by Dr. Tania Howard | Featured Contributor
Herman Melville once said, “[S]he who has never failed somewhere, that [wo]man can not be great.”
Sure I revised it a bit to fit my bra size, but ain’t that the truth? Every failure is another step in the right direction, isn’t it?
But what if you’re ‘great’ in terms of success, yet inside you feel like such a failure? That happened to me not too long ago. If you’ve been following my posts on sheownsit.com, then you know that I started my own practice over twenty years ago by bootstrapping it. From there, I grew my practice through grassroots community marketing, and thrived to the point that I brought two partners into my practice before selling it to them in 2013.
So, where were these feelings of failure stemming from – given that they were preceded by much personal and financial success?
Well, there is another kind of failure – failure to know when it’s time to move on.
When I was feeling unrest after over 2 decades in private practice, my self-talk included:
“What’s wrong with me?”
“Why have I lost my passion?”
“Everything is so good, why am I so unsettled?”
I mean, I felt like I had it all; a wonderful, thriving business, and a happy, healthy home life, but it seemed to have lost its meaning and it was beginning to take its toll on me.
That’s when I was forced to have a heart-to-heart with myself, and now I am sharing that with you.
I still loved being a Doctor of Chiropractic, I just needed a bigger playground.
Seeing patients one-to-one is an amazing privilege. I’ve seen 10’s of thousands of folks, from itty-bitty babies, to octogenarians over the years, and I’ve loved every one of them (well, maybe not that one lady). One of my strengths is patient education, and over and over again I’d hear that I needed to ‘write a book about health’ or ‘find a way to reach more people’.
That feedback clearly took seed in my heart, and sprouted into the restlessness. That same unrest ultimately led to the sale of my practice to my amazing partners, and the launch of my now global wellness blog, www.drtania.com.
The unrest that first made me feel like a failure was actually the evolution of my “Part 2”. I had done something really well, and needed a new challenge. But boy – the process of coming to that conclusion was painful. Growth typically only comes when you are uncomfortable, though, so it was necessary pain. I mean – could you have imagined me making the leap from active practice to wellness blogging if I were dancing a jig every morning before I went to the office?
The fact that I actually enjoy my hands-on work as a chiropractor, and feel very invested in the well-being of my patients and practice was probably the one sticking point that kept me hanging on for so long. Gratefully, my partners and I negotiated an agreement that allows me to continue see patients for a few hours each week.
Ahhh, that was it! The perfect balance.
I could finally have the freedom to be out of the office most of the time. Time that I now spend writing educational and entertaining articles – “infotainment” – for our local and global community on www.drtania.com. Not to mention, promoting wellness in our community through lectures, radio shows, and screenings.
The bonus? As our girls are moving into their college years, I can do the great majority of these things from anywhere in the world.
Lest you think that what I’m saying is license to drop everything and move on if what you are doing doesn’t seem to be working, it’s not. Sorry, this is not a free pass.
All businesses need your full investment of time and energy to grow. And guess what? Even when it’s successful, you’ll need to continue to put your time and energy in to keep it successful. No rest for the weary. But you knew that, didn’t you? You are never done working your business.
Did you hear me? Whether you start from scratch or buy an existing business, there is no cruise control. It’s kinda like abs. