Thought Leaders 007 | Dr. Linda LeBlanc | Part 1

This month on Operant Innovations - Thought Leaders, we are sitting down and speaking with Dr. Linda LeBlanc about her history, how she came to the field, and how she got to where she is today through her go-getter-ness and determination.

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Shauna Costello (00:01):

You're listening to operant innovations, a podcast brought to you by ABA technologies this month on our thought leader series. We're talking with dr. Linda Leblanc and on today's episode, she's going to talk to us a little bit more about her history, where she came from, how she got into the field and how she got to where she is now. So I'm here with dr. Linda Leblanc. Thank you for talking with me today. And she's going to tell us a little bit more about her story and how she started and how she got to where she's at now.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (00:35):

I'm happy to do so. Thanks for having me, Shauna. I don't know how far back you want me to go, but, um, I first became interested in, um, psychology, probably in high school, around 13, 14, 15, something like that. And, um, kind of realized there was something called psychology, found it really interesting. And the first, um, kind of practical experience I had in the field, um, I came upon a, uh, ad for volunteers, um, at a program that was a temporary shelter for abused and neglected children, uh, in the city where I grew up Lake Charles, Louisiana. And so I contacted them and arranged to come in for training. And originally the ad was for a couple of things. They were also looking for volunteers for, um, a crisis hotline. And so, you know, had very positive phone experiences. And then when I showed up and the volunteer coordinator realized that I was, um, not yet 18, there was a problem because obviously you're not going to put a kid on a crisis hotline with suicide and this, that, and the other. So let's just say I was naive, but eager and convincing on the phone. Um, and I was devastated, devastated.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (02:16):

I really wanted to kind of see what psychology was all about. And so, and I had a friend who was doing this with me and we were both teenagers. And, um, so we kind of quickly conferred and said, well, let's just ask if she'll let us do the basic training program, you know, just as a benefit. And we'll get to see if we're interested in this field or what have you. So we both did the training program. So this volunteer coordinator was really a, a kind person who was looking to, um, not have us be devastated in her office. Um, so we both went through the training program and we loved it and probably I loved it a little more than my best friend and ended up in this field. She didn't. Um, but after we completed it, I think we were so diligent and we did so well.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (03:14):

The volunteer coordinator said, you know, you can't possibly do the crisis hotline, but once you're 16, I could potentially have you work only with younger children at joint times with other staff. So you could basically be kind of an assistant volunteer at the shelter. And, um, that was a amazing experience. And to be honest with you, one of my first observations was that, um, a lot of these kids seem delayed and, um, you know, my heart was really touched by the fact that it seemed like children who had special needs were almost more vulnerable. Um, and you know, I was thinking like, how could anyone ever, you know, so mistreat a child who needed even more. And I think that was really the beginning of my, um, interest in working, not only with kids, but with kids who, for some reason were disadvantaged and even significantly, um, impaired.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (04:32):

So, um, I was also lucky enough when in high school to take a college psychology class and to have a, um, a school counselor who was a licensed psychologist who actually let me help her, um, teach a psychology class after I had taken it as a junior. So I kind of served as a teaching assistant. And, um, so those experiences all really solidified for me that psychology was the way to go. And so I went into my undergraduate program at Louisiana state university as a 17 year old, completely certain that I was going to get a PhD in clinical psychology. Um, and in fact that did happen. I completed my undergrad degree, my master's degree and my PhD at LSU. You know, I think, um, my family was, um, well supportive and maybe a little dubious because I'm a first generation college student. So I did not have a family history where PhDs were common or even really bachelor's degrees.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (05:55):

