Recently, I was finally able to get our Inspiration Award winner, Braden Baker, his official award. When you’re a driven and passionate 11-year-old who has raised over $120,000 to help others hear and has been on The Ellen Show, you have a lot of amazing opportunities.

Because he was unable to attend, Braden made an amazing acceptance video for the general assembly that melted the hearts of everyone who watched it. In the video, he thanked all audiologists, calling audiologists the “real heros.” So, as you can imagine, watching him open the box with the award in it was an amazing experience for me. His face was filled with joy.

A couple of my goals over this last year were to promote audiology to consumers and also to hopefully be a reminder of how amazing our profession can be when we choose joy. When we enjoy what we do and appreciate the impact we have on the lives of others, we can bring joy and find high job satisfaction. Alongside those goals, there has been a thought that has been echoing within me for most of this past year. What if we follow Simon Sinek’s advice and stop competing with ourselves and do what we do well for our profession and the patients we serve with confidence and joy?

If you’ve read Simon Sinek’s book, Start with Why, he addresses what he calls The New Competition in Chapter 14. This embraces the idea of being in competition with yourself. Always improving you and accepting that sometimes others will be better than you, but never losing the joy of the work you are doing. Because that work will always become better when you focus on yourself by doing your best work.

I truly believe this is true for our Academy. The work we are doing today is better than it was six months ago and it will be better in six months than what we are doing today. I want to challenge all of you to embrace a new level of competition based on confidence within the Academy, confidence within our profession, and confidence within ourselves to bring joy back to the fundamentals of audiology and patient care.

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