What a year! Emily and I are still pinching ourselves now that things are in full swing at our home away from home (also known as our baby, our business, our dream come true). As I sat down this morning to reflect on 2012, I smiled as I read the words printed on my coffee mug: ‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.’ I heartily agree. We have experienced this as practice owners and also in terms of the journey that we share with patients on their path to recovery. In some aspects of practice, changing the status quo is familiar, if not comfortable. Health care is constantly evolving- while challenging, stepping into the unknown inspires us to learn and adapt while continuing to provide excellent care to our patients, who also must adapt and redefine their own boundaries when seeking and receiving treatment.
We often work with patients and adapt to their comfort zones. For some, this may relate to soreness during manual therapy, exercise and/ or daily activities or may simply relate to establishing trust and rapport with a new provider. Others may be uncomfortable with reducing exercise intensity or volume enough to allow adequate tissue healing. Patients with incontinence, pelvic pain and/ or sexual symptoms may be pushed out of their ‘zone’ by discussing things they consider private and embarrassing. We need to be sensitive to individual boundaries while getting patients gradually out of comfortable (but not into pain) when it is necessary to heal.
Clinically, physical therapists are used to shifting our clinical practice according to research recommendations, even if it means doing something we have never done or changing methods from a former technique to a different, more evidence-based intervention. It’s not always easy. Stepping outside of our professional comfort zone is something that all therapists and health providers do when they refine an existing skill, integrate new ones, or throw out ineffective techniques.
Last year was full of experiences outside of our comfort zone- business ownership is exciting and overwhelming- and wonderful! Emily and I often find ourselves operating outside of our comfort zones as we stretch and grow as practice owners and expect even more in the year ahead. We are still learning- we work more hours, are sometimes slowed down by unexpected obstacles, and find that what we don’t know exceeds what we do. But at the end of the day: we are doing it! We are incredibly grateful to our wonderful patients, whose trust in us to provide their care continues to inspire us to learn and grow. Opening this practice was our dream- If we had never opened the door, we would still be wondering what was on the other side. Now that we are here, we can’t wait to find out what’s next.
Until next time,