Um, but I think they were supportive and kind of just thought if anyone's going to go from zero to a hundred it's Linda. So off I went and, um, at LSU I, um, immediately declared as a psychology major. And as I took my classes, my learning courses, abnormal psychology courses and child psychopathology courses really were my favorite ones and that all reinforced, um, that notion of what I might want to do. And, um, I had the good fortune to find a professor, uh, Johnny Manson, who was, um, doing, uh, both clinical work and research, um, with children with special needs, a variety of different kinds of, uh, conditions. And, um, I jumped in with both feet and, uh, helped in every way that I could, and then ended up being admitted to the PhD program under his mentorship and, um, completed my PhD there. And that really gave me a kind of a broad, um, appreciation for disabilities of all types across the lifespan. And I do think that's something that not every behavior analyst today has that kind of really broad training in. I, you know, I did work with elderly people with, uh, lifelong intellectual disabilities, um, with children with physical disabilities who did not have intellectual disabilities, you know, those who were, you know, hearing impaired and, you know, just really broad range of special needs, also autism and intellectual disabilities, which is really where, um, a good number Number of my studies and clinical work, um, went after that, not unlike other people in the field.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (08:09):

Um, I also, while I was there, um, at LSU, um, did a mass I'm sorry, did a, what did they call it? A minor specialization in school psychology. And, um, you know, that school psychology program was also very behavioral and we were lucky enough to have on the faculty people like, um, Joe Whitt and John Northup and Tim Vollmer and, um, you know, these people were doing very exciting, uh, research. And so I took courses with them and also did research with and learns a lot from them. Um, particularly, um, Tim and John were newly minted PhDs. They were new assistant professors and they didn't yet have a lot of students of their own, which was great for someone like me who liked to do a lot of different things because they had space to offer me some time and opportunity and mentorship that was in no way robbing the graduate students that they were primarily responsible for. So I felt very fortunate, um, with respect to that.

Shauna Costello (09:34):

No, and that's really interesting just to see, you know, how, how you started off, especially hearing that, you know, you came from this family where you were the first person in your family to even get a bachelor's degree, let alone go on and get a PhD. And from the few years that, you know, I've known you, um, I think I met you first. I did at the second year of the Michigan autism conference. This is the first time I met you. Um, and even like from that short period of time, and then, you know, just following your work from there, but then also once I started at ABA tech, they're like, Oh yeah, Linda comes in, Linda comes and visits all the time. Um, like just you talking about how your family said, Oh, Linda would be the one that goes from zero to a hundred. And I was like, you've always just seemed like this huge go-getter to me that if you set your mind to it, you were going to go do it.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (10:39):

I think that's true sometimes that gets in a bit of trouble because I'm quite certain that I can do some things that, um, I'm more prudently should say, maybe not all of those at the same time, but, um, I, you know, I think if there are people out there, you know, we didn't use the phrase first generation college student when I was going to college, I was just a reasonably smart kid from a small town where most people didn't go to college and I just wanted to be able to do this thing that was gonna require degrees.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (11:18):

And so of course I have to go get those degrees and, uh, it was very practical for me. And, um, but I do think that, um, if there are people out there who are thinking about accomplished behavior analyst, as different than them somehow, um, they should realize that we may only be different with respect to some of our behaviors and the outcomes that are produced, not necessarily as a class of stimulate, if that makes sense. Um, some of us are, you know, if someone out there listening as a first generation college student, um, I was too. So, you know, you can accomplish plenty of things, um, with some go-get-it-ness. And I will say some good fortune. Uh, I do think that, um, you know, I was definitely energetic, lots of potential, lot of energy, no polish which is not uncommon when you are a first generation college student. And so, you know, if you are lucky enough to find those people that will, you know, sand off the rough edges, then I think the sky's the limit.

Shauna Costello (12:54):

And I think that hearing you say that is a really good compliment to the university series that we have. And we've been talking to universities across the country, whether, you know, whether it's Western Michigan or, you know, we have West Virginia coming on in the near future, um, or it's, you know, Georgia state where you might not think about, you know, might not necessarily be like, Oh, I don't know if I'd ever heard about Georgia state or Loyola Marymount, or, you know, even like some undergrad programs where we have, you know, down in Savannah or out in California or things like that. But you're hearing even from the undergrad programs that some of these students are those first generation students. And just hearing that, you know, you guys aren't that different and you know, it is, it might be with a little bit of luck, but what I have found out too, um, from talking with a lot of people throughout the field is that if you want something, especially with some of the bigger names in our field, just reach out to them and ask, because if you work on setting up your environment to, you know, go in that direction, that the more you try and reach out to who you're interested in working with, the more likely it is that's going to happen.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (14:19):

