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Maintaining Your Drive in the Face of Adversity

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By now, you may know retinitis pigmentosa (RP) barged its way into my life during my college years. My CareerConnect blog posts have documented many of the challenges it created while pursuing goals, but I want to talk about maintaining the drive to reach them.

Let’s be honest. No one anticipates losing their vision. It’s quite a surprise to be told blindness is inevitable. Shocking news of that sort can derail the best-laid career plans.

My eye condition interrupted my drive to earn a college degree and to start a career. It didn’t extinguish it altogether, but it did cause me to lose focus momentarily and delay job-seeking efforts.

In my opinion, drive is a force that propels someone to reach their goals or aspirations. Here’s some easy to use advice for developing your drive.

Identify the Goal

We all have different goals: earning our own paycheck to buy what we want, creating the next best social media startup, moving to a new city with more opportunity, or being our own boss. Now, what if one of those goals belongs to an unsuspecting person who is recently diagnosed with a vision-impairing eye condition? What happens to the goal? Down the drain? Out the window?

I’d say easy does it. Pump the brakes. It may feel like the end of the world, but if CareerConnect has taught us anything, it’s that blind and visually impaired people are capable of much, much more than you’d think.

The key is to maintain drive by applying the proper effort and developing effective practices or habits towards reaching goals.

The diagnosis of RP left me stunned and in a state of disbelief. So much so, I stumbled through two semesters of subpar academic performance. College graduation or bust. That was the goal though. Even more so with blindness now hot on my heels.

Developing the Drive

After identifying my goal, it was time to work towards it. Graduating from college meant hard work. Lots of studying, reading, and writing. Along the way, I learned how to use low vision optical devices and electronic magnifiers for assistance, but what I really needed was effort and good habits. When I invested the time, the effort, and the practice day after day, drive manifested itself.

My grades improved steadily. I showed myself I could do this. My drive grew stronger and stronger as a result. Earning my college diploma proved it was possible to accomplish my goals despite the adversity.

Maintain Your Drive

At this point in my career, I still cultivate drive in myself. It’s easier now because I figured out what works for me. Here’s what I do to maintain it.

  • Set desired goals
  • Brainstorm ways to reach goals
  • Select realistic steps which move you closer to them
  • Develop and practice good habits to support your efforts
  • Evaluate progress regularly

Drive isn’t a tangible thing, but it can be created by setting up a method for reaching your own goals. Put this advice to work for yourself too!

Related Resources for Visually Impaired Job Seekers

Careers for Blind and Visually Impaired Individuals

How Does a College Degree Impact Your Working Future If You Are Blind or Have Low Vision?

Conducting a Successful Job Search

Adapting to Vision Loss

Turning a "Can’t" Into a "Can" as an Individual with Vision Loss

Employment and the Pursuit of Happiness as an Individual with Vision Loss

Getting Around
Low Vision
Personal Reflections
Planning for the Future
Social Skills
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