Welcome to episode eight, 5 Surprising Skills SLPs Need for the Unknown Future.
These are five surprising skills that speech pathologists need for our unknown future, because life is hard. Being an SLP can be hard as well. I believe we all entered graduate school with “stars in our eyes”, just dreaming of becoming a speech pathologist. yet here we are in reality.
Hopefully many of us still love being a speech pathologist. But COVID-19 has taken a lot of I wouldn’t say the joy out of it, but a lot of the certainty out of it. Humanity’s been through hard times. But it’s our actions and choices during these challenging times that determine our resiliency factor that translates into our ability to move forward.
The five skills are daringness, curiosity, authenticity, critical thinking, and perseverance. I know I had perseverance on last week’s episode. And I kind of had to chuckle because I I obviously think it’s important it’s on there again, and the The supporting notes that I have for perseverance is different. So I’m going to keep it on there, because we do have to persevere through these times.
So let’s take a look at our very first surprising need: daringness. Imagine you are at the edge of a cliff and the only way to get off this clip is to go down. That’s kind of where we are with COVID-19. Right now, we have got to look at reality in the face and as speech pathologists we have to do the same. We have got to look at reality. But there is a difference between daringness and ignorance.
Daringness is being able to take that first step forward with confidence, not without being scared, but with confidence, knowing that we are going to be brave and move forward into where we need to move forward. Ignorance is not being prepared. Daringness means thinking through and taking a calculus to risk. Fun fact: I love to play cribbage. In fact, I play in cribbage tournaments. When you play cribbage, you count points in your hand and you decide which cards to keep based on the points that your hand is worth. You should know by the time you’re done with the round and all the cards are laid out, you should know the value of your hand without recounting. You don’t have to recount it from the beginning. You should know the point value of your hand as it plays out and then you account for your playing and respond to your opponent. It’s the same as with chess, you know, you have some good ideas, two or three moves ahead of time.
It’s the same with being daring to thrive as a speech pathologist, you need to push and develop a daringness factor. Daring does not mean senseless and short sighted. It means being brave. learning what you need to learn in stepping into those new frontiers such as teletherapy, such as considering a setting you never thought you would work in, simply to have a job.
I was in grad school, I did not have an interest in voice, I knew very clearly where I wanted to go and that was in the medical setting. Then 20 some years into my career, I had to change settings after my husband died. And I had to learn how to work with with voice clients. And I learned that I loved it and I never would have thought I would have loved it. I had to be daring though to adjust which is what we talked about last time to adjust to new settings. I had to be ready in step into that that new skill set and not be scared.
Another skill speech pathologists need to develop as a sense of curiosity. So why is curiosity important to resilience? One of the most important factors In working with a child with a language disorder is to create a sense of curiosity for that child. What happens if we do this? And what happens if we do that? And it gets that child’s gears working in in her head. What if she says this? When we create our treatments plans when we create our home assignments, whether it’s with adults, or peds, we have goal driven activities and we create this curious environment.
One of my favorite stories growing up as a kid was Peter Pan and Peter Pan grew old and he left the land of never Neverland, and he forgot to be curious. Some of us though, we need to go back and learn to be curious again and ask ourselves the question, “what if”, because when we are curious, we create ourselves – we create opportunities for thinking, learning, problem solving.
A few years ago, quite a few years ago, I guess I got a CD set from the library and it was entitled “How to think like Albert Einstein”. And I thought, “Wow, gosh, I’d love to be smarter!” You know, this man’s a genius, and the whole CD, the whole CD series was, was simply how to develop a sense of curiosity. Albert Einstein always asked why does this happen? Why doesn’t this happen? I don’t know if it was Albert Einstein who wondered why water went down the drain one way in one hemisphere and the other way in a different hemisphere. Someone noticed and asked the question by being curiosity. “What if I do that? What if I do this?” And be curious as speech pathologists.
Authenticity is the third surprising skill. How does being authentic increase my resilience factor? Why is that a skill as speech pathologists we need to develop. Dr. Phil says (now normally I don’t quote talk show hosts but and I haven’t been watching him at home but I he does have some good points because he’s been through life)
“Your authentic self is who you are when you have no fear of judgment before the world starts pushing you around, and telling you who you’re supposed to be. Your fictional self is who you are when you have a mask on to please those around you.”
