Live your life by choice, not by chance;
Make changes in your life, not excuses;
Get motivated by life, not manipulated in life
Be useful to others, don’t be used by others;
Never back down from the choice of life and its ups and downs.
Listen to your inner voice telling you things like: “Keep Going!” “You Can Do It!” “You’ve Got This!” Never stop striving for excellence and never let the negative opinions of others get you off track.
Choices: we all must make them; there’s no way to get around them, but you don’t have to do it alone.
Remember it’s your CHOICE! Small Talk counts…
Growing up, I recall both my mother and grandmother always reminding me of my strength, intelligence, and power...not just as a woman but as a human being. These affirmations are notions that I carried and reminded myself of throughout my entire life. They were particularly useful during some of my most difficult transitions and life challenges: starting college three states away from home, completing both of my graduate programs, and deciding to become an entrepreneur. In all of those moments, I remembered their words and their urging of me to always put myself in a position to be able to say “Yes” to whatever life had placed in front of me. This confidence in myself made me brave, zealous, and passionate about finding what my purpose was in life and determining the impact that I wanted to make. I consistently feel unstoppable.
In life, there will be challenges, heartbreaks, and letdowns. However, what matters most is how you respond to them. Consider your ability to say “Yes” in your daily life, even when it feels difficult or you feel afraid. Being open to “Yes” frees your thoughts and emotions to experience the joys of life in an unimaginable way. The next time you’re faced with a tough decision, uncertainty about your career path, or hesitancy about trying something new, consider your strength and significance to the world around you and just say “Yes!”
Until Next Time,
One of my favorite sayings of all time is “That which does not kill you makes you stronger.”
When I think about this saying, it reminds me to stand strong when tested and that every bad situation is an opportunity for you to turn the situation around if God allows you to live to see another day. However, let me let you in on a little secret: Life comes with challenges, and thinking that you can click your heels together like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and wish yourself back home isn’t the way it happens.
I have learned that you have to pray hard, work harder and seek help from qualified and helpful individuals when you can’t sort things out for yourself. It’s ok to talk things over with professionals where there’s NO JUDGEMENT. Asking for help when you need it takes a lot of courage and shows that you want to improve your life circumstances for the better. COURAGE is that inner voice that says to you, “I will try again TOMORROW” when in actuality you really just want to throw in the towel. Even after fall and failing, you can get back up again, and that’s what it takes to achieve your wildest dreams and live your best life. If at first you don’t succeed you try and try again until you see light at the end of the tunnel.
Difficult roads sometime lead to beautiful destinations. Stay the course. God has a purpose for your pain, a reason for your struggle, and a gift for your FAITHFULNESS.
NEVER GIVE UP! STAY FOCUSED, STAY POSITIVE, AND STAY STRONG…remember “IT’S WORTH TALKING ABOUT.”
2016 was definitely a year to remember. We held a successful Open House for the practice’s new office space (YAY!), I defended my dissertation and became Dr. Poole (still seems so unreal...whoa!), and I got to witness the incomparable magic that is Beyoncé’...twice! Talk about an action-packed year!
When I think about these sort of things that have happened for (and to) me all year long, I recognize how much of an impact they have had on my perception of what having joy truly means. Before this year, everything I did seemed tied to fulfilling some goal or aspiration that, in the moment, seemed impossible and like a chore. Developing a 100+ page document that kicks-off your career in academia, learning how to be a ruthless, motivated, female business owner when it contradicts everything that you’ve embraced about being an empathic, soft-spoken counselor, and finding time to practice regular self-care by staying true to the travel bug that sets your soul afire was a major balancing act that occupied much of my mental capacity in 2016. When it was all over, even though I was extremely exhausted, I could not have felt more proud of the things I had accomplished and the future opportunities that would result. Nevertheless, I also felt completely depleted: physically, mentally, and interpersonally. I needed to be recharged. I was happy, but I needed to find joy.
So, around August of this year (a little late, I know), I committed to only doing things that I was passionate about and that would somehow always come back around to offer fulfillment for the effort that I had exerted. I committed to this new mantra in my friendships, my work environments, and through practicing good self-care and spiritual renewal. This intentional, mindful approach helped me to put so many things into perspective and allowed me to trust that no matter what circumstances I faced (presenter or future), I am already equipped to overcome them and remain in a place of gratitude and joy. While one might assume this way of thinking would seem natural to a therapist’s mindset, I sometimes forget that in order for me to best serve my clients I, too, have to be mentally and emotionally well and know when to take time for myself and/or ask for help from others. So today and all year long, no matter what happens, I choose joy. I hope you’ll join me.
Happy New Year!
Until Next Time,
A Growing List Of Black Mental Health Resources
Everyone wants to be a WINNER.
A winner never QUITS…
When I think about winning I like to think that I have won the jackpot when it comes to DAUGHTERS.
All throughout her schooling she has excelled and won at every hand she has been dealt. Even though it was not always easy, she was able to RISE UP! She has always showed RESPECT for herself and others, INTEGRITY in all that she says and does, her SELF-DETERMINATION is through the roof, and she has definitely stayed ENGAGED with every task at hand and the goals she has set for herself. It has at times been UNBELIEVABLE to watch where dreams and goals have taken her. Who says PERSEVERANCE doesn't pay-off?
Being connected by blood to this WINNER has brought great pride and joy to my life. So if there's someone in your life that needs encouragement to stay the course, don't hesitate to support them in their efforts because you won't ever know what that potential winner in your life might become someday.
I believe that God plus one is the majority, and that that is the key ingredient to winning. Every day that God allows you to see another day is an opportunity to get it right. STAY ENCOURAGED, and remember it is always a good idea to have a shoulder to lean on and someone to talk things over with. The talk can start small, and that's okay because, “It`s Talk that Counts.”
Growing up, I remember there being only three things that I have ever wanted to be: 1) an artist, 2) a doctor, and 3) a therapist. Ironically, while it hasn't looked exactly as I expected, I've been able to become all three.
My work as a counselor the last four years has been so rewarding. I've seen individuals, couples, families, and groups make major changes that have helped them to become their best possible selves. Likewise, as I wrap up my academic training as a future counselor educator, I can only hope that I will also impact the lives of my students and assist them in becoming caring, knowledgeable, and efficient therapists. My dreams have become a reality.
Indeed, the artistic nature of therapy is almost magical. Being able to provide support to people when they need it most takes creativity, abstract thinking, and skill. In developing the idea for Small Talk Counseling & Consulting, I knew I wanted to have a practice that was both contemporary and classic, invigorating yet soothing. My goal was to be the best counselor possible, while helping as many individuals as I could. With this dream now becoming a reality, it has been amazing to witness the number of lives that have been changed because they knew they deserved to experience the best life possible. That, my friends, is true artistry: seeing beauty in all things, even pain and difficulty.
As we prepare to open our doors and start a new journey alongside our clients, we embrace all of the experiences that are on the way and look forward to co-creating many masterpieces that will last a lifetime. The journey won't always be easy, but it will definitely be with it, which is why "It's Talk That Counts."