Vet Business

Does Your Business Need a Personal Trainer?

This weeks blog is by Andy Clark, DVM, MBA of Hagyard Equine Medical Institute.

Are you happy with the financial performance of your practice? Are you confident in your exit strategy? Perhaps you need a personal trainer for your business. Let me share an experience that led me to think in terms of the concept of a business personal trainer.

Having moved to Lexington, Kentucky from the San Francisco Bay Area in California, I was naïve to the peril associated with the simple act of walking in an ice storm. In fact, I never heard of an ice storm before moving to Lexington. In the process of stepping out of my GMC for the first time on ice, I was amazed how quickly so many things can happen when you apply the laws of gravity while attempting to get out of a vehicle on ice. Imagine my surprise when after what appeared to be a few nanoseconds; I was down on the ice with a remarkably clear view of the entire sole of my right shoe even though it was still on my foot. Things seemed to happen very slowly once I was on the ice. The mind works in mysterious ways under duress. I applied logic and reasoning to the situation. I remember thinking that a 50+ year old man should not be able to see the sole of his shoe without taking it off his foot. I was marveling at this ability to see the entire sole of ones own shoe, somewhat proud of this unanticipated youthful flexibity…when the pain hit…

Exactly two years ago I had surgery on that knee. The knee was arthritic to begin with and I had been working around it and protecting it for decades through two previous surgeries. I had a fine surgeon who told me straight away that the knee had been a mess before the ice incident. The fall led to strained collateral ligaments and cruciate ligaments to the maximum limit without failure and oh by the way, both the medial and lateral meniscii were torn. Surgery was a debridement procedure and it went well. I complied with the modest and brief rehab program and considered the unfortunate incident behind me.

I was famliar with knee pain and confident working around it so I marched on with life using the same strategy as before the incident; naproxen and compensation. For the next year, since I was using the leg less and less and doing less and less, the logical result occurred. I lost fifteen degrees of range of motion and gained 15 pounds.

About a year after the ice storm and surgery, I realized that managing the problem with grit, determination and manliness was not working out all that well. I was faced with the decision to begin to use a cane and buy larger trousers or try a new plan. My problem was that I didn’t know what else to do. My best thinking had gotten me to the place I was. I needed a new strategy to get new results. What an epiphany!

I started working with a great physical therapist. With calm confidence in the face of my discomfort, she returned my range of motion to normal in a remarkably short period of time. When my insurance coverage ran out for physical therapy, Esdee, the physical therapist, hit me with the awful truth. If I didn’t take personal charge of my soundness, I would lose the range of motion again and go right back where we started. “What are my options”, I asked her? Physical therapists are often direct people. Concisely, she told me “Get a personal trainer, explain your challenges and objectives and then do what you are told. A personal trainer can not help you if you don’t want help badly enough to do what you are told.”

I have worked with Josh, my personal trainer for a year. I lost the 15 pounds I gained plus losing another 15 that I should have lost long ago. I walk without limping, I have great balance, I can tie my shoes without bending my knees and I am much more confident riding. Oh by the way, I hated every minute of the experience.

The epiphany for me was when I realized that despite three college degrees, I needed a personal trainer to help me reach a pretty basic goal. I had clearly demonstrated to myself that for whatever reason, I was not able to get there on my own. My knee hadn’t been normal since 1974 but I had been ‘dealing with it’. With the additional damage from the ice storm fall, My old plan no longer worked. It took a new plan and someone to help me implement the plan to improve my situation beyond what I could have imagined.

As I look at my personal trainer experience it appears to me that business coaches, personal trainers who attempt to help you improve your business, have the potential to help you achieve remarkable results…if you really want help and are willing to work the new plan. You may hate every minute of it but the results can be remarkable. After all, you were trained to be a veterinarian, not a business person. One day you may look up and be enjoying the business equivalent of walking without a cane and not wearing extra large trousers…it will have been worth it.

Andy Clark, DVM, MBA

Hagyard Equine Medical Institute

Later this week we will review how we did with our 2010 New Year Resolutions and discuss what our plans are for 2011? Have you submitted your resolutions for 2011. Check out our post from last week to comment.

  1. What a great story; insights can come from the most suprising incidents sometimes. In the UK (where I am based) many CEOs of large organisations rely on Business Coaches or Executive Coaches – so it is not just us veterinarians that need help. Both in our personal lives and our business lives we often know what we want to achieve and how to get there but just need someone to help keep us focused.

  2. Hopefully they know what is better to do. People ar eoften too in rush when deciding things.

  3. If you don’t have any idea how to start and get successful with your business then it is better if you hire a good teacher who can teach you internet marketing strategy and how to handle and online business successfully.

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