Most people remember their first love. For many, when you see or hear about your first love, there is still a little jolt of that initial chemistry.
I had many professional ‘lusts:’ theater star, news anchor, recording artist, cancer researcher, and album cover designer, and defense attorney. My college transcript reveals my attraction to every class I did well in: politics, art, literature, education, psychology, public rhetoric, comparative religion and community outreach.
Eventually, I feel in love with counseling. It was a perfect mesh of my interest in understanding and helping others, my genuine curiosity, and my abilities. Providing support and guidance to people to help them navigate life’s challenges was what I wanted to do. At first my focus was on children who were unable to manipulate their environment. Then adolescents who need to learn how to navigate their environment and manage their own behavior. And then adults. I was so driven I went straight to graduate school after college which was not the recommended path.
After some time as a guidance counselor, I found that management training and development was a way for me to provide content and support people in a larger setting. When I started my consulting practice. I discovered that providing presentations was a way to increase my visibility and enlarge my ability to motivate and develop clientele. And for many years I’ve been fortunate to be able to provide these services professionally.
I’ve always returned however, to my first love – counseling. My view is that a counseling engagement is a collaborative effort between me and the client. We identify goals and potential solutions to problems which cause emotional, behavioral or organizational turmoil, work to improve communication and coping skills, strengthen self-esteem, and promote behavior change that supports optimal mental health.
In my work, the counseling engagement ends when the reason we started the coaching/counseling engagement becomes more manageable or is resolved. Counseling is a service that allows people to manage themselves and the increasingly challenging situations they find themselves in, more effectively. As the workplace becomes increasingly more complex and challenging, the need (and organizational support) for counseling/coaching has grown.
A boss can draw a direct line to how counseling benefits their organization:
- Reduces costs related to turnover, burnouts, absenteeism & accident-related disability.
- Improves in employee performance & therefore increases productivity.
- I can become a kind of ‘strategic business partner’, helping to manage behavioral problems brought about by organizational changes/dynamics.
- More often than not, our educational system (including colleges and universities) and family upbringing does not equip us with some of the necessary living skills.
So I’m returning to my first love – counseling. It’s the perfect mesh right now of many things:
- I’m still good at it – maybe even better given all the years of experience
- It’s still interesting to me and I’m constantly reading about new and updated information in the field to add to the huge amount of knowledge I already have.
- There is still a need for it – and it continues to grow.
Thy say that when your first love crosses your path, it can change your whole direction. Your first love can remain a part of you forever. Mine has.