I think, I think that's exactly right. Um, I think you can't underestimate the power of, uh, polite, you know, cordial interest and curiosity and indications that you, um, are willing, willing to learn willing to expend effort willing to do work. All of those things have been, I think, tremendous assets for me. And that's kind of how I, um, ended up with a lot of the opportunities that I had. I was always someone who was willing to listen very intently when someone was giving me an answer and then try very hard to incorporate those, you know, uh, ideas or changes if it's feedback, uh, in my behavior. And I want those people to know that, you know, I benefited, uh, so when possible I thank them for teaching me or thank them for the feedback and helping me be better. So I do think, um, reaching out to people for opportunities, for advice, particularly if you keep the effort low for them, by taking that, you know, uh, effort on yourself, all you have to do is give me an opportunity and a little feedback, and I'm going to do the absolute most with that. Um, I think it's a little different if you're reaching out with, um, more effortful demands.

Shauna Costello (16:09):

Yes. I know. And I, you know, even for some of like our CE processes or the podcast, I try to make it like as easy as possible cause people are like, what do you need me to do? I'm like, here's the zoom link? Just show up. They're like, great, awesome.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (16:24):

Yep. That's what I did. It worked.

Shauna Costello (16:27):

And it's wonderful. It's very easy. And, but at the same time, you know, I'm kind of in that same boat because I would love to go back and get my PhD, but I'm like, what do I want to do? And so picky about the path that I want to go in to get that PhD.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (16:44):

Well, you should be picky and you are wise to consider that question and it's answers, you know, over the decade and a half that I was a professor that was something that I always talked to aspiring students about. Um, it's not that I necessarily knew any better or when I decided I was going to get my PhD in clinical psychology, I was nice and it worked out great. But again, I kinda got lucky and I don't want other students to have to get lucky that their career in life turns out the way they want. And so that question of why do you want a PhD? What is it that you want to get from that? And I always encourage people to think of both process and outcomes. So it could be that the experience of the academic training to get your PhD is what appeals to you. Um, the learning to do research, doing research, um, the intellectual challenge of some of the more advanced courses and, um, doing things like big comprehensive exams or review papers that integrate components of the literature. You know, if you love writing and you love, you know, that kind of intellectual challenge really think you want to at least try doing research, then those are things that you primarily are, are going to get in a PhD program as opposed to a master's program.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (18:42):

It's part of the process, um, in terms of the outcome, well, what kind of job would you get? That's different with a PhD that you cannot get with a master's degree. And I think that, um, in today's field, the that's really a traditional academic position for the most part, because there are people with master's degrees who are teaching, um, in university courses. And, um, whether they're good at that or not, or prepared to do that or not is probably highly individualistic. I don't think that that's a degree sort. I think that's a capability and experience and training, uh, sort, but it's really, it's not that, um, you cannot, for example, uh, teach a class at a university. If you have that kind of degree, if you want to be a faculty member, um, uh, you know, full time faculty member at a university, you are likely going to need that PhD.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (20:02):

Um, but for clinical pro um, positions, either high level clinical possessions or clinical operational positions, the PhD training is not necessarily the one that is going to teach you all of the skills that will make you successful. Um, and in fact, it may teach you skills that lead you to not particularly want that job because you don't find it the, as appealing given what's been established as your reinforcers. And so that's the outcome piece. What position is it that you would want to have, um, or things that you would want to do that having the PhD is going to give you that having a master's degree won't so it's a very functional way to look at it. What is it about the process was what is it about the outcome and then is, are those things worth the investment of time and money that, um, that pursuit of a PhD costs.

Shauna Costello (21:18):

After your schooling, um, I know that probably the first instance I came to know about you was your trumpet. And a lot of people might also say that. Um, but that's, I know that's not the only thing that you've done. So where did you go after your schooling until now? What have you, you know, what have you been doing?

