Chief Innovation Officer Doug Walker chats with us about the launch of Hadley's newest podcast, Insights & Sound Bites. This new podcast will offer short stories shared by listeners. By tapping into the power of our community, we hope to share ideas, discoveries, and moments of inspiration along the journey through vision loss.
Introducing Insights and Sound Bites
Presented by Ricky Enger
Ricky Enger: Welcome to Hadley Presents. I'm your host, Ricky Enger, inviting you to sit back, relax, and enjoy a conversation with the experts. In this episode we discuss a new podcast offering from Hadley, featuring listeners like you. And our guest is Hadley's Chief Innovation Officer, Douglas Walker. Welcome to the show. Hey, good to have you.
Douglas Walker: Hey, Ricky. It's great to be here. I mean, I'm a huge fan of Ricky Enger and of the Hadley Presents podcast, so it really is great to be with you here today.
Ricky Enger: Well, I'm glad you are. It's been a little while since you've been here, but for listeners who maybe this is their first Hadley Presents and they don't know who you are, give us just a brief little intro and tell us about yourself.
Douglas Walker: Well, as you said, I'm the Chief Innovation Officer here at Hadley and I've been with Hadley for about 10 years now. I've been in the past, I guess, known for producing the Apple, all the Apple workshops and stuff like that. Have my hand here and there in all kinds of other little workshops as well, any new types of innovation that Hadley's looking at, concepts and designs and stuff. So, kind of a fun job, I get to dabble in just a bit of everything,
Ricky Enger: Fingers in lots of pies. That's always fun.
Douglas Walker: Yeah. And it's been a while since you and I've done a podcast together, so this one should be a lot of fun.
Ricky Enger: Absolutely. And I kind of teased in the intro that we're actually going to be talking about a new podcast. Wow, that is exciting. Everything that we do at Hadley doesn't happen randomly or by chance. There's always some kind of need or something we think it's going to benefit our learners in some way, otherwise why spend the time and energy doing it? So, what is just the reason or the background behind why we're going to do this new project?
Douglas Walker: When you're new to vision loss, or even not new to vision loss, the whole adjusting to vision loss can be really, really tough. You tend to have your emotions, you're just all over the place. And we hear about people talk about all those stages that you go through, like denial and grief, bargaining, and I think depression's one of those. And hopefully you get to that acceptance in the end.
Well, when we released the Adjusting to Vision Loss Workshop Series, the comments from those workshops really just started flooding in. People were extremely emotional about the series. We were getting comments like, "I wish that someone had told me all of this stuff years ago." And one that really sticks out to me is a comment that says, "I was stuck. I think I can finally move forward now," which is really amazing.
So, the Adjustment Series was really powerful. And for those of you that haven't checked it out, there's four workshops in that. We have Coming to Grips, which talks about all the emotions if you're new to vision loss or if you've had changes in vision. There's one called Tools for Talking About Vision Loss, and that really speaks to different kinds of strategies that you can use to talk with people about your vision loss and how to share about it, whether it's your grandchildren or your spouse or your partner.
Then there's Asking for Help and Turning It Down Too, which is actually my favorite because I struggle with that, being able to ask for help. And then not ask for help or saying, "I can do this on my own." So, walking a fine lines at times, so there's some really great tips in there that talk about that. And the last one in the series is Partner to Build Skills and Boost Confidence. And this really speaks to the partner or the family member or the caregiver and gives them strategies on how they can help. Or even when they can back up and know when to let the person take the lead dealing with the vision loss.
People have called in with a lot of comments ever since the Adjustment Series was released, but it's not just all about the Adjustment Series comments. People get really emotional with all of our workshops, and I'm sure you've seen this, Ricky, with the technology workshops.
Ricky Enger: Oh, for sure. I mean, people have those moments of just feeling like there was a problem in their lives. "I can't read the birthday cards that are sent to me anymore," or "I can't see my phone and I used to use it to communicate with my family, and now what do I do?" And then those moments of, "Wow, look at me, I learned all this and oh, how much better do I feel."
Douglas Walker: Yeah. Well, it's those same types of comments that I mentioned earlier. And with technology I hear some of those too or see those comments, where "Thought I'd never be able to use the technology, and then I found the Hadley Technology workshops." And we've heard this with the technology, but also daily living, just our cooking workshops are super popular as well. That's kind of why we started thinking about a new podcast. It's a place where people can share their own insights and their own journey through vision loss.
Ricky Enger: This sounds incredible. I actually, I love the title of this, it's Insights and Sound Bites. I think that's so clever. I guess it really, right there in the title, says a bit about how this is going to work. What exactly is that podcast going to look like? How do we get this stuff from people and put it together? What's it going to be like?
Douglas Walker: Right. Well, it is Insights and Sound Bites. And with all of these great comments started thinking, what if. What if people share their own stories? They're able to give their own strategies. They could share insights that they discovered in their own journey. And it's really cool because it's a podcast in their own words. And at the end of each podcast, we'll prompt the listener with a question. And that question will be something like, "Was there something someone said to you or maybe something someone did for you early on that made all the difference in the world in helping you to adjust?"
It's really cool because we've given people a couple of ways to leave their insights. And we've set up a phone number where people can actually just call in and leave their stories or insights. Or people can record their thoughts on either a smartphone or a computer, and just email us in a recording. But the plan is to release a new podcast about every two weeks. We'll just see how it goes from there.
Ricky, there's nothing more powerful than people sharing with each other. I tell you, I'm super excited about the possibilities because this is really going to give people a chance to be able to really help each other, and I think that's great. So that's how the Insights and Sound Bites podcast is going to work.
