May 23, 2022

Winning Mindset and Social Media Impact with Speech Dude

Winning Mindset and Social Media Impact with Speech Dude

We’re excited to share this great conversation with you! Our guest today is Chris Wenger, aka Speech Dude. He is an SLP, social media influencer, and the creator of the Dynamic Assess of Social Emotional Learning, a neurodiversity-affirming...

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We’re excited to share this great conversation with you! Our guest today is Chris Wenger, aka Speech Dude. He is an SLP, social media influencer, and the creator of the Dynamic Assess of Social Emotional Learning, a neurodiversity-affirming assessment to get a holistic view of a child. Chris talks with James about effectively using humor to educate, developing a winning mindset, and how your health plays a part in your individual success. Don’t miss this high-energy, motivating interview!

Contact Mai Ling: MLC at

Contact James: James at




Mai Ling, James Berges, Chris Wenger


Chris Wenger 00:01

So you can really take a concept and then add a bit of humor to it. So that way you're getting it to stick right, you tie emotion into something and that's how you make things stick in your memory.


James Berges 00:19

You're listening to the Xceptional Leaders Podcast. Each week, we give you a front row seat to our conversations with new and successful entrepreneurs, and thought leaders making an impact in the special education and disability communities. They share their intimate experiences, so you can start grow and expand your impact. I'm James Burgess of


Mai Ling 00:40

And I'm Mai Ling Chan at and we have a really high energy interesting show for you today. I'm very excited for you to get to know Chris Wenger. If you don't know him already as an amazing multifaceted speech language pathologist.


James Berges 00:55

Whoo. Yeah, just interviewing him and talking to him makes me want to just jump up and do push ups. Because we talked about beyond speech pathology. Chris is an interesting guy. He's a social media influencer with over 275,000 followers and counting actually more than that across Instagram and Tiktok. Which mailing do you do Tiktok? Are we there yet? Because I'm not quite there yet. But I know, it's, it's the thing to be on right now.


Mai Ling 01:22

I don't, and I love the medium for things like I just got this new dyson hair, air dryer, wrapper thing. I don't even know if you know what that is. But it's incredible. I got it as a gift and I watched videos for that. And then for like speech. In the earlier days, I was seeing a lot of like dancing and just like the I don't know, performing types of stuff, you know. And then now I think they're moving much more towards, like clinical practice and stuff. So I like that it's shaping because I definitely was feeling on the outs for that medium.


James Berges 01:53

Yeah, yeah. Same with me. Like I thought, Oh, you have to dance and do these silly routines, or else you're not relevant. But it sort of brought it out to be, you know, you can do anything educational, find your niche, which what speech dude has done, but he's very comedic. So like, if you go on his tiktoks, and you'll hear in the interview, he finds the humor in everything, which I think makes talking about these big topics, these big clinical topics, and sometimes honestly, hairy topics that are difficult to talk about, like neurodiversity, and autism, and how should we be writing goals? He talks about all of that, and even how he deals with haters, or people who are commenting on his posts saying ''you know, what gives you the right to talk about this'' or no matter what you're talking about, even if you're trying to be positive and shed light, there's always gonna be people who come out of the woodwork and say bad things, or good things.


Mai Ling 02:50

You know, I'm so glad you brought that up. Because I think that's something that we struggle with as social media content creators. you know we want to be transparent, we want to be genuine and yet, there's always that like, line in the sand that people are not going to agree with you on and you have to be strong, you know, you have to be confident and steadfast in what you believe and what you're putting out there. So it's so good to hear it from him directly.


James Berges 03:13

Yeah, and sometimes constructive criticism is a good thing, right. But the key word is constructive. Instead of online, the way it is, its tracks that are really highs and the really lows, I think of Yelp reviews, you don't get that many three star ones. Because if it was an okay meal, you're not going to take time out of your day to talk about it. But if it was the worst meal of your life or the best meal, you might go on and talk about it. So if you get these extremes on both sides that said like Chris drops a lot of knowledge on just how he has so much energy to do all of this and it inspired me to really get my morning routine, right? You know, don't lay in bed after the alarm, get up, do something uncomfortable. The first thing in the morning, he takes cold showers, you know or jump in the ocean if you have that near you. He also works full time while doing this while doing presentations. So if you want to learn about how to manage your energy and be a social media influencer potentially, then this is good interview to listen to.


