Diligence, Vulnerability and Multidimensional Learning

Reflection is a wonderful thing, difficult, but extremely rewarding. I have learned over the past few years how valuable this tool can be and my only regret is not having practiced to this degree sooner. I find that as I become more aware of myself and the actions I take, I have become more aware of moments when spontaneous reflection seem to occur and the moments where I just seem to need another set of eyes. It is as if I can no longer control the need to evaluate myself personally and evaluate the learning experiences to be drawn from every interaction. “Ah-ha” moments have become a commonality in my life and each and every time I experience one I can physically feel a change for the better.

The TJ I was three years ago would shudder at the mere thought of the TJ I am today. Three years ago the confidence I carried was minimal at best, putting myself out there to try new things and learn a new craft was simply out of the question. Three years ago, I would have never dreamed of picking up and moving across the country. I would have never felt comfortable with putting my thoughts out on the web for others to critique. Three years ago, I was afraid of making mistakes and I denied myself the vessel through which true learning occurs. Within the past three years I have been fortunate to find myself pursing a profession that is fueled by making sure members of their community are successful. In the beginning it is tough because in order to truly take advantage of the learning experiences at your disposal, you first have to find the courage to take a huge leap and make yourself vulnerable, only then can you accept change and only then can you truly learn.

Courage= to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart

I have learned over the past years that some of my most profound learning experiences have come when I am most vulnerable, when I have opened myself up to critique, constructive criticism and debate. Throughout physical therapy school I have discovered that true learning happens both within AND outside the walls of the classroom. In an evolving profession such as physical therapy what we learn today, will be improved upon tomorrow, such as the nature of any science fueled profession. It only makes sense that those who succeed in said profession adapt in a similar fashion. We as students and soon to be professionals, deny ourselves the opportunity for a well-rounded learning experience if we don’t take advantage of a multifaceted approach to learning. It is imperative that we subject ourselves to diverse thought processes and learn to actively and critically apply them to our own practices from day one. This is often difficult. Why? Because making ourselves vulnerable is not easy.

Does it get easier?

The answer to this is yes, but it takes diligence. These past few hours have truly opened my eyes to the changes I have made personally. In high stakes situations I now feel that I worry less, I feel a sense of confidence that isn’t overbearing but allows me to truly allow my passion to shine through. I feel that I worry less about predicting the future and concentrate more on my performance in the current moment and truly giving 110%. I have learned that I am more attune to the conversations I partake in and I have seen how this effects interactions I make in both my personal and professional life. I have learned that I perform, learn and become inspired in specific environments and with that I have learned who I truly want to become in my ever-evolving career.

Mentorship has contributed greatly to who I am today. I have learned so much from others in this profession more specifically about leadership, the importance of professional advocacy and showing up to the table. I have learned so much about innovation and the importance of dreaming big. I have learned a great deal about the challenges of balancing work and steps to critically evaluate what is truly important and will prove to be beneficial in the long run. All of these learning experiences have contributed to the person that sits here today. I have accepted all the failures and all the successes and I have harnessed the will and desire to extrapolate a learning experience from each and every one of them.

In this next phase of my life, I plan to continue to seek mentorship in clinical practice, learning from the diverse experiences of others in an environment that not only encourages it but also lives by it. I am willing to work for it, make myself vulnerable to it and wholeheartedly work to improve and contribute to it. Finally, to keep the cycle moving and provide a sustainable future for the profession, I plan to give back to it and inspire the future generations, as I have been so fortunate to experience.

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