But when you go through times, like times that we’re going through now, you have to be authentic. You have to take that mask off and be real. You have to go to your professors and say, “I’m struggling with remote learning.” Or you have to go to your director at the hospital and say, “I’m not sure how to do teletherapy” or another colleague and say, “I’m not sure how to pull together these teletherapy materials and what are BOOM cards and how am I going to do this?”
And to be resilient, you need to be authentic, first and foremost with yourself, because authenticity is the catalyst for resilience. When we’re honest and true to the voice within ourselves, we begin to develop our resiliency.
So how does this apply to be truly resilient? Look at your heart and what you want to do. And search for those lives that you want to impact. When you’re doing what you feel called to do, you will be life changing and empowering. But you have to be authentic, open and real. And now is the time to do that.
Critical thinking is another skill, the core of being a good SLP. As SLPs, we’ve got to take our skill set off automatic, and get back to active critical thinking and get back to evidence. Well, we should be doing evidence based practice too anyways. But get back to take ourselves off the automatic and get back into the critical thinking mode, which is the core of being a good SLP
These are the skills you use to prioritize and make key decisions. PICO questions is the pneumonic used in evidence based practice:
- Look at your Population
- Look at your Intervention
- Complete a Comparison
- Analyze Outcome
Get back to those critical thinking skills.
And last but not least, apparently because I like it so much, perseverance is the final surprising skill set that came up again and again in the research I did in preparing for this podcast.
The Little Train That Could is one of my favorite stories and it’s about this little train that was loaded with all the toys for children and it was trying to make it up the hill and couldn’t. The big trains would come by and say “Oh, I can’t help you.” And the little train always said, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can!”
Perseverance almost always leads to success. No matter what goals you have to do, if you persevere, you will succeed. Your persistence has helped you to learn to walk and talk and write and read.
Persistence usually means learning something new in order to achieve that main goal. And these times right now going through COVID-19, we are going to have to learn something new. It’s those first steps, though, that are hardest.
Dale Carnegie said, “The most important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying, when there seemed to be no hope at all.” I have been learning teletherapy along with everybody else. There’s been some amazing speech pathologist coming forward and just lifting up the profession in so many positive ways: creators of BOOM cards, people who are good with content writing and financing and behavior management. So many people are coming forward in this time and persevering and we are all pushing that engine up the hill saying, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.”
I think I’ve told you a little bit of my story: I ended up single mom with five kids 15 and under working as a speech pathologist, and a lot of people always say, “Wow! You are so strong!” And my response back to them has never been, “Yeah, I’m really strong.” It’s always been, “I’m as strong as I need to be.”
The skills that you need to develop are the skills that you need to develop. They are the skills that will keep you moving forward and help you create these opportunities. So when we do come through COVID-19, when we are able to look back over our shoulders, you can say,
“I was strong enough, and I embraced that opportunity to learn those new skills, become a better speech pathologist and make the world a better place by the people and the patients that I work with.”
You just have to have enough. You have to be brave enough to battle your own battles, and you will get the career you want to live the life you want, leaving the legacy you want. These are the important things.
Tips for Success: Find someone, another speech pathologist, possibly and form a symbiotic friendship with her or him and identify ways which you can help each other get through these challenging times. And maybe focus on some of the skills that I’ve talked about such as a sense of curiosity, persistence, and daringness. Discuss on how you can support one another in emulating these skills.
Quote of the Week: Falling down as a part of life. Getting back up is living. Jose N. Harris
TIme to get back up. These skills I’ve talked about will help you get back up on your feet. I look forward to having you with me for the next episodes, which are:
- The Seven Secret Linings of This Pandemic
- The Surprising Opportunity We Call Teletherapy.
Tip for Success
Catch one negative thought today and turn it around with a positive. So instead of saying, “I can’t do that.”, change the phrase to, “What if I…”, and then complete that phrase. It’s a curiosity question, which, interestingly enough, is a positive trait. Curiously enough, that’s also something we’re going to talk about in our next episode 😉
I hope today’s conversation has created some aha moments for you and motivated you to become a better SLP, continuing to connect some of those missing links between what you know and how to use that knowledge.
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Copyright ⓒ 2020 Fresh SLP. All rights reserved. | Mattie Murrey, MA, CCC/SLP | freshSLP.com Not a substitute for a formal SLP education or medical advice for patients/caregivers knowledge