Mai Ling 04:12

Yeah, I definitely recommend it for people like us.


James Berges 04:17

Yeah, I'm taking notes on it. Mai Ling is anything else going on in your life?


Mai Ling 04:23

Well, chaos. As you can probably hear, and I'm gonna let JD keep this in here. You can hear some banging in the background. We have contractors and I'm literally working in chaos. So I keep muting myself so that we can get this recording done. So I apologize to our listeners if it's not as perfect. As usual I know that our amazing audio engineered as he's doing the best that he can to make it great for your listening ears. But let's get to you, James, what have you been up to?


James Berges 04:51

I have not so much in the chaos, but I appreciate you finding the way through the chaos. I've just been doing contracts. A couple hit and misses for doing copywriting in this clinical sort of edtech space, which is hot right now, for anyone who's thinking about using education or clinical practice in a different way, you know, writing about the challenges on websites for these, these companies in these products. And these software's that help educators do their thing with more efficiency, and reach more students. But honestly, some of these companies, I'm seeing a pattern where they don't want to do any research into the problems before having writing the copy. What I mean is they'll say "you know, just make it sound good" or just rewrite our website and just slap some buzzwords on there, like cutting edge or I don't even know there's different buzzwords that you'll see everywhere. The problem with that is you end up sounding like everyone else, and it becomes this abstract blob of jargon and no one actually talks like that, especially the teachers who are principals who are looking at these products thinking, Should I purchase this or not? So I'm trying to find a way to convince more of these companies that there should be a budget for going back doing the research, talking to customers and figuring out what are their problem points? What are the things that really bugged them, like as a speech pathologist, a big pain point I see is note taking and admin work takes a lot of time. So can you give people's time back, that's like the impact they're looking for and put that in the messaging, put that on the website. So I'm ranting about all this copywriting stuff.


Mai Ling 06:35

Now, that's a great point.


James Berges 06:37

That's my message to anyone who wants to do a company, please do the research. That what the pain points are.


Mai Ling 06:43

Excellent! Yes, and we have brought James on for our company for Xceptional Leaders and he's done a fantastic job of helping to really personify the site, and that we're not just a company, you know these are our features and that's something that for our listener, you definitely have to lean in on this one. If you don't have a James then definitely go out to other speech language pathology sites, occupational therapy sites, other service sites, and see how they're getting down into the nitty gritty, the nuts and bolts, you know of how we help you because we know you, we understand you, we get you, you know, and I think that James definitely has a great voice for that and I bet you do, too. You just don't realize that it's even better that you don't know marketing, because you're going to talk the way that you want to be spoken to. So I love this tip james it's fantastic.


James Berges 07:28

Exactly. Yes, start with your own problems that you're seeing in clinical work or in your daily life even and speak about the impact that it makes in a human way. There is a time for authenticity. I think we're all kind of sick of marketing jargon and our eyes glaze over naturally with different ads and things that are just spammy. So our interview, Chris is perfect for this because he's like, comes off with all this energy and authenticity. You can't hide that stuff. So I think that's why a lot of people are attracted to his work and to his social media. Just because he he lives it he breathes it. So before we get into that, I encourage everyone to follow us on social media. What would this be? What if we didn't promote it for talking about promotion? Go on Instagram Xceptional Leaders is the handle and Thank you.


Mai Ling 08:17

Yeah, we're everywhere on Facebook, too. You can reach out or email us but yes, we're everywhere. Please connect. All right. Let's get to this interview.


James Berges 08:31

Hello, Everyone. I'm excited to have the guest today a very special guest, Chris Wenger aka "The Speech Dude." I'm a speech dude, but he's the speech dude. Chris, Welcome to the show.


