So….without a doubt the last 12 months have been pretty different for me.
I quit my full time job and joined a private mental health practice, started and stopped seeing kids in a school setting prior to and after a local shooting at a school, had some back/feet issues, and joined the ranks of the uterus free.
Oh yeah, and I moved from my hometown state of Indiana, where I had lived all of my years except the 2 where I lived in Cincinnati, Ohio and moved to McKinney, Texas, to be closer to my husbands work area.
Shoo. Sounds like a lot even when I write it.
I am a fairly structured person.
I have a routine when I wake up (love some hot tea in the mornings), a general routine throughout the day, and a time I go to bed most nights. I’m an early-bird, so falling asleep comes earlier than I wish it did sometimes, but it all works out.
During the last 15 months, I have brushed up on my counseling skills and become a little more current in my knowledge.
One area I find super important both to me and to my clients is using mindfulness to quiet the mind. Like many, I am a really good thinker, which can turn into worry. I can think about what is coming up, imagine what I should or could say in that situation, and then, after it occurs, think about what has been said and what might have been done differently.
When I am working with someone in therapy, we talk a lot about being in tune with their own feelings. We talk about what senses they use to calm themselves down.
I have found that for most people, they have a sense that they are more likely to utilize when their thinking starts to ‘take over’.
For some, that sense is hearing. They may become overstimulated by too many sounds, for instance, which can be a source of frustration for them. They may also be the person who says ‘when I get upset, I put on music and listen to it’.
I find it interesting how some people are calmed by calming, peaceful music. I am an acoustic girl myself. Some acoustic guitar, or some classical piano music, or anything by Peter, Paul and Mary are instant calm-downers for me. If it is really bad, out come The Carpenters. When Karen C and I sing together, it really calms me down.
For others, more intense, loud music with a strong beat is calming. When my husband and I were first dating, we had a constant battle over volume and type of music in the car. One of my friends joked that she liked to watch us constantly turn up and down the music on the radio, which we both did absentmindedly. He is more of a ‘layers’ person, and loves the grunge music of the 90’s. I find that music quite agitating, but for him, it is calming.
For others, their sense of what they see is their go-to for relaxation. They may be the person who looks out the window at the green trees in the summer. They may love to stare at a lake, or a picture of a lake. They may be able to close their eyes and envision a sandy beach and the sunshine beating down, or a forest with the sun peeking through the trees.
For those candle lovers out there, your sense that may be most calming may be your sense of smell. As a person with several seasonal allergies, I am more drawn to food smells in a candle, or the smell of fruits. For others, a clean, cotton smell, or the smell of cookies baking, or lilacs may be a very calming sense for you.
Taste and touch are the last two senses that can be drawn from when you consider the 5 senses.
For me, my clothes are really important to me, for my comfort both in temperature and in being comfortable in my clothes. I do not enjoy tight clothes, or clothes that are rough. For others, they may hate having a tag, or love to wear comfy pants.
Some people carry a rock in their pocket as part of their faith. The smooth edge of the rock can be a calming moment for them. Others wear bands around their wrists, and will snap them as a way to stay calm.
Many of us have all kinds of memories around taste. The taste of sweet may remind you of childhood in a positive way. The taste of something bitter may be how you wake up in the morning, and associate that taste with the smell of coffee.
Our senses are really intertwined-it is hard to imagine a taste without having a smell associated with it, and some things we see are very associated with what we hear.
I encourage you to use some time, as you finish reading this, to think about which senses help you quiet your mind and slow down from all of the tasks that are required of us.
Now imagine that you are seeing that thing that is a favorite, or listening to that sound of the waves crashing, or smelling the smell of cookies baking.
As you imagine hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, or smelling, think about things you have fond memories of. As you are imagine those smells, touches, etc., now breathe in for a count of 4.
Now wait for 2
and breathe out for 4.
and wait for 2 again.
As you do this continue to imagine you are hearing the familiar sounds that are helpful as you quiet the worries and the stresses in your mind.
Now look around you for something you can see. As you look, look at every piece of it. Notice the outside edges, the colors, and how the shadows surround it.
Continue breathing in and out, waiting for a beat of 2 in between each breath.
