Kristins post about part of her story (stay tuned for the rest!) inspired me to think about my own story, and why I’m here, doing what I do. Here is what I’ve come up with (though I reserve the right to update this as time passes, haha).
Why do I do it?
To be a source of trustworthy knowledge and actionable steps that people need so that they can improve their lives exactly how they want to and maybe even more.
- I’ve always wanted to be the person people went to for help.
- I’ve seen how valuable being that person can be, and being able to provide that to someone fills my soul up.
That was the TLDR version. Read on for how I got there. Starting with story time…
When I was young, I was being foolish around a pool table and ended up hitting my face on the side of it, cutting up my gums pretty good/bad. It was during a family function and one of my uncles, a firefighter, was there to help. At the moment I was afraid and worried that I had done something that would, a: be a problem permanently (in an aesthetic/health respect), and b: get me in trouble with my parents (I told you I was young, though I think that fear never goes away haha). Immediately, my uncle took calm control of the situation and helped make a plan that assessed where I was between serious injury, and a bump/bruise (it ended up just being a gnarly flap of skin that tore off my gums with a lot of blood that made it look bad) while he also made it all seem like a team effort to help save me and the evening. It was inspiring to say the least (and I was fine… just being a wimp). Onto the next story…
Both times I injured my shoulders (one, a clavicular fracture while snowboarding, the other a dislocated shoulder while playing football. Different shoulders, years apart), I went to the walk-in clinic/hospital and saw a doctor. While I didn’t enjoy the wait time (none of us does, but it’s a necessary part of having a non-life threatening injury), I appreciated the focus and methodical approach the doctors that ultimately saw me had, as well as their conclusions and reassurance that in time, I’d be just fine.
I’ve always wanted to be like those people. I’ve always wanted to be the person that people felt comfortable asking for answers (at least the ones related to health/wellness). I always wanted to be able to provide measured, calm answers to questions that innately inspire a certain level of fear in people. Taking away fear, I think, is a pretty valuable skill.
So, my goal from a young age was to be involved in healthcare. I originally thought I would go “be a doctor”, but as I got into my third and fourth years of university, I learned that for me, being a medical doctor wasn’t going to provide me with the tools I needed to answer the questions I wanted to answer. So I explored other options (Physiotherapy, Speech and Language pathology, Audiology, Population and Community Ecology, Chiropractic, Osteopathy, Naturopathy) for school, and even looked into applying to the fire department (they wouldn’t hire colour-blind folks back then). It eventually took me to Chiropractic college, where I enrolled in their doctor of chiropractic program, as well as their masters of science in applied clinical nutrition programs. I attended a lot of lectures and labs, and read and studied a LOT. I learned a lot. It was such a great thing to think that if I just read and learned as much as I could – if I read all the literature about all the things within my scope of practice (where I could help people), I would finally have all the answers.
Throughout my quest to learn the answers, I learned some hard truths:
First, the textbooks, and some of the information from lectures, labs and skill work would that I was learning, would be obsolete by the time I was allowed to use it. Not surprising and somewhat easy to mitigate by always working to continue learning.
Lesson Learned: You never get to stop learning if you want to be the one providing the answers.
Second, the scientific literature (what I always thought was like gospel, untouchable and un-taintable) was/is biased, unpredictable, and in some cases purposely falsified to serve the needs of those who might benefit from it (sometimes, honestly, as the author wants to see their hypothesis come true, and sometimes in more sinister ways).
Lesson learned: Scrutinize what you read. Does it make sense? Does it fit with everything else we know? If it doesn’t, WHY?
Third, most people that DO come to you with questions, will have a somewhat unique and different question than everyone else that has, which makes their answers also unique and different. It will be very rare that a person presents like they do in the textbooks/classes/exams.
Lesson Learned: Providing solutions isn’t, and will never be a “recipe book” or “menu”. You can’t just file people into tidy and neat categories and each and every case needs to be addressed individually, which requires a lot of patience, willpower, and open-mindedness.
So. Learning that having the answers to the questions people were asking was going to be very difficult, and in most cases, fairly disappointing, has been hard to accept. But, as difficult as it is to accept it, it’s the truth. And one of the most important things I’ve learned is that there is something more important than being the person with the answers; and that is working tirelessly to be someone who provides the truth – even if it means revealing that those we would expect to have solid answers on, still don’t.
So why do this? Why put in thousands upon thousands of hours reading, attending seminars, and learning about manual therapy, modalities, food production, different diets, food allergies, intolerances, dyskinesias, program design, rehabilitative exercises, barbell strength, weightlifting, gymnastics, energy systems, fueling systems, fasting, ketogenic dieting, sleep and recovery, stress relief, belief systems, habit building, time management, and a list of other things, some known and some unknown, that will NEVER end?
To be a source of trustworthy knowledge and actionable steps that people want and/or need so that they can improve their lives exactly how they want to and maybe even more.
Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for providing me with the opportunity to do so.