Chris Wenger 08:45

I am ready to have a good time. Hello, boys and girls and laborers and squirrels. This is the time of our lives right here on this podcast. We're gonna learn a lot. We're gonna have some fun. That's the plan.


James Berges 08:57

I love that. I'm ready. I hope everyone's ready and just right there. You have so much good energy, Chris, that I want to dig into that I want to start broad. You know, you're super busy. Right? You have social media following you're today as of today of 250,000 followers on Tiktok. Congratulations. 75,000 followers on Instagram. Yeah, you're you're you're blowing up talking about neurodiversity affirming practices for older students with autism. You talk about ADHD. You're a full time speech language pathologist and high school. You told me you commute about more than 1.5 hours each way. So you're doing a lot. Oh, and you're an international speaker international as well or just national?


Chris Wenger 09:44

Yeah, I mean, we just got back from Australia not too long ago and that set the president of being an international speaker. So I could, I could claim that now which is pretty cool.


James Berges 09:56

Good. Okay, adding that to my note international speaker.


Chris Wenger 10:00

International speaker, but of all of those things you mentioned, the one that is probably the I'd have to say the most fun, but also the most time consuming is dad.


James Berges 10:12

Oh, yeah, I'm not there yet.


Chris Wenger 10:15

Yes, yeah, I'm so once you get there, you're gonna go. This is a full time job. I thought my job was my job. Nope. This dad thing is like, the parenting in general, I think is just before you become a parent is underestimated on how much time it takes of your entire life?


James Berges 10:33

Yeah, it's like, oh, I actually have to think about someone else besides myself, maybe that's relieving in a way just like take the focus off myself, care about something bigger than myself. But it sounds like you've a full plate all the way around. So my question is, where do you find the energy? To do everything that you do? What is your drive? Where does it come from?


Chris Wenger 10:54

Yeah, I could go down so many paths on that with ADHD, it's like my brain right now has 30 responses. So for the listeners out there, bear with me while you listen to 30 responses? No. So um, gosh, I mean, it's really a handful of things. Let's start with my motivational factor. I am intrinsically motivated to do the things I do because of the value and the meaning and the purpose behind it all. So I'll have parents, I'll have other SLPs, I'll have students. You know, tell me hey, you know what, that moment or that thing you said, or that video you did was life changing for me. Man I love it, it just really helped me out and that in itself, right there is the fuel that's the energy it's like 'Hey, you know what I'm doing something for some people that is serving value and because of that, it gives me that internal drive to want to keep going.' It's like my vehicle. It's like I'm going forward on this train and we are not stopping, we're just going to, we're just going to do it. Second to that is tied into, you know, not just the mindset of things, we really focus on mindset and the ideas and concepts that we think about when it comes to our beliefs of things. But I learned from a guy named Robin Sharma, he wrote a book called The 5am Club and he talks about the four empires. So it's not just mindset, it's about heart set, soul set, health set, that health set is such a big one. So my energy and my drive, and my passion doesn't come from just reading books and podcasts and serving a purpose. But I also get my energy from, you know, trying to maintain my health. So you'll see on my Instagram Stories quite often that I'm up at 5am every day taking cold plunges. There's never a day that I skip when it comes to getting in the shower, when it's cold, and then turning it hot, and then turning it back down cold and then turning it hot, and then turning it back down cold, that will give you your energy that's like five shots of expresso right there. It's like, Hey, I'm ready for this day. So the all of those kinds of work can tie into each other.


James Berges 13:07

Yeah, I love that. Two things that stand out to me is you know, intrinsic motivation is the thing that you can't really fake it has to come from you know intrinsically! It has to come from inside. So you have all these external things cold plunges exercise, which will help with whatever line of work you do and we could talk more about habits that keep you going. You just named off a bunch of good ones, I took a cold shower before this podcast. It's true folks, It wakes you up. But what about?


