10. Mental health issues are not going away any time soon.
For reasons that aren’t exactly clear, mental health issues continue to plague our society. On a large scale; mass shootings, suicide bombings, and terrorist activity has become a mainstay on our nightly news feeds. On a more personal note; depression, anxiety, and irrational beliefs are just a few mental health issues that significantly effects all of our lives on a daily basis. Every family faces the burden of mental health issues in one way or another.
9. It’s a natural fit for my skill set.
For as long as I can remember, people have naturally opened up to me. I have often wondered if there was a sign on my forehead that said tell me your darkest secrets. During countless conversations I have heard the same sentence, “I have never told this to anyone before.” I consider it an honor when someone shares the deepest parts of their journey with me. I don’t seek to offer advice or fix their problems, but I attempt to be present with them and offer active listening skills. Surprisingly (or not surprisingly), people really open up when they feel they are being listened to.
8. I have always been intrigued with the dynamics of interpersonal relationships.
Ever since my first encounter with marriage counseling over two decades ago, I have been fascinated by what makes people tick. You could say I have become an existential investigator of this intriguing species known as humans. Our beliefs and worldviews are continuously shaped by the interactions we have with others. Two people that come together for any possible reason will walk away altered as a result of their meeting—no matter how lengthy or short-lived. Every couple weeks I’m reading a new book about life, relationships, meaning, religion, therapy, or any other new thing that interests me. A long time ago I declared myself to be a life-long learner and my natural curiosity has led me to never run out of material.
7. I want to help people feel comfortable with their humanness.
I’ve heard it said many times that we are all spiritual beings having a human experience. We all find ourselves on this giant rock hurling through the galaxy. Our time on this rock is a measly tip-of-the-needle dot compared to the history of our civilization. Alan Watts once said we are all God playing hide-and-go-seek with himself. If we could all grasp the greatness that resides in each one of us, the world would be a much better place. Being comfortable with your humanness means you accept yourself exactly the way you are; and when you are comfortable with your own humanness, you realize you are more comfortable with others’ as well.
6. It’s the greatest honor in the world to sit with someone who is wrestling with the big questions of life.
“Why am I here?” “What is this all for?” “What’s the point?” No matter who you are, you eventually start to ask yourself some pretty deep questions. It’s nearly impossible to go through life without searching for some kind of meaning for your existence. Many great philosophers and teachers have given their ideas, but we each have to decide our own version of what is true for us. I am fascinated each and every time I have one of these conversations with another person and I’m honored to wrestle alongside them as they search for their truth.
5. The Religious “Nones” are growing rapidly.
In an ongoing Religious Landscape Study by the Pew Research Center, the Religiously Unaffiliated adults (or “Nones”) in America grew from 36.6 million in 2007 to 55.8 million in 2014. That is an awful lot of people left trying to sort through their missing religious beliefs. Choosing to walk away from previously held beliefs and childhood indoctrination takes a tremendous toll on an individual. Many people were taught what to think, while few were taught how to think. Offering a safe, nonjudgmental place to decipher one’s beliefs is at the top of my priority list.
4. Advocacy for anyone that needs a voice.
All too often, minority groups or people left on the fringes of society are either laughed at or simply ignored. Discrimination, bullying, or flat-out exploitation result in serious personal mental health issues and wreak havoc on our society in general. We all must remind ourselves that just because someone is different than us; that doesn’t make them bad, evil, or wrong. Each and every one of us is unique and marvelous just the way we are. I’m willing to speak up for those that may need help finding their voice.
3. Every person is unique and has a story to tell.
As I just mentioned, we are all unique. We all have a past that makes our story unlike anyone else in the world. We have each come so far but we have so far to go. The events in your life that transpired to bring you where you are now has shaped you into the person you’ve become. I’m eager to hear those stories and I’m looking forward to helping as many people celebrate their uniqueness as possible.
2. The time is right.
When I graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor’s in Family Life Education, I was eager to start a Master’s right away and continue my education. I wrestled with that for a while. Being a divorced dad with two kids meant any time I spent pursuing my education was time not spent with them. I basically had to decide whether to pursue my education or spend as much time with my children as possible. Needless to say, I chose the latter and it’s a decision I will never regret. I’ve had the honor to attend nearly every sporting event they participated in, coached each of them in several sports, and was there for virtually every activity. Being their father has been the greatest gift of my life and if I had to choose between my education or time with them again, I would choose them each and every lifetime!
1. It’s what I have been called to do.
Many years ago, a wise friend spoke truth into my life. She said, “Ya know, I can really see you counseling, writing, and speaking.” That nonchalant statement worked its way into my soul and has never left. After many years of applying myself and consistently learning and growing, I know this is exactly what I am meant to do with my life. I’m extremely thankful for the life my current job has afforded me and my family, but I will be spending the rest of my working days helping as many people as I possibly can.
Peace my Friends!