Who do you need to be? The benefits of mentorship

There is only one true regret I have in my 14 years as a clinic owner.


I mean of course I have made literally thousands of mistakes, but when I look back at them I don’t regret any of them, because I learned from them.


I want to tell you about my first 5 years in business.


In 2003 I got lucky with a really great opportunity to buy my clinic. Being a new grad I don’t know why I decided to do this, I saw an opportunity on a noticeboard at uni for a practice for sale, and it started there. Just days before I had done an interview with QLD Health, and walked out of it, for the reason that they asked me to do a case study as part of the interview process, then when I got into the interview they spent the whole time just asking me for info about 2 more case studies. I thought “is this all you guys care about?”.


So I’m in this practice, starting to build a following and doing my best to help my patients. That year I bought my first home, and the next year I met the lady who is now my wife. Safe to say my business was the last thing on my mind. Now this is not my true regret – I’m going to get very honest with you here.


The truth is I was embarrassed about hiring anyone. As a young guy, who really didn’t know that much about physio, in a one room business in a medical centre, I felt genuinely embarrassed about taking on even a receptionist. I mean, they would have to sit at a little desk in my 30 square metre room, without any bells or whistles (granted they would have had a nice water view), and a boss who didn’t really know what to do with them. For my first five years I felt even more embarrassed about the thought of employing another physio – what could I really offer a new grad physio? I was busy seeing all the patients, and with the small amount of room we had (2 rooms separated by curtains) it would have been a very small and cramped arrangement. I really did have my head in the sand. I suppose this was symbolic because in the second room, behind the curtain, this is where all of my “junk” was stored – stock, paperwork etc, basically all of the stuff we feel we need to run a clinic. Looking back this was symbolic of all the junk in my head that I was holding onto – fears, negative beliefs, and general head trash.


Having grown up in a working class family I never thought I would own a business, let alone hire staff. In those first 5 years I thought that:


  1. If I did all the work myself I would make lots of money and be in control
  2. If I hired staff I didn’t really have much I could offer them, as my clinic was small, basic and I wasn’t very proud of it


So what changed these beliefs?


In 2008 a little thing called the GFC came along and kicked my arse. Altogether I lost about $150 000 through a really poor investment with a company called Storm Financial.


These days I tell people it was one of the best decisions I ever made.




I remember the most stressful day of my life. It was late 2008 and the stockmarket was in freefall. Coming to work I turned on my computer, feeling a sense of doom, and check the ASX all ordinaries website at 9am. Bang, the market opened, and in 1 minute I had lost about $20 000. I felt sick in my stomach, and as I was driving my car across town to see my then girlfriend, I seriously thought about crashing my car into a tree. I thought my life was ending, at age 25!


Can you see how stupid that is? I would be fairly sure that many of you have had much, much, much worse stuff happen to you in your life. In the last 10 years I have had much worse stuff than this happen to me.


So why was this the most stressful day of my life?


I had no help. I was alone with just my thoughts. I had no one supporting me (in business anyway), counselling me and listening to me.


This transitional period of my business life in 2008 and 2009 made me go in search of people who could help me.


Initially the people I looked for were in the physio world, then the search extended to the business world, and after that in the world of psychology/human behaviour.


I found a number of great mentors, who served me well at different stages of my journey in the last 10 years. I would say the top 5 people (apart from my wife, family and friends) who helped me to see what I am capable of are:



  1. Paul Wright from 2007-2009, who taught me that it was OK to be a physio and a business person, and I was not evil or greedy, just aspirational
  2. Michael Ridgway from 2009- 2011, who taught me that to be truly successful in my physio career I needed to value myself
  3. My PT and friend Jake McLuskie from 2011- now, who taught me that a massive vision and optimal daily habits can help you overcome any problem in your life
  4. My business coach and friend Brad Flynn from 2007-now, who taught me about the person I need to be, and not just the things I need to do, to be the best version of myself
  5. My psychologist from 2015-now, who taught me that the sense of peace I can attain in my life through dealing with the head trash that holds me back is the only way to be truly happy in life


Now guess what?


I have paid the above people a significant amount of money, invested thousands of hours, and placed immense amounts of trust in these people. How have they helped me? In ways that you couldn’t imagine.


I will tell you about one of the more stressful events in my life in the last 2 years. It was January 2016, and my wife and I were on our Christmas holiday in Italy. I checked my tablet and I had received an email from back home. A water pipe had burst in the upstairs of my clinic in late December, and with no one coming into the clinic it had run continuously for what we estimated to be about 3 days.


The inside of our clinic had been destroyed.


Now you would not believe how peaceful I felt in that moment. My wife and I went on our planned winery tour that day. She asked me if we needed to go back home early to sort the problem out, and I decided to place full trust in my team. When I got back the place was buggered, but very luckily our computer hard drive was not destroyed ( I now back up our practice software much better than I used to!). It took 3 months to fix the clinic, and I estimate we lost $100-$150k through not being able to use a couple of our rooms. Our patients could not come in the front door for 3 months.


This didn’t stress me out nearly as much as that day back in 2008 when the stockmarket dropped.


Why was this the case?


The person I had become could deal with the problem. The person I was back in 2008 could not deal with the magnitude of that problem.


Now as you grow as a person, the problems you get thrown get bigger. Health problems, challenges with your family, your staff, unforeseen events, and the list goes on. I don’t need to tell you this.


My business coach Brad taught me that life never throws anything at you that you can’t handle.



So who do you need to become to handle the problems that you are going to encounter in your lifetime?


Without the help of really high quality mentors, I would challenge you to become the person you need to be on your own.


I couldn’t do it, and I am so glad that I made the decision to ask for help.


So ask yourself – are you the person you need to be? If not, who can help you grow into that person?


Just give them a call or shoot them an email.


Hey I’ve got some cool news too.

Next year in March Ultimate Physio is hosting our first 2 day workshop, called “Build a high performing team”. It is for clinic owners who want to do fewer hours and who want to improve the performance of your team members. Check it out here.

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