Chris Wenger 13:37

I'm going to share to one thing on that, it's not just about the benefits of getting in cold water there's more of. Hey if I start my day doing something that's challenging or hard than the rest of the day is going to come off pretty easy. It's like, if you have a difficult meeting coming up or a difficult report, or you're having to deal with a difficult situation, if you've done a cold shower in the morning. You've already done something hard. So the rest of the day kind of takes care of itself. Take care of your morning, and the rest of the day will take care of itself. That's kind of how it goes. Do the hard things and do the hard things become easy. As you know that that same goes?


James Berges 14:15

It's a domino effect that starts the very first domino in the morning. Yeah, not hitting snooze, right. Because then you're setting the tone for yourself. Well, I'll do it later and it just compounds and compounds. But what about the intrinsic motivation? What is your motivation for this population are the things you talk about specifically? So neuro diversity, ADHD, and the high school population? What drew you to that specifically?


Chris Wenger 14:43

Excellent question. You know that in our world of Speech Pathology, resources are somewhat limited as the kids get older. You can find a gazillion things on a variety of websites to target our goals for students who are in elementary but once they start getting old older, it becomes a little bit more challenging for the SLP to find materials. So one of my things is hey, we need to start getting material that's at a level for the students to be engaged and interested in and so that's kind of my drive is to say, we just need to create some concepts and ideas and materials for that. The second part of that is that this time that we're in right now is a exciting time, but a lot of learning that's involved. So the neurodiversity movement. For those who don't know what neurodiversity is it's basically saying hey, all of our brains operate different, we have brain differences, and that's a okay and so it's like, really being accepting of the brain differences, rather than looking at the medical model of saying, hey, you know what, this person's got these difficulties, they're broken, let's try and fix them. It's a different approach to it. It's a different way to support and accept individuals for their brain differences and so the time that we're living right now, which is the neurodiversity movement is really what's driving me because it's a human rights movement. It's saying hey, you know what we're accepting of you know people with disabilities, we're accepting of our autistic kids and what kinds of supports and accommodations can we provide to help the community? How can we create an inclusive environment being part of that for anybody, not just me but for anybody who's putting in the time and the effort is getting that intrinsic reward and in building that intrinsic motivation, because you can see that we're changemakers. We are visionaries. We are changing the world day by day, by putting in the time and it's fun, and it's fascinating, and it's exciting.


James Berges 16:52

I love it and it's contagious, and everyone wants to be part of a movement. Now, can you give an example of what kind of led to this neurodiversity movement? Or what is an example of a change? When you look at something through an neurodiversity lens? How does that change how you approach either assessment and or treatment, writing goals for the students you work with?


Chris Wenger 17:15

Bada bing, bada boom! You nailed it right there. Yeah, there's a big change and a big difference. So historically, what the field of speech pathology, and I should say, extended therapies beyond that have thought was hey, you know what, what we need to do since the student doesn't have this skill is teach them social skills. So it's like hey, we're going to teach kids that are autistic, to pretend to be someone they're not. So that way, they can be involved in groups with their neurotypical peers, right? And so that has been the historical model when our autistic kids have to get into groups where they're masking where they're not able to demonstrate their autistic traits. It invalidates who they are, it dehumanizes them and then what it ends up doing as they get older, is that they end up getting sad, they end up not having a positive self identity, they end up essentially depressed because they've seen the challenges that historically and what we're trying to do with the neurodiversity movement is saying, hey, we need to build off of the strengths of the individual, we need to create a model based on strengths needs, and supports teach the kids that and that way, they can develop a positive self identity. That way, all of those things can lead into a happy life. Hey, at the end of the day this is what we all want like you're not a parent, but I'm a parent, but for all of us, what's your parent want? Like? Happiness, right?


James Berges 18:57

Is that the way you explain it to parents, like I could see some parents with any movement or change in the culture. Maybe they're thinking, well I'm all for support, but I really want you know, I'm worried about my son or daughter fitting in and I don't want him to necessarily mask but I also don't want these goals that are too I don't know, loosey goosey in their mind where it's like free love in the neurodiversity movement. I want them to blend in a bit with society. Like have you had any pushback in that sense?


