What does it mean to be successful? While it is a rather arbitrary term, it is one that many of us ponder over. Whether success to you is dependent on your income, living situation, personal status, level of happiness, or how far into your 10-year plan you currently are, there are certain steps each of us can take to determine the role “success” plays in our current life.
Determine What Success Means to You
The only definition of success that matters is the one YOU set for yourself. Allowing others to dictate and determine this for you will only cause stress (and goodness knows, we have enough of that already)! This definition of success is a living, breathing statement that changes and morphs as you progress through your career. I encourage you to write down your “success statement”: a simple sentence you can look back on as a means of tracking your growth.
An example of a success statement could be...
“Success is leaving my workplace better than I found it.”
“Success is inputting all my data for the day before I leave the office.”
“Success is making sure each child I meet with today knows they are loved and appreciated.”
“Success is finishing the day without crying into my loads of paperwork.”
**somewhat of a joke, but it is important to remember that some days, this is a very realistic goal and one you can be proud of!
Planners, Calendars, & Schedules, Oh My!
A planner is an educator's best friend! While I am sure many of you have this tool in some form or another, be it digitally or in paper format, it is important to fill our planner with encouraging reminders to keep us on track! In James Clear’s book “Atomic Habits”, he states that lasting habits are only formed when one adapts their identity to include these habits.
For us, this means thinking to ourselves, “What does a successful SLP, PT, OT, Teacher, SLPa, Nurse, etc do?” In determining what a successful (fill in the blank here) would do, it is far easier to implement habits that fit this narrative you are now identifying with. Instead of viewing your job as a tedious list of tasks that are continually being completed, then replaced, you can take on a new mindset.
Here are some examples…
“I am a successful Occupational Therapist. Would a successful OT create activities that can be easily manipulated to fit multiple functioning levels to save time?”
“I am a successful Speech-Language Pathologist. Would a successful SLP set aside an extra 30 minutes to prepare their lessons in advance? Would they delegate the task to another person (like an SLPa) if they are behind on IEP notes?”
Relationships between fellow clinicians, co-workers, and staff can be the factor that drastically changes whether you look forward to or dread going into work every day. A successful person keeps the importance of relationships at the forefront of their mind and goes above and beyond to craft meaningful connections with everyone around them. These relationships are great for personal development. It is critical to see every interaction as an opportunity to “soak up” any knowledge or difference of perspective, which you can then carry into your professional and personal endeavors. Finally, networking is critical to advancing within your career, as every person you meet could potentially serve as a further character reference for your graduate school applications or promotions!
We live in a digital age where children and adults alike are fascinated by the ever-changing advances in technology. It would be a mistake to avoid using technology! It is a tool that can increase your efficiency by saving the time it takes to create or store activities. Through online websites like TeachersPayTeachers (a site many of us are very familiar with), we can support other creators and get resources from people that have an insider's understanding of what you are truly looking for!
While there is sometimes no substitute for tangible, malleable materials, using tech-based activities in your sessions can be a COVID safe option and allow you to cut down on your cleaning/sanitizing time. Since many of us have had to adjust to the learning curve that came with COVID (and for many of us, switching to teletherapy), let's not neglect those hard-earned skills and find ways to incorporate digital activities as we resume in-person services!
Here is a list of some of my favorite online resources for materials/activities:
One of my very things to do on a lunch break is read. Whether you prefer an e-reader
or a floppy paperback (like myself), reading is an incredible way to reinforce your healthy habits and gain new insights into a successful lifestyle between you and the person you want to become. Fiction and Non-Fiction alike can bring a fresh perspective on interpersonal relationships, how to overcome adversity, and how to make the most of your current circumstances. In the wise words of William Godwin, “He that loves reading has everything within his reach.”
Here are some of my favorite non-fiction reads that specifically tackle the topic of success.
**To eliminate the cost of buying new books, I encourage you to check out the app “Libby”. It allows you to connect your library card to your phone/tablet and have access to thousands of free audiobooks, ebooks, and magazines!
Author: Rachel Carroll, Speech Language Pathologist Assistant (SLPa)