I am linking up with Jennifer at SLPRunner for her insightful blog theme: Weaknesses made Strengths. Be sure to take a peek at all the posts that are linked, these SLPs write beautifully and bare their souls through words so eloquently!
I am a people pleaser, I have been my whole life. Maybe it’s part of why I chose to be a SLP, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. In fact, a lot of what I teach with social language is centered around thinking about other people and modifying behaviors and words to interact positively in the world. The most powerful words I can use to do this are two of the most basic-yes and no. Let’s start with the positive, I love to say yes when I can!
“Yes, I think we can make progress on these goals.”
“Yes, I have some great therapy ideas to try today!”
“Yes, I’d love another piece of dark chocolate!”
I want to say ‘yes’ to the parents, teachers and students that I work with. I want to fix things, help people and stand a little taller with my SuperSLP cape fluttering in the wind. But sometimes my yes is an acknowledgement that I am not the one for the job. Oh, that’s a bitter pill to swallow! The width and depth of our field is immense and no one knows it all. Sometimes my yes needs to be that I can refer you to someone who can help you, someone who knows more than I do and who can help move you closer to your goals. That was a hard lesson for me to learn, but so powerful.
The humility to realize that I cannot ‘fix’ all my students or meet everyone’s expectations is a gift, but I didn’t see it that way when I started out. My tendency towards perfectionism mixed with a
tiny need for control resulted in a small inner voice that whispered, “If you can’t do this on your own, then you have failed.”
That is simply a lie.
The best SLPs that I know are the ones that have a heart for collaboration. We are at our most effective when we share what we know and work together for the common good of our students! I am so grateful for all the amazing teachers, OTs, PTs, counselors and fellow SLPs I have met along the way. The families that I have worked with have benefited from them as well, even if they never met them directly. Build your network of knowledge, share what you know as part of a community and be brave enough to say yes, whatever that looks like, more often! I’m so glad I did.