If I stop practicing as a PT / licensed health pro, I will no longer be legitimate
I don't know about you, but so many licensed health and wellness providers seem to grapple with this one.
For any number of reasons -- like feeling burned out, wanting to make more money, wanting to have more time with family/kids, wanting to have more freedom to travel/work remotely, wanting to feel more fulfilled in what they do -- they want to transition into something like coaching or teaching or education.
But there's a sneaky little voice that whispers (and sometimes screams) in the back of their heads, saying things like ...
"I can't stop practicing and fully step into teaching, because then how could I possibly understand how to teach the skills and knowledge to someone else?"
"People who don't practice are phonies and can't relate to the patients anymore, so they can't be trusted."
"I need to keep up my clinical practice so that I can still make money."
"It's so much HARDER to market and sell coaching than physical therapy/clinical practices."
"I worked so hard and paid so much money for my clinical degree. It would be so hard to give it up."
Do any of those sound familiar?
If so, you're most definitely not alone.
I know because I have this conversation with PTs and licensed health pros pretty much daily in my coaching work (If I had a dollar for every time I hear this in a week...)
In fact, this was a beautiful topic that has come up over and over again over the last few weeks in the Be the Boss of Your Career Level 2 Program -- where courageous physical therapists and health professionals are making HUGE brave steps to elevate their lives and careers.
But that's not how I REALLY know this is a recurrent theme in our world.
Most importantly, I know it is because I was once there myself, in the thick of saying ALL of those things.
Two years ago today, I said goodbye to my last PT client and stepped away from my clinical practice. For good.
I'd been flirting with being a coach for several years and had even started a coaching practice, had gotten loads of coaching clients and was up to my ears in a "bottleneck of busy."
This was a good problem.
But that bottleneck of busy was also catching up to me -- eating away at the health I'd worked so hard to improve after cancer. Leading me to do WAY too many time-consuming tasks, and leaving me feeling unfulfilled.
I had every intention of launching FULLY into coaching.
And I had plenty of revenue coming in as a coach -- I didn't NEED to continue practicing PT any longer.
But continue to practice I did.
I loved clinical practice, I loved my clients, I loved what I did. But I was being called to something else -- to fully step into a bigger life vision that would bring WAY more and allow me to discover a freedom and level of joy I didn't know was even possible.
It was such a conflict. To make matters worse -- because of the conflict itself -- I started to feel resentful every time a PT patient would show up on my schedule. My stomach would curl, I would feel tense, and I would even feel somewhat disconnected from the patient and ANNOYED with them.
(And for that right there, I felt dirty and like a total jackass)
As a result, I wasn't putting in my best effort in patient care --although to be clear -- for an overachiever like me -- I was still doing a great job with my patients, but I was getting bored and cutting corners.
I knew something had to change.
I talked about change.
I journaled about it.
I visualized, manifested, vision-boarded.
All the things.
But the ONE simple action that had to happen was not occurring.
I stayed put. In addition to telling myself all the "illegitimate" stories from above, I also had every "practical and logistical" excuse in the book...
I didn't know enough yet to only be a coach.
I wasn't good enough at marketing yet.
Sales were too hard for coaching (and SO much easier for PT).
I'd bought all this equipment and clinic furniture and wanted to get my money's worth.
Who would help the patients as I could? Who would treat the teens?
These excuses all sounded really good too -- and people "out there" often agreed with me. In fact, my own referral sources did all they could to convince me not to quit, to question what on earth I was doing, and to FEED INTO the "you're not good enough if you're not CHAINED to PT practice" stories.
But they were still just that -- excuses and stories.
I could see and hear myself saying them. I KNEW they weren't true. I knew I needed
I was beating myself at my own game!
I knew something was brewing inside.
Finally, I kicked my husband out of the house, put on some good deep soul music, and cuddled up with my journal and our Black Lab, Raven, on the giant dog bed on the floor in my office.
