Randy Pausch's book, The Last Lecture
is excellent. Section V has been re-read multiple times. It was like taking his short but successful career with all his knowledge and experience and condensing it into 30 small chapters.
Another book that should be making rounds is, Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure. It is a book about people who have put their life story, philosophy or goals in six words.
And this all got me to thinking, how we would sum up our lives in a small chapter in the archives of the APTA. What can we say about ourselves that would inspire others in our field? Are we the first to do something new? Have we taken that leap, trusting ourselves enough to step around the ideas others are still thinking about? Can we all be innovators?
My answer is yes, we can all be innovators but we have to begin somewhere. And that is to have a goal for yourself. I am not talking about a bucket list, but a professional goal to achieve in a given period of time.
A PT or PTA should ideally have several professional goals they want to achieve within five years. Whether it is to become certified in a specific technique or to research a topic, we should have a direction we want to go and a place we want to be in a couple of years.
After achieving your goals, ask yourself whether your contributions have promoted the field of therapy and look around to decide whether you could have inspired others to follow in your footsteps.
Then, write a paragraph that sums up your life both personally and professionally. Ask yourself whether you could have or should have done it differently. And do it differently regardless of the answer - if anything you will gain valuable experience.