Chris Wenger 19:30

Oh, yeah, we'll get that and that's anytime that you change and do something that goes away from the status quo, and that goes away from traditional approaches, you're gonna get some pushback, and that's okay. We are all operating at a conscious level that we know of what's best in the moment, right? So we're doing our best to provide things for our children and provide things for our clients and our students based on what we think is best for them and so we can't force up parent, or maybe a therapist to automatically shift their perspective or their views or their language on things. But what we can do is we can be the people who plant the seeds of learning. Like that's our job. It's like, hey, you know what? This parent doesn't seem to want to be as receptive right now, this parent seems apprehensive and reluctant to want to go with these neurodiversity affirming goals, which is okay. But it's our job at the end of the day, to be the seed planters. Like, yeah, I'm a gardener every day. I'm like, here we go. This meeting right now is gonna need some apple seeds right here, we're gonna, I'm gonna like Johnny Appleseed. I'm like, here we go and basically what that looks like, is me saying, you know, I think that, you know, understanding where you're coming from as a parent, I definitely get that. I've been learning about some new things on social media and on Facebook and if you wouldn't mind after this meeting, if I can send you a link or two, through email, if you wouldn't mind, you know, checking it out on your own time. So that way, I'm planting the seed so they can make their own discovery. People like to make their own discoveries, they don't like to be told what to do. That's just kind of how we all are. That's how our brains operate and so yeah, so I, I'm a speech pathologist, but I'm also a gardener. It's pretty cool.


James Berges 21:22

I'm gonna call you. Chris Appleseed on the mic.


Chris Wenger 21:25

I'm here. Woooh!


James Berges 21:28

Yes, you're also a DJ in a past life or current life, I think. So you're, you're remixing self development with speech pathology and planting seeds in people's minds. And I think another part of that, too, that you reminded me of is not forcing your point of view, because that's never going to work that's going to backfire they're going to get defensive. But asking questions, and getting to the heart of why they believe what they believe and genuinely listening to show that you're on their side. We're all on the same side we all want everyone to be happy and so getting to that core belief, it's almost like the movie Inception in my mind like you said, you can't force the belief you have to lead them gently by asking questions and giving education.


Chris Wenger 22:10

Absolutely. It's that old adage. You can guide a horse to water but you can't make him drink it and so yeah, I love that idea of inception as well. It's definitely the way to go. If you know people are wanting to learn on their own. They don't want to be forced. Absolutely.


James Berges 22:26

Yeah. You can't make a horse drink, but you can give it salt. You can make it thirsty.


Chris Wenger 22:32

Absolutely. Give it Cheez Its, or give them peanut butter. It's gonna want water immediately.


James Berges 22:37

Yeah, where's the water?


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Mai Ling 23:21

Now, let's get back to our amazing interview.


James Berges 23:23

So I love that you have a sense of humor and I wonder what what role does humor play in your life professionally and personally? and on social media? Obviously, it's a big thing. Where does your sense of humor come from? What has it done for you?


Chris Wenger 23:37

You know, I think that the humor comes from my I don't think I shouldn't say that. It comes from my parents, like my dad, this guy. He was somebody in conversations and just off the cuff, like random things have come out. But you know, it was great that I learned from him at a growing up was that you can be cheesy, it's okay to have like these kind of cheeseball jokes, regardless of what age you are. So, me being my age right now. I don't hold back on anything. I'm like, I know it's gonna be cheesy. I don't care. So yeah, I mean, I just run with it and part of that feeling of connection with others. When I work with students, when I work in the IEPs. I just be me like, there's no going 'Hey, this isn't who I thought he was'. And so a part of that is coming with humor. I think that humor really adds an element to lighten things up. You know, it's like on my TikTok and on Instagram. I can create an educational video, but it could be funny. So you can really take a concept and then add a bit of humor to it. So that way you're getting it to stick right you tie a motion into something and that's how you make things stick in your memory. So I did that one on eye contact fairly recently I did one eye contact, I should say, that was also a spin on it with some humor. But the idea behind it is that it's sinking in with people going, maybe I shouldn't be writing eye contact goals and I just learned in a 32nd video of why not? you know what I mean? So it's really kind of a, an effective way of going about things.


