Addiction reaches every aspect of a person’s life – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It affects family, friends, neighbors, co-workers. No one is left untouched by this disease. Vertava Health’ focus in the month of July, turns to a three-part series with an esteemed author and colleague, Dr. Jason Brooks, who will share insight on the positives and perils of independence. Recognized as one of the most prominent emerging voices in personal and organizational transformation, Dr. Jason Brooks is also likely to be one of the most authentic, transparent and “real”. Viewed by many as the “youth pastor of personal growth and success”, his life mission of “bringing hope, healing, and inspiration to everyone he meets and leading on the journey for change, growth, and success” provides the foundation and focus where his purpose and passion are fully unleashed. As a bestselling author, inspirational speaker, and Chief People Officer of Vertava Health, Dr. Jason brings a heart for helping others to achieve their greatest potential and success…one step at a time.
The Positives of Independence
When I first met Jacob, he was 24 years old. He walked up to me quickly, shook my hand, and had a big smile on his face. Not the typical client I see in my office for life coaching…especially for a first time meeting. “I’m glad to meet you, Dr. Brooks,” Jacob started. “I think this has been a long time coming, but I know I need some help with charting a course for this next season of my life.” “Awesome, Jacob,” I said. “I’m glad you’re here and look forward to being part of helping create that sense of direction and being part of your journey.” I had already received Jacob’s Coaching Insights Assessment, so I had an idea of what we would be discussing. He was a recent college graduate and was now facing a whole new season of independence in his life. Growing up, however, was a different story. He was from a small town in Illinois. Coming from a strict legalistic family, Jacob learned early in life the “do’s and don’ts” that were expected by his parents. Unfortunately, this list led to feelings of needing to constantly meet his parent’s expectations and failure when he fell short. During high school he was a “straight A student.” No surprise because of his drive for perfection. When he got close to graduation from high school, discussions started about college. Jacob loved music and had a piece of him that was very creative. He had wanted to go to school to get a degree in music. But, when his father, a career businessman told him, “You’ll never be able to make a living at music. You need to get a degree in business,” his dreams were once again shattered. The following years at college had their ups and downs…primarily ups…but there was a continuing sense of performing for his parents. But, being away from home for the first time did have some benefits, and allowed Jacob, for the first time in his life, to begin to explore who he was and consider other possibilities for his life. “What was it like for you when you went to college?” I asked. “It was a little intimidating at first. I grew up in a small hometown with a hometown feel. In college, I was immediately dropped into a 5 square mile campus with 35,000 people. But, I was able to make some friends, get involved in a fraternity and other campus organizations, the university jazz band, and as I got more connected with folks in my major, it didn’t seem so overwhelming. I think the biggest thing for me, though, was for the first time in my life, I felt a little independence.” “Gotcha. In what ways was this new independence really great for you?”, I asked. “Well, for starters, if I felt like having pizza at 2AM…it was on!” Jacob and I just laughed. Jacob continued. “Seriously, though, I think the biggest thing was that I was truly able to make decisions for myself. So, I guess the first positive of my new independence was the freedom to make choices.” “Going hand in hand with the freedom to make choices, though, is the realization that with each choice, there are consequences. I had the ‘independence’ to make the choice to stay up playing video games with my friends. But, I was not independent of the consequences of that decision of being exhausted the next day, not able to concentrate, and wanting to sleep through the next day.” “Any other positives of independence?”,I asked. “Well, I guess this is a positive…the ability to try out new things for the first time. Growing up in a very legalistic, religious, small town community, I was scared to death to do anything wrong as a teenager. I never drank. I never did drugs. I never talked back to my parents or other adults. I kept very clear boundaries of no premarital sex in my ‘romantic relationships.’ I never skipped school. I did everything…’right.’ But, I remember when I went to college, during my first semester, the newfound freedom and independence took hold. I started going to parties and drinking for the first time. I never went crazy with it but I was having fun. I do remember a time, though, when a friend came to visit from home and we went to several frat parties. I was so hung over the next day but I had to go to an honor society induction ceremony. I was so sick…Thinking back now, not the best choice I’ve ever made. But, hey, I was independent, right?” I laughed. “Yea, I guess so. Clearly, there were some benefits of your newfound independence. And I suppose part of what you’re wanting to explore now as you’re getting ready for a new phase of your life that you’re able to be intentional with your choices, make the most of your independence, and avoid the perils.” “That’s exactly right” Jacob said. “We’ll definitely talk about the perils when we connect next time as you share some of the challenges you faced so you can learn from those as you prepare for your next steps.” “Perfect. I can’t wait!” I could tell Jacob was excited and motivated. He wanted to take the best of the past and the worst of the past to learn from those experiences to make even better choices to create an amazing future. I just love folks like Jacob!! Dr. Jason is an expert in leading life change. As a gifted speaker and life success coach, he is available to speak at your next conference event and would love to connect with you on social media on Facebook,Twitter or Google+. Dr. Jason can be contacted through the public relations team at Vertava Health.