For me these steps are helpful in quieting some of those stressors, whether they are about work, family, the weather, or things we cannot or do not want to change.
I read a blog by my friend’s daughter the other day
I’ve known her since before she was born, when her mom and I worked together. The first time I knew of her, I remember clearly.
We were at a staff meeting, and a bowl of burned popcorn was placed in front of her mom’s place at the table.
Her mom turned green rapidly.
At the time, she was an embryo of, well, I would guess 9-10 weeks gestation. It is more likely that gestational number is 7 or so. She was fairly early along in her pregnancy
Iremember many stories about B while she was growing up, especially between the ages of 0-10.
Her mom and I worked together every workday for about that long.
A couple of years before her mom moved on to a different position, her aunt moved to town and began working with us. I worked with her aunt and mom for 15 years combined.
We are still friends, so the stories we told each other about parenting and life became a little more sporadic when we stopped working together officially in 2009.
B, well, she’s one of my favorites.
Which simply means: I like her a lot
She’s one of my favorite ages (early 20’s) and she recently wrote in her blog about her year of ‘saying yes‘. Saying Yes even when things make us nervous, or create anticipation, cause a little fear, or create anxiety.
Anxiety is the manifestation of anxiousness, nervousness, anticipation and excitement.
Same feeling, different manifestations.
Her 2018-2019 academic year culminated in a trip she’s about to take to South Africa.
That’s one of the things I love about 20 somethings.
They have the whole world in front of them, they get to make choices that affect their lives in ways they really don’t realize until they are older, and they are full of dreams.
We are also ‘saying yes’.
We are moving to sunshiny Dallas.
Being nearly 50 years old and saying yes?
I mean, being just barely over 48 and saying yes??
Well, it is still fun, great, with lots of new opportunities, with a little fear and concerns about the people ‘left behind’ going on.
I currently have custody of the grand-puppy, so he will be my co-pilot as we caravan the 14 hours of driving to Texas (more like 16). It will probably take us several more hours than that, with stops and overnights.
3.5 years ago, we made this plan.
3 years ago, my husband changed roles in his job.
He went from working inside an office from 8am-5pm in Carmel, Indiana; to roaming around a 4 state territory, which is all centralized to Dallas.
In the social service world, we call him home-based. Or we say his office is his car.
Basically, he is a home based financial planner advisor.
He’s been traveling back and forth since we decided to try this out in 2016, waiting for me to be ready to make the move to Texas while our children, who were 18 year old about to be college freshman at the time, finished up their senior year/graduation preparations
He cares about our family as much as he cares about his individual employees. Ash is a family owned company (started and still run by Ashes). The company is based out of Ft. Wayne Indiana, and there are employees in my husband’s role all over the country.
We met Mike when Matt began working for him, for the first time out of 3, when they worked together at Jackson National (2000), then Highland Capital Brokerage ( (2010) was next, and now they have settled again together at Ash.
Highland Capital started in 2010 for us, which was fairly soon after the recent financial crisis.
Jackson National was early 2000’s, so they have been together through good times and bad.
Ash Brokerage is a hybrid of being modeled after Tesla (newest ideas, newest ways) and good old fashioned family relationships.
It was started by Jim Ash, and his children Tracy, Tim and Amy Ash still actively work. Their parents are working to hand off the company but still have a hand in things. It’s a great place to work.
Our children were about 2 when we met Mike, and they are now Juniors in college. You get the idea of how long he has cared about our family through working together with Matt.
The spouses and families of employees are as important in getting things accomplished as the employees themselves at Ash Brokerage.
Mike and the Ashes recognize this, and Ash Brokerage frequently wins awards for being the ‘best place to work’
So, Empty Nest Syndrome x3 as my boys moved to Bloomington and my husband started traveling every other week, Monday-Thursday.
Incidentally, my next door neighbor friend Christy, who is also a therapist, chose at that time to put her house on the market because they had an opportunity to live by some close friends, and it sold immediately.
At the time they moved, she was a parent with her husband to 3 boys, 2 of whom were twins and one who is older.
They ran to greet me if they were outside when I came home from work (or if I was outside at all).
My energy level is ‘high’, so children and puppies can be drawn to that.
