What's Next? Making Exuberant Mid- and Later-Life Transitions
Exercise 1: Writing for Fun and Pleasure
It has been said that writing is 50% inspiration and the rest perspiration. Let’s reframe the art of writing and view it as a pleasure with a purpose.
Writing is a creative activity.
Writing is communication.
Writing is collaboration.
Writing is advocacy.
Writing is accountability.
Writing is enjoyable.
What are you passionate about? Who do you want to influence with your writing? What encourages you to write? What do you write about? Do you view writing as an important aspect of your job, in the advancement of your career? Take a few minutes to answer these questions and write your answers down on paper or use the computer keyboard to compose your thoughts.
How would you feel having some of your work in print? Knowing you have made a contribution is a very rewarding experience. With that thought in mind I began the idea of encouraging others to write their passions, experiences, and best practices in my current book.
Empowering the 21st Century Professional School Counselor (2008) was an inspiration to get into print the most marvelous practices in school counseling in the 21st century. My purpose was to involve practicing school counselors in the field with counselor educators in academia- a writing team where practitioners would provide the details of the real world and counselor educators would help mold and frame those experiences into print including counseling philosophy and theory and providing the background for the chapters. Emphasis was on professional issues and challenges, leadership, skill building and personal care including chapters on a career ladder for school counselors, career development, families as career developers, and using career planning with unfocused kids.
Some exercises from the chapter in the book on “Writing for Professional and Personal Enjoyment” to challenge you to write:
1) Sometimes people confuse creativity with artistry. “Creative writing,” the course that was offered in high school, is not what we are talking about here. Each day we use our creativity to solve problems. Write a paragraph describing a situation in which you used your creativity.
2) The chapter describes writing as communication. Write a paragraph in which you (as described in the text) let others know where you are “coming from” and where you want to go.
3) While most of us consider writing to be a solitary activity, this chapter suggests that writing is collaborative. In a paragraph describe a situation in which you worked collaboratively with another person(s). Describe the situation, which required you to work together. Was the outcome successful?
4) If you have taken a course in speech and debate you already have discovered the power of writing for advocacy. If you have had such an experience, write a paragraph describing this experience. If you have not written for advocacy before, define an issue, which means a great deal to you and write a paragraph describing how you could help people to see things your way.
5) Suppose that a time capsule was left by you and opened 50 years later. Write a paragraph describing what items you would leave in such a time capsule and what they would tell about you.
6) If indeed writing is enjoyable, as suggested in this chapter, take five minutes and focus entirely upon yourself. During the five minutes make a list of all of the things that you could write about which would describe how you feel about yourself.
Jackie can be reached at email@example.com.
Welcome Dr. Jackie Allen and Dr. Garry Walz, and welcome colleagues all over the country and world, to the Careerwell Tele-Interviews with Career and Wellness Leaders. This is Dr. Sally Gelardin.
Garry Walz (Counseling Outfitters) just published a book, Empowering the 21st Century School Counselor - that Jackie Allen edited. Now Garry is co-authoring a new book on exploring later-life career opportunities and Jackie facilitates writing workshops. These two never stop! Both have been leaders throughout their professional lives. Garry was past president of the American Counseling Association (ACA), past president of the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), former co-director of the ERIC Counseling and Student Services, and Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan. Jackie Allen is associate professor and chair of the School Psychology Credentialing program at University of La Verne, editor of the California Association of School Counselors, Inc newsmagazine and annual monograph, and past-president of the American School Counselor Association.
In this tele-interview, Allen and Walz talk about discovering your talents, developing your creativity, and disseminating your message....and having fun in the process!
First, here are some procedural notes:
I have muted participants. If, at any time during the interview, you would like to ask a question or make a comment, please press 5* on your phone. At the end of this tele-interview, please fill out the evaluation form that is clickable from the conformation email that you received yesterday, so we can continually improve the sessions and so you can find out how to earn CEUs. If you have more questions for Jackie or David after the tele-interview, email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to view the exercises that Garry and Jackie have created for you to apply their concpepts, view: careerwell.org and click on their names. This tele-interview is being recorded. A link to the audio recording will be sent to you in a week or two.
Interview Questions for Jackie and Garry:
Jackie - Your book on 21st century school counseling was just published by Garry Walz's publishing company, Counseling Outfitters. Why did you get together contributors (including Marilyn Harryman and myself) to produce that book rather than writing it all yourself?
Jackie - What is unique about school counseling in this century compared to school counseling in the 20th century?
Garry - You have made a tremendous contribution to the field of counseling by publishing books on current topics and by compiling current articles online. Would you please explain what you did and why you did that?
Jackie - You told me recently that you are teaching writing workshops. Who are your target populations (participants)? What is special about your workshops?
Garry - You told me recently that you are now co-authoring a book on mid and later-life transitions? Why now?
Garry - In the title of your upcoming book, you include create a "rewarding career." How can you create a "rewarding career" when you are caring for a frail elderly parent or partner and trying to earn a living in a precarious job situation or trying to build a business as an entrepreneur in a difficult economy?
Garry - In your exercise, you suggest: (a) make your pursuit of your new life your principal passion and (b) adopt a Zen-like serenity about yourself and the future. How can you be passionate and peaceful when you are waiting in the hospital room for your loved one?
Jackie - You mention in your exercise, writing for fun and pleasure. What if you are in the midst of pain and have multiple responsibilities to work and home. How can you find time to write about something fun and pleasurable?
Jackie and Garry - It could be helpful for prospective authors to understand how and why one chooses to write a book...and how to get it published. What advice do you have?
Garry - Are books becoming archaic? If so, what is replacing books? Is the publishing world changing? If so, how? What role does technology have in this change?
Jackie and Garry - Could you summarize your advice for listeners on how to make exuberant mid and later-life transitions in one sentence?
Exercise 2: Sculpting Your New Self/Life
Garry R. Walz, Ph.D.
Inspiring Images, LLC
Listed below are five triggers that are essential to sculpturing your new self/life. They are neither steadfast actions nor limiting in scope. Their usefulness lies in their power to stimulate self-examination and interaction with others. Try out your new self/life persona. Amend. Consider the outcomes. Persist. Gain peace and personal power through thought and reflection. Act now.
1. How would you like to spend the next 5, 10, or 20 years of your life?
2. What interests, abilities, skills, and work habits do you possess that, combined, make up your special persona?
3. Seek help!
4. Make your pursuit of your new life your principal passion.
5. Adopt a Zen-like serenity about yourself and the future.
Drawn from a forthcoming book, Assisting People in Creating Rewarding Careers in Later Life, by Martha Russell, Garry Walz, and Jeanne Bleuer.
Dr. Walz can be reached at email@example.com.
Thank you Jackie and Garry and thank you listeners for participating in this Careerwell tele-interview. Please fill out the evaluation form sent to you as a link in your call-in email. Next month we shall hear from Professor Norman Amundson, from the University of British Columbia. He will talk about the value of "being" as well as "doing" in life and work. I suggest you try out his PIE exercise before he speaks. You can find it by clicking on his name in the left menu of http:// careerwell.org. Have a happy, healthy, and revitalizing Thanksgiving!