We shouldn’t wait until Thanksgiving each day to express publicly what we are thankful for. Unfortunately, that is too often the case. Giving thanks to the blessings in your own life daily is a proven method to battle stress, decrease anxiety, and improve overall happiness. This can be done simply through dedicated thought, verbally with another person, or via a gratitude journal. If you are not already in the practice of identifying three things you are grateful for each day, start doing so! And when you do, I recommend going a little deeper than just “what” you are thankful for and dive into the “why” you are grateful for it. Establishing the “why” develops a deeper meaning and connection to the “what”.
In honor of this Thanksgiving Day, here is my list of professionally related items I am thankful for (and why!).
With any endeavor, it’s important to find your “why”. As in, why are you doing this? I know my “why”: my wife and two daughters. Nearly everything I do is for them. Prior to having a family, everything I did was because I was “suppose to” or “wanted to” as a maturing adult: go to college, get good grades, go to PT school, exercise, get a job, etc. I still do a lot of those things now but for a different purpose. Previously, I exercised in attempt to look good naked. Now I exercise so I can play with my kids and increase my longevity. I still earn an income, but now my focus is on my family’s financial health, providing my family with a comfortable lifestyle, and saving for college (and weddings….). Even this content platform was established with them in mind as I begin to think about life after my military career.
Being in the Military
I now have been active duty Army for over 10 years, all as either a physical therapy student or as a licensed physical therapist. Though there may have been times I griped about the military lifestyle, I am truly grateful for it for many reasons. First, I graduated from a top-five PT program without student loans and with immediate job placement. Second, though the nomadic life of moving every few years has been challenging, we have met some great people we are still friends with and have had the opportunity to see places we may not have otherwise. Third, the positions and responsibilities the Army has placed upon me early in my career have developed me personally and professionally. Six months after graduation, I was independently operating the equivalent of a small PT practice. Less than three years after graduating, I was managing a primary care clinic with multiple ancillary services (radiology, lab, mental health, PT, optometry, etc.). These types of work experiences are not often available to young professionals outside the military, so I am thankful I have been given these opportunities. Lastly, I am grateful for being in the military as it is a privilege to serve our country and help our Soldiers who have sacrificed their physical and mental health to preserve the rights and freedoms we all treasure.
I believe the explosion and popularity of CrossFit over the past 10+ years has been extremely advantageous for the physical rehab profession. Yes, CrossFit may have increased physical therapy, chiropractic, and massage businesses worldwide, but that is not what I am referring to. Because of CrossFit, more PTs have been able to branch outside the traditional PT practice, blending the rehab and strength/conditioning worlds together. More and more PTs are establishing partnerships with local affiliates which 1) allows the PT to work with a patient population they are more interested in, and 2) better serves the CrossFit community. Additionally, medical providers are now attending more courses geared towards strength and conditioning in order to better understand and help their patients, and more high-quality courses are being created to mesh medical and physical fitness concepts.
Discussing CrossFit above smoothly transitions us into the next item on my list: the hybrid physios (physical therapist / coach). Individuals and institutions such as (but certainly not limited to) The Barbell Physio, Barbell Rehab, Squat University, Clinical Athlete, and MobilityWOD have done an outstanding job blending the rehab and physical fitness worlds. Their content is truly awesome, and I am appreciative of their dedicated time and effort to advance the profession. I certainly have learned a TON from individuals such as these, and they have paved the way for many other providers.
I am thankful for physical therapy practices going against the established norm and providing one-on-one care instead of juggling multiple patients. These clinics are refreshing as many of us quickly become burned out due to high patient volumes, pressure from employers to see more patients, and low insurance reimbursement rates. Additionally, they are placing more value in the services we provide. Special shout out to Vertex PT Specialists in Columbia, SC for the opportunity to work part-time under this model as being a part of this structure has personally been rejuvenating. Also, shout out to Athletes Potential in the Atlanta area. Spending a day with Dr. Matta a few years back was my first exposure to this model, and it was truly eye-opening.
Technology / Social Media / Podcasts
I oftentimes think technology has physically and socially harmed society, and I know many agree. However, technological advances, especially more recently with social media and podcasts, have been instrumental in my personal and professional growth. Instead of having to fetch for current evidence and best practices, I am able to let the information come to me. It really is time saving, and I am able to subscribe to information more applicable to my interests and occupation. Podcasts are great, too. The wealth of information available is incredible and easily accessible. Plus, nowadays, you can find many podcasts on any topic. Instead of music, my commute to and from work are spent learning from other physical therapist clinicians (Ask Mike Reinold Show, Untold Physio Stories), PT entrepreneurs (The Cash-Based Practice Podcast, The PT Entrepreneur Podcast), and strength/conditioning specialists (Doc & Jock Podcast, Barbell Shrugged, RDella Training).
Books are also an excellent source for knowledge and information. Lately, I have been trying to dedicate more time each day reading books to help with my own personal and professional growth. Specifically, I tend to pick books outside clinical practice and have been spending more time reading books about leadership, business, and personal finances.
These are just a few of the things I am thankful for today. I could easily go on but both kids are now awake, so time to go play dad on this wonderful holiday. I hope you all can easily find multiple things to be thankful for today. I encourage you to reflect on them and share them with the world. Afterward, spend time with those you cherish, watch football, and sabotage your diet with some good food!
1 Corinthians 15:57
Thank God that he gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.