What I've Learned From Joanna Gaines as an SLP
Ya'll know how much I love her. Her simplicity and authenticity PULL me in. I've read every book. I've watched every episode. I collect every magazine publication. Next on my bucket list is to head to Waco, in hopes that I'll be standing there and magically she will appear before my eyes. Joanna Gaines serves as the perfect role model for me as an entrepreneur, mom and creative type.
I've learned and developed several core "values" and lessons from Joanna Gaines over the years. These values have permeated every area of my life, but mostly, in my quest to bring balance to being a SLP, mother, wife and business owner. This year has been especially challenging, and I've relied on the simplicity of these values to restore order, and cultivate more joy.
You might ask how this applies to being an SLP? So many of us therapists strive to "do it all" (aren't most of us Type A?), and we feel burned out, stressed out and exhausted. Our passion for our patients and students push us to strive for excellence, yet, this can be both a blessing, and a curse. Whether we are new graduates trying to navigate the setting we've chosen, or we are moms returning from a fresh maternity leave.....I believe there is value in what Joanna silently teaches us. I'd love to share with you what I have learned.....
Listen MORE. Talk Less. Yes, you heard me. I've struggled with this my WHOLE life. Joanna has taught me to listen to my clients and students. Listen to what they are saying, AND what they aren't saying. It can make a world of difference in the final product. Ask about their dreams, their goals, and what little details mean the most. Pay attention to what motivates your students. Look for things that make them smile. Add personal touches to their therapy sessions (do they love gardening or music perhaps?) You can't listen for these things if YOU are always the one doing the talking. Shhhhh.......
If It's Not Working, Modify. You've seen in happen on Fixer Upper. The original design? Well, it just won't work. The same lesson applies to your therapy session, AND your struggle to balance your work life and household. If it's not working.....just stop. Take time to redraw your blueprint, and create a work around. You haven't failed- not your kids, not your clients, not your clinic boss. You just didn't get it right the first time. And that's ok. You own a eraser, don't you? Never be afraid to modify the original design.
Be Authentic. There's Only One YOU. You have a specific skill set. Maybe you are super creative and make your own materials. Maybe you can spot aspiration on a video swallow like a boss. Maybe you have a beautiful rapport with families because you work diligently on that weekly newsletter. OWN IT. Joanna has a style that doesn't "fit" everyone. Her designs are earthy, simple and eclectic. That's HER gift. But not everyone craves that style. What's YOUR gift? What do YOU bring to your therapy space and meeting room? Celebrate these gifts. Because you can't be perfect at everything. But you can be authentically perfect at YOUR thing.
It's OK to Move On. Are you in a space that doesn't bring you joy? Have you bitten off more than you can chew, and now you regret it? Do you have dreams of a better work-life balance? That voice you hear inside your head that tells you it's time for "something else", is right. Give yourself permission to say NO to something that is an burden, an obstacle or joy sucker. Joanna opened her first store before she was a mother. When her children came, she knew she couldn't "do it all", so with sadness, she closed her store, despite its success. She knew the chapter HAD to close, so something new could bloom in it's space. There is freedom in actively choosing your own destiny. Give yourself permission to pack your bags, close the door, and create a life your heart desires.
The Risk Is Worth It. Joanna continues to take risks- in her designs, in business ventures, and her personal life. It's not easy for her. She's a "play it safe" kind of gal. Her husband Chip is the risk taker. By her own accord, she wouldn't be as successful if Chip didn't encourage her to believe in possibility. She's learned that every risk, whether a success OR a fail, has been worth it. There are valuable lessons learned in failure. So try that new therapy technique. Create your business plan. Write your book. Market your workshop. Go for that Doctorate. Leave the job that robs you of joy. You may fail along the way. But the risk is worth taking.
These 5 lessons have served me well, both in my career, and my personal life. And while I may not have my own show on HGTV, or own a farmhouse with 15 acres of land (yet), these principles have grounded me when I feel the chaos of life. Joanna is an inspiration to me. She's a real person, who works to sustain a joyful balance as a working mother. I hope that one day I can thank her in person for the lessons she's taught me. Maybe we can talk paint colors over a scone at the bakery if I ever get to Waco. #lifegoals