#PTonICE Daily Show – Thursday, July 11th, 2024 – Pain now or pain later

In today’s episode of the PT on ICE Daily Show, Older Adult lead faculty member Jeff Musgrave discusses how choosing pain now can help you avoid pain of regret later in your career.

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Welcome to the PT on ICE Daily Show. My name is Dr. Jeff Musgrave, Doctor of Physical Therapy, currently serving in the Institute of Clinical Excellence in the Older Adult Division. It is Thursday, so it is Leadership Thursday. Super excited to be bringing to you a message that I think a lot of people are going to relate to. Pain now or pain later? When thinking about this topic, it really came very organically out of a class that I was coaching. So I get to coach people 55 and up, we’re all about pushing high intensity, we celebrate sweating, we celebrate heavy weights, and really pushing things in a business called Stronger Life. But we were finishing up class, it was a really tough workout, and I was talking to our members and I said, you know, the reality is, team, you can have a little bit of pain, a little bit at a time, or you can have some uncontrolled pain later in life, maybe years from now, maybe decades from now, but that pain, you’re unlikely to get to choose. And we all know this, if you’re listening to this podcast, you know that we’re all about being fitness forward. We’re all about choosing that little incremental consistent pain to avoid greater pain later, right? Whether we’re talking about building reserve for not even just older adults, but all people, right? The stronger we are, the fitter we are, the less likely we’re going to have those uncontrollable pains through health complications, whether we’re thinking about heart attacks, type 2 diabetes and amputation, strokes, Those type of things, for the most part, are very avoidable by choosing a little bit of pain, a little bit at a time. So this really just resonated with me, and as I was reflecting on it, not that I have that many great quotes, but this one, I was like, this one kind of lands. It connects a little bit. And then it made me think about my career. It made me think about people that, in scenarios that I’ve been through, as a clinician, and my journey in my career. So I think this not only relates to us from a physical standpoint, but thinking about our career, where we’re headed, having big dreams, like what do you want out of your life? Who do you want to serve? And how are you going to get there? And the reality is, I truly believe you’ve got to choose some discomfort. You’ve got to choose a little bit of pain if you want to reach your goals. Likely, if they’re worthwhile at all, they’re going to be hard to obtain. They’re not going to be easy to get to, and you’re going to have to push yourself. And you’re going to have to seek some pain. If you’re choosing comfort in your career, you’re unlikely to reach any big, meaningful goals. That’s just the reality of it. So I’m gonna give you some examples, thinking about the perspective if you’re an employee and if you’re a business owner, if you’re an entrepreneur. So for these, really we’re just gonna talk about two scenarios. So the first trap that can lead to you not choosing pain is really just seeking comfort, career comfort. And it can be a career comfort as an employee and as an entrepreneur. So the way I see this is if you’re early in your career or maybe you’re later in your career, it doesn’t really matter. But if you were choosing comfort as an employee, it could look like choosing prioritizing a paycheck over growth. right? And I’ve been there too, right? Student loans, debt, paying the bills, that’s a reality. We all have to pay the bills, right? And the more financial margin we have, the easier our life is from that perspective. But that’s not always the path to a meaningful career. Those two things can coincide. You can make great money and you can be serving your life’s passion, the mission, the thing that you are here as a clinician to do, you can get both. But oftentimes, there are so many more opportunities to choose a paycheck and comfort over growth, over meaningful growth. Some signs, because I’ve worked at these places before, I’ve been there, team. Some signs that you are in the wrong place and you’re choosing career comfort over growth or that small incremental pain is you’re working with a bunch of burned out clinicians. They’ve been there for a long time. Their interventions are ancient, right? They’re not up on the research. They’re the ones doing shake and bake with heat and e-stem. They’re using the ultrasound machine, whether it’s plugged in or not, right? We know it’s going to work. Not to say we won’t do that to meet a patient’s expectations. If they believe that’s what they need, we’ll do that and then we’ll get after it later, right? Another sign you’re in a place of just comfort, seeking a paycheck, is all of your clinicians or maybe you have gotten into the habit of using handouts. There’s like, here’s my older adult knee program. Here’s my shoulder program. Here’s my hip program. Team, we know if it works for everyone, it works for nobody. Right? Care has got to be individualized. We’ve got to meet people where they are, do an individualized assessment, and then we can dive in and really bring them the goods. But there’s a good chance if you’re in a work environment where everyone’s super burned out, they’re there for the paycheck, it’s probably a pretty good one. and the expectations