One of my favorite sayings for clients and students is “A mountain is NOT built in a day, it is one small rock at a time that makes that beautiful mountain.” I, love Kathryn Crawford’s pebble analogy and will be referencing it over the next month. I have a calendar of students eagerly waiting to talk to me and discuss their practicum options. Many of them assume I will embark on them some Yoda type wisdom. They believe I always knew what I wanted to be. For, like my peers and members of my community, they see me as a clinical expert when it comes to mental health issues related to youth/young adults who have combated homelessness and foster care. I assure them I didn’t just become this individual they see. It has been the pebbles that I have gathered to create this mountain.
Reflecting on my graduate school days, and those before that- I had ideas of starting my own foundation (Why reinvent the wheel? I often encourage individuals to join forces and make the wheel better!). I then thought I wanted to be a case manager but learned (at least for me) that is a road to burn out. Case managers are often over loaded with caseloads of 45 or more (You cannot heal or serve your client well with such a case load) and the pay is shameful. I enjoyed working with youth and young adults, but that was not the avenue for me. I became an emergency room social worker, and found the pace and the things you see done to children were unbearable. It would take more pebbles before I learned a group faciliatory was a balance for me, and the number of clients were more manageable. This would ripple into the pond and I would discover my therapist hat in offering individual therapy. There would be more ripples that led me to take on my state capitol to change rules for my profession. This would bring an avalanche of opportunities and invitations for me to speak on panels and become that academic alumni.
One of those pebbles bounced into my hosting my “What Would You Do seminars?” This would flow into my love of teaching and becoming a practicum liaison, this would flow into my becoming a clinical supervisor to newly minted graduates. I share an overview of my pebbles to say TD Jakes was on to something when he said, “If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.”