• Dr. Julie Granger PT, DPT, SCS, WHC

Step out of PT burnout and into a career you love

Julie smiling at one of her young female athlete PT patients

Hey there friend! How’s the PT world treating you these days? Seeing all the patients you want to see? Making the salary you deserve and putting a dent in your student loans or able to invest in things? Feeling appreciated by your boss? No? Not happening for you? Hmmm…Lemme guess…Maybe for you it’s something like any of these scenarios:

  • You’re exhausted from seeing so many patients without so much as a bathroom break, and you get to the end of the day and realize you didn't drink any water or finish your lunch (assuming you even had time to eat it)

  • Your notes pile up and you have to stay late or bring work home every night. Your family/partner can't seem to understand why you don't make time for them anymore.

  • The idea of getting out there and marketing feels too “salesy” and desperate for your taste...every time your patient numbers get low your inner introvert cringes at thinking about needing to go schmooze with physicians.

  • You need more money, but the only way to get there is to work more hours or see more patients...two things you're not willing to do. So you just accept that this is the best you can do in this profession.

  • You have tons of good ideas to grow your caseload or practice...but those ideas aren't turning into sustainable action. You always have good intentions to put them into place, but you can never quite fully get them off the ground or you start them, but they fizzle out.

  • You just don’t feel like you know enough. You love learning and love taking courses, but can't figure out why all the courses you've taken aren't equating to feeling more like an "expert," getting you more money, or getting more appreciated by your boss.

I hear you. And I bet you didn’t know when you signed up for PT school that you might find yourself a neverending merry-go-round of burnout that looks something like this: Get diploma -->Get CEUs + specialty certification--> Hustle for patients-->Tire from hustling-->Give up--> Realize you need more patients because #bills and #studentloans-->Notice patients don’t come easily Feel like it’s because you don’t know enough-->Get more CEUs-->Rinse and repeat… Whew.

Sound familiar?

Two adults playing and having fun on a merry go round

I’ve been there. And I learned the hard way that it wasn't as fun as the picture above and that I didn’t have to invest thousands of dollars and hours in the wrong places to get off of that burnout merry go round. It doesn’t have to be so hard to be the boss of your career.

And to be clear, by "be the boss" I don’t just mean being a manager or owning a practice. That may not be what you want. I mean that regardless of what kind of career you currently have or aspire to have, you can move from letting your career “boss you around” and run your life to becoming at peace and totally in charge of a career that you love.

You can step off of that merry-go-round. A little back story on me In my first 5 years as a PT, I climbed my way up the specialty ladder, took a zillion courses, gave some big presentations at places like CSM and NEXT, got sweet teaching gigs, did some research, published articles, got more certifications than most PTs get in their entire career. I also had a popular blog and a large social media following. You might think that with all of that success, the niche of patients and the income I desired came flocking towards me. I’ve got news for you, amiga. It was all a lie. Yes, I’d checked all the boxes. And I'm super grateful for every single experience that each of those boxes brought me.

Julie giving a presentation at the APTA NEXT Conference

But all of those boxes weren't bringing me the patients I truly loved or the money I deserved for all of that knowledge and skill. And I certainly wasn’t earning the money I needed to put a dent in my 6 figures of student loan debt. I was spending thousands of dollars on continuing education only to continue making an average PT salary.

I constantly worried over how I was going to pay the rest of my bills, if I’d be able to contribute to retirement, buy a house, or support my family.

I remember seeing posts on facebook about PT colleagues celebrating paying off their loans. I felt a sense of burning jealousy as I wrote them half-hearted "congratulations" messages.

I felt frustration for them too. We all knew how they did it so quickly. They'd taken a less desirable, but higher paying job for several years, sacrificed and slaved away, and got rid of that debt. Even they said the path wasn't ideal. But they didn't feel like they had a choice.

And by the way: I'm not judging if that is the path you have chosen to take. Good on you, and good on them too. What an amazing testament to being dedicated to a goal.

But that type of path was not for me and will never be for me. I always said it wasn't about making money or paying off loans. That was true and still is.

But the thing was, even with the money I was making and a belief that "it wasn't about money," I still didn’t feel fulfilled at the end of the day.

I spent more time working than with my husband. “Fun” was becoming something that happened only on the rare vacations I took, assuming I let myself take a vacation at all. I knew that my niche of patients was out there and that they needed me. I just didn’t know how to get them in the door without sacrificing my whole life to get them there. And sacrifice my life I most certainly did.

In my 5th year of practice, a series of debilitating panic attacks sent me rushing to the hospital and spiraling toward rock bottom.

I knew there was a problem when I was more concerned with telling my bosses that I was having panic attacks than actually taking the steps to care for the panic attacks. To put it lightly, I certainly wasn't practicing the self care that I so earnestly preached about to all of my patients.

To add insult to injury, I was diagnosed with a cancer a year later. When I saw what it would take to get better and stay better, I knew that the career path I was on was not sustainable for my health or my sanity.

Julie when she was diagnosed with cancer: very sick and frail

I was clearly spinning my wheels in my career and it not only didn’t earn me the income I deserved, but also earned me plenty of personal & health problems.

It wasn't about the money. But it was no longer worth the labor of love. It was time to step off the merry go round.

I knew that. But I didn't know what to do instead. I remember crumbling in the shower because I had no clue what to do or where to go. I felt frozen and stuck: I couldn’t go backwards, but also didn’t know the slightest thing about moving forward. I knew I didn’t want to go back to the 50-hour work weeks of outpatient practice where I never felt appreciated or good enough, no matter how many certifications I’d gotten, courses I’d taken or taught, research projects I churned out or outreach events I did for the clinic. I knew had a gift to give the world. I just didn’t feel like I knew enough about how to do it. So what did I decide to do? Spend thousands more, of course! But this time I didn’t spend it on courses. Instead, I made what is easily the single most important series of investments I have made in my career thus far: I invested in my own life, health and business coaches. Getting my head and mindset in the game first was more important than the “how-to.” Yes, this know-it-all-straight-a-student-career-superstar needed someone to hold her hand and walk her through how to stop overachieving and burning the candle at both ends, which was obviously getting me nowhere, if not sending me backwards in health and in life. I also needed help learning how to actually build a career and niche that left me full of energy, time, and passion at the end of the day, and didn’t derail my health and sanity. With the help of my own coaches, I learned that all of the clinical knowledge, skill, and certification in the world wouldn’t necessarily get me what I deserved.

I also learned that all of those boxes I'd checked to become a better clinician was only building someone else's career vision, not my own.

I wanted to be the boss of MY career, not someone else's idea for what a career should be. Against what seemed like every strand of DNA in my body, First, I quit my job with absolutely no plan. Then, I started my own business.

This was something I once said was impossible, terrifying, and downright crazy. Why? I’d worked for and seen other PT entrepreneurs who lived a life of stress, overwhelm, competitiveness, perfectionism, and running their employees into the ground. They never had time for their families, let alone themselves. I didn’t want that. So I rewrote the “rules” and decided to do PT business different than most.

  • I worked only 2 days per week, seeing patients for 1-2 hours each

  • I traveled on-site for sports performance and video analysis sessions, something I had always wanted to do but never had time to do in a busy clinic

  • I found creative ways to rent and use space with little to no overhead

  • I made thousands of dollars on the side…in my sleep

  • I got trained in life and health coaching and built a thriving health, life & career coaching practice so I could serve people beyond the blanket of physical health...and work from anywhere, or just from home in my pajamas

  • I decided to put my life first and work second

And the real kicker—I started up my business with ZERO dollars in savings, no business loan, and no investors, and $160K in student loan debt.

And hear me out. I get that that path is not always feasible for everyone and it took a lot of creativity on my part, but I definitely made it work in my own way. And now I coach PTs on how to be creative and make it work for themselves, too. By focusing first on building a life and second on working, I saw 5-figure months become the norm, not the exception. I know, sounds backwards, right?

Isn’t it true that we need to work harder to earn more? Nope.

To be clear, I'm not saying that I didn't have to work for it. It certainly took work. But it wasn't hard, and it certainly didn't take 50-60 hours per week to do it. Even I didn’t believe it for awhile—I remember doing my taxes and nearly falling out of my chair as I texted my husband frantically to tell him that I just may be paying off my loans within 2-3 years. This was pretty surprising because over the course of 9 years, I'd seen the loan balance barely decrease. In just 2-3 more, I could get rid of all of it at once. It felt so liberating and inspiring to see those numbers.

