Working Despite Injury – Someone’s Gotta Pay the Bills, Right?

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Returning to work after sustaining an injury, or after having that sometimes much needed break, is not easy. There is no doubt that if you simply pick up the classifieds section of your newspaper and start your job search from there, you are likely to hit some roadblocks that others (the majority) may not experience.

Have no fear! You’ve figured out some excellent side routes to getting stuff done by now and all of that experience with building compensating skills and finding alternatives for getting through the day is going to pay off once you get back into the paid workforce. After getting fairly used to the idea that any kind of physical or mental recovery is going to be hard work, you will be well seasoned for already expecting to put in a little extra effort each day. Here is the good news: there is so much support out there that any previous aversions from businesses to hire you will fade into the past as you discover how much help is available. 

Know what you know and what you like to do. Getting hired, with the fantastic support of the Americans with Disabilities Act to back you up, should be within your reach as long as you aren’t looking for a job that goes completely past your skill set. Example: if before you took time off to heal from your injury, you were a kennel assistant, and you don’t get hired as an astronaut after your injury, you won’t be able to successfully claim discrimination against NASA. The ADA will only support the appropriate accommodations of an employee who qualifies for the position of which he/she is employed/interviewing. But hey, maybe NASA needs dog groomers, you never know!  

For those with the goal of returning to work take a look at how much is available at your fingertips to help you in a successful journey towards a non-discriminating career! Be sure you know what your rights are and what accommodations are available before you set out.

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You’ve Got To Believe It To See It

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YOU HAVE A GOAL, just like everyone should because we need goals to be productive in our lives. Now really, that’s so simply obvious that it almost doesn’t need to be said. But wait just a minute, there’s more. If we all need goals to help us move forward, what is it that drives those goals forward?

Goals Flow Chart to get you started

My next few blog articles will be dedicated to answering this question, as it is a topic that has been of interest to me for quite a long time. An article on the Marc and Angel Hack Life blog caught my interest back when they first posted it. Number ten in their “10 Things Lucky People Do Differently” tackles one of the biggest points in reaching a goal. This is a phenomenal blog and, as a huge fan, I can’t help but copy and paste one of my favorite excerpts (promise not to make a habit of copy and paste but this one was just so good!):

In all walks of life, positive beliefs have the power to become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Lucky people believe they CAN be successful.  Studies have shown that a managers’ positive beliefs and expectations in their staff have a profound effect on the productivity and success rate of their staff.  Likewise, managers who believe in themselves motivate the people around them to perform well and believe in themselves as well, while those with poor expectations cause those around them to become despondent and unproductive.

Positive beliefs and high expectations also motivate lucky people to persist even in the face of considerable adversity; which means they eventually reach the finish line as the other contenders walk back to the starting line.

 So you don’t have to be “one of the lucky ones” to reach your goals but thinking positively, and having high expectations will get you closer to the success you are looking so forward to achieving. This is a case of

You’ve Got To Believe It To See It

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A Flavorful Fate

Have you ever been disappointed by something during your day that really got to you and made you want to stay late at your own pity party?

Disappointed girl at her pity party

You get that brief stare

that could almost cut anything in half for crossing your gaze.

It happened to me a few minutes ago and although I hadn’t scheduled any blogging today, I had to share  one thing I do about disappointment with everybody.

It is pretty funny (funny odd, not exactly laughable) but when I get disappointed about something I was counting on, I can’t help but think about a fortune I got in a fortune cookie in the 90’s. Yes, I still remember it, as it was before I stopped caring too much for the flavor of the actual cookie. So as I  finished chomping on the [at that time] delicious cookie, I read my fortune out loud to my family. This was because, of course, the fortunes that were read to everyone at the table were the ones that come true (according to our own ‘house rules’). And I guess mine came true after all. It said:

“Your future will hold only small disappointments.”

And then, my lucky numbers – which I would have played had I not been so young – were on the back.

This glorious fortune was somewhat of a disappointment in itself. As the youngest child, I had to emit a loud sigh on the short car ride home. “My fortune was depressing!”  But then my Father suggested this great theory that stuck with me all of these years. I think of it every time I’m disappointed about anything.  Let’s see if I can explain it half as well as my well-spoken Father did  for me…

At the time, this fortune was a big disappointment to my young mind in comparison to my sister’s fortune (which had something written on it about a pretty garden. Yes, I know, it is rather creepy that I still remember her fortune too.  Let’s see past that for a minute).  But in comparison to all the personal disappointments in one lifetime, reading this  rectangular note of wisdom, as my dear Dad explained, would become little more than a fleeting moment. We had known a thing or two about major setbacks already in life at this point, as we were still struggling over some major and unexpected hurdles for our family.  He insisted that in ten years or even five years from that day, I wouldn’t even recall going out to Happy Family and that so far, only thirty minutes after getting a gloomy prediction in my cookie, the fortune was correct. It was only a small disappointment.

