement to you is that you do not give up on finding your truth. Use what you have learned along the way to fuel your vision. Look within yourself to determine what is your primary motivator. What do you like to do with your time and how can you use what you enjoy to enhance both your life and the lives of people in your world. My search revealed that I had a strong desire to encourage people to not give up.
I share the above with you for this reason. People and society, as a whole, conditioned me; to believe that they held the answers. Because I believed they held the answers, for me; I pursued those answers for many years.
In my pursuit of those answers through testing, interest inventories, intelligence tests, personality tests and other tests; as well as my educational and vocational pursuits the answers I found the answers did not come for me. What I had hoped for did not come to pass. The puzzle pieces did not appear and I became discouraged. But I am glad that I did not give up. What I discovered, through time and by not giving up; was that the answers that I had searched for did not factor in the impact of my brain injury and my invisible disability. Although I was led to believe that I would do well through the testing and educational pursuits, I found otherwise. What I found was that I kept “stubbing” my life on the walls of matters that were out of my control.
Who knew? I certainly did not, nor did others around me. But I am glad that I became aware. In my awareness, I realized that I needed to find my own way. A way in which I could share what I had learned through the process of navigating through life for many years. A way to encourage individuals with similar life experiences to seek out and own their truth’s. A way to encourage individuals to live their destinies beyond the “box”. A way to encourage individuals with similar life experiences to not give up on their processes, a loving God or themselves. A way to encourage individuals with similar life experiences to not give up because more will be revealed.
I share the above with you to encourage you — in the event that you have found yourself unemployable and disabled — to not give up. The process may take time, as the process took for me. But by not giving up and through diligence your search, you will “strike gold”. By not giving up, you will find and own your truth. The truth in how to express your gifts, talents, and abilities in ways that will work for you. And as I have found, the expression of your truth may not take the form given to you by other people or society as a whole. No worries. There is a different way. A way that is uniquely suited for you my friend. A way that will set you apart, to meet a unique need. A way that is fashioned for you to meet, by the grace of a loving God. A way that will set people free. Free beyond the confines of a “box”. A way that will inspire the lives that your life touches. A way that will create ripples of hope. A way that will empower you to live your dreams. A way that will help you to live and fulfill your destiny, beyond your hope and imagination.
Be encouraged my friend. More will be revealed to you and to me, in time.
To watch and listen to the presentation, you may click on this link: Brain Injury — Living Our Destiny Beyond the “Box” of Employment Video Presentation
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