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Listen, Escuchar, Ecouter, 听 , Hören… Regardless of the language we all listen.

Listening

If you can’t listen, you can’t learn. Many people, organizations, and OUR GOVERNMENT have been lacking in listening skills for quite some time.  Let’s listen and learn from Sheryl Connelly, the expander of Ford, who talks about The Art of Listening.

Listening is composed of appreciating both sound and silence. We should appreciate sound in general: the crickets at night, early morning birds, and the crashing of the waves. By appreciating simple non-man-made sounds, we can listen to the natural beauty of life and our environment. We must also appreciate silence for it is a time of reflection, listening to yourself, your heart, your mind. Listening is different in all situations and have many types. We can learn from these 11 types of listening and apply them to our social life, work life, or relationship life. Take it from, Tina Sharkey, who explains how to shape your organization on a basis of listening. Talk to someone who is hearing impaired and ask them what is it like to be deaf? Scroll down to number one and LISTEN to this article about why top talent employers are leaving organizations, one main reason is that their voices are silenced and their bosses fail to listen to their creative insight.

listen earsAs of right now, take an oath for yourself. Make it personal, make it meaningful, and tell yourself that listening shouldn’t be taken for granted and appreciate that we get to communicate. Tell yourself not to interrupt people. Be engaged. A good leader can get followers, a great leader listens to his or hers.

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Aside

Job, Love & Happiness

We have all had a job that we would dread going to right? You do not get paid enough, hours are crappy, your co-workers are lame, the long commute, or you’re just not passionate enough about it. thCAVMEHX8I remember my first job working for Limited Too, a young girl clothing store. I was 16 and excited, but it ended up being really boring. I would have to sit by the dressing rooms, patiently waiting for the next princess to come out, posing in front of the mirror or complaining to their mom that this is not what they wanted. I had to walk around and make sure everything was eye-catching, appropriately stacked or hung on the rack. I had nightmares about the annoying beep sound every time a scanned an outfit.

b57b333f85c4b5149d7caeab5e90bde1My second job I worked at a tanning salon, and it was okay. I basically ran the whole store by myself and I would open at 9 AM and close at 8 PM- Monday through Saturday.

My 3rd job, I worked as a day-care teacher and it was the most challenging and frustrating job. I would have to get up at 5 AM, put on my pink scrubs, be there at 6 AM to vaccum the floors, windex the windows, turn on the computer systems, and wait for the first early arrivals. scary kidAfter feeding 25 bellies from ages two to ten, changing a couple diapers, breaking up fights, the other teachers would arrive around 7:30 AM to take their kids to their classrooms. My classroom was the two-year old room and I would have around eight to ten kids. Nap time was like gathering marbles rolling on the floor and by the end of the day when the clock striked 3 PM, I was outta there. Don’t worry, that didn’t scare me away from kids, but I know to never work in a day-care again.

However, hard work and good karma has finally led me to my best job yet. I do home-based ABA therapy with children who have autism. I first came to know about ABA when I was sitting in my Behavior Modification class and my professor invited some professionals in the field of Psychology to talk to us. ABA stands for  Applied Behavior Analysis which is a model based off of B. F. Skinner, who is the father of operant conditioning. The usual question I get is, “What do you do?” The closest thing I could find is this video and as much as I would like to show you my personal sessions, it is against ethical practices. After watching this video, I do not want you to think that this is how every session looks or that every therapist does it that way, or that every kiddo is like that. All of my kids are unique and have an individualized ABA plan.

I would like to share with you a story about one of my kiddos that I have been working with for over 2 years now. When I first met this 3 year old, blonde tot, he would greet me with a “Bye…Hi.” His stimmy behaviors consisted of balling up his fist, wrinkling his fingers, flapping his hands, perking his lips, flying objects close to his face, and zoning out as he played with trains, airplanes, or cars. He has OCD tendencies such as getting in his chair from a certain side, lining up objects by color, shape, or size, crying or covering his ears with songs he didn’t like or if he made a mess of something. If he was in public or around other  kids he would usually play by himself, sit in silence, and his vocabulary wasn’t where he needed to be. He also was having potty training issues. After some diligant work from all of his therapist and his  efforts, he has become quite the young man. He started kindergarten this year and he can tell us how his day was, all about his new friends, and what he had for lunch. His teacher is very impressed with his writing and math skills and how appropriate he plays with the other kids. At home he chooses his outfit every morning, makes his bed, and even puts up his own clothes. By no means did we try to “cure” him, but instead direct him by acting appropriate in social, psychological, and physical aspects of his life. We are all so proud of him!!!

