How do you measure professional progress?

When dealing with pain, you measure progress by if the pain is getting better or worse. Progress can be measure in different ways and I expand on four different scenarios I see in the clinic ​HERE​.

But today, I want to investigate how you measure progress in business and life? 

Over the last few years, I have felt pulled toward a different way to measure professional progress. The start of my career was mostly a narcissistic approach, all about Nathan. I would work hard, solve all the world’s running problems, and gain praise and status along the way. A higher salary, more noteworthy clients, and a growing local brand. My professional was solely focused on growing me. 

And that led to good outcomes. A bigger patient and client caseload, and growing revenue. Eventually, progress led me to start my own business. 

The dark side of this tunnel vision approach is that a busy schedule and a growing business come with a cost. Your finite energy is used quickly, often causing your health, relationships, and life outside of work to drift away. 

You don’t notice this daily, but looking back over time, you ask, “What happened?”

I saw myself becoming the archetype of what I didn’t want to be. The business owner who works 24/7 has no off hours and will willingly sacrifice other aspects of life for work.

Then 2020 happened, I had a fun series of panic attacks, and it became obvious this wasn’t working. I needed to reorient how I spent my time and energy. I was brought back to a talk I heard in high school by Craig Keilburger about shifting your focus from ME to WE. 

What if work was less about Nathan and more about others? 

Over the last few years, I’ve loved mentoring clinicians on the complex nature of bones and growing a business they love while having a life outside work. I find these subjects fascinating, and if I can help others with these challenging topics, the world will be a better place. That sounds cheesy, but the world will improve if clinicians can show up for their patients, be present, engaged, and provide quality care. They can grow their business, and the runner returns to running, usually a crucial part of their life.

I try to be an open book, share as much of my mistakes as possible, and help others. That’s why I make videos, write blogs, and host the Runners Zone podcast with Chris. 

There will be a day I close my business just like you will be a day you no longer run. I want to have a positive impact on my field and my running community during that brief time. And I won’t measure that in revenue, social media followers, or letters after my name. 

How do you measure progress? 

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