I prefer not to carp and would like to be part of a positive work environment, so I went through the proper channels and was effectively shut down. I suggested the flexible service delivery model, dedicated meeting days, etc. I was told, "nothing is going to change." How should I respond to such stonewalling? What do I say while trying to maintain professionalism and grace under fire? Speech-language pathology, and in larger part education, can be such a joy, and yet, it is often disappointing to be part of a bureaucracy. I crave the respect that is afforded to other professions. I often feel cornered into behaving like a petulant child ("Well, I guess I just won't be available before school any longer!")
The above scenario illustrates what I would consider thinking from a fixed perspective. I am reading Mindset by Carol Dwerk, Ph.D. and LOVE IT. I began reading it at the suggestion of Jennifer Hatfield, MHS, CCC-SLP of Therapy and Learning Services, Inc. (who is helping us with executive functioning as a family. More about that in a future post.) This is what I have gleaned so far; I spent a good part of my life in a fixed mindset, not accepting challenges for fear of failure, thinking I lacked innate abilities, seeking validation from others, etc. At some point that all changed. I remember a very distinct turning point. I was at bootcamp and I shared that I had decided to run a half marathon. Someone asked me "Why?" I responded, "I don't know why. I just think I can." That to me exemplifies a shift toward growth mindset thinking.
You might be wondering, what does this have to do with WORK? In as much as I have approached my personal life of late with a growth mindset, I truly believe much of my work life has been viewed through the lens of a fixed mindset or at the very least a "mixed" mindset. This past school year I saw much of my situation as untenable, never changing, out of my control, and that resulted in considerable anxiety. As I reflect on the stresses that come with my position, I am thinking, much of it was created by my thinking. Yes, we are often asked to complete tasks with herculean strength, but what if I can view these tasks as an opportunity for growth? No...what if I CHOOSE to view these tasks as an opportunity for growth? I, more than likely, won't feel that crushing sensation in my chest.
I am very fortunate. I get to spend my summer recharging my batteries, passing many restful hours on my back porch. I read. I look at my flowers. I watch the butterflies and hummingbirds. I ignore the begging chickens and I think.
My approach toward the stresses of my job can be growth oriented too, just as it is for my personal life. In fact, it really should be. So as I look at my math computation above I can reframe my thinking from "I have added anywhere from 54-90 additional hours of work to my job," to "We haven't found a solution to the meeting debacle...yet, but we will!"