I sit on my porch with great frequency, so if I was outside, with or without Matt, we (the children and us) hung out under their parents’ supervision. I became friends with the parents through the kids, especially the oldest son when his twin brothers were brand new babies.
My boys at that time were slightly less excited to see me since they were about 14 when they moved in next door.
I used the time in between moving and knowing we were going to move to get used to the idea of leaving a job I loved, as well as getting getting used to the idea of having physical distance between many friends and family.
My husband used that same time at the beginning of his new job/role to get used to his new role at his job, and to make sure it was a fit, which it is.
We both used that time to get more used to being apart, and not always being around each other, as well as getting used to working from home together.
We met at the ages of 20/21, so we’ve been together for a lot of our lives. I’m a titch older, FYI
IT. Was a change.
It. was. (and is).
Also, Planning a 3 year graduation from your home state to your new home state?
It has worked out just as we had planned, but it is still quite a long time.
We are moving exactly when I we wanted to move.
When we realized we needed to go ahead and move because of all of our life stressors, and our kids were going to have internships during the 2019 summer anyway, we talked about moving up our ‘move date’ to 2019 instead of 2020.
This allowed them to be wherever they wanted for their internships and determining their internship location.
They could be whereever was best for them, and we could plan for and know when we were going to move.
My my kids have finished their junior year of college, have internships and aren’t living at home this summer.
As they figure out where they will be after graduation next year, we are settling in Dallas and will be the new home base.
Exactly like I planned. The 5 months our house was on the market?
Ehhh…it’s all good.
It’s all OK now. 🙂
But this ‘saying yes‘ to moving is a big change for someone who stays in contact with pretty much most of my good friends and family I’ve made along the way from ages 0-48.
I’m one of those 2-3 friends people, meaning I have several groups of, or are friends with, groups of 2-3 of us.
I’m the middle child, so in many relationships I am the ‘middle person’. Somewhat like a middle manager, which is also a fit for me.
Many of those friendships are by text and people I rarely see in person.
I am pretty social, and chat with people-I ‘know‘ the Starbucks people, (patrons and employees) at the one I frequent the most, because I like to sit and write there.
The servers at restaurants I frequent are on a just above say hello relationship, and I have a random group of retired/work from home friends I know quite well from sitting and chatting in Starbucks while I write this blog.
My need for social interaction is fairly high, so I get it just by hanging out in coffee shops (like I’m doing now).
I hung out in a coffee shop in Noblesville as I wrote this, and I’m at a new one, HarryLu’s in McKinney, as I write and edit this again.
It’s a leap of faith.
It’s a giant
There’s a personality assessment we used at my former employeer, the Children’s Bureau, Inc, called the Predictive Index.
People taking the assessment identify words that describe themselves to determine where they fall in 4 general areas.
There’s a midline for each type, and you fall either above, on, or below the midline in each area.
Here’s a pic of my graph, with a picture of my brother’s below it:
The tool is used to help predict who is a best fit for positions.
At the Children’s Bureau, we used it as a hiring tool to help get a jump on interacting with staff, each other, and supervisors.
Shorthand, it helps indicate what motivates people.
It is a great tool to help with understanding each other.
It is not intended to be a tool to rule out potential employees, but would do a pretty good job of showing that an accounting job, sitting at a desk all day, would not be a fit for me.
However, if you add in supervising accountants and everything I do is related to managing them??
It might work, hard to say. I haven’t done it. Yet.
Once the potential person (or brother, or husband, etc) answers the descriptive questions, it helps the person interpreting the tool to understand what drives other people as we know we are not always driven by the same things.
A quick overview:
Dominance: Like to be in charge and make decisions? Your “A” is probably above the midline. The term is called Dominance, but I also think of it in terms of Authority.
People who prefer not to pick where they want to go to dinner? Their A is probably not very above midline, and they would just as soon have someone else pick where to go and have what we, in my immediate family, call ‘veto power’. I don’t care where we go, but there might be places I don’t want to go at all.
They could be someone who is more likely to lead by consensus (coming to an agreement), or just figures out a way to rule out things they really don’t want.
