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10 - The Identity Secret to Success - Health Fit Biz


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The way you identify yourself has a huge impact on your ability to achieve success, be creative, grow, and reach your true potential.

Scenario 1 – The Student to Clinician To Business Owner

For those who are health care providers, there are multiple levels of identity change that shouldn’t be shied away from.

First is the transition from student to clinician. You get used to doing services for free while you are a student finishing up school. Then one day you get a hat, a diploma, and change your identity completely and have to start collecting money from people for the things you’ve been used to doing for free.

Big Shift.

Better shift fast before you get chewed up! Having a moldable self-identity allows you to quickly become more successful and realize your full potential.

Another shift along this path is going from clinician to business owner. If you think of yourself as just a clinician, you have now limited your ability to think bigger about business opportunities.

Scenario 2 – The Fitness Professional To Business Owner

A lot of gyms are started by one person who does everything. Janitor, head trainer (or only trainer), business owner, etc. The identity of head trainer is a strong identity.

Eventually to progress in your growth you have to hire other trainers to take over some classes or to work underneath you. This may require you to move away from head trainer role and become business owner. This is a big mental shift. If you don’t consider yourself a business person, you just placed a huge ceiling on your growth.

How Flexible is Your Identity?

How do you self-identify? Do you limit your capabilities just on how you define your role? If you think of yourself as only capable of x or y or z, you are now limited in your creativity, problem solving, and growth.

You have multiple skills that can translate to all sorts of business opportunities if you allow yourself to think that way.

This Week’s Challenge

The challenge this week is a though experiment.

If you woke up tomorrow and were unable to do the job that you currently do, how could you still help people in the way that YOU want to, using your current skill set, but in a different way?


Podcast Transcript

Ryan: I’m Dr. Ryan Debell. Thanks for tuning in once again to the Health Fit Biz podcast. This is episode number ten. What we’re going to be talking about in this episode is the idea of having a flexible identity and the ability to change your identity. If in your mind, you have a fixed identity of who you are and what you’re capable of, it will always prevent or stifle growth and creativity. A couple of quick examples before we get in to the episode. If you’re a student in health care, towards the end of your schooling you’re essentially doing all your services for free and then you suddenly have a moment where you have to change from student to clinician who charges full fees. That’s a hard shift to make right off the bat because you’ve been for so long a student and now you’re a professional charging. That’s one way that you have to be flexible in your identity. Another way is, trying new things, experimenting with new roles, expanding or changing your roles within what you’re currently doing. Let’s say for example you own a gym and you train most of the classes at your gym but you need to expand you have to change roles from being a primary trainer to the manager of the gym or let’s say you are a practicing chiro or PT and you want to expand beyond yourself, you have to go from being this main clinician to the business owner and operator and if you limit yourself to think “I am only capable of being the provider,” you’ll always stifle your growth. So, Anthony and I have other examples like Anthony’s pureWOD company or the workshops that I do for The Movement Fix or other things like that that we discussed. Now in reviewing this episode to put together the post, I just want to make sure that we get this out of front. Anthony has made choices based on where he is currently at moving more towards the health business side of things and still sees patient. So, don’t take what you’re hearing as I am saying “you should only do something else.” That’s not what’s we are saying.  Or saying “be okay with having flexibility in your identity and your role so that you can think creatively about what you’re doing and what you are capable of.” So, without further ado let’s tune in to this episode number ten.

Anthony: Welcome! Welcome! Welcome!

Ryan: What’s up Anthony?

Anthony: to this another edition of the Health Fit Business podcast. I’m your vice-host, Anthony Gustin.

Ryan: I’m your also vice-host Ryan Debell.

Anthony: Co vice- host.

Ryan: So, these are editions now? Edition of the podcast?

Anthony: This is the ninth edition.

Ryan: Ninth edition or tenth or whatever. What are we talking about on this episode Anthony?

Anthony: Today we are talking about…

Ryan: Or this edition?

Anthony: This edition, we are talking about the things that I had the biggest problem with. Switching gears and changing my identity essentially.

Ryan: You had an identity crisis Anthony?

Anthony: Oh, it was bad!

Ryan: Tell me about it.

Anthony: It is bad.

Ryan: Can you tell me more?

Anthony: Yes. This is bad public channel so it’s going to be tough to do but I’ll do it. I’m a former busy chiropractor.

Ryan: What do you mean by that?

