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Community

Some of us really want to do good things for our community.

What is better than spreading joy?

The first time Inout on the nose I had thoughts of Patch Adams. It brought a smile immediately.

Why not spread that feeling?

The best part was that the proceeds went to help childhood poverty.

#rednoseday

Thanks to Rosattis , First Presbyterian Church of Joliet, Joliet Area Historical Museum, Spanish Community Center, Alzadas for taking the time for a photo.

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Why Rush

I came across this quote today in Black Belt Magazine. (Read topics from other fields because you will expand your knowledge and may find information that applies to your mastery).

This quote is perfect for the profession of physical therapy.

Are you in this profession for the long term?

If so, study every day. Learn a little bit every day. Master a topic every day. You have time to reach that mastery. You have you’re entire career to become a master at physical therapy.

If this is a stepping stone to something else (I ain’t gonna hate ya for it), then why bother to master anything at all?

If your goal is to go into the business of owning a clinic, teaching courses, becoming a professor, then it doesn’t matter if you “master the profession”. It only matters that you master that which is your goal.

Happy thought for the day.

Police ride along for the day

The Joliet Police Department was gracious enough to allow me to do a ride along. I had an eventful night and learned about adrenaline and the following adrenaline dump. I was so exhausted and only did half a shift.

If you get the chance to go on a ride along to see how well they work together and how well they patrol the area, you should take the opportunity to see the city from a different perspective.

Monk and the Merchant: a personal perspective

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Part 2 of the Monk and the Merchant.

five “Take responsibility for problems that are the result of your own bad decisions. Don’t displace the blame”

 

I’ve taken accountability for my actions for as long as I can remember.  Growing up, my dad was a huge influence on me.  There were many sayings that he would consistently use and I’ll list them here to give you an idea what growing up in a household with my dad was like:

  1. If it was after 6 AM and I wasn’t awake, this phrase would always come out “You’ve already slept away half of the morning…Are you planning on sleeping your life away?”
  2. “Either get busy living or get busy dying”
  3. “We send you to school, buy you books and THIS is what we get?!”
  4. “I just don’t understand…and I don’t think I ever will”

Mind you, I started hearing these phrases at an age of 5, probably sooner, but that is the earliest recollection of these phrases.

 

I haven’t always made good decisions.  When I was 13 I was caught shoplifting.  I was a chronic shoplifter and I kept it hidden from everyone.  I would steal for no other reason than the thrill of the challenge.  It didn’t matter what I would steal, as I would typically throw it away or give it away later.  Mind you, these were bad decisions and I don’t condone it.  I was making mistakes and it took getting caught to actually see the error of my ways.  I was actually proud of myself for getting away with it for so many years prior to getting caught.  My mother couldn’t understand and we had a long discussion about this.  She tried to understand the motivation.  My dad on the other hand didn’t even try to understand.

 

Let me paint you a picture.  My dad is a Vietnam Veteran.  He was a Medic for the 101st Airborne (Screaming Eagles).  He was a light sleeper and would wake up every night at 1 AM to do a check throughout the house.  He would wake up between 3:00 AM and 3:30 AM every day, even on weekends.  When I got home from getting caught shoplifting, my mom woke up my dad to inform him of what happened.  He pulled me into the room and had a short conversation with me.  There was no punishment.  He simply said, “Son, I’m disappointed in you”

 

You have to understand my background.  I am the youngest of seven and the one that was supposed to stay out of trouble.  Those words that my dad, my Superman, said to me that night completely changed my life.  I have never done anything and would never do anything to make my dad feel disappointed in me again.

 

I had to pay back a $2,000 fine to the place that I was caught and have been straight-laced since.

Principle six “See challenges as stepping stones, not as obstacles”

Joliet Junior College is the oldest community college. One of the few classes throughout my academic career that was my bane was Chemistry 101 with Dr. Matthews at JJC.  I dropped this class twice, although the second time was because someone stole my lab work for the semester and I wasn’t able to complete all of the work on time.  I was working 2 jobs (Sam’s club from 3-9 PM and Eagle [no longer exists] from 10PM to 6AM).  Because of all the hours that I was putting in, I chose to take one semester of just chemistry with Dr. Matthews and made it through with an “A”. Knowing that I could tolerate discomfort made the rest of undergraduate “easy”.

Principle seven, “Be meek before God, but Bold before men.”

Getting back to some of the prayer conversations that I had with God (I highly recommend the series  of books regarding conversations with God), I was humbled before God when making my decision for a career. In this career, I have had to stand my ground many times.  As someone that cares deeply about the profession of physical therapy, I stood my ground many times and lost multiple jobs because I wouldn’t sacrifice my morals.