are probably pretty low. No one cares what the quality of care is. All they typically care about is billing units. If billing units is more important than quality, if you’re not getting your sword sharpened by the people you’re working around, you may be choosing career comfort over growth. I think another area where people can fall into a trap, there are lots of different companies that are gonna offer mentorship. This happened to me. I was switching settings early in my career. I was promised mentorship. What I got? Super full schedule, no help, no supervision. I wasn’t even treating during the time my mentor was supposed to be there. No conversations about mentorship happened until I told them I was ready to leave and put in my 30-day notice after I’d been there for five months. No mentoring, didn’t execute on the schedule they said they would give me to slowly on-ramp and sharpen my skills. Look around. If your mentor is not available, if your mentor is not someone you want to emulate, that’s at the cutting edge, that’s constantly growing, that hasn’t reached the peak of their career, if you’ve peaked and stopped, you’re done. You’re learning or you’re growing. So that’s another trap that I typically see. So if that is you and that is what your situation is like, you need to run. If you’re interested in growth, you’re interested in being the best, you can’t hang around in a work environment for very long with people that are burned out, that aren’t trying, that are doing the minimum, that are there for the paycheck, it will crush you eventually. You can swim upstream for a while, but you need people to go with you. And if you’re in that scenario and you can’t change your scenario right now, stay connected with us. Listen to the podcast, go to good content courses, and we can help you get through that period. But long-term, if you want solid growth, you’ve got to find a solid mentor. You need to be surrounded by like-minded clinicians that are going to push you You want people that are gonna point out the things that you’re doing poorly. You need a mentor that’s gonna say, you know what? I think you can do better. I know what your capacity is. You’re smarter than this. You’re better than this. Let’s get better. Let me show you how. And that person better be someone you’re ready to follow. Okay, so that’s if you’re an employee seeking career comfort. If you’re an entrepreneur or a business owner, one of the traps that I see with seeking comfort is you probably busted your tail to get started. I hear Jeff Moore talk about this all the time and it’s so true. Getting that boulder, pushing that boulder at the beginning to get some momentum is so hard. It’s so challenging to do that. Once you get it going and get some momentum, it’s easy to just be like, oh man, I did it, like this is good, I’m making money, I like this, and it’s easy to get comfortable there. When really, there’s so much more that you could do and I think Sometimes that is not bringing on someone else to help you. You’re seeking comfort through just doing it all yourself. Not trusting someone else with things maybe you’re not great at. relying completely on yourself. And basically you’ve turned yourself into an employee for yourself. You don’t have time to work on the business. You don’t have time to expand. You don’t have time to bring on more business or new employees that are smarter than you or better than you in a certain area to really grow your business, to have a big impact. If you’re really good, bring more good people with you. Serve your community well. Push yourself, push your business. If you are seeking comfort and you’re an entrepreneur, this is my challenge to you, to grow your team. Find something that you suck at and find someone better than you at it. Offload some of those things, a little bit of time if you can. You don’t have to go all in. I’m not saying cancel your schedule. What I’m saying is bring someone on that can help take on a little bit of the burden that’s better than you in a certain area. That can help shake off the comfort. That’ll make you feel a little uncomfortable. It’ll be a little harder to teach someone else. It’s gonna take some time investment, but it’ll pay huge dividends. So that’s one of the main ways that I see that happen. But you’ve got to free up enough time that you can work on the business, not just in the business. That quote I pulled from the EMF Great Book. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve never read it. That’s a trap that I fall into. I wanna do the work myself, but I’ve gotta get comfortable giving other people tasks that I’m just not that great at. We can’t be good at everything. We can be good at a lot of things, but if we’re gonna grow a business, we’re gonna have a big impact. We’ve got to share the load. We’ve got to share that burden. The other, on that same note with hiring someone, another thing that we see, is if you get too disconnected. So the one extreme that I see with entrepreneurs that you can fall into this trap and I tend to fall into is I want to do too much work and not delegate or let other people do things I’m not good at. The other extreme that I tend to see is we have people that then continue to micromanage really talented people. You give them a job, you give them tasks, but you’re upping their grill all the time. You’re checking up on everything. You’re not giving them the space to be creative. You’re not giving them the space to spread their wings and do their thing, to let them fly