Change is hard. It’s scary. And it’s often humbling. But change is necessary if you want to learn and grow.
I’m deferring away from my typical style and content and getting a little personal in this post. Initially, I’d planned to introduce some principles about how to induce change and how to make it stick. But instead, I’m going to talk about my own recent experience with change, because there’s been a hell of a lot of it in my life recently.
If you know me, you may know that this is my last week working full-time as a clinic director and PT at N2 Physical Therapy, where I have been working for nearly six years. This week is also the last week that Endorphin will have a location in the Stanley Marketplace (an exciting change, but a change nonetheless). Oh, and I just took a continuing education course with Antony Lo, who literally turned EVERYTHING I thought I knew about being a PT and fitness professional upside down.
I’m a stereotypical Taurus – comfort-loving and hard-headed. I am a creature of habit. Routine and rules feel like comfort to me. So, naturally, I rarely question the “rules” that I’ve accepted to be truth. But who wrote these rules? In some instances, it was me. I have repeated stories to myself frequently enough so that I now believe them to be true. Other “rules” I have accepted because some scientific literature demonstrated some pattern or correlation that resonated with me. It takes a lot of humility for me to acknowledge that these “rules” are nothing more than assumptions; some of them are just more sound than others.
I pride myself on my work ethic and intelligence. But what I often fail to be is open-minded, both professionally and personally. I’m quick refute things that don’t fit within my framework and I readily accept things that are consistent with my existing beliefs. I’m inclined to say that we all are this way to some extent, but I’m particularly stubborn. I value evidence-based information, especially when it comes to my work as a physical therapist and fitness professional. For example, if some scientific literature has “proven” some treatment modality to be effective, I assume that it must be true. I add this new rule to my repertoire and on I go, applying this new principle to my treatments moving forward.
But the more experience I get, the more I realize how LITTLE I know. I mean, if I knew everything there is to know about being a PT, I’d have rehabilitated everyone I’ve worked with. Fortunately, I’ve remained inquisitive – always wondering if I’m missing something. This is what has led me to pursue more education. I’ve studied holistic nutrition, visceral mobilization and behavior change, to name a few. And while my understanding of the human body has expanded, I still struggle to question my existing “rules.” It’s often hard for me to accept that our understanding of the human body continues to evolve. All that science has “proven” will likely be disproven at some point in the future. Nothing is dogma when it comes to the human body.
Now, this is also true in my personal life. I conduct myself based upon beliefs that are founded solely upon my past experience (by the way, we all do this). As humans, we are seeking certainty, because we perceive certainty as safety and security. We look before we leap (some of us more than others), because it’s protective to do so. I’ve had the good fortune of having steady employment for all of my adult life, but that has also made me reluctant to deviate from this security.
I say this all the time in my classes, but it bears repeating, “nothing special happens inside your comfort zone.” And it’s true. So, that’s why I’m doing what I am – starting a physical therapy practice aimed at changing how chronic pain and pelvic floor dysfunction is managed.
I challenge you to start to questioning your own “rules,” because they’re likely no more than assumptions. Don’t forget that questioning your beliefs is the FIRST step toward personal growth. I hope you’ll join me in stepping outside of our comfort zone in the name of change!