This is my first blog post. This is going to be a lot of fun for me. I love talking about nerdy stuff but I do not really identify as a blogger. Whoa. Look what I just did?
This is the part where I “segway” into my blog topic…
What does it take to feel worthy of providing care for a person? Maybe you are new provider. Maybe you are an experienced provider. Also, what is it that makes you feel qualified to do what you do? In particular, what makes your feel qualified to take care of people that are different than you?
As a new graduate physical therapist (in 2014), I used to feel like I had to relate to somebody in order to fix them. This was good sometimes but mostly it was bad. Also, I would often find myself in situations where I felt like I was inferior and under qualified in treating even the most simple problems. I was not confident in my ability to provide excellent care. The issue wasn’t the relatability, it was the competency.
What would have helped me?
I have always been a detail freak. I am either fully “on-switch” or fully “off-switch” when it comes to anything I am super passionate about. This is often good for business, but commonly bad for at-home, life quality for some things. If I didn’t give it my all, I feel like I gave it my nothing. Is this a good way to approach healthcare? It is only good if the environment around you allows it to be.
Take me for example…
I used to work in an amazing outpatient therapy clinic. Also, I was committed. I gave it a lot of energy. Success fueled me. Then I had a kid. It all changed. I was having a tough time being an amazing dad and also being an amazing clinician. What was wrong with me? I felt like I was letting down those around me at work. I felt like I was letting my family down. Nobody was chasing me with torches and pitchforks, but that is how it felt. I was my own worst enemy. However, I was not able to be fully 100% committed to both things. Character flaw alert!
What did I do?
I almost stepped away from physical therapy 100%. Moreover, the pandemic had hit and my caseload dropped around 70-80% in a matter of weeks. I just wasn’t convinced that the PT world was for me anymore. Luckily, at the time, I was already involved with a home care company in Enid. Also, I opened it with my family as a side hustle. It made enough money for me to figure out what I wanted to do. At the time, I thought it would be all-in on the home care gig. Above all, this was fun nerdy work that I really enjoyed. It was different.
I made the mistake of believing in myself. Oops.
I was pretty much convinced I would never survive on my own in the PT business world. I just finished my manual therapy fellowship and residency training with a top 3 (at worst) physical therapist in Oklahoma at the time and I was finding my groove. Comfort is the enemy of progress. I was comfortable. I wasn’t the Yoda of PT, but I was confident I could identify and solve any PT related problem. At the beginning of my transition away from the clinic I was at, I had started to take on some cash-pay PT clients thanks to some friends of mine encouraging me to do so. Uh-oh. This was fun!
“Oh crap. I like PT again.”
So my PT career, turned side hustle, turned back to what actually might be a legit way of using my skill set. However, I didn’t really have to see a ton of people to make decent income. Also, I had the chance to get creative. I was playing with house money and it felt like a game to me. It was fun. I loved it.
“Grayson. Lets talk about the part where you solved your identify problem.”
The whole thing for me is that, every human has the same muscles and bones and joints (for the most part) and I KNEW THIS. So what got me to the point where I felt comfortable treating CrossFit athletes, runners, football players, and ballet dancers (etc.) with confidence? I have never been a pro-ANYTHING for the most part… unless you count free styling songs about what’s on my grocery list or what I am imagining my dog is trying to say. I am creative.
And THAT is what makes me perfect for helping these people.
I have had to reverse engineer pretty much everything to get to the point where I can fix ANY athlete without even knowing relevant terminology. sure, I don’t have instant rapport with a rower or a rock climber, but I know how to fix them and I can do it fast. Show me how you move when you hurt and explain what you want to do. I can fix it. Instant confidence. People would rather have fast results than a fist bump and a conversation about all-state jackets and championships.
Here is what I am saying…
In sum, success comes with confidence. Confidence comes with practice. Practice should revolve around fixing what you know you are bad at. It is not hard to know what to do. I was a video game loving, Conan O’brien watching, gym living millennial. I am as odd as they come. And look where I am? By the world’s predictive terms, I have no business doing what I am doing. But guess what? I am confident. Why?
Dr. Grayson Starbuck, DPT, CSCS, FAAOMPT