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Friday, November 6, 2015

SLP bloggers ~ Our Weaknesses turned Strengths!

Thank you for stopping by my blog today! I was inspired to write about this topic after seeing a post on the Speech and Language collaborative FB page where an SLP belittled herself for not being strong in one of our many speciality areas.  Weakness is universal. No one is perfect . No one can do it all on their own. We need community, and we need to share in one another’s triumphs and continue to work on our challenges. This is a difficult topic for me to address because it exposes my weaknesses. I'm sure you can agree that few people relish the idea of feeling vulnerable.  But for the sake of growth and connection, I'm willing to set my fears aside and take the plunge! I hope that you will join me and we can explore this subject together. 

As educators, we tell our students that in order to grow and evolve, they need to step out of their comfort zones. Yet as adults, we often get stuck in our familiar ruts. We go along with what is comfortable and non-challenging. It's easy to do! Why fix what's not broken, right? However, there is always room for growth and development, no matter what your age or stage of life. I'm loving the Growth Mindset model and using it as a tool to help my students achieve, assist my own children in growing, and also to build my life as a progression of bettering myself. Many of us are hard pressed to admit our weaknesses for fear of ridicule and rejection. As human beings, we are prone to dislike and fear change. What we don't stop to consider is that change is necessary for growth. Did you know that every weakness has a corresponding strength? That's right; hidden in your weaknesses are your strengths! Feeling skeptical? Allow me to explain!

Knowing myself as I do, I can identify my weakness as having an ADD-type brain, which especially manifests itself during stressful situations.  I won't go into detail about how I took my husband's keys to work twice this week, but will share my challenge of responding in pressured situations. When put on the spot to answer a challenging question, I may freeze up and become anxious. All of these thoughts rush through my head, but it's a crap shoot whether or not the words will come out the way I want to articulate them. Earlier in my career this was more apparent as I would try to share my evaluation findings while using all of the clinical jargon and cohesively solidifying the information. I often found that I would put my foot in my mouth, as I quickly stammered out a response to a parent question. While this characteristic may be perceived as being impulsive  and disorganized, I have come to look at is as an opportunity to be methodical and analytical, which is a strength. I may not be able to react to a challenging question quickly, but I have learned that this is not necessarily a bad thing. I've learned that when I allow myself time to ponder and analyze; brainstorm and research; and collaborate with colleagues, that I come back to the table with many out-of-the-box ideas that really benefit the team and situation. Through the years, I have learned several tools and strategies that have served me well should I find myself in a situation that is out of my comfort zone. 

First, before I attend a meeting, I make certain I know the agenda being presented, and ask for any accompanying literature. Familiarizing yourself with the topic, and having the materials prior to the meeting, allows you the opportunity to review and study the information being discussed. 
Secondly, when asked for a response, I make it a point to take a deep breath, relax and speak calmly and clearly. Appearing confident is crucial. 
Next, I allow others to respond or ask their opinion before I chime in. This technique not only buys time, but also allows the opportunity to hear other thoughts and opinions. 
Finally, if I still don't have a response ready, I simply state that I need time to further consider the question and shape my response accordingly.  This last strategy came from a conference I attended in which a Harvard professor replied many times to audience members' questions stating "I don't have the answer to that question right now, but let me get back to you."  His response was professional and true which confirmed the fact that nobody knows it all and that the growing process for learning is a continuum that should never stop.  
Remember, hidden in every weakness is a corresponding strength. By identifying the areas in which you struggle, and developing some key strategies and coping mechanisms, we can turn our negatives into positives for ourselves and our students. Please check out my fellow SLP Bloggers who had the courage to share their weaknesses made strengths and consider challenging yourself to share in the comments.  Together we can work to help each other learn and grow! 


12 comments:

  1. What a great post! Thanks so much for sharing your story and this idea for a link-up!

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  2. This is a wonderful idea for a blog post! I gave up on using the professional terms long ago, between my word retrieval problems and the fact that most people outside of our field don't understand them anyway. I'm comfortable with going into meetings and being able to give examples that parents understand. That's a much needed skill, too! Thank you for realizing that this was worth discussing and for opening it up to share!

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    1. You are so welcome. Your post is great and I thank you for linking up.

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  3. Thanks for hosting! This was such a good idea!!! Very humbling. :)

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    1. Agreed! Thank you of linking up Mary!

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  4. Great post! I love an opportunity to look inward! Thanks for starting a conversation.

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    1. Thank you Annie for linking up and sharing your insights.

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  5. It's always good to take a look around and realize that we are all doing the best we can. Thanks for this great opportunity!

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  6. Love this! I really appreciate your vulnerability and I can totally relate to the "freezing up" when being put on the spot. Great idea for a linky party! (~Jessica from The Speech Space)

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  7. I LOVE your idea, Jennifer for this blog linkup. THANKYOU all for bravely sharing about your weaknesses. Parents such appreciate hearing that we are all human and incredibly compassionate too! I hope you do find a way to feature this idea on a future ASHA Leader! ~Keri

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  8. This was so helpful to read. Thank you for listing some of those strategies... I will be using them in my next interview!

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