James Berges 25:21

I agree. And it's a sugar that makes the medicine go down. But it also is more memorable and makes more of an impact because it sticks in your mind like that and it disarms people right? Like you can't be mad, even though it's sort of a sensitive topic neurodiversity, autism, like in our climate we're walking on eggshells anyways. But then you talk about neurodiversity identity. It's like I commend you for traversing that and but if you get someone to laugh, then they can't be mad at the same time. Like it's physiologically impossible. But I do wonder, I do wonder, though, I have to ask, like, has anyone you know, if you have 250,000 followers on Tiktok, 75,000, on Instagram? Do you get haters? Do you get people saying, you know, I'm playing devil's advocate here. But, Chris, you're not autistic? How can you talk about this? Or, you know, pushback not just from parents, but on social media? and how do you view that? How do you deal with haters?


Chris Wenger 26:21

You know, there's probably not a single account out there that has a decent amount of following where they don't get targeted, whether it's in the comments, or the DMS, and that's okay, that's just part of the nature of getting account that starts to grow in size. Haters are love teachers, they provide value, because I will tell you that if you're starting to get haters, it means that you're starting to spread a word out there, right? and part of the journey is to make a positive impact. But part of making a positive impact and stepping away from what was once ordinary, or what was once traditional, might be scary to some people and matter of fact, those are the ones that might target you. It's the concept that, you know, the birds that fly, the one in the front is the one that gets the arrow first, and that's how it is and that's okay, when you spread a positive message and when you work with things like neuro the neurodiversity movement, you have the ring light, right? You've got a ring light for your technology and like when we have lights like that, they bring in angels and positive people and we also have to realize that light does attract angels, but light also attracts moths, and that's just how the nature of growing an account is and when you make positive change, you just have to, you have to take the haters and realize that those are just love teachers. It's like, "Alright, man, I'm gaining some attraction. Here we go baby haters? I'm okay with that bring them!" You know a great part about it is that I could just delete it. I could delete a comment or block them. I'm like, okay this person's annoying, Block! It's so fun.


James Berges 28:13

I wish I could do that in real life sometimes. All right. It's like, sorry, I muted you. What what? Yeah, haters are love teachers. But, but you bring up a good point of, you know, the halo effect of I'm sure you actually get more positive comments than negative. But it's a weird, maybe evolutionary part of our brain to focus on the one negative comment instead of the 100 positive comments. It's like that survival instinct in our brain saying, watch out for the threat. So that's good that you just transmute that hate or whatever it is, and to love teachers, I'm gonna steal that one.


Chris Wenger 28:49

Yeah man! that's it exactly. You know, you're moving forward a little bit when you share new ideas and concepts and when people get it, they are fascinated by it and they're like, dude, this right here and you'll see that, you know, like, you'll see comments, and people are just so supportive and then you'll also see people who don't understand it and they'll be enraged like what is this person first identity that you're using identity first language, or you're using functioning labels the wrong way and it's like, when you get people that just don't get it, they're going to just not be happy in the least bit and that right there, lets you know that you're doing something that's not ordinary. They don't target things that are ordinary, they target things that are extraordinary. And so when you go down these paths, to make a positive change in new movements, you get both of those, you know, people are either going to love it because they get it or they're going to hate it because they're not ready to make the change, or they're not ready to learn yet.


James Berges 29:48

If you're not being somewhat polarizing, you're not really saying anything new so you're not pushing something forward. You're going to attract both extremes. That makes sense.


Chris Wenger 30:00

You get the monster you get the angels. I prefer the angels. Not the baseball team on the Dodgers guy.