Principle eight, “Live debt free and below your means”

Hello Dave Ramsey! This is where the Ramsey influence comes into play.  I actually purchased this book at EntreLeadeship One Day.

 

You know that saying, If I knew then what I know now then there would be so many changes in life.  Like many, I am coming out with student loans and made some poor financial decisions over the years.  I am now digging out of the hole of debt.  Luckily, we have a big shovel to start digging out of the mess.

If you are in debt, this is a great plan to start following.  I paid off more debt in the previous year than I did in the 5 prior.

 

Principle nine, “Always keep to your budget”

This is something that is very difficult and takes practice.  It takes time to understand fixed and variable expenses.  Trying to cut fixed expenses is hard, but there are companies out there that work to reduce fixed expenses such as Bill Shark.  This company reduced our internet and phone bill.

Variable expenses such as going out have been greatly reduced as my family is attempting to get out of debt.  I’ve been out of school for 10 years and still have student loan debt around my neck.  We are planning on getting out of debt in the next two years, all except the mortgage for now.

 

Principle ten, “Loaning money destroys relationships”

I’ve never borrowed more than $20 dollars from friends or family because the guilt of being in debt to them changes the relationship.  I don’t think that it affects everyone the same way.  My brother has owed me $100 dollars for years and it’s just never going to be paid back.  I realize that, and it was the best $100 dollar lesson I could’ve learned.

Principle eleven, “set aside the first ten percent to honor God”

I have been much better at this over the years, but am no where near tithing.  Honoring God doesn’t mean that I have to give to the church.  I now donate to so many of the local charities and purchase gifts for kids in need during Christmas.  This was the first year that I did the kid’s gifts, but it felt great.  The thought that a kid wouldn’t have a gift to open is heartbreaking.  Pairing that with the fact that the only gifts that this particular kid wanted was winter clothes, jackets and boots made me sad.  Knowing that there are kids in this country that don’t have the basic necessities is heartbreaking.

I realized that giving to others is selfish in that the way that I feel after giving hasn’t been recreated by anything else I’ve done.

 

Principle twelve, “Understand the power of partnership”

The ship that won’t sail is a partnership. Understanding the power of partnership is important.  This principle goes beyond business.  A marriage is a partnership in which both individuals work to make the unit stronger over time.  I am still curious as to the power of the business partnership because one person always has more leverage than the other.  This leverage can be dangerous to the partnership because it can always be held over the other’s head.  If there is a 50/50 partnership, which includes 50/50 work ethic, I may be convinced otherwise.  I just haven’t seen it yet.

 

Thanks for reading and I hope you get something from the links provided in the article.

A personal synopsis of the Monk and the Merchant

My take on the Monk and the Merchant

Let me first say that I read through the first 30% of the book and got nothing from the book.  I was tempted to put the book down and just be done, but remembered that it was recommended by Dave Ramsey for a reason and just continued to trudge through it until the book piqued my interest.

This was my first lesson from the book: If I can build up my reputation and gain the trust of people, I will be able to lead them.  Had I not trusted in the words of Dave Ramsey, the author of many books and a highly ranked  podcast, I would have stopped reading.  If I can gain the trust of people in my immediate area and truly am altruistic in my teachings and business, then I can also achieve this type of success.

“Principal one: work hard and God will prosper you”

Hard work has never been an issue. As the son of a laborer, who never missed a day of work unless he had a fractured bone, work is expected. I never thought of work as performing God’s will. We were given the ability to bless those around us with our talents and through those blessings we receive thanks in the form of dollars. This aligns with Rabbi Daniel Lapin‘s theory that those that are paid much are only paid much because they affect many people. Watch the video here.

“It’s easy to have an idea. But it’s another thing to commit time and effort to it. “

This very much describes me. I have the attention span of a squirrel. If it can’t be done in 20 minutes, it’s probably not going to be done. Doing things like writing the blog, scanning paperwork into the computer system at work, creating presentations etc. etc. are not my strong points. In an average day I have so many ideas that it’s hard for me to even capture them. Acting upon those ideas is where I have difficulty. If anyone has ever listened to Barbell Shrugged I can very much relate with Mike Bledsoe. If you haven’t listened to it, I highly recommend it.

“… There are a lot of great ideas. But if we allow the negative influences of others to stop us, then we will never accomplish anything.“

This one is a great quote but doesn’t necessarily apply to me. Naysayers and negative influencers provide more fuel for me to perform the activity that they’re telling me that I’ll fail at. I think that if a person is so easily swayed by a negative influence, then the idea that they have is not very convincing. It’s easy to fight for something that you internalize, but hard to defend a fleeting thought against pressure from those held on high.

“So, the first principle is basically, ‘Seek God and decide what you want to do, and then do whatever it takes to make it happen.’ Oh, and work hard at it.”

I like that the quote mentions seeking counsel in God.  A long time ago as a student at Joliet Junior College, I was torn between going to medical school and becoming a teacher.  My prayers were answered in that I was to go to school to become a teacher.  During these prayer meditations, God spoke to me not to just become a teacher, but to also follow the path that it takes me to have an impact on many people.  At the time, I assumed that this meant that I would be able to affect many at once with my time as a teacher, but alas, I was wrong.  The path from studying education led me back to healthcare as a PT.  In this field I have influenced over 18,000 people with a blog, over 60 students, thousands of patients and multitudes of people through volunteering my time in this profession.

By the way…none of that would’ve happened without hard work in the process.

“Principle two: Financial prosperity is often connected to soul prosperity”

It’s so simple.  It doesn’t have to be difficult. Find that thing that lights up your heart and follow it.  It will not let you down!

I’ve never had a single position for more than 7 years and even that’s a stretch if you consider how many times I left that position and return.  Again…squirrel.

I have an obsessive demeanor.  I do that what I enjoy and do the hell out of it.  At some point, the joy dissipates and then goes away altogether.  At that time I go find something else that lights up my heart.  Some people love challenges; some people love helping others; some people love to be recognized; some people love to be paid.

Go find that thing that makes you smile. I find it incredible how many people that I come in contact with that do not know what makes their heart sing.  It must be hard to live like that.  How can one ever be satisfied? Happy? Complete? If one never finds that “thing” that makes their eyes shine, heart sing, and face light up, how hard must life be?

There are many ways to help people. Many ways to be challenged. Many ways to be recognized etc.  Once I feel completed at one version of helping others it’s time to move to a different version of the same theme.

It does become harder as one has more responsibility because each move affects more than just you.  For instance, it was easy to transition from pushing carts at Sam’s club (helping people) to putting on tires (helping people) because I had no responsibilities to anyone other than myself.  It was a much harder decision to go from a financially lucrative position at a local hospital to a private company with less financial incentive.  I had to have a conversation with my wife and we discussed how it would affect our family.  In the end, this change has allowed me to help more people than I ever could had I stayed at the hospital.

“Principle three: A man must do whatever he can to provide for his family”

This goes hand-in-hand with the last principle.  I have to provide for my family and that ranks right up at the top with personal satisfaction.  Because of the decision to leave the financial stability of the hospital, I’ve taken on a second job to try to narrow the gap between what I used to make and what I make now.  Again, work is not the problem, but other problems do arise.  For instance, it is now one additional day that I am away from my family.  One additional day that I don’t get to recharge.  One additional day in which I have responsibilities outside that of just my family.

We must question our decisions and determine if we are on the right track.  I am sure that I made the right decision to take the job at the lower paying position, but not sure if I need to keep the second job or choose a different path.

“Many men have robbed themselves of their destiny because they have allowed discouragement to rob them of their dreams”

I’ve been blessed throughout my life.  A good friend, Mary Jones, described my life like this. It goes beyond me though.  I’ve been blessed with a support system that treated me fair and always encouraged me to just keep going forward.

Not everyone has been as blessed and we all start the race at a different starting line, but we all must run.

Principle four “Trials develop your character, preparing you for increased blessings.”

As long as you don’t stay down, you will grow stronger and more resilient.  When you become stronger, more people will follow.  I’ve had many trials in life but was too dense at the time to know that quitting was an option.  I was too dense to know that there were other possibilities and that failure was an option.

These trials and difficulties, we all have them, have led me down the path.  We all have fears and skeletons in our closets that push us or create chips on our shoulders.

 

HOW one responds to those fears, skeletons, and chips will define WHO one becomes in life!

Excerpts from The legend of the Monk and the Merchant

Progress isn’t always linear

I went months without setting a PR when I was powerlifting. It was horrible. When I first started, I made gains weekly just by walking into the gym and breathing the musky air from the dungeon. I could stand next to the strongest guys, and women, in the world and get stronger from their aura. It wore off over time and I had to come out with some tactics to get stronger. I’ve used chains, rubber bands, static holds and changed the tempo of the repetition. I did what I had to in order to make progress, albeit slow progress at times.

Now, I’m a Doctor of PT and I am managing a clinic. During the Fall, times were a boomin’, but the winter brings with it a season of decreased want to leave the house. People don’t want to come to therapy multiple times per week in order to alleviate pains that have been there for years. “It can wait another month”, they think. “It can wait until winter’s over”, they think. If they only knew that the solution could be easy!