thCADG09BXLife with Autism should not be shameful, people are too focused on finding a cure instead of embracing the person for who they are. I am not against finding a cure, but just because someone is different, doesn’t mean it is wrong. We like to label people all the time and point out what is different from “societal norms.” Carly tells her own story about what it is like to have Autism. This video will make you cry and also give you a powerful and different perspective of Autism. I purposely did not link anything about what the Internet  or what professionals say about Autism, only because I think it is fair for someone who has Autism to explain what it is. So, I’ll ask myself a question that no one has surprisingly asked me before, “Why do you love your job?”

  • I love my job because it keeps me physically active. Running, jumping, flying, chasing, pushing on a swing, and ring around the rosie is so much fun and I can be a kid again.
  • I love my job because it is mentally challenging. I have to ignore all undesirable behaviors such as hitting, spitting, kicking, pinching, elopement…etc. Everyday is different and patience is your best friend.
  • I love my job because I am seeing progress. I have seen tremendous progress in their fine motor skills, speech, using their words or devices, independent living skills, and behaviors.
  • I love my job because I have a special connection with these kids. I can feel it  inside my heart and this bond I have with them, I know they trust me.
  • I love my job because (as I tear up on this one) I strive everyday to hopefully hear my name or I love you. Before and after every session, I always tell my kids I love them because they bring me a type of happiness that is unexplainable.

Tell me some of your experiences with your worst and best jobs- I suggest ending with your best job 🙂

Aside

“Back In My Day…”

As I grew up, I would always hear “Back in my day.” My grand-parents, parents, aunts, uncles, and random older people seemed to have the same conversation with me about technology and communication. “We didn’t have cell phones back then to text or call freely” or “We didn’t have ipads and ipods to jam out to some music.” Being a teen, and too cool for school, I would sit there with my eyes-glazed over, mouth open, and drooling.

back-in-my-dayAs uninterested and naive I was then, I now know technology is our main way for communication. There are some pros and cons of the use of technology, but staying in control of your technology keeps you aware of the “other” world. The “other” world consists of sitting down with friends to have great beer, laughs, and conversations. It is spending time outside with your dog. It is reading a book on breezy afternoon with a cozy sweater, as you listen to the birds sing. Technology can not give you that. However, technology has beautifully led us to using our creativity and mind. We have designed websites to help us communicate with people across the U.S. or the world whether it is to share music interests (Sound Cloud), your home (Couch Surfing), or conversation and pictures (Facebook). Being able to connect with people across miles and miles is an amazing thing.

Technology benefits non-profits and businesses as well. People will know about a certain organization or business because their website is on the Internet. Other non-profits will be able to create partnerships by searching for similar agencies or enhance their list of referrals by researching for provider agencies. TECHNOLOGY is here, so might as well use it.

So, yes communication has changed over time, but it doesn’t mean that we have lost the ability to have face-to-face conversations. Without technology, we may not have had the chance to meet your pen pal from Brazil if it weren’t for Skype or send pictures of your new baby to your family living 5 states away from you. Some of these brilliant products have been made by Apple and I shouldn’t feel guilty for using them. I believe balance is the key to everything and we need to respect and see the beauty in technology and the “other world.”

teleport_machine_by_jyo_kun-d33eqgl (1)

So, maybe one day I can tell my kids, “back in my day we didn’t have teleporting.” Who knows what technology and communication have up their sleeves next. What are some future technology inventions you fear or are excited about?

Aside

A Day in a College Athlete’s Shoes

softball 9 (together)

softball 9 (too early)

6 AM headed to the airport, however this is exactly how it was going to weights.

Oh the joy of waking up at 7:30 AM. You put on your blue long shorts with your grey Georgia State Softball shirt, throw the hair up in a pony tail, slip on some deodorant, grab a banana or oatmeal, and walk sleepy-eyed to the bright weight room. You realize it is Wednesday, the hardest workout of the week, dreading looking at your work-out sheet that reads 3 sets of each: squats, dumbbell step ups, front squats, hang cleans, kettle bell swings…etc.  So tired and sweaty after a hard hour, you realize there is no time to shower because you have class at 9:30 AM. You hurry to the training room and get 3 ice packs, one for your knee, one for your shoulder, and another for your hamstring.