Ricky Enger: Wow, I love this. And like you said, this is really tapping into the power of community, the power of sharing things with each other. We've seen this for sure in our discussion groups where people come together and just can share that knowledge with each other, and we know it works. And so having a little podcast where people can do that as well, I am super excited about this. I can't wait to listen.
And actually, if you're listening right now, don't go away because you're going to get two podcasts for the price of one. At the end of this podcast, we're going to share just a sample of what an Insights and Sound Bites podcast is going to be like. It's really short and sweet so if you're thinking, "Oh my goodness, I don't want to hear 20, 25 minutes of this kind of stuff every couple of weeks. I already have podcasts that are that long." This is going to be a little shorter.
If you stick around you can check it out and get an example of what it's going to be like, as well as that information about what the topic is going to be next so that you can provide your own insight and sound bite. And also, what number do you need to call or what email should you send that information to so that it can be included in the next podcast. Wow, how exciting.
Douglas Walker: And I think it's smart, just for people to know these are short, like you said. They're only about three to five minutes. Just hold on here at the end and you'll get that first episode, very first one.
Ricky Enger: Yes. Well, you're my captive audience here and I feel like it's only fair you're going to be voicing the introduction and the conclusion, and maybe little thoughts between all of these stories that we'll get from learners. But I feel like we should give you a chance on the other side of things. So, is there an insight / sound bite that you would share with our listeners? Just something that you've learned through your journey of vision loss that has ... Maybe it took you a while to learn, but it's ultimately been really helpful for you, that you would share with other people?
Douglas Walker: I went through all of those emotions that we briefly talked about earlier. I mean, there's the denial and the depression and all of that. I've been losing vision slowly over a really long period of time. I've found that I go through a lot of those same emotions all over again each time I have even just a tiny change in my vision.
Thankfully I've learned over time that it's okay to go through all of those emotions, and to give yourself the opportunity to grieve because it really is a loss. But I've also learned that the waves of all of those emotions, they do get smaller over time. But it's okay to give yourself the time you need and to really focus on giving yourself a break. So that would be my insight. And you know what? Turnabout, Ricky, is fair play. Ricky, do you have any insight that you'd like to share or just anything you'd like to share about your journey or something that really sticks out?
Ricky Enger: I guess for me it's different for me because I have been blind all my life so the journey is different. But something I have noticed is just to acknowledge that people are really uncomfortable with blindness or vision loss. And it's not always the person experiencing that vision loss who's the most uncomfortable with it, it's the other people who are watching or observing. And for a long time, I felt like it was my job to fix that, to make people feel comfortable with me. And to the point where I could put myself in some very uncomfortable situations just to make other people feel better.
And so, there was this sense of don't take up too much space in the world and don't be a bother. And I realized over time that that was not a healthy way to approach things. It wasn't helpful for me, and it wasn't really helpful for the people around me that I would encounter. I just feel like, if people know that it's okay and if other people are uncomfortable with you, it's not a thing that you need to take personally, just feel comfortable with yourself and what you need to do. And honestly, the rest follows. When you feel solid and okay with yourself, that projects outward and people can be more relaxed without your having to try so hard at it.
Douglas Walker: That's so powerful. I mentioned it earlier, but there really is, Ricky, nothing more powerful than people sharing their own journey. And I'm really excited. This is going to give people a chance to be able to share things like you just shared and to be able to really help each other. And I can't wait until these launches.
Ricky Enger: Absolutely, I am really excited about it as well. Thank you so much, Douglas, for joining us and for sharing what you have, because sharing your journey is powerful too. And I just am so looking forward to people having the opportunity to do this. So, thanks for spending a little time with us. And for the listeners, don't go away, stay tuned. And next up is the first Insights and Sound Bites. Thanks so much.
Voice 1: You cannot do this alone. You need people who are experiencing the same thing.
Voice 2: Probably the hardest part was just navigating through the emotions of it.
Voice 3: Think if this had happened to a dear friend of yours, how much you would feel for him or her.
Douglas Walker: Hello, and welcome to the Insights and Sound Bites Podcast. My name is Douglas Walker. When you’re new to vision loss your emotions can be all over the place. Today we’ll be hearing from Larry. Larry will be sharing some of the things that helped him work through the emotions of vision loss when he was first diagnosed.
Larry Carlson: I mean, I was in a fog, a funk if you will. I was shellshocked that I'd been, I can see, but I can't see. I shouldn't drive. What does that mean? How do I make a living? How do I do the things that I did in life? How do I recreate? How do I associate with people when I can't recognize them? I just see blobs. I mean, they're severely out of focus and the further away they are from me, the harder it is for me to identify them.
It's an unnerving time because you really don't know what to expect. What's going to happen. How am I going to do this? And at some point, you get through the 'why me' stage, and then you've got to get back to your core beliefs, your faith, your training. In my case, it was the army. The survive, adapt, overcome. And once you get that on board, and once you realize that your wife is in it for the long haul. God bless her. She's been with me 40 years. You can do it, but when you first get it, it's tough. It's rough.
Douglas Walker: Larry was in a fog, shellshocked, but he relied on his core beliefs to survive, adapt, and overcome. Yeah, so many of us can relate to exactly what Larry was feeling. Was there something that someone said to you, or something someone did for you early on that made all the difference in the world in helping you to adjust living with vision loss?
We’d love to hear from you. If you’d like to share us, just leave us a message on our Insights and Soundbites podcast voicemail by calling 847-512-4867. Or you can use your smartphone or computer and email us a recording to email@example.com. Again, my name is Douglas Walker, take care and I’ll see you next time.