The song was fairly neutral, but I remember exactly what the vocalist said when the tears started to flow.
"There's never been a moment you weren't forgotten."
I could see it clear as day.
There was a little girl (an earlier version of me) standing on a dock. She was staring at the current version of me, standing on a large boat.
The boat was setting sail. The engines were rumbling and the water was churning. The boat was unhooked and started to pull away.
"New me" watched as "Old me" ran to the end of the dock--reaching as far as she could to catch the rope that once tied the boat to the dock. She caught it by a fingernail, laid down on the dock to hold on and steady herself, and pleaded with "New me" to stop.
"New me" was curious what all the fuss was about. It was CLEAR that this is what "we" wanted -- freedom, love, truth, and a life full of expansion.
"Old Me" agreed -- she believed that this was the right move.
BUT...(yes, of course, there was a but)
She had something to say.
For context-- "Old Me" was the little girl who fell in love with being a PT, the one who bent and stretched and constantly reached to be the BEST in everything in getting into PT school, graduating at the top of her class, getting the best jobs, doing and publishing research, being a PT faculty member, mentoring hundreds of students, helping thousands of patients, building a successful practice, and being an impactful speaker.
She was the one who was a rule follower and a people pleaser and was extremely perceptive of trying to control what people thought of her. She had heard her mentors and colleagues and friends talk shit about "those people" who don't practice anymore. She remembered as a student.
She had spent nearly $200K on her education (only about $15K of it she'd actually been able to pay off in 8 years of practice) and felt ashamed for taking so long to pay down her loans. As a result, she felt literally indebted to being a PT.
So it goes without saying -- she was telling the story to herself that she would become illegitimate if she stepped out of her role as a licensed PT and into a coach-only role.
But at the same time -- Old Me had always been the type to cheer others on and help THEM shine their light, so she knew this was the right thing for New Me to do.
She wanted to give her blessing to New Me. However, she just wanted New Me to stop and hear her concerns. To just listen, to let them be, and to let the feelings be felt:
There was a beautiful letting go on that cold, gray, rainy December day as I (New Me) cuddled in a puddle on the floor with sweet pup Raven.
(AND ISN'T IT INTERESTING THAT I WRITE THIS ON A COLD, GRAY, RAINY DECEMBER DAY AS TWO ADORABLE PUPS -- THOUGH SADLY NEITHER OF WHICH IS RAVEN -- HUDDLE NEARBY)
Finally, Old Me let go of the rope and let the ship set sail.
And within 2 days, New Me was completely born. She was ready. There were no more excuses, no fear, no doubt, no questioning, no worrying what others would think.
I tell this story because if you're on that precipice to step into a brand new permutation of your career --
...and you can't seem to figure out why you can't seem to JUST FREAKING DO IT ALREADY...
...or you're telling some of the same stories I did or so many of my coaching clients tell, too...
...or you're making excuses and you KNOW you just need to stop, but can't seem to make yourself stop...
...or you're crystal clear that you're the one in your own way, but can't seem to budge or move your butt off to the side to make room for the NEW version of your life and career...
...then please know there is hope.
But most importantly -- you do not have to do this alone. In fact, isolation is the enemy of wealth (and health).
If you've tried everything -- fixing your marketing, fixing your programs and offerings, working on your messaging and branding, fixing your website, fixing your business, taking the courses and classes --- and even if you haven't done any of those things--- and you're STILL not sure how to make the leap into your next career shift?
That's what we LOVE to help PTs and health pros do. We love to help physical therapists and health pros who are feeling stuck and directionless in their next big career or business shift to tap into their intuition and illuminate a personalized, supportive, and safe-feeling career and business plan that is both inspiring and reflects what they truly love.
Need support? Let's chat.
Leave a comment and let's pop onto the phone and figure out what's really standing in the way -- and what needs to happen to help you feel clear and confident to shift in the direction that will help your heart soar. But be careful -- this may result in you finally getting the courage to take action!