And believe me, if I can do it, then so can you. This life and career is not only possible but also a lot closer (and less expensive) than you think it is. And trust me, you already have all the clinical knowledge you need.

You can start TODAY!

I've just published my FREE 7-step guide to getting there, Be the Boss of Your Career Blueprint. This guide will walk you through the right mindset, resources, and tools you need to not only get started, but also succeed.

But before you get started, make sure you steer clear of the 3 most common myths I hear other PTs and my coaching clients say:

  1. I'm not seeing the clients I want, so I must need to take more courses or read more books. Don’t get me wrong—learning clinical stuff ROCKS. But trust me—you know enough already. What you need now are business, finance & marketing skills, and probably a strong dose of confidence.

  2. A strong social media following, a perfect website and beautiful rack cards will get me more money. These “shiny objects” are important, but can be a distraction from more bang-for-your-buck activities like building community relationships and doing workshops. Spending too much time crafting the perfect insta or blog post is a great way to hide, not succeed.

  3. Nobody wants to pay for cash-based care because it is too expensive. Get your head out of the client’s wallet & into the game. Some people won’t pay you. Get over it. Your job isn’t to sway them. You need to sell directly to your ideal client (see the blueprint) and is more than willing to pay you! Hint: they may not come from physician referrals!

When you get your head in the game and the right tools in place, you won't have to waste your time worrying and doubting if you're making the right decision or taking courses you don't need. You'll know who you are and what you want for your career.

And in full disclosure, learning to get that healthy mindset and outlook on your career isn't something you can learn in a CEU course.

It requires you to be very humble, to acknowledge that you can't find all of the answers yourself, and to ask for help.

If you're anything like me, a former athlete, I LOVED the idea of having someone coach me along. Yes, it felt vulnerable at first to admit that even though I am brilliant, I didn't have all of the answers. But eventually it paid for itself in dividends. My coaches weren’t PTs, and while I wouldn’t be where I am without them, there is something to be said about having a mentor and coach who “speaks PT”— one that helps you build a healthy mindset foundation that helps you build a thriving business that won’t wear you down.

Julie next to Lake Pukaki in Mt Cook National Park, New Zealand

That would be me!

And because I am so passionate about coaching PTs and other health/wellness entrepreneurs into a career they love, I’m so excited to share my free Be the Boss of Your Career Blueprint guide with you.

In this guide, I provide you a clear roadmap for how to step out of the PT frenzy and into genuine calm and fun with your job.

Take a deep breath and visualize the following things for a moment...

  • What if you knew that you could start each day with clarity and purpose instead of overwhelm with how much is on your to-do list?

  • What if you could end each work day filled with nothing but gratitude and energy (instead of stress, fatigue, and burnout)?

  • What if you knew that all of you could take step by step deliberate action to build your patient load without feeling desperate or like you're throwing darts on how to do marketing?

  • What if you knew you can make the money you deserve so you can spend more time focusing on your partner or family and less on how you're going to get that student loan balance to decrease?

  • What if you knew you didn't have to wait until you've hit rock bottom, been diagnosed with a chronic disease, or a major upset occurs in your life to take charge of your career?

You can do all of those things. It really is possible.

I don't think you need to be hitting rock bottom or diagnosed with cancer to get the wake-up call to become the boss of your career.

Right here, right now, you can look beyond your scope and get some training in stuff they don’t teach you in school or any CEU course. You can jump right over to the Blueprint page and download it now. And if you’re feeling super jazzed about stepping into the driver's seat of your career, please feel free to jump over to my schedule to set up a free career/life strategy call with me right now. In this call we’ll get super clear on your caeer goals, what’s standing in your way, and the specific steps you need to take to get there. I’m cheering you on!

In love, health, and kick ass careers,


#newprofessionals #physicaltherapy #physiotherapy #careercoaching #lifecoaching #studentloans #PTstudentloans #getPT1st #privatepractice #entrepreneur #bizPT #soloentrepreneur #ladyboss #girlboss

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