Someone who is farther above midline is more likely to prefer that ‘someone make a decision, preferably me’. It takes all kinds, right?? 🙂
Another tendency of those above the midline are that they tend to like being the one who came up with the idea, as opposed to those below the midline where getting credit for making decisions, or being acknowledged for their power/ability to be in control, is less important to them.
Many managers are highest A.
They like to make decisions, they like to be in charge, and it is a fit for them. Sometimes being in charge becomes more important than what is happening, so it can be a drawback as well.
My A is just below the midline. I lead what can be called ‘from the back’. I will direct as needed but do not have to be in charge. If no one is in charge, however, I will be happy to do so.
It makes me a little bit of an atypical manager.
I am what is known as a manager without a high A. I love to help my employees feel like they came up with idea. I love to staff something, like an upcoming child safety fair, and talk about the roles we all have and come up with a way to help others feel like they have a say in what they do, knowing they have to be there.
When I am managed by someone who has higher A than me, they may come to a meeting with a list of roles, here’s what you’re going to do, please be there at 9.
Some people love this quality in others, and my way of leading can make them a little crazy, or ‘cause an amount of frustration‘, as I had originally written.
Extroversion: Someone with their extroversion above the midline has what we call a ‘social driver’
Like to interact with people a lot of the time? Like to chat with people about things like haircuts, or having a new outfit, or what you did over the weekend?
That is a B above midline.
It is called Extroversion, but it is really about being driven socially.
If you interview someone who is highest B, they are fairly likely to get the job. They are able to figure out what you want from them, can probably ask you some things about what you are doing to engage you and figure out what you want from them, and you’ll feel a connection.
Sometimes, they end up in jobs they really are not a fit for because they are good at getting hired. They are good at learning what is expected of them and meeting expectations.
Someone who is below the midline in this area, or what we call a lower B, is less good at figuring out what someone wants because they are not as driven socially. They are not as motivated by it.
They may be the one who doesn’t join the group to go to lunch because they don’t like that restaurant, or who is driven by a bonus vs. being told ‘good job’.
Their social drivers are lower, so someone asking them if they got their haircut is more of an annoyance than a way to connect.
Patience: This category has a lot of similarities to extroversion, but it is more about having meaningful conversations/connections. Sort of like a picky eater’s group of foods vs. a ‘I love to eat’ group of foods.
Have a small group of friends who you are close to? Like familiarity and routine? Have the patience to sit and figure something out as you either teach or learn because you want to know it to be able to do it in the future?
The 3rd category is called Patience, which is a little bit a misnomer because I’m pretty impatient in a line, etc, but that is called “pace“
FYI, I am a high C who moves at a pretty quick pace, so if you don’t move up in the line at the grocery store I might crowd you JUST a little to help you move forward.
People who have a C above the midline are also driven socially, but it is different than extroversion.
As a highest C, it is hard for me not to describe this type as ‘the one that is the right way to be that frustrates some other people’.
Ever tried to teach someone something and they say ‘hang on, I’m trying to understand what you’re saying. Let me do that myself so I can understand‘.
Then, once they have driven you almost to the point of madness, they know how to do it well because they took the time to learn it.
For me, this area comes with a lot of trial and error-because I just try, then go back and edit/fix/work through the kinks. If you’d like to see, go back to my earliest blogs, take a look, and you’ll probably get an idea from the ones I haven’t fixed the typos on yet 🙂
It is being social, but wanting familiarity. It liking routine and consistency, and then thriving in that environment. People who are highest C typically do much worse under pressure, so they can be difficult to supervise if the person who is supervising them needs deadlines and pressure to perform.
People who are below the midline in this category are not driven socially and people who do not have this trait might be someone who might say ‘can you unravel this necklace for me? I don’t have the patience’.
Can you figure out how to do this and tell me, I am getting too frustrated. The reason it is called patience is because it is more about having the quality to be methodical, like routine, etc. If you don’t have it, it is the absence of that.
Formality: The final category, called ‘D’, is about formality. It is an adherence to rules and the way things are ‘supposed to be’.
Love to be told what the rules are and follow them? Love to be told what is expected of you and you complete the task? Get frustrated when people do not follow the recommended rules even if they are not essential?
I call the people with this characteristic rule followers, and they are usually great with details, if they take the time to look at them. They can be ‘can’t see the forest for the trees people‘, as opposed to can’t see the trees for the forest people. . They are people who are great at going what I call ‘left to right’. They are usually pretty systematic.