Dr. Linda Leblanc (21:43):

Well, um, trumpet came along pretty late in my career. Uh, I would say career number two, probably, um, after I got my, uh, PhD or, you know, for clinical psychology, you have to complete an internship prior to your PhD. So I did my internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, and, um, worked with just a wonderful team of mentors and behavior analysts, uh, Dr. LewisHagopian and Wayne Fisher and Kathleen Piazza and, um, Michael Cataldo, and Jen Zarcone and Lynn Bowman and probably a hundred more, but, uh, wonderful people who really taught me a lot, particularly about, um, severe problem behavior.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (22:38):

And, um, once I completed my postdoc, I was in a position where I was thinking about what do I want to do? And there were two career paths in front of me. One was, um, to become a clinical director at an autism program on the East coast. And the other was, um, a visiting assistant professor position on the West coast at Claremont McKenna college. And, um, you know, I had really always envisioned that I would be a practicing psychologist, a clinician clinical director, that kind of thing. Um, however, some of my faculty mentors, um, thought that academia might be a good option for me, that I had potential as a teacher and a researcher. And particularly my major professor really encouraged me to think about, he knew that the primary reason I wanted to be in this field was really about, um, the good I could do in the world, right.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (23:55):

Um, going all the way back to those kids that I encountered in that volunteer position, just experiencing this burden of like, I have to help try to make some of these lives better. And, you know, he really encouraged me to think about how much I could do directly as the clinician serving these children versus a professor who could teach others to do the same thing. And, you know, that was 24, 25 years ago. There were not that many, uh, graduate programs or undergraduate programs where you could get this kind of training. And so there was a real need in the field to have people who could spark that interest and, and mission. And so I wasn't sure if the job itself was going to be enjoyable, but the mission was appealing. And so I, even though it was less money and, um, scary, cause I didn't like public speaking.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (25:08):

I took the position as a visiting assistant professor at Claremont McKenna college. And I was, um, one of the reasons I was willing to do it was that it was a temporary position. And you know, what my mentors told me is it'll be a lot easier. You can always get a job in clinical practice coming from academia, but it's really hard to go the other way because the contingencies in clinical practice don't really support the kind of outcomes that are going to be valued when people want to hire you as a professor, which is of course research publications. And so I thought, well, heck I'll just give it a try. And if I don't like it, I'll just be a year older. And you know, at least I'll have spent that year in Southern California, uh, hanging out and seeing, you know, what I like. So, um, I did like it.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (26:09):

Um, I ended up staying for two years at Claremont McKenna college and then joined the faculty at Western Michigan university. And, um, I joined the faculty of the clinical psychology program and then eventually also was appointed to the behavior analysis program. And, um, you know, one of the things that's happened in the field is that people have like, they view clinical psychology and behavior analysis as really different things. And it just didn't used to be that way. You know, people like me like Pat Fryman, like, um, Kathleen Piazza, Wayne Fisher, there weren't really very many behavior analysis programs and you are more likely to have gotten your PhD in clinical or school psychology and behavior analysis is what you did. Um, so there was not this kind of distinct profession. Um, and so I was, uh, on the faculty of both the clinical psychology programming and the behavior analysis program for, um, nine years at Western and then, um, moved to Auburn university to take a faculty position, running an applied master's program in, um, uh, behavior analysis and intellectual disabilities.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (27:38):

And, you know, that was, um, that was a career choice that really reflected for me, um, an appreciation for the growing need to have well trained practitioners. Um, I had produced a good number of PhDs at Western as well as master students. And what I was seeing is that we really had plenty of PhDs now and that what the growing need was for master students, but for master's students who really had the right training with the right background, not only in concepts and principles and application of procedures, but critical, scientific thinking and structured systematic decision making, don't just behave, know why you behave the way you do and know what variable should be controlling your decision, making it every step of the way. And I, wasn't seeing a lot of programs at only the master's level that were heavily focused on producing that kind of repertoire rather than producing graduates, who might go on to a different program to get their PhD.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (29:09):

Um, and so the notion of running a, not a PhD Lite, but a master's program that was specifically designed to produce really motivated and highly qualified practitioners kind of went back to that original mission of why I was ever a faculty member. Anyway, it wasn't necessarily to, you know, do a bunch of research, although really like research or produce a bunch of researchers. Although in fact, some of that happened, it was to help people be ready to help those kids who are in dire circumstances and will have dramatically worse lives. If they don't have a qualified person who's ready to make meaningful decisions to help given the constraints of the environments they live in, which are often wildly constraining and imperfect. So I did that for 15 years as a faculty member before I ever went to trumpet.

