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Reflections on “The Alchemist”

“The shop is exactly the size I always wanted it to be. I don’t want to change anything, because I don’t know how to deal with change. I’m used to the way I am.”

This is nothing like me, but we have met all types.

I personally thrive on change. I haven’t held a single position for more than a couple of years. One of the reasons I really enjoyed working for a larger company was that I could move through the company relatively easy and learn other jobs, without sacrificing my place in the company or benefits.

When I worked at Sam’s club, I started as a “cart boy” (man do I miss Don and Howard). I moved to cashier, where I held the title of Big Dog (only those that worked their would get it, but it was the person who scanned the most items per hour) many times. I worked at the service desk, as a cashier supervisor, overnight stocking, tire and battery center and freezer cooler.

Those that know me, know that I don’t know a damn thing about cars. Over time, I could do a set of 4 tires in less than 15 minutes from the time the car hit the lift to the time the tires hit the ground.

My first day in TMA resulted in me needing a drug test! Got to love Bill Foster for saving my job that day. I was told to drive a large older ford into the garage. What they didn’t tell me was that I had to take the turn wide using a three point turn. I took it tight (I had no clue), and I was scraping the side of the truck against the brick building for about 1/2 the bed. The truck was so loud that I couldn’t hear it.

Bill Foster comes running out giving the stop sign like a third base coach. I hopped out without a clue of what had happened.

He sold me as an incompetent idiot to the owner of the truck, as it being my first day on the job…and let me tell you that I was very grateful to be called that because the guy totally calmed down and was happy to get a new paint job. It was the first and only time that I had to be drug tested for being an imbecile.

If you live in Joliet and know Bill Foster, thank him for saving my job that day.

Don’t be afraid of change…what’s the worse that can happen?

A new paint job.

Reflections on “The Alchemist” Part XV

“The closer one gets to realizing his personal legend, the more that personal legend becomes true reason for being, thought the boy.”

Working…playing…living.

I used to go to work to collect a paycheck. It was alright, I had other passions that were more important. Some may not know, but I was previously a competitive strength athlete, having placed 2nd in IL in both powerlifting and Strongman. If you don’t believe me, check this out (https://youtu.be/Z-BXSbcpwRw).

I’ve since quit competitive lifting, but still needed that outlet of playtime. “Work” has become play. Each patient that presents to the clinic is a new puzzle that I get to piece together. There are so many facets to the puzzle. Movement is obvious…I’m a PT…there will be movement. Personality is another. Beliefs and biases. Teaching the patient and learning from the patient.

Living. I’ve heard it a couple times this week alone. A patient walks into the clinic and says either “it’s like a miracle” or “it’s like magic”. My xyz is almost gone or completely gone. Symptoms that had been present for days, weeks, months, decades seem to vanish with simple treatments that patients can perform at home.

Did I mention I love my job?

If not, I love my job. I still get goosebumps when I get this response. It’s like a kid in a candy store. I have to keep from wetting myself I get so excited to hear these phrases. Although it makes me feel good to help the patient get back to their previously lifestyle. It’s a different feeling for me.

It’s like beating Bowser. It’s up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right B, A, B, A, select start.

Yeah…it’s that feeling. It far surpasses money. It’s about the game.

Reflections on “The Alchemist” Part XVI

“When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”

A long time ago, I was unsure of what to do as a profession. I prayed and prayed between going to medical school and going into education. After much prayer, I decided to become a high school teacher. I thought I would teach biology since science always came easy to me.

After attending Joliet Junior College, my goal was sidetracked by a want. I wanted to experience the college life and the city life. I chose to go to UIC in order to experience the city. Little did I know, they didn’t offer a biology secondary education program. I was more interested in experiencing the college life than teaching biology, so I signed up to be a Spanish teacher. To me it was like a compromise. Mind you, I didn’t speak Spanish outside of what everyone learned in high school. I should’ve put a little more thought into that decision. I spent a year at UIC studying mostly Spanish and experiencing the city through tours, classes and groups. It was a very expensive year…which I’m still paying off. In the end, I came to my senses and realized that the Spanish language just isn’t why I want to spend my entire career around.

I transferred to Governors State University to finally study Biology secondary education. I made it through the program and during one of my student teaching experiences, I realized that politics never go away. This situation was enough for me to not want to be a part of the education profession.

Luckily for me, one of the courses I took was taught by a PT professor with PT students in the course. Because the body has always made sense to me, it was a blow-off course for me, but many of the PT students struggled.

The professor came up to me and noted that if I applied to PT school that I would definitely get into the program. I had no intentions of becoming a PT initially. Aside from a short bout of PT after surgery when I was younger, I didn’t even know why PTs really did aside from follow the protocol by the surgeon.

I had my plans of becoming a teacher squashed. I had nothing better to do at the time, so I applied to PT school. I didn’t realize how hard it was to get into a PT program because I was essentially recruited into the profession.

I still think about that day at Loyola University kneeling at the statue of Jesus by the lake. It’s one of those things in which the best laid plan is laughable by God. I had no clue that my life would go into this direction.

Now that I’m here, I feel I should make the most of it. These past two years have really pushed my comfort level and people have noticed. UpDoc Media tanked me in the top 40 in the country, as an influencer in 2017. The local newspaper, that I read growing up, ran a two page article about my journey. I’ve impacted many kids in our community both through my story and volunteering.

I’m not at the place I want to be financially, but I think that after 12 years in this profession that I am starting to find my place.

Reflections on “The Alchemist” Part XIII

“People need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they need and want.”

This is something that it took me time to figure out. I was afraid of making the jump back to private practice physical therapy because of the lifestyle that I had grown accustomed to living.

When making this jump, I wasn’t thinking about the sacrifices we would have to make, such as no vacations for awhile, making dinner at home instead of Chiptle, brewing our own coffee instead of going to Dublin (because Starbucks is too expensive even when doing well).

Essentially, what I had to decide is…is the sacrifice worth it? Do I think I’m too good that I can’t go back to living the same way I grew up in order to achieve a long term goal?

Have I gotten so used to living easy that I’m above making sacrifices?

The answer is no. I made a jump and failed. It’s okay. We still have the basics and a roof over our head.

This simply means that we lived to take another risk. I landed back on my feet, but have to work longer hours than previously.

My wife is the true hero of this story. She is the one that (wo)mans the fort while I’m off trying to save the world. Without her as the cornerstone, I wouldn’t be able to attempt any of the goals that I have succeeded and failed while attempting.

For all, take a risk, when you are ready and able. Don’t make the leap if you can’t afford to fail. Don’t stay in a failing business if the end result is a major impact on your or your family’s health.

As long as a failure is not a figurative death blow, nothing ventured nothing lost or gained.