Making A Life By Breaking Away

While at my first job out of Physical Therapy school, I often thought, “if this was my injury, this is not how I would treat myself for it” when working with patients. The healthcare system I was working in had it’s history and it’s approaches so I followed along like any new grad would. But not for long. I started working outside the insurance model a year-and-a-half later, fully independent of the insurance-driven healthcare system because it was either that, or quitting the profession entirely.

Breaking away from a known system to create your own is hard. Every day you wake up to a path that’s not there. Every day you have to blaze it. And by blaze, I mean you have to take a timid step one direction and hope it’s right. And then the next day you have to take another step and hope it’s right too. You never actually know what’s working until it really does or until it really doesn’t. And even then, you need to keep going. Pushing beyond daily uncertainty takes faith, self-trust, sacrifice, vulnerability, hard and, oftentimes, aimless work.

I am someone who is (or was?) very risk avoidant. A perfectionist mindset. So ‘analysis paralysis’ was my middle name. I wasted so much time on what-ifs, on pivoting too quickly to avoid failure, on trying new things before really assessing if the previous things worked or not, on avoiding things I was bad at. After all, I didn’t set out to be a “entrepreneur”. I set out to work in alignment with my values. Beyond knowing how to treat injuries, however, I didn’t actually know what I was doing.

I am a Physical Therapist by trade, but I want to be more than that. I want to provide evidence-based coaching and affordable resources. I want to have a quality of life that isn’t 15-30 clients a day – like it once was-  with no energy left for my body or mind. I want the flexibility to live, not just exist, so I can still work hard and enjoy it. I want to be a good person to my people and my community. I want to forge a life with not a single regret, and I want to chip away at that perfectionist armor and be left with the identity of a “doer” not just a “thinker”.

The funny thing in all of this is that I kind of believe I’m that person already. I took a risk, with minimal savings in my bank account — while also living in one of the most expensive US cities —  and left a career structure I didn’t align with. Day after day, month after month, mistake after mistake, I’m still here and I’m that much closer to finding that sweet spot of working and living. I don’t expect perfect harmony, but I do expect myself to keep going after what I want.

I am that “doer”, and I am that “thinker” too. Being both is good.

 

Dr. Megan-Marie Delegas PT, DPT