Anthony: So, some people I think listening has spent so much time, money, effort, to perfecting something they are doing that they have such intense intense identity with their thing. So, for me, the biggest initial identity I had was as a student. So, when I left school after grad school, after all these education, “What the hell am I doing? Am I supposed to charge money for the stuff that I’m doing that I’ve been doing for free forever?”

Ryan: It’s hard to do that, wasn’t it?

Anthony: So, that I think is a pretty big identity shift that people can relate to that that’s student to career.

Ryan: It’s weird to start taking people’s money for something you did in school for free all the time.

Anthony:  Yeah. That’s crazy. And then, the real big shift came when I started to remove myself almost entirely from my day to day clinic and instead of running a practice that all these year of schooling. So, the schooling lead to chiropractor identity, I was basically cutting them off entirely to run a nutrition and supplement company. Completely different!

Ryan: That was… I remember how challenging that was for you to make that shift because you were extremely busy in that clinic.

Anthony: Yeah, it was very successful. I would like things were going very very well by any standard of clinic or…

Ryan: Right.

Anthony: Especially three years out of school. I could not have imagined a better scenario than where I was in.

Ryan: So, what was the identity shift that you had to make and how did you do it?

Anthony: So, as I was growing this supplement and nutrition company pureWOD, things were, I saw the massive potential to reach limitless people and that was kind of nagging in me. There’s a string being pulled for a very long period of time. I was working on that nights and weekend. Working fifty, sixty hours in my clinic and I knew that I had an obligation liked we’ve we talked about many times that before.

Ryan: Ten or ten thousand.

Anthony: To reach more people than I could in my clinic.

Ryan: So, your previous identity was chiropractor, health care provider.

Anthony: Exactly.

Ryan: What is your new identity become or what’s an identity that kind of can encompass both of those things?

Anthony: So, the identity is completely… I don’t even know. I’ve had people asked me what would I do now and it was kind of weird like…

Ryan: “Who am I? Who am I?” Hey! So, what you’re doing Anthony?

Anthony: “Am kind of like a chiropractor but I have something sort of business in this… I don’t know.” Not having that conviction like “Oh yeah I have this clinic and I’m a chiropractor course or I like go to school. I’m a student.”

Ryan: Yeah.

Anthony: Completely different now like I really don’t know what to say and how to say it. I went to, in latter part we’ll discuss this too, I went to this Mastermind which is basically a pooling of people that get together and talk about business issue and how to fix them.

Ryan: And life issues.

Anthony: Yeah. I mean, best investment that I made in my life because what happened from that basically everyone was like urging me, urging me like “You have the ability to scale and help thousands of people all over the place. You need to shift. You need to get your mind out of who you are” and they said “look, you built so many valuable skills and you have amazing set of knowledge from all the work you did. It doesn’t mean you are throwing that all away. You’re just utilizing it differently.”

Ryan: So, what do you think about…  Because I know we’ve talked about this in podcast about ten versus ten thousand and people that are for example they are training individuals or they’re in the healthcare provider kind of environment, they might go “Why do I need a blog? Why? That’s not what a healthcare provider does?” And I think the mentality has to shift slightly if you want to reach more people to “I am not just a health care provider. My job and my identity is somebody who shares information with the world and helps people and you can help people in different ways. It isn’t stuck to one rigid way of thinking.”

Anthony: Right. I’m a person that makes a positive impact. That’s what I am and so, I can use all of these skills now that I gained from running a clinic, from going to school, learning how to learn to understanding human body and how nutrition works. I don’t have to be in my clinic working with people one on one to be able to use those skills. But all my training for 25 years in my life have gone up to that point. It was a very very difficult shift.  An identity crisis really to go from one to another. I was debating when I was doing this “Am I kind of go half in, half out? Go back and forth” and I don’t think that that would be a sustainable thing for me.

Ryan: So, are you suggesting that everyone listening goes and does something else? I don’t think you are.

Anthony: Yeah. Absolutely not. I mean, do you obviously have to a bunch of different factors into this?

Ryan: That was the right choice for you at the right time? But not everyone has to do that and that’s not what we’re saying.

Anthony: Absolutely not. However, the mentality switching from I went to school this long for this certain thing and now I have to do this.

Ryan: It closes off your creativity first of all.

Anthony: To grow, you need to be able to be flexible in your identity and be able to shift and do new things. Start a new company, do new projects. Try different stuff.

Ryan: New ways to reach out.  I think even for a lot of people too like let’s say you’re in a clinic and rather than just being in a provider role a lot of people will switch to being in the person to run a business role. And so still even then, it’s an identity shift. You’re not a provider, you’re more of the manager of the clinic.