Wait…that’s my job to educate them!

I was once told that if you build it, they would come. Well, that guy was wrong and I’m busting my behind in order to get them to come.

These times of scarcity allow for some time to create my brand, donate my time to the communities and allow me to learn more about the people that I will serve. It’s hard to watch the numbers go down in the gym, but it’s very frustrating to know that I am going through these patterns over again 10 years later.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s the light from 10 years ago.

“Dealing with the temporary frustration of not making progress is an integral part of the path towards excellence.”

Christopher Sommer from the book Tools of Titans

Marathon or sprint

“Customers and employees come and go. Supporters are with you for the long haul.”

Blake Mycoskie, Founder of TOMS shoes

I recently took over as a manager in an outpatient physical therapy clinic. I would love to say that I came in and that business is booming, but it’s not so…yet. I’m busting my tail and those patients that have come into the clinic are no longer just patients. They are supporters. Heck, they might as well be a giant billboard walking around town. I’m getting new patients coming in and their doctors are telling them that they are hearing great things about me and the clinic! This is exciting. It takes a small event to create a ripple in the ocean. That one patient telling the prospective patient about me and the clinic is the rippling effect that I need.

Not everyone needs PT. It’s a shock to hear that coming from a PT! I’m telling you that you may not need my services, which in turn means that you won’t spend your hard earned money on my services. Financially, this statement hurts, but I learned from a wise business man that service to the people is the most important part in business. I had the opportunity to hear his story and ask questions about his journey. This man has a following, with me included in that line. He built a career on serving his customers and creating supporters.

This guy is one that I will attempt to emulate in the coming years. Doing good deeds can’t hurt anyone. When I go back and review these blog posts next year, I’ll give an update on my attempt to emulate the best businessman that I had the opportunity to chat with this year.

Thanks for reading.

“Fear can be useful”

As you can see, I’m in the middle of reading the book from Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoes.

I have never really had to work hard for anything. At least I don’t consider what I did hard work. I was comfortable. I had goals, but knew that they could be achieved with just a little bit of time and a continuation on the trajectory of life that I was on. BOY WAS I WRONG!

Things changed dramatically after our second child. Let’s paint a picture.

My awesome wife is a PTA and wants to go back to become a Doctor of Physical Therapy. We had our tentative plans on place for her to apply (and of course get accepted) into one of the two programs in the country that allow for this transition. We, meaning she, was pregnant at the time and were expecting to love after the baby was born.

Life happens and sometimes there are situations that you can’t predict or prepare for in life.

Our second daughter was born with Down Syndrome. We weren’t aware of it until the next day, as we were parents enjoying the birth of a child. Our lives changed that day. I can speak from my perspective.

I became afraid.

I wondered how will I support this child through adulthood?

I see and try to prepare for worst case scenario at all times?

Will my child be able to take care of herself?

Will my child be able to hold a job?

Will my child be able to live alone?

All of these questions have to be faced by parents with a special needs child. I don’t like to wait for things to happen in life, but like to prepare and over prepare.

I was afraid that I would fail my child and therefore fail my family, my wife and my children. That fear lit a fire under my ass that I have never had before. There is more focus now than I’ve ever had previously.

Here’s the sad part…it’s not hard to shoot to the upper echelon of our profession. Since my daughter’s birth, I worked and worked on creating myself as a brand. This was to prepare for a move that had to happen. I now need to create a legacy for my family. I was comfortable at my previous job, but it wouldn’t have provided the amount of financial stability that I needed to possibly support a child through retirement. I had to make a move.

I worked on building a brand and within 1 year was named among the top 40 influencers in our field by Updoc media. I started mentoring PT students and other PTs throughout the country. I started a Facebook show called People you should know. I doing more volunteer work now than I had in the previous years.

I thought that I was “busy” before Natalia was born, but now I’m no longer busy…I’m productive. I opened a clinic in Joliet with the purpose of trying to give back to the entire city. It’s been said that if you want to make a million dollars, you have to help a million people. My mission has been set to help as many people as I can because I know that this is the only way to face my fear of failing my family.

If you found this to be inspiring, informative, or entertaining…share it so others can read and learn from my experience.

Thanks.

Story

“Having a story may be the most important part of your new venture…”

We all have a story. I actually have spent a good amount of my time recently learning about other people’s, group’s and mission’s story on my FB page People you should know. My story started a long time ago, but I won’t bore you with the details. The one part of the story that is most important is that I always look for the next opportunity to succeed. At Sam’s club, I was named employee of the year in 2013 and quit soon thereafter because I had reached my ceiling. There was no other Hill to climb or challenge to face. I know that it sounds like a small feat, but I worked hard to reach that status. Unfortunately, the journey was worth more than the victory, because my journey seemed complete.