James Berges 30:08

Oh, yeah, Dodgers game today of day of recording. So yes, Chris, I love this and I'm thinking about your speaking of extraordinary people being extraordinary. Some of our audience wants to be an Xceptional Leader meaning they want to be entrepreneurial. They want to either make a nonprofit, maybe do something besides clinical work. Do you have any advice for people who want to go on social media and get bigger? I know, we can go tactical with this, or even just the mindset of trying to carve your own path, if you have any tip that you think would resonate?


Chris Wenger 30:44

Yeah, I mean, gosh, my thoughts are the struggle that I had at the beginning stages, and I still have those same struggles. When it comes to the business mindset, the model of growing accounts, the model of starting something new entrepreneurship, the idea behind it is that you have to stay focused on the thing that you're passionate about, and really niche down, you know, your audience members listening about that, have heard that time and time again, probably of the importance of niching down. But then when you niche down, it's one of those things where don't get distracted with the things that will distract you don't get stuck being busy, being busy. Because you gotta stay mono maniacally focused on your journey and then that's how you'll start to really gain some traction and again, I mentioned that because I still struggle with that. But it's a constant reminder for myself. There was a Netflix show, spoiler alert, if you haven't seen cheer season two, then you're going to turn your volume down right now. But if not, here we go. Their first season came out and that coach I think is the most winningest winning coach of you know seasonal championships for all collegiate sports. They did season one and guess what? they won! It was amazing but, they were in transition for season two and so all of the people on the team, getting social media attention gaining traction for just regular media, going off on their vacations and posting about it, and doing things that distracted them, like they no longer wore, mono maniacally focused, they were no longer niching down. So they can be in season two, to have the same result and I knew it. I told my fiance, Jesse Ginsburg here that the season two is going to come out and I would probably guess that the outcome is not going to be the same, because they didn't have the same energy and they didn't have the same direction. They got busy being busy and doesn't that happen in in our work field and with the playing the course of trying to start a business or trying to build an account, or trying to get an email list and a following and all of those things? We get distracted a little bit and guess what happens when you get distracted? You don't win the championship! Yeah, it's what happens.


James Berges 33:20

Yeah, that resonates because I know you've mentioned that you have ADHD, I believe. That's right. Right. You have ADHD. I want to misquote you.


Chris Wenger 33:29

My dogs are barking.


James Berges 33:34

Exactly. So I mean, I struggle with the shiny object syndrome, too. Do you have any? I mean, we're almost out of time here. But we could go down this rabbit hole. But do you have any tips for how to know what's a shiny object? What's busy being busy? and how to prioritize what really matters? What really moves the needle?


Chris Wenger 33:53

Yeah, I mean, that's kind of the idea is finding what you're passionate about and you know, getting busy being busy or getting distracted is going to happen. I think that yeah, once you find that part that makes you intrinsically motivated. You know not extrinsicly. Which is hey, if I, you know, get my email list, and I sell this, I'm going to make a ton of money. Those are the things that will be distracting because then you're gonna go, Well, I want to sell five courses, or I want to get my product out here and then I want to create this It's like, nope. Stay your ground with what you really are passionate about what intrinsically motivates you, and that will guide you towards the lighthouse. Yeah, that's the thing too, because once you get to the lighthouse, you shouldn't actually be at the lighthouse. It should keep moving. I got that. I can't remember. I heard it from this guy, Ed, my lead but he's just like basically, your end goal should never be the end goal. You keep going towards what it is that you love and that lighthouse will just keep moving a little bit farther. You never want to just hit the end goal. It's like, what is it a Buzz Aldrin. His goal was to be the first person to land on the moon and he did it man, the guy did it! What people don't know, it was that the following years after that he became an alcoholic and rehab and just screwed up everything. But nobody knows about that and so years go by and they asked him "Hey, Buzz, what's the deal, man? How did the outcome of being the first person landing on the moon end up in stages of rehab and alcohol on" he said "Because I didn't have a goal after I met my goal" Isn't that? yeah, it's like oh man! we our goals should constantly be moving forward as we get towards them. It's not like there's an end goal, you always got to have that next step. So hopefully, that'll provide value for your listeners, because those are the things that resonate with me, when you can hear stories, and you can hear comparisons and analogies. You go Hey, I understand this and I am ready to rock and roll. You know what, they're gonna listen to your audience. For those of you listening, go back to the beginning and listen to this again, every other day, because you're gonna get a new insight, and then it's going to resonate, you know, the more you listen to it, and the more you share in the more you teach it with others, the more you're gonna go, I got this stuff, man, I was some that was the best podcast I've listened to ever!


