By Kristen Wilson, PT, DPT
Chaos. The word itself causes unrest. A “ch” that sounds like a “k”; an “a” next to an “o”?
Please. Even linguists would agree that chaos is unsettling. Perhaps it’s the thrill of the unknown or the exhilarating brush with disorder, but something about this issue’s theme has me perched on the edge of my seat. Maybe it’s because I know restoring order is a mere page turn away.
To most private practice owners (read: type A, go-getting, control freaks), chaos in a daily routine is welcomed with the same enthusiasm as a urinary tract infection. Whether caused by a recent revenue dip when payroll is due, an unplanned FMLA leave, or an unannounced Medicare audit, chaos presents its ugly head in physical therapy more frequently than one would hope. And if you’re like most, you respond with elevated stress, a fight-or-flight response, and undue pressure to restore order for you and your team. But maybe we have the wrong idea. Perhaps there’s beauty in the chaos, and we need to look for it.
This month’s issue of Impact will assuredly evoke emotions of unrest yet provide inspirational ways to overcome it. Bridgit Finley’s piece “Five Strategies to Retain Your Employees” offers tangible ways to keep your team engaged while Monty Miller highlights red flags that your business may be failing in “Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign.” And of course, we couldn’t leave an issue on chaos without providing some data points to restore control like those found in Jeff Woodrich’s article “Leveraging KPIs to Avoid Chaos.” It’ll be a rollercoaster of ups and downs, but our Impact board thinks this issue is a must-read.
In reflection on the most chaotic times of life, I’m sure it’s easy to remember the difficult emotions and strife associated with the mess. But usually in those moments, some of life’s most beautiful opportunities present themselves. The chaos forces a perspective shift, one that typically results in deep reflection, personal growth beyond previously self-constrained boundaries, new relationships and alliances, and confidence to overcome. How many times have you experienced hardship only to find the hand of a friend reaching out to offer you comfort? How often have you doubted you’d overcome, yet survived and thrived as a result of your determination? How frequently do you associate your most profound growth experiences with times of struggle? It’s true—chaos is unsettling, but the result of chaos is empowering.
Here’s to embracing the wild ride together.