My PT career has taken a similar trajectory. I started in a clinic, that I was excited to work at, in order to learn as much as I could. After 2 years, I lost that zest because I was more like a robot than a sponge. I wasn’t learning…growing…as much as I was simply going through the motions of treating patients. It sounds horrible, I know, but I was pretty good at using the McKenzie Method back in those days. If you’re familiar with Mariano Rivera, you know that he had one pitch. It was an unhittable pitch for a long period of time. He built a career on throwing his “cut fastball”. I spent more than two years honing my craft as a McKenzie based PT, but after 2 years I felt like the game wasn’t any fun anymore. I remember taking the trash out after 18 months on the job and thinking that I was “bored” with my job and could treat patients with back pain while dreaming.

Not soon after, I left that job and took a hefty pay cut in the process (you’ll start to see a pattern that I didn’t see until recently). I switched to a hospital-based outpatient department. Mind you, for two years I saw nothing but patients in pain with a generic diagnosis of: low back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, hip pain so on and so forth. I don’t mean to demean the patient’s pain, but c’mon “low back pain”?! Is t that what the patient told the doctor at the beginning of the session. The doctor then turns around and gives the patient a referral to PT stating back pain. (Venting a little).

At the hospital, I encountered something that I hadn’t encountered in the two previous years…a protocol! A protocol is similar to the old book “paint by number”. There is. O significant thought that goes into treating these patients post-surgically because we are bound to treat the patient by following the directions given. I had the hardest time treating patients post-surgically because I spent the previous 2-3 years with constant algorithms floating through my head. Think John Nash from “A Beautiful Mind”. I may be exaggerating, but that’s what it feels like at times. For those two years I was playing a chess match with the patient’s symptoms and pain. I was always playing 5 moves ahead with an answer for every patient move. (A patient move is considered his/her response to a previous exercise or intervention. For instance, a patient can only always respond one of three ways: better, worse, same). I had a response for each of these answers and just worked through this chess match with each patient. My biggest fear was “paint by number” because the patient would come in and…game was already over because I couldn’t make any moves.

I digress.

I matured while working at the hospital. I learned to be a team player instead of playing clean-up or closer. I learned that when horses pull in the same direction that they can pull harder than they could as individuals. Unfortunately, I also learned something else about me…I hate when the game is over. I continue to search for ways to grow and be better day-day. I reached the end of my limit at the hospital because the opportunities to play and grow were no longer available.

This is where my story starts again. This time, this time, the game is much bigger. The chess board has expanded. The moves I can make are multi-variable. I liken my current position in the profession like playing a continuous chess match in which the boards are suspended above each other like floating plates. When one piece gets taken it gets placed on the board above the previous board. The game ends when all of the pieces make it to the top board and only one piece remains. There is no tipping pieces. There is no quitting. Only moves and reactions. This is the equivalent to the biggest algorithm I have ever got to play inside. I can make on”wrong” moves, only temporary losses.

Life is pressure, but the game is fun.

Goodnight all.

Thanks for reading some of the late night ramblings.

Btw, the quote was from Blake Mycoski in “Start Something That Matters”.

Be the change

“Be the change you want to see in the world”

Mahatma Gandhi

This quote gets thrown around, but how often do we stop to analyze it?

What is the change that I want to see?

1. I want all PTs to have easier access to research.

2. I want the public to be more aware of the difference between good PT and bad PT services.

3. I want the public to know that a. PTs exist b. how PT is covered by insurance related to out of pocket costs c. and how PTs can help with physical issues.

4. I want PTs and students to be humbled and ask for help when needed and offer help when able.

Hello 2018, I got some lofty wants.

How have I started to accomplish these goals

1. Writing a blog and putting out videos describing the research that I am reading on a daily basis.

2. Giving community lectures educating the public regarding what to expect from a physical therapist. Educating the public on the core values and how some practices may demonstrate the practices. Unfortunately, I also highlight how some may not practice according to our profession’s core values.

I also started posting reviews of some of the neighboring clinics on social media when these clinics aren’t practicing in an ethical fashion.

3. Again, the blog and community lectures serve to educate the public of our existence and during these lectures I typically explain Medicare Part B regulations and coverages so that the potential patient can feel more comfortable about their responsibility financially.

4. To help others in areas of my strengths I do one-one conversations on FB, via telephone and in person. I readily ask for help when I am stuck and believe that I have a team of Avengers that I can reach out to at all times of the day.

How will you be the change in 2018?