Shauna Costello (30:31):

Oh my gosh, so much. And I mean, I knew that because I'm a Western grad, so I knew that you were at Western. And can I just say, I'm very mad that you left Western before I got there, just going to throw that out. It's okay. Jessica did a very good job. So I credit, I credit her for many, many things for all the good things. Yeah. And I mean, you do, then you went to Trumpet and did the kind of stuff there, and you have your own consulting business now that you keep up and going. And I know that you're down with ABA tech a lot and you help us with a lot of things. And I mean, yeah, you're presenting a lot in disseminating behavior analysis and this is just another part of that. So I think, so I've always been the kind of person who, um, likes to do a lot of different things.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (31:32):

Um, and so, you know, I will say my decision to leave the Academy and then go back to a bigger version, but that same job as, um, an executive director of a service delivery program, you know, 17 years down the line, um, was probably surprising to some people. Um, but it really wasn't all that surprising to at least some people who knew my history and my motivations. And so, you know, again, it was the opportunity to, um, have an impact at scale for a lot of clients, but it also was, um, a great opportunity to have a new intellectual challenge. And I think that's something that, um, that's, it's an important part of professional growth to recognize when you are, um, uh, beginning to satiate a bit on certain reinforcers and need change and intellectual challenge. And the fact that you've satiated a bit on certain reinforcers, doesn't make those reinforcers less awesome.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (33:04):

And so to any of my colleagues out there who are professors and, you know, love their jobs, I'm glad they're doing them. And so the fact that I made that choice, shouldn't be taken as a negative reflection on the tremendous value and just the amazing experience of teaching and mentoring other people, um, in higher education. In fact, I, part of the reason why I'm hanging out with ABA tech and Florida tech so much is because there are things about that, that I really miss. It's not the grading. Let me assure you other things I really miss, but that notion of, you know, you may be doing a similar thing for a long time and kind of feel like I, uh, I'm pretty good at this. I've kind of mastered the challenges of this job. And I've done pretty well with it, and I want a new challenge.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (34:15):

I want to have to figure it out. I want to be in a position where I don't know exactly what to do, and I have to try something, not knowing exactly what the outcome will be or research new areas in order to be able to make a well-reasoned decision. And I think I was feeling that very powerfully. And so stepping on to an executive team of a large organization with services and, you know, 10 different States and a variety of you know, um, challenges associated with growth and quality and, um, you know, kind of entering that environment as a systems builder and change leader was an amazing new challenge which really put me in a position to amp up my OBM skills and systems analysis and design skills and, and leadership skills. And, um, I had repertoires that were well suited to the position. One of those was, um, my reliance on literature and conceptual analysis to guide what I do in any area, whether it's, you know, deciding how you're going to run an organization or deciding how you're going to design a day service program for people with dementia or designing how you're going to, um, do programming for, uh, an individual who needs to learn new skills.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (36:09):

Um, but that was a tremendously exciting challenge and it's heavily informed what I do now and what I love about my current position as, um, um, a business owner and independent consultant is that I do have the opportunity to use these various skill sets that I've acquired over a career, doing various things to help others. So I have some clients that are higher education clients like Florida tech and ABA tech, um, and other, uh, clients that are technology software companies and other clients that are, um, human service organizations. And I'm able to work with the leaders of those organizations either to help them refine their systems and processes or to produce products that are useful to them. And that are also really exciting for me to build. So I feel like the luckiest consultant in the world, because I really, really like every one of my clients and the work that I'm able to do with them. And, um, it's still leaves me room to do have a side hustle, like editing Java.