People below the midline in this area are much less married to rules.
They may think ‘I know that we aren’t supposed to do it this way, so just let me try’. I am below the midline on this, but just barely. Some things I have tried are: cooking without baking soda/baking powder, because I get them mixed up and didn’t have them on hand (important rule). Not pre-heating the oven ( how much can it really matter?? I’m over that one. It kind of matters for consistency)
Someone above the midline in this area has feelings like ‘but that’s not what the rules say-the process is supposed to go like this’. One of my favorite employees with this characteristic said, frustratedly, at a meeting-‘all of this is in the manual?? Why didn’t they just read it??‘
My friend and co-worker said at the end of the meeting ‘who reads manuals??’ She did, and thank goodness for it. She knew her job front to back, right to left, upside and down.
People who have highest A and highest D (my brother and husband included here) have what is called the A-D conflict. I want to do it my way, I want to be in charge, but I want it to be right.
It is important to look at which is higher. In my brother’s case, high D is higher than his A, so being correct is more important than being in charge when it ultimately comes down to it.
Boy can that be stressful!
Wthout social drivers, people being upset or having feelings about which way to do it is preferred isn’t a motivator.
Conversely, someone who is socially driven, or who succeeds by learning what is expected, communicating, connecting, and having relationship?
They are going to be socially driven whether they want to be or not.
Some might call them ‘say yes’ people.
I have a friend who lives in a different state who took the PI. This person is highest B and highest C. She cannot help but know what people want socially, because she feels it. She doesn’t have to act on it, but she is driven to succeed based on social interactions because that is what drives her.
I am socially driven, but also really like to succeed and do well. I also like variety, and am not married to rules.
For someone who is higher A and C, they are driven to be in charge, they like routine, and being in charge is the most important thing of all OR the routine is the most important thing of all depending on which is higher.
If A is higher, than the preference to have things be their idea, or to come up with things and delegate, is more important than the social driver of being with other people or being driven by that.
As you may notice in the above picture, I am on the midline on extroversion (B) and formality (D). l am one to two clicks above the mean on Patience (C), and I am just barely below the mean on Dominance (A).
I like to say I have no personality. They call people like me, the ones with no personality, the CIA types. We tend to blend depending on the situation.
One of the other indicators on the tool is looking at how far apart the graph is. You know those friends who just have giant personalities and if they are there you can always remember them?
Now think about people you know who can slip into a room unnoticed, can join a group without affecting it as much. The difference is the variation from the midline, or how wide the graph is, which how strong their answer is in certain areas.
For me, I have a familiar face, people don’t remember me, and I am fine with that. I have what one of my friends/co-workers called ‘a small ripple’.
My husband, and friends I tend to choose to be around, typically have a much bigger ripple, and frequently have very different letters than I do.
My husband is highest A and D. My brother is highest D and A. Both of them like to be in charge, love to do things right, and sometimes have a conflict about whether to do things their way or the way he’s supposed to.
To which I have been known to say ‘who cares?? Does it matter?‘
Let me tell you, to them it does.
My conflict is-do I have to do this the right way, or can i do it my way without consequence? We’re a fit.
Pictured above are our grand-pup Mosby and his first friend, Smokey. Mosby is being socialized to be around other dogs, since he has spent most of his life around people very and he has very rarely had a conflict with another dog
And here we go to Texas.
Anybody want to join us??
It’s a beautiful city and all kinds of people are moving there.
Luckily my childhood friends Cara and Sara live here.
I’m editing from a restaurant in Flower Mound, so we’ll get to hang out more, particularly since Cara is about 5 minutes away from our real house in a city of about 150,000.
If you feel like moving to McKinney, Texas, let me know. I’ll see you there!
I have now taken my low ripple, CIA self to Texas, learning a new city, and figuring out how I will use my therapy license while maintaining relationships with my friends and family.
When I think about changes I have made in the past, I have also anticipated them with excitement. I have enjoyed every stage of my life so far, including my kids growing up on me and moving to college, so……..here we go!!
*how long until I start saying y’all?? I mean, it’s everywhere.