Rock Bottom

2020 was supposed to be the year of the Vision, Greatness, Magnificence . At the start of Physical Therapy school all we heard about was Vision 2020, the next evolution of Physical Therapy when we finally got our due. This year was also the year that Fearless Physical Therapy  was to open in Virginia and take the 757 by storm. This was to be the year where all the hard work started paying dividends. The best laid plans of mice and men. Warning  an epic rant is about to begin.

Vision 2020 was the next level for Physical Therapist. We would gain  our autonomy. We were supposed to become the providers’ of choice. Finally get the respect of our peers and start making that money. Well in 2020 we got a 9% payment reduction from Medicare thrown into our collective face. Direct Access has happened but not to the extent we thought and it feels like sometimes the dreams that we got sold in 03 were just that. We still have to explain what we do and just about anyone can claim they do “Physical Therapy”. Yeah 2020 is the year of vision.

I started Fearless with enough money saved to last about 6 months. Did it the way all the books tell you too. I thought everything was cool. The best laid plans of mice and men. That money that was saved up ended up going to car repairs, repairs to other things and people needing money.  On top of it all Fearless wasn’t  bringing in the dollars like I thought it would. Once Covid-19 really started to spread around here  traction for Fearless stopped. The little name recognition we were getting just stopped.  No new patients coming in, no prospects and no cash. I had to borrow money from my family, something I said I’d never do again. Staying up late wondering how I’m going to pay the rent, car note and other bills.  I haven’t been this  low since God knows when. I always had a steady paycheck coming in once I finished PT school except for a few months back in 2014 when I transitioned back here. 2020 hit me hard and before I could get up stomped me down another 6 feet.

I’m definitely not the only one who is wiping dirt from off their  face. I’ve watched many people struggle this year. People have lost family members, been hospitalized and just all kinds of loss. We’ve seen this country be torn apart at the seams and all the ugly truths laid bare. This wasn’t supposed to happen in 2020. At the onset of the year everyone was speaking life and claiming gains upon gains. Instead 2020 felt like the year of ROCK BOTTOM because we hit ROCK BOTTOM.

The thing is from Rock Bottom the only direction you can go is up.  For me the hard times that have encircled me  have led to a lot of gains. The problems of this year have allowed me to spend more time with my family. I’ve had the opportunities to learn a lot about running a business. It’s also allowed me to reassess things and return to the real WHY’s. The things that I can go back to when I’m at my wits end. It’s made me appreciate every patient that I did have and forced me to become stronger. My grandmother always told me that I have to be strong in adversity and stand tall and praise God even in the storms because no matter how rough the seas get he will keep me.  If Fearless would have hit the trajectory I wanted… I would be in for a world of hurt later on. If I was successful starting off I wouldn’t have found mentors and people to learn from. I would have made some tragic mistakes because I would have felt like I didn’t need any help and would not have realized there were a lot of things about business  that I was ignorant to.

The lull in scheduling also allowed me to learn more about current concepts in PT. I was able to sit back and reinforce things that I learned in Residency or in school. If I was seeing 20-30 patients a day I wouldn’t have been able to go back into the lab and get better at my craft.  With fewer patients I was allowed to strengthen skills that have kind of gone by the wayside due to having to be forced to meet metrics at my previous jobs.  I learned what my shortcomings were and how to fix them. These shortcomings could have been tragic if I had a high volume caseload for 2020 but once again there is a positive in a perceived negative. 2020 has shown me how to make something out of nothing. The funny thing about being on the floor looking at the lights is that it changes your perspective and if you want to have your hand raised in the end it forces you to re-evaluate what you’re doing wrong.

So yeah 2020 was hard. It felt like rock bottom was hit and hit hard. I know it’s hard to see a silver lining in a year where it seems like everything that could go wrong went wrong. Just have to change your perspective and focus on finding a meritorious solution to a meretricious situation. Give yourself a chance to vent, cry two tears and take advantage of the position that 2020 has put you in. I’m not going to lie it may seem implausible and downright impossible but with the right perspective anything can be possible.

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