We are all still in this stage of disbelief. In this episode, I want to discuss being terrified of what’s next? How to move from being terrified to developing a crisis plan. There have been A LOT of changes recently and things have changed in the world of SLP. For some…it is a loss of jobs, for some, there is an increase in workload and risk.
Welcome to episode six of “The Missing Link for SLPs,” titled, “Now What? What if You’re Terrified of What’s Next?” Because this is so much of what is on our minds. What is next? COVID-19 is hitting us. What are we going to do as we recover from all of the things, the upheavals that we’ve had in our lives? And that’s what I want to focus on today. We are still in the stage of disbelief and learning to adapt to the “new normal”. We are learning to adapt to a lot of changes, but I think life will get back to an altered way of unrolling prior to COVID-19. But in this episode, I want to discuss being terrified of what’s next, name our fears and help us move from terrified to developing a crisis plan.
There have been a lot of changes recently, and things have changed in the world of SLPs. For some, it’s a loss of jobs. For some, it’s an increase in more growth, load and risk. For graduate students. it’s a loss of a graduation date for sure. Loss of clinical hours. And for some rolling out of graduate school with their clinical hours, what’s going to happen with their CFY? So much is uncertain.
A Story of Crisis Planning
When my kids were little, we had a crisis plan for one of the bigger things we could ever imagine, which was the house starting on fire. A couple of times a year when we tested the fire alarm batteries, we always went over the fire escape plan with the kids. And the kids loved it, because we would crank open their windows and talk about how they could go out the window and down the side of the house. We never actually took the screens off because we never really thought we’d have to do it. The other option we taught the kids was to open the door carefully after feeling for whether it was warm or not. And then doing the army crawl down the hallway out the front door and then run over to the designated tree in the yard. And my word did we have fun doing these fire drills?! The kids would all do the army crawl down the hallway, we’d sneak out the door, and then we’d all run screaming to the tree. And we’d see who was the fastest. It was a great thing for us. And we always were prepared for that fire that never happened. Well, that was our crisis plan.
SLP COVID-19 Crisis Plan Development
Well, guess what? COVID-19 has created a need for a crisis plan for all of us. And so that’s what I want to talk to you guys today; about developing your crisis plan for your speech pathology and audiology careers. So what if you are terrified of what’s next?
Brene Brown says, “Naming hard things doesn’t give them power. It gives us power.”
So let’s name some of those hard fears. If you take a sheet of paper, draw a grid on it, put four rows and four columns. In your first column, label it “what are the top three areas you’re worried about?” In the second column, “What is one long term goal in this area?” In the third column, “What are two short term goals in this area?” And in the fourth column, “what are three resources that will help you reach your goals?”
Let’s talk through some of these right now. What are the top three areas you’re worried about? Really think about these, the more work you put into targeting the areas that you’re really worried about, more effective your crisis plan will be. If you’re a graduate student, you may be worried about getting clinical hours, being successful with your remote learning, and your grades. If you’re a clinical fellow, you may also be worried about your hours and finishing your clinical fellow on time. All of us may be worried about COVID-19 and keeping ourselves and our families safe and we’re wondering where on earth our careers are going.
Once you’ve identified the three areas that you’re worried about, in the next column move over what is one long-term goal in this area. As a grad student, you may want to be accumulating X number of hours by the time of the semesters ending. If you’re a clinical fellow, you may want to be reaching out to your supervisor to come up with the revised ending date. If you are in your clinical follow year or new in your career, you may now be wondering where your career is going because everything is switching over to teletherapy. So write down what one long term goal is in this area that may be finishing a course, learning teletherapy or creating a career map.
Your next column, what are two short term goals in this area, come up with two realistic SMART short term goals. And then in the fourth column, what are three resources that will help you reach your goals, identify those resources, either on internet or a person that can help you reach these – a professor, a career planner, somebody who can help you identify some of these resources.
So by naming our fears by identifying our goals In looking for resources, we are ready to set some of those goals and start stepping forward into becoming less terrified because we’re going to know more about what the future holds for us. And we’re going to have more control over how our future unrolls. So in developing your crisis plan, identify your fears, identify a long term goal, identify short term goals and find your resources.
One of the reasons you really want your resources is to learn that there is a whole community out there. You are not alone. Learn what your resources are, and this significantly reduces your anxiety because you have control back as long as you know what to do. You can move forward and apply that.
One of the questions I get from students is, “how do I start?” And my answer is to set a goal and implement it. Set a goal and set a date and start working in teeny, tiny baby steps.
John Wooden said, “you have to apply yourself each day to becoming a little better. By becoming a little better each and every day, over a period of time, you will become a lot better.”
And that’s the name of the game of a crisis plan. We are going to go through crises in life, whether it’s a huge like COVID-19 or smaller, or whether we are developing a crisis plan in anticipation of something happening like my kids and I with the fire plan. The secret is addressing your fears, naming those fears, setting goals in moving forward into the opportunities that they create. What is going to help us as we come through COVID-19 is that we look back upon our actions thinking to ourselves, yes, I did something. Yes, I handled this. Yes, I am capable. And that is so so, so important.
So, start believing in yourself, start becoming stronger. A poem I wrote after my husband died, when I was a single mom with five kids. And I remember sitting and just thinking, “oh, wow, what do I do?”
And I wrote a poem. “Here, I lie in shattered pieces, each piece reflecting a part of me, this time I put the pieces back together, putting them where I want them to be in my mosaic masterpiece.”
COVID-19 has shattered us in so many ways. But we still have the pieces that we need to put our lives back together. We still have what we need to move forward with all that we have in our plans, and all of our glorious future. So until next time, take care and develop that crisis plan. Look into your fears and start putting the pieces back together.
Challenge of the Week
Look your fears in the face, name them and begin to conquer them.
Quote of the Week
Idowu Koyenikan “Many times the thought of fear itself is greater than what it is that we fear.”
Tip for Success
Be brave, be strong, don’t give up. We are all stronger than this.
Our very next podcasts are titled, “what’s next, the future of SLPs” and “five must have skills SLPs need for resiliency,” and “overcoming the cons of teletherapy.” Now that we’re in the trenches with teletherapy, let’s discuss some of those cons and how to overcome them as clinicians.
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.
Thank you for listening to The Missing Link for SLPs podcast! If you enjoyed the show, I’d love you to subscribe, rate it and leave a short review. Also, please share an episode with a friend. Together we can raise awareness and help more SLPs find and connect those missing links to help them feel confident in their patient care every step of the way.
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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