What would be a big disappointment? That’s mostly relative to the person having the experience. But I can think of a few which would be considered as big disappointments for me at this point in my life:

-       Breaking a bone or getting terribly sick right before a long awaited exotic vacation

-       Missing someone who lives too far away to visit

-       Breaking up with my best friend whom I’ve known longer than any friend I’ve ever had. (That’s actually a recent disappointment of mine but I’ll save the whole story for another time.)

-       Losing a fantastic job

-       Getting robbed (well, I’m sure it would matter more if I currently had more than I do but you know what I mean.)

-       Losing a loved one

-       Getting two kinds of unshakable flu during college finals (true story, it was horrific.)

-       Oh and don’t even mention a hurricane hitting. That’s just an understood at this point. (Fanatic hurricane Ike and Rita hater, right here!) I think that would go into the group of “Huge Disappointments”

So basically, in my life I can narrow down what would be big disappointments to a short list of basic concepts:

-       Deep heartbreak  - losing hold of a cherished friendship or maybe even experiencing the death of a close friend or family member.

-       Loss of security

-       Losing health needed to pursue life goals  – which is rather like loss of security

Anything other than what might fit in those three relatively unlikely categories, for me, are removed from the classification of big disappointment.  For the most part, anything outside of the “big disappointment” group (which would be almost any typical blunder or disturbing event) is considered a small disappointment (in my eyes). Contrary to my original reaction in the 90’s, this as anything but depressing.

My Dad explained it so well that day, I wish I could have recorded it but here’s what I retained from his fatherly wisdom:

When I Get Sad, I Stop Bing Sad and Be Awesome Instead.

Small disappointments help us grow. They also help to enhance the feeling that we get from our accomplishments. If everything we wanted came easily, how would we know what to feel really good about? There’s no way. We wouldn’t know.  When roadblocks get in the way and we need to come up with alternate routes to get back on our paths, the experience we get from struggling through or rethinking our plans strengthens us for the road ahead. The small disappointments make us better people by forcing us to learn  how to leap over them. It’s the big disappointments that can be catastrophic unless it is possible to see them as just a cluster of little obstacles glued together. Overcoming big disappointments is what can either make a person or break them. So you’d better hope that all the little ones have been a good preparation  if/when a big problem hits.

Because of that one fortune, which I found inside its crunchy cookie case one day, I can put those little disenchanting moments – typically discovered on Mondays – into perspective. I think, “Will this affect me five years from now? How about ten years from now?

Usually, I stop there and shrug off the frustration but sometimes, if I say yes to those two questions, I consider my problem even more. “ If this could affect me years from now and impede on my quality of life, could it possibly affect me positively?

Now, occasionally, things do happen and  if there is a big disappointment, working through it can be counted as a personal investment in my future. Self improvement is certainly worth the trouble. If it’s a normal day, thankfully it usually is, and if I only have a slight Homer Simpson moment (Doh’), I think of the fortune cookie and laugh to myself,  thankful for the small disappointments.

Is There Anything Hard Work Can’t Do?


You’ve come this far. Stopping won’t pay off. Hard work will pay off every time though. Recovery can be a real pain sometimes, it can be emotionally taxing. It can hurt too. Your hard work to get further both mentally and physically will be what makes all of that pain you’ve gone through worth the trouble.
If you can learn to build up tolerance for hard work, eventually, you can learn to embrace it for the person it has turned you into.

Fitness training can be for your mind and body. When it comes to recovering from a brain injury or illness, the challenges can feel overwhelming at times. Hard work to get better or to train for a fitness competition can actually bear some striking similarities. This video  rings true for both! Hopefully, it will help motivate you to stare down your fear of the hard work that’s ahead of you.

Watch this video during a tough day to help you keep going. It’s pretty inspiring, I know it got my adrenaline going!

10 Ways To Take Control of Frustration and Reclaim Your Day


Is frustration getting you down? We’ve all been there. It can feel like a big dark cloud over your head that distracts you from doing almost anything right all day. Like a domino effect, one frustration can lead to a dozen too quickly if you’re not careful. Luckily, frustration is little more than an emotion and it doesn’t have to control you.

Take control of your day and follow these tips to help overcome your discomposure:

          Willpower logo bullet point 1. Do not allow your mind to become fixated on the things that are frustrating you.


