Are You Settling for an Average PT Career? The PT Career I Never Imagined


About week ago I was standing looking out at Niagara Falls with some of my favorite people.  I wasn’t on vacation, I was working. And I wasn’t just working. I had traveled with colleagues to Buffalo to use the Y-Balance Test (one of my "professional babies") for testing the players at the NHL Combine.  This wasn’t my typical Thursday, but its not completely unusual either. However, if you asked me what I was doing 15 years ago on a Wednesday afternoon, the backdrop would have appeared a lot different than the 8th wonder of the natural world and professional sports.

15  years ago I was in the clinic full time.  I was working a typical schedule and imagining a day with more athletes, more flexibility, and honestly something different. I remember thinking maybe PT was no longer for me. I still remember the level of frustration on one particular day when I was doing passive ROM on what felt like the 20th rotator cuff repair of the day.

I’m always hesitant to talk about my work life because I remember what it was like when I was working 9-5 in the clinic when I dreamed of doing so much more.  I remember the frustration, the boredom, and the nagging feeling that I needed some drastic change. I don’t like talking about what my day is like now because it is in such contrast to what it used to be and I don’t want to rub it in anyone’s face.  I know first hand that when you are working a job you’re not thrilled about the last thing you want is someone telling you how great theirs is. But, that’s not what I’m trying to do. Actually, it is what I try to avoid doing.

At the same time though, it was the people that were living their ideal career that inspired me when I started on the journey toward mine.  I didn’t start my career going to the Combine, having the flexibility to help coach my son’s all-star baseball team midweek, or spending my time at work surrounded by colleagues that I genuinely enjoy being around.  No, I started where almost everyone starts… only I didn’t stay there. And I tell you about my work now because I know what it's like to be in a similar position to where you are right now.

I don’t like to talk about the awesome things I get to do because I don’t want to seem like I’m bragging.  But at the same time I want others to know the endless opportunities that are available in our careers. I believe that an ideal career is available to everyone, but I also recognize that very few go after it…. or should I say very few go after it with the hard work and intention that an ideal career requires.

I want everyone I talk to and everyone I mentor to be able to achieve their ideal career.  It is possible. I tell you about my day now because I don’t have any special talents and I didn’t walk into any special circumstances.  I worked and worked refusing to settle. I saw others living their ideal career and in them I saw the potential to live my own. I’m not saying it is easy or that the path is obvious, but I am saying that it is 100% possible.

The ideal career is not some abstract concept.  It is the ability to live the 5 ideals. These are the things we should all be working toward, these are the components that make up the ideal career… and while they are the same for everyone in concept, they will be different for everyone in action.  These five ideals are: When, Where, Who, Why, and Worth.

Let’s break these down:

When - To have the flexibility, autonomy, and authority to work when you want. Being able to work when you want gives you an amazing feeling freedom

Where - To work where you want both geographically and type of practice setting

Who -  Who has two parts. To have the freedom with the type of patients or clients but also the team you want to work with.

Why - To live a greater purpose and work every day fulfilling that purpose.

Worth -- To feel a sense of deep satisfaction about what you do as well as be compensated in a meaningful way.

Over the next few posts we will explore the Five Ideals in greater depth. How are you progressing on achieving your Five Ideals? Check out our Career Growth Index to get a better idea.

Also, if this sounds like an intriguing way to approach your career and life, join us at the Professional Rebellion. There are a lot of free resources, challenges, and newsletter updates. Also check out our Discover. Create. Launch Course because you don’t have to treat from 9-5 if you don’t want to.


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