My wife and I have two young daughters. So I know my Disney films. And you don’t drive from A to B in your car with two young daughters without listening to Disney songs. Doesn’t matter if you’re in the car for less time than it takes to find the “right” one. Also doesn’t matter if said daughters know the name of the “right” song; to them, a lyric will often suffice. And if you don’t know the lyric that they mean… 😮
So yeah, I also know my Disney songs. Here are some things they have taught me;
“You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew” Colours of the Wind, Pocahontas
Early in my journey (how X-Factor) to retrain as an injury treating chap, I “knew” everything. I signed up for courses, I studied hard, I dedicated hours learning the recommended texts, and I passed the tests. But soon after my first qualification, out in the real world, trying to positively effect peoples lives, seeing the results (good and bad) I began questioning. Why is what I have been taught the way? Is what I’ve been taught the way? So I read more. I worked harder. I placed myself in uncomfortable discussion and situation. I ensured I found myself in rooms with people infinitely smarter than myself. I started questioning everything. I learnt things I didn’t know I didn’t know. And now, I see this as the single most important part of my progress; critical thinking. And today, I “know” – for sure – less and less. But I see this as a good thing. It taught me of the perils of confirmation bias; of seeing what you always see, because that’s what you always see. If you only converse with people that see the world exactly as you see it, or work with people that you have trained yourself, then your window of vision narrows. In my previous career, I always found it hard to work with people who struggled to admit “I didn’t know that”, as if it were some kind of weakness. Being challenged is a good thing, it has to be, and I encourage this in my clinic. Ask me why this is your treatment. Ask me what these exercises will do for you. Ask me why I think how I think.
Nothing grows in a comfort zone.
“Finding you can change, Learning you were wrong”, Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and the Beast
In similar vein, a hugely important process I went through was that admission of not knowing everything, and actually, admitting to myself that some of what I thought I knew was wrong. No one knows everything. How could they? I look back at those initial treatments I carried out and some make me cringe. Not because they were bad treatments necessarily, but because they were the wrong treatment, for the right person. Because what I thought was right, I now don’t. And I can hold my hands up to that. Everything in life is a lesson; good, bad, indifferent. Now, no-one likes being told, or finding out, they are wrong, and the transition was hard. I wanted to believe that the skills I had been taught were beneficial, that they were helping people, and this is one of my bugbears with my profession today. People pay huge amounts of money to do courses, so naturally do not want to know that what is taught may not be exactly evidence based. But that certificate does not give us carte blanche to do as we please; we still have an ethical responsibility to follow the evidence, to stay current with the evidence, and to be able to justify what we do. These things outweigh the cost of a course.
The weight of evidence, and my own clinical experiences, showed me that I simply couldn’t justify some of the things I had been taught. Don’t get me wrong, they are still taught on courses up and down the country, and they will still be carried out in clinics everywhere. I just chose a different path, I guess.
No-one learns from getting it right all the time…
“Birds don’t just fly. They fall down and get up; Nobody learns without getting it wrong” Try Everything, Zootropia
…what a link! Ok, this is one for the Disney completists, but it is the current favourite in the Clayton car, and so definitely counts. A message we could all learn from. Its ok to be wrong. Its ok to make new mistakes, as long as we try to limit making the same mistakes. I am often told that my clinical approach is different from many have experienced elsewhere, as I put a lot of emphasis on self-management, empowerment and education. This comes at a risk, because we know that a lot of information given out on clinic can be misunderstood or in some cases, instantly forgotten. So I always tell people its ok to make mistakes, to try slightly different things, but to stay focussed, and positive, on the outcome. Recovery is never a linear road, and there are often bumps along the way. As long as we get back up when we ‘fall’, this is ok. And this is also true of my profession; I recently read an article that suggested that the average career span in my profession is less than 1 year. You read that correct. LESS than ONE year! Now, I have my own opinions on why exactly this might be – opinions which are long and varied and probably not popular – but one thing I think we all need, in all walks of life, is perseverance. Of course I am very proud of my clinic now, but it wasn’t a case of qualifying on Sunday and being fully booked on Monday. I started with one, non-paying, client. I thought about giving up more times than I (and my incredibly supportive wife) can remember. As Richard Branson says, “it take years to become an overnight success”.
I love my girls singing this one on the way to school. Strong lyrics.
“The call isn’t out there at all; its inside me”, I Am Moana (Song of the Ancestors), Moana
Recently Bath Half Marathon was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The organisers had ordered circa 12,000 medals, but 12,700+ finished, meaning a lot of unhappy runners wanting their well deserved bling. And it got me thinking; would I have been upset? Why do I run? I’m certainly not a competitive runner, so its not the winning. I’m not particularly unhealthy, so its not health related. I enjoy running on my own, so its not the social aspect. And I’m not a medal collector, so its not the medal. I should say, all of the above reasons are great reasons. But, for me, its an intrinsic drive to push myself. I come from a 25 year competitive sport background, and it becomes who you are.I want to run a little further. A little harder. A little faster, even (I know, we’re not allowed to admit this last one…). Its like an internal alarm clock that nudges me if I haven’t been running for a few days.
And its the same professionally. Why do I lie on bed reading about medical conditions that I may see in clinic once a year (once in a lifetime, some of them)? Why don’t I put up every certificate I have? Do I even tell people what I have recently qualified in? I have a theory that we all suffer a little bit of Imposter Syndrome – an intrinsic need to always prove oneself, and improve oneself? I’ll always want to be better at what I do. The day I don’t, is the day I’ll shut up shop and hang up my running trainers.
“Hakuna Matata”, Hakuna Matata, The Lion King
“It means no worries, for the rest of your days”. I literally didn’t know that.
N.B. There are no ‘one size fits all’ style quick fixes in most injury scenarios, so these article shouldnt be seen as such. They are merely guides to a better understanding of how our bodies work.
For more information please visit www.dc-injuryclinic.co.uk