Willpower logo bullet point

2. Remind yourself that you will stay positive today.

Willpower logo bullet point 3. Think of something that you are good at and a healthy or productive activity that you enjoy. Get your mind focused  on doing one of those activities to build up momentum for doing something well.

Willpower logo bullet point 4. Celebrate your accomplishments by praising yourself on a job well done. 

Willpower logo bullet point 5. Get some exercise. Releasing endorphins is the body’s natural way of enhancing your mood. Exercise will help raise your endorphins.

Willpower logo bullet point 6. Talk about your frustration with a friend or family member.

Willpower logo bullet point 7. Post what frustrates you on a supportive blog like Willpower. Comment below this post, that ‘ll make you feel better. Being a part of Willpower brings cool perks like this and you’ll only hear something nice or supportive in return.

Willpower logo bullet point 8. Write about it in a journal. Be proactive, write what you could do to help the issues that are troubling you.

Willpower logo bullet point 9. Read or watch something funny.

Willpower logo bullet point10. Get a good night of sleep and accept your reality as something that you can control.

What Do You Have The Will To Accomplish?


I think beauty can come in all forms. For example, a healthy will to personally do better can be made beautiful by the persistence that a person invests in their goal. Anyone who believes in something meaningful, or even who strengthens a cause that has value, gets an “A” in my book. My goal is to inspire, motivate… basically suport people who have brain injuries or illness of the central and parietal nervous system. Each day brings on new challenges but staring those challenges down strengthens our willpower to succeed.

I’m currently looking for people to share stories about what challenges them and how they cope.

Fill in the blank:
I have the WILLPOWER to _______________.

Show the Strength of Your WILLPOWER

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GETTING INVOLVED MAY BE EASIER THAN YOU THINK – Pick a day each week (I chose Wednesday, and wrote it down to remember) to show the strength of your willpower to help support  brain injury awareness. Being actively aware of a health and safety topic can be great exercise for your brain and might even help lift your spirits as you help with such a big cause.

Luckily, you don’t have to start big to be a big part of this cause. Here are a few small ways to get started with being involved in supporting brain injury awareness:

Image Volunteer - Visit VolunteerMatch.org and find an opportunity to volunteer for an organization that helps others with head injury/illness. Once you get to the VolunteerMatch.org website, you can click on the upper left link, “find opportunities” to be sent to a page that will ask for your location. Next, simply type in your city, state, and/or zipcode. If you want, you can type a cause or your interest into the keyword box but you don’t have to. Now, press “search” and you will be shown a list of volunteer opportunities in your area. Pick one that you like and contact them on the phone or fill out an online application and you will be on your way to having a hands on experience with getting involved in a worthy causeAre you a volunteer? Tell us about what makes your efforts worth your time by commenting below. Your inspirational story may be what it takes to encourage others to make a difference too!

Image Sign a petition - Share your point of view while getting people to notice the importance of supporting the cause. Change.org allows you to search for a topic like, “head injury” or “stem cell research”  or “TBI advocacy” to find petitions that people have created to make a difference. Once you find a petition that you feel is important to supporting the cause of your choice, you can sign the petition by entering basic information about yourself. Then, you can send the petition to as many people in your interest group or e-mail list as you feel necessary. When the petition gets enough signatures, you can feel proud that you’ve played a big part by doing a small act. NOTE: before signing any petition, please research it completely so that you know you are  contributing to something that you fully believe needs to be changed. Many petitions are written in a way that only tells one side of the issue. 

Need help? Here is a message that you can send to people you would like to help get involved:

Dear [Name of friend or contact],

I’m working to get people involved with supporting Brain Injury Awareness.  Please help me spread this important message of helping fight for the rights of those affected by head injuries/related illness of all kinds. It would also be greatly appreciated if you could share this message with at least two other people who you feel might like to contribute by signing a petition, donating or volunteering. 

If you would like to continue your involvement in this cause or would like to read more on the topic, please visit and join a growing motivational community at http://www.willpowermentor.wordpress.com

 

Thank you for your help.

Sincerely,

 

[Your Name]

ImageJoin a Cause -  Causes.com is a website that allows people to support any cause of their choice, donate money to a cause, or sign a petition and then spread the word to get others involved, as well.

ImagePledge to Strengthen the Willpower of People with Brain InjuriesThe goal of the Willpower Pledge is to get 10,000 people to encourage strength and determination for people recovering from brain injuries and illness, as well as to Support Brain Injury Awareness. Please send this pledge invitation to as many people as you can to be a big part of supporting this cause.

My challenge to you, readers, is to make your one day of involvement each week really count by helping others and/or spreading the word as much as you possibly can.