James Berges 36:25

Dropping bombs! I love it. No, but really, it's refreshing that you say the lighthouse analogy andI love all our light analogies with the moths and the angels and the layers and not getting stuck in shadow careers that are not the real thing. Not the real passion. But staying true on course, partly that goes against advice I've heard of, don't get stuck on this treadmill of always seeking a new goal, because you're never going to find contentment if you're always chasing the next thing. But I think what I hear you saying is love the process of chasing goals themselves. Because then you're you're never going to "arrive" and then it's like this big dopamine dump of "yeah, I made it I'm the second person on the moon, or I'm the first person on the moon" or whatever it is and then now what I set the bar so high that maybe it was overwhelming, and I love it and now I'm just I'm just sad.


Chris Wenger 37:20

Right! Matt McConaughey has a book called green lights. And in the book, he mentions that snipers end up looking beyond their target. So it's the same concept that your goal or your target that's here, you should at least be looking a little bit beyond it just like a sniper would. So you're prepared and so you can continue keeping that motivation to move forward. That's it. Like a river. We never stopped, man, the water keeps flowing. I'm a river right now.


James Berges 37:49

Keep flowing. Speaking of flow, and what's what's flow next for you, Chris, what's next on your agenda in life?


Chris Wenger 37:56

Yeah, you know what, when it comes to business stuff, I have an amazing free it doesn't get better than that free masterclass and it's about Career Changing Neurodiversity Affirming Techniques. So honestly, you watch this freebie, and you gain so much value. It's got essential steps on how do we can we can best assess our autistic students. Because that is the foundation that is the core of how we write our reports. If we don't have solid data, and we have inaccurate assessment results, from formalized assessments, then we can't write comprehensive reports and if we don't have comprehensive reports, guess what? We can't write effective goals and if we don't have effective goals, then we got crappy therapy activities. Nobody wants crappy therapy activities, you want to be able to feel like a rockstar SLP you want to be able to say you know what, I truly made an impact in the lives of these kids. I am ready to go home from point A to point B with a smile. That's what I want so that's what this does and the way you can get to is just on so yeah on There's some links in it'll kind of guide you to that free masterclass and then from there, there's other other things on the website, but that's kind of my my new journey making an impact that way.


James Berges 39:21

Love it. There's so many ways to make an impact and you're somehow managing them all. But yes, speech Check that out, you can't miss Chris on social media. If you just type in speechdude on your local social media stations TikTok, Instagram, you'll find them. Check out that masterclass because I'm sure if it's 1/4 of as valuable as the free content you put out on a daily basis. It's going to be a whopper of just free value and amazing life changing information. So highly encourage everyone to check that out and Chris, Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to be here.


Chris Wenger 39:56

I'm really interested you have me on yeah, had an excellent time. Thank you so much. I appreciate it!


Mai Ling 40:02

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James Berges 40:17

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Chris 'Speech Dude' WengerProfile Photo

Chris 'Speech Dude' Wenger

CCC-SLP (Speech Language Pathologist)

Chris Wenger is an enthusiastic school-based SLP and nationally-acclaimed presenter who loves to share the most current neurodiversity affirming techniques to help older autistic students. He is the creator of the Dynamic assessment of Social Emotional Learning, a neurodiversity-affirming assessment to get a holistic view of a child. A prominent thought leader in the field of speech pathology, and known on social media as “Speech Dude,” Chris motivates and entertains fellow educators and clinicians through his humorous and inspiring posts and videos.