Five Barriers to Success and Motivation

April 16, 2018 | Leave a Comment

by Rachael Eschbach, COMS

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Someone cutting through a sign that says "I can't" with scissors

So often we tell ourselves, “I am going to do (insert undesirable activity) because it will be good for me.” The funny thing is, we recognize the importance of what we want to accomplish, but something keeps us from doing it. Change is hard and learning curves are steep, but the fact we have recognized the importance of the activity is the first step in making the change.

As a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, I work with adults who are learning a new skill that is complex and often scary. In my work, I see five barriers that prevent clients from being motivated and successful.

If you are facing this new challenge of living with vision loss and wanting to maintain your independence, watch out for these pitfalls. If you do, you’ll be on your way to leading a life that’s right for you.

1. Time

Often we say we do not have time, but in most cases, we are just not making the time. We are not making it a priority.

When you were in elementary and high school, there was always homework. Homework is practice for the lessons you learned with your teachers. The same applies to orientation and mobility, daily living or assistive technology skills your instructors teach you. In order to master the skill, you have to practice. And practice takes time. Set aside the time to practice and be patient with yourself.

2. Poor Communication Skills

Being able to write and speak clearly is important to success. Listening to what others have to say is just as important. These communication skills are key during both lessons and when traveling independently in public.

Talking with friends and family about your vision adjustment process can be the first place to practice improving your communication skills. This can be challenging, but can help you understand what type of communication works best and in what situations. Going forward, your improved communications skills will help you self-advocate and greatly contribute to your success.

3. Availability of Resources and Opportunities

We need to learn to take control where we can, recognize what skills we need and seek out those resources to help us build those skills. Some people who experience vision loss go years without finding, or being referred to, the right resources.

Your beliefs or preconceived notions about blindness before you lost your vision can also affect your own attitude towards vision loss. This may cause  resources or opportunities, when they are present, to be overlooked.

For example, if before a person loses vision, believes that people who are blind cannot work, that person may not feel motivated to seek employment after their own vision is lost.

Resources and organizations that support people with vision loss are not all the same – there is no one-size-fits all model. If you don’t find satisfaction with one resource or organization, look for others until you find what meets your individual needs.  The American Foundation for the Blind offers a great service finder on their website.

4. Clarity and Uncertainty

If we are not clear about what we want, it is difficult to achieve our goal. “I want to be independent” is not a clear goal. Breaking down goals into measurable objectives is easier to obtain and sustains motivation. Creating these clear outcomes will identify your successes giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Accountability also plays an important role in achieving your goal. Having a friend with similar goals can help you be clear and also help to hold you accountable.

5. Finding Fault in Others

Don’t play the blame game. It can be easy to look externally to justify lack of progress and blame others for what we are not willing to do.
A typical scenario I hear often from clients goes something like this: “My colleagues left for the meeting and didn’t offer to guide me there. They know I am blind, but they left me anyway.”

In this scenario, I would encourage this client to think about his or her responsibility in the situation. How could the awkwardness have been avoided? Did they ask if someone would mind being a sighted guide to the meeting? Did they attempt the route using their O&M skills? When you can become more comfortable with your vision loss, others will be comfortable as well.

If you are feeling stuck in one of the challenges of learning to live with vision loss, whether it is mobility, daily living or technology skills, check the above list to see if you have fallen into one or more of these five pitfalls. Being honest with yourself can go a long way in helping you achieve your overarching goal of being a person who lives independently with vision loss.

Rachael is the Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist at Second Sense

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