Anthony: Yeah even.

Ryan: That right there too is a mentality shift.

Anthony: Even that scenario though, you are enabling more people to help more people so your kind of scaling up and leveling up.

Ryan: Exactly.

Anthony: And leveling up everybody around you. And so.

Ryan: Don’t be afraid of that.

Anthony: And your position too, like when you started doing workshops versus being the expert clinician that you are.

Ryan: I had a lot of shifts.

Anthony: So, for me, it was straight through from in the womb to chiro but for you.

Ryan: In the womb to chiro (laughs)?!

Anthony: Straight shot! You’ve got a completely potential thing identity shift even before…

Ryan: I did! I did! Before going there, chiro school I actually went to business school and I had several internships at Fortune 500 companies, working in sort of their technology department. I’ll give two examples of jobs that I had. One was that I worked at a large bank and I worked in their competitive technology department where I would research technology that companies were using or find a competitive advantage. Obviously, that’s different from what I was doing. And then, I worked for a small startup company that mined user data in the internet in order to sell more effective ads. And then what happened was I went… I don’t like these jobs.  I don’t want to do this. So, when I was back to graduate from business school right before I should say, right before I graduated from business school I said I want to go on some wort of health care related field which is when I had to transition from a business student and business person to now I’m going to pursue the clinical and health sciences. So then, I switched over and went through that, graduated, started a clinic, I still have the clinic and but then I started being more like content-creator, workshop instructor, and more of an instructor role than just purely clinic role and that sort of being transitioning currently into more like how do I reach even more people? How do I really think about myself? And how does that affect my ability to reach ten thousand, hundred thousand or million people. And so yeah, it’s not easy but I think that’s just a growth process.

Anthony: So, it’s been very clear that you’ve been entirely flexible in your identity moving from one position to another. However, you’ve leveraged your skills in one.  Went lateral. So, you’re in business school and all these great business advice and business process, took that to your clinic combined it with your clinical knowledge. Then from that, you can mobilize workshops and do this. So now you’re basically just keep on adding to your skills and to your tool box and jumping from kind of one mountain top to the other, shifting your identity but still retaining all those core skills and that you’re using each of them.

Ryan: I think you know, the way that you think about yourself will dictate that. I never really thought of myself as just provider, I’ve always kind of thought of myself as like business minded but I think what you have to reconsider my identity as somebody who shares information and helps other people and there’s different venues or different avenues you can take to achieve that. Having a flexible self-perception is very important if you’re going to make shifts. If that’s not what you want of course then you can stick with where you’re at but if you want to start growing you have to have a flexible identity.

Anthony: Yeah you can have this fear of “I’m this therefore I can’t do that.”

Ryan: Yeah exactly! And that’s a big mistake. “I can’t do these awesome things because I’m this person.” That’s a way of thinking that will really hold you back from your true potential.

Anthony: So, if we have a challenge this week.

Ryan: Which we do.

Anthony: Which we do. We always do. It’s a weekly challenge, come on guys!

Ryan: Come on every Tuesday.

Anthony: Yes, I know that. Don’t be silly!

Ryan: Every Tuesday challenge.

Anthony: A thought experiment. This is a type of experiment that I did during those times when I’m stuck at basically it puts you on a different frame of mind. The thought experiment is if you aren’t able to be in your current job role or have your current identity so for instance if I was a practicing everyday chiro or I was a personal trainer or a gym owner, if tomorrow I woke up and for whatever reason I could not do that, what would be five ways I could use my skills set to still help people the way I want to help them?

Ryan: Thought experiment. Thought experiments.

Anthony: You mean exercise?

Ryan: Don’t be silly! Thought experiments, thought exercises are great way to really push your thinking. Five ways that you can still help people in a way that you want to without doing your current role. Lets expand those brains. Let’s expand your thinking. Let’s see what you come up with. Mental exercises like these are fruitful but also kind of challenging. So, we shall see what you guys come up with. We would love to hear your feedback and what you think of this thought experiment or exercise.

Anthony: Don’t be silly and get after it!

Ryan: Thank you guys for tuning in to this episode of the Health Fit Business podcast. If you find it helpful, please share with someone that you think it would also help and leave us a five-star rating on iTunes. Make sure also to go to healthfit.biz and sign up for the email notifications to which you can find right on the homepage so that you get all the updated podcasts and blog posts sent directly to you. Until then, we will see you next time.