Shauna Costello (37:38):

I know I was going to say that was just last year the year before. I know it was recently that you were appointed as the head editor. Yes. So congratulations on that as well. Um, but I completely relate to your story a little bit flip flop. So, um, I was clinical and I always knew I wasn't going to stay in it forever, but I lasted about three years before I was like, can't do it anymore. Like my mind is going crazy. Um, and so I actually went on and did some independent consulting for about six months just because I don't know what I want to do. So I'm like, I'm going to take this time, do some independent consulting, which in Michigan, I was very lucky that there was a option to do that independent consulting on my own time, still be able to pay for things while I was looking for the job that I wanted. Um, and they knew that when I got that position, um, and so that's what brought me to ABA Tech, cause I was like, this sounds great. And so, but I did that same thing. Like, I'm not quite sure where I'm going to go next or what I'm going to do, but so I completely relate to that.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (39:02):

Yeah, and you know, at each of my stops were somewhat lengthy. Um, and you know, I guess I don't want you to be able to derive my age, but let's just say I'm working on about a 30 year career, um, in this gag. And one of the new challenges that I'm doing right now is, um, completing a book on supervision and mentorship with my coauthors, Dr. Tyra Sellers and Dr. Shallah Ali. And, um, and these wonderful ladies have been great colleagues and we really serve as, um, peer mentors to each other. It's the first book that any of us have written. And so we've been kind of figuring out that endeavor, um, together. And one of the chapters in the book that, um, that we're just working on finishing up right now is really on, um, resilience and career sustainability. I very often have seen, um, clinicians who are two to three years in and they're overwhelmed and burnt out. And Oh, no. And I don't know if I want to do this anymore. And, um, that breaks my heart when you look back to, okay, what was my original mission? And I hope that a lot of those students that I trained, uh, don't did not end up in that boat if you're out there and you are still practicing and doing that clinical work and you're six, eight, 10 years in, yay for you, we need you, we need you, we need that more experienced workforce.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (41:08):

And also people need some sustainability in their career, um, to feel like they've kind of gotten over that initial hump and have moved past basic competence towards a little bit of proficiency. The real I got this, which to be honest with, you doesn't come probably until, I don't know, sometimes five to 10 years down the road, much less expertise, you know, which can come after that. And, um, you know, that chapter on resilience and career sustainability covers a lot of good ground. I think some of it being just how to have any job and career in a healthy way that is, um, meaningful and, uh, you feel effective and not overwhelmed and you're managing your life and your choices and your time and, and doing so in a way that makes you, um, feel more like you have a robust life and, and building that emotional resilience and your community to support that emotional resilience, but also recognize that you are the captain of your own professional development ship and that, um, you can make a career pivot or, um, my colleague Tyra Sellers calls it a lane change.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (42:52):

I'm going to still do something in behavior analysis, but it's going to be a little bit different or it's going to be, uh, you know, different environment, different challenges. I think there's a lot to be said for adding on a challenge. Some people feel like I've already got too much on my plate. I don't know why I've never listened to that part of my brain that says you have too much on your plate. Don't say yes to anymore. My husband says I should listen to that part a little more cause I get you just keep adding things on. But to be honest with you, that's one of the ways that I was able to be a professor for 15 years was I would think like, gosh, are you, I want to add on something new. And so I began to create clinical service opportunities or research opportunities let's say in gerontology.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (43:45):

So I explored a new dimension within my same kind of, um, uh, career parameters or what have you. I think that early warning sign, either of I'm, I'm getting a little burnt out and overwhelmed, or I'm getting a little bored and need new stimulation gives you that opportunity and runway to calmly make those choices about what your next opportunities are going to be. I think that the, the, there are so many more different options for employment now than when I was coming out of graduate school, that it can almost, I think, um, lead people to bounce around. Well, let me try this, let me try this. Let me try this notice, that's what I did too. Like, why don't we try this professors gig? Let me try this. Um, I, I hope that that experience of kind of bouncing somewhat quickly every three to five years, which actually is somewhat quickly.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (45:09):

I hope that, um, that doesn't happen as much because I think the downside is that never get to that beyond competent to that proficient and expert level. And I think our field needs that we need calm seasoned leaders and what have you. Um, but people need that, you know, that, that knowledge that I kinda got this, I know some stuff and I'm crushing this, um, is a, is a powerful one that really can change how you see yourself. Um, it certainly changes how others see you, but how you see yourself and how others see you are not necessarily different reflections from the same mirror. You know, my, um, my teenager is, um, has a kind of interesting life in some ways because, um, both of his parents are relatively well known within this field of behavior analysis. And so if we, you know, we go to a conference or here or there, he kinda knows people think we're important, but to be honest with you, our lives primarily are, you know, going to the debate tournament and dropping off at school and going the grocery store.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (46:45):

And we're not anything special there. And so, but, but to know, I do have parents that are not just, that are really proficient and really know their discipline well and have helped others to know the discipline. Well, um, I hope is a powerful gift that we've given him.

Shauna Costello (47:14):

No, that's, yeah, that's wonderful. And I mean, even that talking about that chapter and you know, how you even use it in your life as well, it's so important because one thing I've noticed this is completely anecdotal and completely just correlational, nothing, no real actual information here. Exactly. One thing I noticed about a lot of the behavior analysts that I know is they are always working. They're always trying to get their stuff done. They're always making sure they're on top of their game. They're, they're just these, like, go, go, go, go, go. And so, um, I know that, uh, it was, you know, I, I had to find a job that worked for me. Um, but another thing, like you said, you keep adding things to your plate. I also do that because one thing I found out is I'm more productive. The more busy I am cause I, my time management skills get much better. So, um, so at the same time, like, you know, that's, uh, that's been a learning curve for me is I had to learn how to no, you're going to take this time for yourself.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (48:31):

I think so. And you do, we have, there are some other chapters in the book that specifically focus on, uh, organization and time management skills and, um, how those need to evolve in any situation, the organization, time management skills that you used in a prior situation might inform what you do now, but it shouldn't necessarily be the crux. If your strategies, organization and time management don't evolve with the changing demands, you will feel the crushing burden of there's not enough time, right? And you know, people often ask me, well, like Linda, how do you do it? Like I have exactly the same number of minutes in the day as any other behavior analyst. It's not magic, I don't have more time. I just do more with the same amount of time and not because I have special neurons, I got the same kind of, uh, electrical, current firing as everybody else. I behave differently with response in response to my environment. That's it.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (49:57):

I block out and protect time to plan, organize and, um, manage, uh, my tasks. And I, um, have gotten better and better at estimating exactly how long things are going to take. And when they it's longer than that, I immediately try to analyze why. And I think, there's no time for I'm upset or I'm frustrated, or I'm worried about that took longer, like, okay, that took longer. Why did it take longer than I thought, did I estimate wrong or did I behave wrong?

Shauna Costello (50:40):

It's usually I behave wrong.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (50:43):

And then fix that, you know? So to me, my later life, um, time management and efficiency skills are all related to get over yourself and just do a better job at it. And, you know, I know that sounds probably a little more brutal then most people want to hear like, people like doing all this self care stuff.

Shauna Costello (51:12):

You're speaking to the queen of brutal so it's okay.

Dr. Linda Leblanc (51:14):

For me, self care is just about, um, uh, don't waste time on guilt and worry and all that crap, um, use exactly that same amount of time on functional problem solving. You know, do I need to write differently? Do I need to write a different time? Do I need to manage my email differently? Do I need to do it at a different time? Do I need to have different things in front of me? Um, and so that kind of, um, ability to provide my own feedback and shape my own behavior towards greater efficiency, it comes from the wonderful mentors that I had early on, who gave me the feedback that I responded to, but noticing how did I respond to that? And why did they give me that feedback? And how did it make me better? And more efficient is what puts you in a position to later become your own best shape or of, of your, uh, behavior. And, um, so there are several chapters in the book that are explicitly designed to help people, uh, began to develop those skills. So, anyway, I don't want to talk any more about book. This isn't supposed to be a promo, but I do think, you know, the other question about where's the field going, uh, is related to that. So I don't know if you want to hear, and then one other question.

Shauna Costello (52:58):

That's perfect. So yes, I mean, that kind of goes into where we're going, is the big loaded question. Thank you for listening to operant innovations. And as always, if you have questions, comments, or feedback, please feel free to reach out to us at


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