YOUR “POSITIVITY POCKET” AND WHY YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM MATTERS
Y’all might’ve been wondering where we’ve been for the last year, and how come you haven’t seen too many new videos from Professional Voice Care Center lately. Today I’m going to tell you the answer. But I’m a firm believer that we can learn from the experiences of others. So, when I share my story, I hope that the tough times and then the successes that I went through this past year can bring hope and inspiration to others. And if this story can help even one person to feel more positive, then I will have accomplished something great indeed.
On March 27th, 2021, I lost the best assistant, Voice Program Coordinator, and office manager I’ve ever had, a victim of Covid-19. Even though she was eligible to be vaccinated early on, as the manager of a health care practice, she delayed for reasons I won’t detail here. Let’s just say that the advice she received to delay getting vaccinated wasn’t sound advice at all, as she had an underlying condition that posed a great risk to her health if she got sick. By the time I (and perhaps others) convinced her to get a shot, it was difficult to get an appointment. And the appointment she finally got was too late. Several of her family members tested positive, and in less than two weeks, my beloved, trusted, and loyal assistant, the person who ran my entire practice, who listened to my problems, and always single-handedly solved them, went from slightly sick, to suddenly gone. It left so many of us in shock. She wasn’t only my assistant for nearly 10 years; she was also my friend and Broadway theater buddy.
I found myself with a busy practice and no one to run it. So, the primary reason I didn’t make any videos was the amount of time I now had to devote to running my office, not to mention interviewing and training candidates for the position…all while seeing my clients. (News Flash: the raging pandemic wasn’t an easy time to hire anyone). As if it couldn’t get any tougher, I lost my nearly-91-year-old mom 6 weeks after I lost my assistant. (At least I can say Mom lived a full life with many blessings, but my assistant, who was several decades younger, missed out on so many of life’s joys).
You might think by this point it was time to give up. Talk about obstacles! Talk about adversity! I thought getting through a prolonged bout of the original strain of Covid-19 in March of 2020, at the same time as converting my office to 100% telepractice and having a remote-only assistant, was challenging. This was insane!
So what did I do? I mourned, for sure. Went through those stages of shock and disbelief and “Why me?” and of self-pity. Easy to do, and natural, of course, but rather non-productive.
Then I decided I could run my busy practice myself. That ridiculous idea lasted about 2 minutes. No one should try to do that! It was time for a much better idea.
I realized I had to pick myself up (literally, since I was actually on the floor crying hysterically after I got the news that awful day) and formulate a real plan. I reached out to my biggest support system: my clients, present and former, who have always been a source of help and inspiration to me over the last 40 years. Like many of my clients, some of the people I called were out-of-work performers who needed a job. But would they come into such a challenging situation with little notice or preparation?
For sure, I felt a little nervous, taking a risk calling people out of the blue for help with this monumental task. After all, some of them hadn’t been in my office for ages, and none of them had worked in our now-contactless and sometimes virtual office. And there was a pandemic going on, so many people hadn’t ventured into an actual office for a long time. But this was a risk worth taking, and the plan worked. Several of my former clients stepped in and really rose to the occasion. I turned to experts around me, even online, to help with the technical issues of becoming a completely networked, contactless, and when needed, virtually-run office. We got the office up and running, and little by little, my confidence returned.
Here’s a lesson to be learned: when you feel nervous about doing something, take that risk anyway. Then remember the positive feeling you got when your realized that your efforts worked and you achieved your goal. You’ll want to remember that feeling when things aren’t going right, to give you strength and resilience when obstacles block your way. You can overcome them!
My sense of positive thinking grew even more, when at my lowest points, I would suddenly discover a gift my late assistant left us to make things easier: a database of our referral sources, online versions of the forms we use, Word templates for commonly-used documents. (My assistant was so good, she did all of this for me. I guess I didn’t know how easy I had it, till she was gone.) This enabled my interim staff and I to figure out everything we needed to once again create an efficient office. (One of our regular assistants actually lives in Florida, another in North Carolina!). We can now truly run the office from anywhere, and our clients are thrilled to be able to take virtual sessions whenever they want. No one had to miss a voice session because of Covid. (News Flash: since singing and voice therapy exercises create a tremendous number of potentially dangerous virus-carrying aerosols, virtual singing lessons became a popular and highly effective alternative to training in-person with a mask on).
I’m sending out a great big THANK YOU to everyone who helped us get back on our feet. 😊
I learned to do things that I never thought I could do. Remember, that’s how you gain confidence and learn to feel positive. You didn’t think you could do it. You took that risk. You reached for help from experts around you, and you gained confidence as you succeeded. Look back at where you were, realize all that you’ve accomplished since then, and keep that feeling of success in your “Positivity Pocket” whenever you need a lift.
I guess it would’ve been easy to give in to negative thinking. Believe me, I was tempted on many occasions. But I didn’t give up: I tried to rely on my “Positivity Pocket”, and after several blunders, we now have a great new Voice Program Coordinator who is funny, helpful, and who keeps the place humming. I am one lucky vocologist! And finally, one year after that horrible day, we’re back to making videos to help more and more people achieve their Choice Voice.
So here are some takeaways from my story, that I hope will help you:
No Negative Thinking
Don’t give in to negative thinking. It’s counter-productive and won’t get you anywhere you want to go.
Have a Plan with Goals
Formulate a realistic plan with attainable goals. For instance, “I will have an assistant trained in x number of weeks” or “My office will be running very smoothly in x number of months”. Be prepared to revise those goals as needed, but don’t try to move forward without some kind of plan.
Reach for Support
Reach for your support system: friends, family, colleagues, and/or clients. You’d be amazed at how many people are ready and willing to help you. Get experts to help you with things you don’t know, even if those experts are online or in YouTube “how-to” videos.
Use Your Positivity Pocket
Reach into your “Positivity Pocket” whenever those doom-and-gloom feelings hit you. You succeeded before. Remember that feeling of resilience and strength. And you’ll succeed again for sure!
I’m sending a whole bunch of positive vibes your way. And I hope they last a lifetime. 😊 Wishing you success with your voice, and with all your endeavors!