Each year I try to always look back and reflect on what I have learned and changed in my life, both personally and professionally. We really put a priority on personal development at Champion. This helps me to grow and evolve as I learn each year, plus, helps me set goals for the upcoming new year.
If you don’t also reflect back on what you have learned and changed, I think you are missing out on a huge opportunity to grow. Too many people in our fields spend all their energy defending their beliefs instead of keeping an open mind and evolving.
I’ll share some of the things I learned in 2017, but if you are interested, I’d love to read in the comments what you have learned that has changed your approach this year. By sharing, we can all grow.
Ego is the Enemy
Early in the year I read a great book called Ego is the Enemy, by Ryan Holliday. I thought it was great and had a big impact on my year.
Usually when we think of ego, we think of it in a bad way. But that’s not always the case and not what I took from the book.
Being egotistical all the time can be bad, but often times we just do things for the wrong reasons, that I believe often limit us and inhibit our growth.
I actually used this mindset a lot this year, and said “no” more than any past year in my career. I am a big fan of establishing goals. If a project wasn’t right and didn’t ultimately lead to my goals, I said “no.” In the past I have felt like I have always said “yes” to everything for the fear of missing out. That to me was saying “yes” for my ego.
From a business perspective, think of it this way, rather than building a new service for your facility to make money or gain notoriety, or essentially to boost your ego, build a new service to actually help people achieve their goals.
It’s surprising to me when I clearly see people advertise things that are clearly just for them, not for the consumer. If your motivation behind the program is sincere, things will always work out better for you, and you’ll make that money and gain that notoriety organically.
EliteBaseballPerformance.com is a great example of this concept for me. I started the website because I was sick of all the garbage and marketing around baseball development that I saw online. We needed a trustworthy place for information for players, parents, coaches, and rehab/fitness specialist.
I didn’t start it to make money, in fact I’m well in the hole financially, I did it to help the game of baseball, which I’m passionate about. Will we offer products on it in the future and make money, sure, but we won’t offer these products with the goal of making money, that will be the side benefit. We’ll offer them to help our mission and the game of baseball.
We also did this when we launched our new Elite Pitching Performance Program at Champion this winter. We could have charged triple what we did, but it wasn’t about the money, it was about giving back to the local teams in the area and building what I believe is the best and more comprehensive pitching development program in the country. It wasn’t about my ego, it was about helping these kids achieve their goals, heck their dreams, by taking their baseball career to the next level.
This year I really reflected on my decisions and said, am I doing this for the right reasons, or for my own ego?
Simple is Still Better
Man, are we getting carried away in the rehab and fitness fields with the latest trends and fads. It seems like every day there is a new post on social media that blows my mind by taking such huge leaps in rationale.
I’ve always been complimented on my presentations for one main reason – people have told me I make the complicated more simple.
As social media continues to become a contest of who can make simple things more complicated, I’ve been doing the exact opposite.
Students are graduating school right now with set mindsets and opinions that complicated systems are the definitive answer. Wow, I wish everyone realized there are no definitive answers.
But more alarming to me is that they haven’t learned how to actually treat a shoulder, yet think the first thing they must tackle is diaphragmatic breathing. Sure, that may be important but is that your primary focus? Is that how you want to spend your VERY limited time with your client?
At Champion, we always focus on the low hanging fruit first. You’ll hear us say that a lot.
I’ve talked about this in the past with things like the concept Kinetic Chain Ripple Effect and my post on The Problem with the Kinetic Chain Concept. Sure, it stinks that your left big toes doesn’t extend. But there are about 50 other things I would work on first that will be more impactful for someone with shoulder pain.
Students and new grads – Master the basics first, then expand your approach to focus on the more complicated. You’ll get much better results.
As I look back on the year, I’m focusing on the basics and keeping it simple more than ever, and I believe my outcomes just keep getting better.
Our Assessments Must Have 2 Components
When I first started physical therapy school more than 20 years ago, we were a very “joint-based” profession. We weren’t thinking globally and we were very focused on the person’s symptoms.
Over the last couple of decades, the “functional” approach has taken priority with a focus on movement quality, which is great.
At Champion this year, we took a big step back and assessed our own evaluation process. We essentially said, each of our evaluations must have two components:
- A structural examination
- A movement assessment
Our treatment sessions and our performance programs all focus on both. If you are still focused on only one of these, you are really missing the boat.
As with anything, pendulums shift and we are probably starting to lean more towards the movement side of the assessment on our profession. But, I think this will come back to the middle at some point.
You must look both structurally and functionally.
The Right Way to Use Social Media
I’m really proud of so many young professionals getting themselves out there on social media. I believe that sharing our knowledge is a key component of our own personal growth.
But, I’m not sure most are doing it right, or least what I would consider “right.”
I’m not sure we need another post on the plank, and I’m not sure we need to be making our own “quotes” as if we are all brilliant prophets.
I want to see more people educating and making posts for their clients.
This year I tried to keep it simple and not about my ego, make it more about helping people (see the recurring themes from above?). Remember, we are in a service industry.
Want some examples of people I think doing it right?
Here are some links to Instagram profiles you should follow and model yourself after, like I have:
- @achievefitnessboston – My friends Jason and Lauren Pak may have the best IG account going right now, with excellent quality content. Their approach to things like making strength training less intimidating to the masses is a great example of people doing it right through education and focusing their posts on helping people, not themselves.
- @shiftmovementscience – Dave Tilley shares his passion about improving gymnastics. Not 1 ounce of what he does is about his ego, it’s about the athletes he helps and the sport he loves.
- @fitnesspainfree – Dan Pope has been sharing his knowledge and walks the walk about high level fitness athletes.
- @syattfitness – It’s been fun to watch Jordan build his online presence, sharing a TON of simple but impactful content
- More of our crew at Champion, and some newbies to the online world are @lenmacpt, @kieferlammi, and @mikescadutodpt, who are building their online presence the right way with great educational content from the start.
What Have You Learned?
Now’s a great time to reflect on what you have learned this year. Again, I would love to hear about it in the comments below, but even if you don’t share I encourage you to reflect on the past year on your own.
Good luck in 2018!