My New Year’s Routine
Each year, I sit down with a calendar and set up my year. I schedule days off, mark when certain bills need to be paid, place reminders for yearly renewals and anniversaries. I was coming up with ideas for social media post when I first heard about “I Am a Mentor Day.” January 7th, a day dedicated to celebrating and reflecting on the role of mentors in our lives, I found myself caught in a moment of introspection. For the longest time, the concept of being a mentor felt as distant to me as growing up did to Peter Pan. In my heart, I harbored a touch of the eternal youth, relishing in the idea of never having to grow up, of always being the learner and never the teacher.
Yet, as I sit down to pen this blog post, I realize how my journey has been subtly steering me away from Neverland and towards a role I never imagined I would embrace – that of a mentor. It’s a realization that has come with its fair share of surprises, reflections, and, most importantly, growth.
Mentoring, in my initial view, was for the ‘grown-ups,’ for those who had figured it all out. But life, with its ironic twists, had a different lesson in store for me. As I navigated the various avenues of my career and personal life – from being a chiropractor and entrepreneur to a husband and father – I unwittingly stepped into the shoes of a mentor, a role far more nuanced and fulfilling than I had ever envisioned.
The Unlikely Mentor: Lessons from Across the Street
In the early days of my chiropractic journey, my gaze often settled on the clinic across the street. The chiropractor who worked there, a figure I’ve known most of my life, represented what I initially perceived as the epitome of competition. There he was, so close yet seemingly worlds apart, a reminder of the competitive nature of our profession. But life, in its infinite capacity to surprise, was about to turn this perceived rivalry into one of the most significant mentorships of my life.
It started with a simple conversation, one that bridged the gap between our clinics and, more importantly, my perspective. My clinic is a family run business and working with family has its own unique set of challenges. I had gotten into an argument with my sister one day and had no idea what to do or where to go. This man, whom I had unfairly labeled as competition, opened his doors and, more crucially, his wealth of knowledge to me. It was a gesture that redefined the cutthroat norms I had associated with our field, and it marked the beginning of a mentorship that would profoundly reshape my understanding of professional relationships.
From him, I learned lessons that no textbook or classroom had offered. He shared insights into the chiropractic practice not just as a science but as an art, honed by years of experience and patient interactions. He spoke candidly about his successes and failures, his trials and errors, offering a roadmap paved with genuine experience.
But one of the most valuable lessons he imparted to me was about perspective. He encouraged me to see other chiropractors not as rivals but as colleagues, as part of a community. He showed me that by supporting each other, sharing our knowledge and experiences, we don’t just grow as professionals; we elevate our entire field.
This experience with the chiropractor across the street taught me that true mentorship transcends conventional boundaries. It’s about openness, sharing, and a willingness to see beyond the superficial layers of competition. His influence on my professional life has been immeasurable, and it’s a testament to the unexpected places and forms in which mentorship can be found.
Juggling Hats: Lessons in Balance and Growth
The wisdom imparted by the chiropractor across the street extended far beyond the realms of our shared profession. As we delved deeper into our conversations over the years, I discovered invaluable insights into the art of balancing the roles that define my life. In the whirlwind of running a small business, each hat I wear – the chiropractor, the marketer, the entrepreneur, the husband, the father – represents a unique set of challenges and joys.
Through my mentor, I learned many lessons but perhaps the most important lessons were about maintaining the balance between professional responsibilities and personal life. As a husband and father, it’s easy to get engulfed in the demands of business, but my mentor emphasized the importance of being present for family. He illustrated how the roles of a husband and father are not just responsibilities but anchors that provide stability and purpose beyond professional achievements.
It’s a juggling act that requires constant adjustment and awareness. There are days when the entrepreneur hat takes precedence, while on others, the daddy hat needs to be firmly in place. The key lies in understanding that while each role is distinct, they are not mutually exclusive but rather complementary facets of a fulfilling life.
This multifaceted approach to life has significantly contributed to my growth as a person. It has taught me the value of adaptability, empathy, and the importance of viewing each aspect of life not as a separate entity but as integral parts of a whole. These lessons have become a cornerstone of my philosophy of mentorship, guiding me in nurturing the growth of those who seek my guidance, be it in professional matters or life skills.
The journey of wearing these hats is ongoing, with each day presenting new challenges and learning opportunities. But with each step, I find myself more equipped, thanks to the invaluable lessons learned from my mentor, and the wisdom that I continue to gather from my experiences in each of these roles.
The Lessons from the Playground
Today, I often liken myself to a joyful kid on a playground, a metaphor reflecting my enthusiasm and curiosity in every aspect of my professional life. This playful mindset helps me foster an environment of joy, openness, and collaboration for co-workers, students, and interns. Inspired by lessons from a mentor, I emphasize collaboration over competition, aiming to lift others as I was lifted. As the ‘big kid’ in this dynamic, I strive to be a relatable role model, hoping to inspire these young professionals to continue the cycle of mentorship and learning. This evolution from being mentored to becoming a mentor has been a significant and cherished part of my personal and professional growth, allowing me to ignite a similar passion for chiropractic and mentorship in those I guide.
As I bring this reflection to a close, I am filled with immense gratitude for all the mentors who have enriched my life. From the chiropractor across the street, who opened my eyes to the true meaning of professional camaraderie, to my father, who has been a guiding light in more ways than one, and to every individual who has offered me wisdom along the way – my heart is full of thanks. Each of you has played a pivotal role in shaping the person and mentor I am today.
For those who are embarking on their chiropractic journey, my door is always open. If you are a student looking to intern or shadow, I invite you to contact my chiropractic clinic in Lafayette, LA. We are more than happy to work with your university, teacher, or professor to facilitate this learning experience. It is a joy and honor for me to pay forward the mentorship I have received by guiding and nurturing the next generation of chiropractic professionals.