Eating lunch outside of class. You wouldn't ever catch me in non-sports wear clothes.

Eating lunch outside of class. You wouldn’t ever catch me in non-sports wear clothes.

All the glances you notice because of your funny robot walk and the creative maneuvers you think of while stretching your legs up each step. You may have a 45 min to 1 hour break for lunch and then it is back to class. Finally, your last class of the day ends at 3:30 and you receive a text from your teammate reminding you that they will be under the sports arena bridge to take you to practice. “Damn, practice. I bet they go the full 4 hours today.”

On the way to practice you all discuss what the coaches might do for practice. “I bet we do conditioning at the end.” “I guarantee we do overhead throws and diving.” You get to PanthersvillePanthersville, drag out of your car and look at the clipboard of Today’s Practice. “We are going the full 4 hours, that means we wont be done until 8 PM!” Of course everything you can think of is covered in 4 hours, warming up, running bases, throwing, infield/outfield drills, hitting rotations, team field practice, and more running. As you sprint your last suicide, you struggle to drink water to realize practice is finally over. You are completely filthy and smell like crap. All you can think about is eat then sleep, but you can’t because you have a test Thursday morning. Looks like this is going to be a late night.

softball 10 (college cooking)

Those lovely shorts right there, I lived in those. These are my teammates and I cooking dinner after a late practice.

You get home from practice around 8:30 PM, throw your book bag on the couch and head right for the fridge. You stand there for a second, enjoying cool breeze, as you open your eyes you can see that you need to go grocery shopping. All you have is some fairly discolored salad, left over pasta, and bananas. You choose the pasta, scarf it down, shower, and put on the most comfortable sweats and t-shirt you can find. You look over at the time and it is 9:10 PM. You are exhausted and all you can think about is your bed. For a slight second you debate whether this test is worth studying for, and with slight hesitation you open your notes and begin studying. It is almost 1 AM and you have to get up in 6 hours for your test at 8 AM. You slowly get into bed because of your sore muscles. After a moment of relaxation, you remember this weekend you have to travel up to New York for Conference games. You play your biggest rival, Hofstra, the undefeated Conference Champs. Your brain continues to anxiously think and play out scenarios of this upcoming weekend, when eventually around 2 AM you fall asleep, and then your alarm goes off as if you have only been asleep for 5 minutes.

Now this sounds like an awful 4 years to live your life, BUT we won Conference

We won Conference and beat Hofstra. I can remember it like it was yesterday.

This is where I met my greatest friends…

softball 3 (my girls)

Taking over the airplane

Taking over the airplane

Endured the most painful injuries and survived…

At the GSU Athletic Banquet, sporting my ACL tear and crutches.

At the GSU Athletic Banquet, sporting my ACL tear and crutches.

Witnessed or made the most amazing plays and beat teams that no one else thought we could.

Lefty slapper

One of my favorite Olympian Softball players is Natasha Watley, who is also a lefty-slapper.

softball 6 (conference champs)

Although those years are now memories, I have installed a life goal that will follow me through out the rest of my life. Be Champions Today & Leaders Tomorrow. Thank you Athletics!

GSU SPORTS Support!!! All students get in free with their Panther I.D. If you need attire, just check out the local Georgia Book Store, online, or University Book Store.

  • Baseball, Soccer, and Softball are played at Panthersville
  • Football is played at the GA. Dome
  • Basketball, Volleyball, Sand Volleyball are played at the Sports Arena
  • Tennis is played at Piedmont Park
  • Other sports such as: Cross-Country, Golf, Track & Field have other destinations.

SO WHO ALL WANTS TO TAILGATE AND WATCH SOME GSU SPORTS?!?!

Fight Panthers to victory,

Our voices yell.

You’ll hear us mighty and strong,

We’re from the ATL,

We’re gonna give them hell.

Fight Panthers to victory, drive on for the score

Blue – White,

Georgia State is in the fight!

G-S-U