Hello Everyone!

It’s me Stephen de Groot! I am here with the first installment of the Getting to Better Newsletter. I am really excited about the possibilities for this type of communication. I am also really nervous. I’ve never done anything like this before. So, before we get started together, I want to let you know a few of my thoughts and feelings regarding the Getting to Better Initiative and the Newsletter.

What I would really like to accomplish in this issue is to answer some important questions for you:

Who is Stephen de Groot?
What is Getting to Better?
What’s in it for you (the reader)?

Who is Stephen de Groot?

First off, you can call me Steve, if you like. I go by Stephen, Steve, Steve-O sometimes and, I also answer to Weezer (a nickname given to me by my mother).

Ever since I can remember (6 years old) I have wanted to help. Help with anything. In the simplest terms, I wanted to be happy myself, and I wanted everybody else to be happy. I was the kid on the playground that other children would gravitate and talk to. I’ve always liked to listen, make people laugh, help problem solve and do whatever I could to make things better. I wanted to make a positive difference. In my teens and adult years, that longing and need to help people feel better, do better and be better has been maintained as a consistent value in my life.

In order to formally facilitate my approach to helping, I went to University for approximately 8 years, attaining a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Social Work and Masters of Social Work. I initiated some PHd work at the University of Calgary, but children came along and well, let’s just say I haven’t made it back yet. I taught with the University of Manitoba in both the BSW and MSW programs for approximately 7 years. For 18 years, I have worked as a social worker, therapist, consultant, supervisor and trainer.

I have worked in many service sectors including private-for-profit, non-profit and most social service areas (education, health, justice, child welfare). I have worked with individuals, couples and families in therapy. I have collaborated with children, teenagers, foster parents, parents, social workers, supervisors, executives and CEOs. I have assisted agencies and organizations to build greater internal capacity by mobilizing resources and building on strengths in the cultivation and pursuit of important goals. Regardless of who (or how many) I consult with, I have always worked diligently at finding different ways, ranging from simple to creative to outright radical, to help those I am working with meet their identified needs and/or goals for something better.

What is Getting to Better?

Everybody I have met, and almost everybody I know would like something in their lives to be better. It may be a little better, better, or a lot better. For some it can be a better job, better relationships, better health, better income, or whatever is important. Either way, we can all relate to the idea of wanting something better. Where we are different is in WHAT it is that we want better and HOW we need to go about getting there.

While I have been instrumental in helping people and groups move to better, I have not been able to do it solely on my own. I have read books, taken courses, learned from relationships, etc. The greatest sources of strength and resources have come from the many people, groups and organizations that I have worked with. Thousands of people and thousands of stories have contributed to a great deal of resource possibilities for approaching both the simple and the complex. Human stories, heartache, failure, resiliencies and successes have inspired me to continue learning and trying out different ways of defining and getting to better. My life and work have equipped me to develop the important skills and strategies for assisting others. To do just this!

However, getting to better does not have to be hard or require a complex, intricate or expensive intervention or set of interventions. Sometimes they may…but for the most part getting to better may require a little support, or information, or a good question. Sometimes getting to better may require a process for sorting through what does better mean? What might it look like? And what is needed to get there?

Vision for the Newsletter

The Newsletter is one aspect of the “Getting to Better” initiative. It is going to offer an avenue of communication and connectedness to you and others who would like to stay involved, to whatever degree, in the Getting to Better Movement!

It is my hope that the Getting to Better Newsletter can offer you and others like you support information and resources for making life better.

What’s in it for you (the reader)?

I am hoping that the Newsletter may offer you and maybe others you know a useful resource to help define, or move to better; whatever that may be.

I NEED YOUR HELP!

I would really like to hear from you! I would like to share some of the ideas I have for the newsletter then ask for your feedback and input. What do you think? What do you think would be the most helpful, the most meaningful, or the most valuable?

So far, this is what I got….let me know what you think.

Each month, I intend to:

  • Send out the Getting to Better Newsletter on the 15th day of every month.
  • Respond (in an article) to at least one or two of the most common questions I receive on my travels and interactions with so many people.
  • Provide readers with resources, such as tools, processes, etc. that can assist in thinking, feeling, and moving in a manner that is supportive in getting closer to better.
  • Provide updates on all of the “Getting to Better” workshops, seminars, trainings or resources that are available to people.
  • Feature a story of HOPE in the newsletter. This would be a real story about people that have overcome adversity or impossibilities, to persevere and prevail. I’m not sure about you, but I get so excited and inspired when I hear such wonderful stories. I hear enough about “won’t, can’t, impossible”, etc. I want to hear more about the times when we have and can move to places of better….especially when we were told we couldn’t.

So, what do you think? Really! I want to know…honestly. Should I or shouldn’t I proceed with these ideas? Should they be different?

I want to know how the Getting to Better Newsletter can be the most helpful, the most meaningful and/or the most valuable for you and the people you care about. I am so excited to hear from you! I look forward to our journey of getting to better together!

Sincerely, Stephen de Groot