Chasing the Cheese

Written by Julie Higginbotham, Senior Case Coordinator, Mecklenburg County CDSA

 “He knew that when you change what you believe, you change what you do.”
– Spencer Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese

As early interventionists, we take much pride in the work that we do.  Being able to make a difference in others’ lives is so rewarding, and we want to do the best job possible.  When practices evolve, though, it can be hard to think that there may be a better way to do what we do and be even more impactful than we already are.  In a previous post, The Cheese – You Know the Move is Coming, we talked about how to prepare for changes from the viewpoint of helping those working with you to evolve their practices according to what we know works best for children and families.  But what happens when you’re out in the field, doing what comes naturally to you, and best practices are moving along to a different place?  Some people can make a fluid shift and are more comfortable in stepping outside of their boxes to move along with the field, while others may need a little more nudging and support to transition into new territory.  You probably know where you fall on that spectrum, so how can you help yourself to keep up with the moving cheese?

An important thing to consider here is that knowledge is power.  We rarely adjust and change what we’re doing if there’s not a good reason to do so, and understanding why these changes are happening can keep us in the right mindset as we take a risk and do something new.  There are so many learning opportunities out there for us – supervisors have the information for implementing new processes, trainings and training materials are available for those who learn best by hearing and reading new information, and coaching opportunities in the moment in the field can help with actually implementing what you’ve been learning.  We aren’t talking about doing a complete 180 here, but maybe finding the easiest aspects to incorporate will make the other, more challenging things a bit easier to adjust.   Be proactive in getting additional information and support to see where you want to begin, and you’ll find that you have much more control over how you feel about changes in your work.

Speaking of how you feel, we know that our thoughts have great impact on our perception, and some even say that perception is reality.  If we are constantly talking about how hard things are, how we don’t want things to change, or how we don’t agree with where things are headed, we start to close the door on the positive things that can happen as a result of these transitions.  On the other hand, if we take in new information with an open mind, view it as an opportunity to accept a new challenge, and talk about the bigger picture here (i.e. better and more effective supports for children and families), we bump the door back open for good things to happen in our careers.  Because, for most of us, this is a career, a chosen line of life’s work that is important to us that makes a difference for others.  To have a career, we have to be willing to adapt to new ideas and follow the cheese that keeps moving so we can stay current, effective, and ultimately, satisfied.  So, start with your line of thinking and be purposeful in seeing the positives.

It may seem like we’re chasing the cheese all over the place sometimes, but keep in mind that you’re doing amazing things with children and families that not many people can say they have had the privilege of doing.  Wherever you are in the process of thinking about early intervention and your role in it, know that you have support and encouragement behind you – now is the time to turn and go forward with it.

We have so much information available here at EI Excellence – from Intervention Tools , Resources, and our Blog that anyone can access, to our local Table Talk Wednesday events and Mentoring options here in Mecklenburg County.  Look around, see what’s helpful, and Contact Us if there are topics that you would like us to cover that may help you as you chase the cheese to a wonderful place!

As you’re thinking about your work over the last several months, have you had any “aha!” moments that have impacted the way you support children and families?  Leave us a comment and share your thoughts with us!

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2 Responses to Chasing the Cheese

  1. Dana Childress January 10, 2014 at 9:29 am #

    Well said, Julie! I really like how you talk about being proactive and taking small steps to evolve your practices. Having a positive attitude and an open mind is everything too! I think what is so hard with changing practices sometimes is recognizing the need to change. We are doing lots of work with coaching where I am in VA and I find that it can be hard for providers to recognize the difference between what they do now and the coaching practices that we are trying to teach. It really is a growth process that starts with recognizing the need or desire to make the change. We have many wonderful providers working hard at this and when it the change “clicks” it’s amazing!

    • EI Excellence January 10, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

      Thank you so much! I’m so glad to hear that you’re doing so much up there – the more we can spread the word and gain momentum around best practices, the better it will be for everyone!

      We have amazing providers here, too – everyone is working hard, and we can always see how we’re doing better and better work to support children and families. Those “clicking” moments sure are impactful! 🙂

      – Julie

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