Speech-language pathology is a field with an abundance of opportunities, but that doesn’t mean SLPs are immune to the messier sides of building a career. It’s normal to have days that are difficult to push through, or even jobs that don’t quite fit with your values and skills. When those experiences cause you to doubt yourself or compare your success to someone else’s, it can be difficult to maintain a greater perspective. However, learning to cultivate a more positive mindset can help you weather those tough times.
That’s something that’s worked for Dani Newcombe, owner of The Messy SLP, though even she still struggles with her mindset from time to time (listen to the podcast episode here). Showing up for yourself, even when you don’t feel like it, is an ongoing process. With the following tips, however, it’s one you can make strides toward mastering.
Cling to Your ‘Why’
If you’re an SLP or training to become one, there’s likely a reason you chose to pursue this career. For many SLPs, helping others and witnessing their clients’ progress serves as a reminder of why they’re doing what they do. Unfortunately, those breakthroughs don’t happen every single day. That’s why clinging to them when you’re feeling discouraged can prove a lifesaver.
Next time you’re feeling down about your career, remind yourself why you’re there in the first place. Think about the times that have reinforced that reason for showing up, and you’ll be more likely to push through and continue your efforts, even when you don’t feel like it.
When it comes to dealing with tough times, Dani embraces using humor to cope. Although that solution may not be for everyone, those who do find comfort in laughing their way through a problem should indulge that. After all, small challenges often feel bigger than they are in the moment. Being able to make light of obstacles, when appropriate, allows SLPs to regain perspective.
Focus on What You’re Doing
During treatment sessions, SLPs may be tempted to focus on whether or not the client is having fun or making progress. This sounds like the obvious way to approach speech therapy, but Dani believes in focusing on whether or not you’re having fun with a session. After all, clients can pick up on a clinician’s energy and will be more receptive if they sense you’re enjoying your time working with them.
Show Yourself Grace
Even with all of the mindset shifts and positive thinking in the world, everyone has days where they’d rather not work. For those who veer toward perfectionism, that can be a tough pill to swallow. However, accepting that you won’t always be operating at 100 percent can be a huge relief. Although you shouldn’t settle for suboptimal performance regularly, knowing it’s okay to have sessions where you’re less energetic will help you avoid panicking or burning out — two huge detriments to anyone looking to develop a more positive mentality in their work.
Want to learn more about Dani and her journey to becoming an SLP? Listen to her and Mattie chat on The Missing Link for SLPs Podcast.
Did you know Mattie provides coaching to SLPs? Learn more here.