out of the nest. You’re hovering over them, micromanaging everything. You’ve got to find smart people. You’ve got to set some clear expectations. You’ve got to give them good support. Be clear. Just as a side note, when you think you’re being clear, you’re not being clear. I fall into this trap all the time with not having enough clarity. But the biggest key, once you get someone talented on board, is get out of the way. There’s a reason you hired them. Give them the space to do their thing. Okay, so that’s part one, career comfort. The second piece, risk little, gain little. If you risk little, you’re likely to gain little over time. So if you’re interested in growth, being the best in your area, being the go-to in anything, you gotta risk a little bit. You’ve gotta throw some money at your skills in an efficient way. You’ve gotta go through the discomfort of getting real feedback. If you’re not getting real feedback on your skills, whether you’re in the clinical or you’re doing some type of mentorship or you’re continuing education courses, people should tell you when you do something wrong. They should be bold enough to tell you, hey, that’s not great. You can do that better. Here, let me show you and have a trusted source for that. But you’re going to have to see some incremental pain and discomfort of being told that’s not great. The other thing is if you are one of those people that were like me, you’re in a career, you’re ready to make a jump, you want to do your own thing, you’re gonna have to suffer some pain. You’re gonna be on the bubble for a while. You’re gonna have to have some revenue streams to help support that jump as you’re getting things going, and you gotta be prepared to not make money for a while. For most scenarios, there are very few scenarios where you can just hop straight over, go completely from being an employee into being an entrepreneur. So you need to have a period of time to build an on-ramp for yourself, and this is going to be uncomfortable. You’re going to have to have revenue streams that are going to help support you through the period of time that you’re working on building a business or building up your referrals so that you can make enough money to sustain things. That period of time will not last forever, but you need to have a solid plan. and you need to have a long runway. The longer the runway you can create financially, the more reserve financially you can create before you start doing a second thing or a third thing. Whatever it takes to be able to build your dream, build your business, you gotta do it. There’s no path forward without some pain, without some discomfort, without some extra hours. I’ve just never seen that happen. If you’ve been able to do it, please share in the comments. I’d love to know how you pulled that off. So that is the second piece if you’re an employee and you’re trying to move forward. and you want to start your own thing. If you’re an entrepreneur, I think another big mistake through being comfortable and not not risking enough is not risking to make yourself an expert in one area. I see this a lot too where clinicians are well-rounded. They can do a lot of things and that’s great. You need to be able to treat all of the things that you want to treat, but eventually, after you become successful, you’ve got to niche down. You’ve got to find that specialty area. You want to be the go-to for this. When their friend says, oh, I’ve got someone that’s got pelvic floor dysfunction, you need to go see Amy. Amy is the best at it. No one’s going to do a job for you like Amy will. That’s who you want to see. That is so clear. The message to your customer is so clear. You need to niche down. And maybe you’ve got a couple different areas. That’s great. Crush it with those. You’ll still get word of mouth referrals, but you want your clinic to be known for something in particular. This is great for getting people active. Maybe you’re the older adult go-to. If you’re over 55, you really want to go see Sally. Sally is the best in the world. She gets it. She understands what’s going on. She’s going to treat you with respect by challenging you as you’re ready. I’ve got a friend who did X, Y, or Z, or those are the type of stories you want to hear. But you can’t be too broad. If you want to grow, eventually you’ve got to niche down. You’ve got to be the best at things. Or maybe you’re growing your team so that you’ve got a team of people that are the best at things. The only exceptions I can think of here is if you’re in a super rural area, you kind of have to be a jack of all trades, but you want to hit those things that are the most common. And then people are going to trust you by proxy too, right? If you crushed it in this, it’s like, well, I’ll trust them with that too. And that can be helpful as well.

Team, I hope this was helpful. This is something that I’m really passionate about. I found in my own life. personally, professionally, in the gym, seeking some discomfort early is going to help avoid pain later, uncontrollable pain later. So seek that little bit of pain for the growth, for your dreams, the things that you really want to do in life, and you will be much better off for it. Team, if you’ve got thoughts or questions here, I would love to hear your thoughts. I hope this was helpful. So we want to avoid seeking career comfort and if you risk little, you will gain little. Team, enjoy the rest of your Thursday. We’ll see you next time.

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