Creating Ripples: A reflection
Can you think of a person, a conversation, or an interaction, no matter how big or small that’s impacted you in a really positive way? Did that interaction cause you to go out and share that positivity with others? If you’ve had an experience like that, you know it.. And my guess is you also felt compelled to pass that on with someone else. This can be described as a ripple effect, or a situation in which one event produces effects which spread and produce further effects. I was recently featured on a podcast called Creating Ripples hosted by Alexandra Zauner, where the overall takeaway is that there is power in sharing our experiences and knowledge with others, and when we do, we can create ripples of impact around us. The podcast finished with a challenge. I was told I had to determine one person that has impacted me, that doesn’t truly know the way they’ve impacted my life, and reach out to them and tell them.
Throughout that process I was able to think back on a number of people, conversations and interactions that impacted me in such a positive way. I found that the ones that had the biggest impact came during the times I was struggling the most. I remember the things said to me after a major injury, after a major surgery, after a loss, and in the dog days of dealing with chronic pain where I didn’t feel like doing much of anything. These interactions consisted of compassion, empathy, positivity, and encouragement. Not only did they give me something to hold onto during times of adversity, but they shed light and enhanced my perspective on just how powerful one interaction can be. Whether that was one sentence, one piece of advice, or one meaningful conversation; I learned that that encouragement and positivity can go a long way.
Now that I’m working with more and more people in a clinical setting, I find myself being able to offer not only health advice, but also offer continuous bouts of encouragement. I’ve realized that often times the patient coming in with chronic low back pain can benefit more from encouragement and positive reinforcement on the progress they are making, rather than a lesson on the things they are doing wrong. Thinking back on my experience with injuries, surgeries and chronic pain, I can vividly remember how discouraged I was not being able to do the things I loved to do. But what I remember even more are the conversations with coaches that told me to keep my chin up and keep working hard, the docs that told me I would come out of this experience stronger, and the friends and family that reached out just to offer some love and support. I held onto those, and they have created a ripple effect to the patients I work with each week. I’ll often share the same advice that was shared with me. Offering these little bits of encouragement can be so powerful, and it can go on create this ripple effect for the individual. They gain momentum from the work they are putting in, and carry that into the next healthy habit they want to create for themselves. And as they start to build themselves up more and more, they can offer that positive outlook and momentum to others, creating their own ripple effect on their community.
Reflecting on this podcast brought back some incredibly positive memories for me as well as bringing up some doubts and anxiety. I realized that there are things holding me back from impacting more positive changes. I found myself reflecting on the anxiety I have about putting myself out there and sharing my story and experiences. I often feel uneasy about sharing my thoughts and ideas for people to critique. Whether that is sharing my personal story or sharing my current knowledge in the field of health and human performance, I find both to be challenging at times. People get a little insight into the way my mind works and that can be intimidating. I also find myself being hyper-critical of the work that I put out. Whether that’s a blog post or a podcast, it can bring up feelings of inadequacy, especially when comparing my work to the work of the experts I constantly read or listen to. Sometimes I hold back sharing sharing my thoughts and opinions, knowing that it will be nowhere near as knowledgable as the author I just read or the doctor I just finished listening to. The comparison game is a dangerous one. It's one I have to snap myself out of and understand that I'm simply doing the best I can. I remind myself that each time I share my work, I challenge myself to learn and grow in ways that wouldn't have been possible without it. It truly is a process. Each blog, podcast, exam, or day in clinic is an opportunity to learn. Enhancing my education, personal growth, and communication with patients are all pillars of the foundation that will serve me in the future. My focus needs to shift from comparing my current situation to others to controlling what I can control and falling in love with the process. Building this thing brick by brick. There's a powerful quote from Peter Crone that I check in with when those feelings of comparison and self-doubt arise and it helps change my perspective entirely. It says:
“My ability to truly impact change is completely compromised because I’m too busy being worried about how I’m not doing enough.”
My doubts and self-criticism about my ability to impact change are the very thing keeping me from impacting change. And I think that’s an incredibly powerful lesson for so many people. Hopefully it’s a push to start sharing your story, your knowledge, and your unique perspectives. We’ve all learned our own lessons, made our own choices, and developed our own unique outlook on life. The sum of your experiences create an opportunity to provide value in ways that only you are capable of. Your story has value and merit, and by sharing it, you can help someone in ways you never anticipated. You don’t have to reach the masses or create ground-breaking work each time you do something. It can be as simple as one story, one interaction, one lesson, one piece of advice that sparks a positive impact. Share your story, share your perspective; you have no idea who it will resonate with and what ripple it can create.
"Gaining knowledge is the first step to wisdom. Sharing it is the first step to humanity."
Thank you to those who have poured their time and energy into me. The reason I am able to pour into others is because I've had so many great people invest into me. Whatever impact I make is a testament to all of those who have created that ripple for me.
About the Author
I am a 2018 Graduate from the University of St. Thomas, where I earned a B.S. in Exercise Science. During my time there I played football for UST and was fortunate to play for some of the top teams in program history. Every offseason I worked as a student athletic trainer and was lucky to be apart of an integrated sports medicine team. As a life-long athlete I’ve always been fascinated by the human body, health, and performance. My college experience sparked a new drive for this field and I decided to fully dive into graduate school.
I am currently in my last year at Northwestern Health Sciences University, where I am pursuing my Doctorate in Chiropractic. The more I learn in this field, the stronger my passion gets. Moving forward, my goal is
to empower people to take control over their own health and wellness, educate them on how to optimize each aspect of their well-being, and ultimately inspire
others live a synergistic life at their highest potential.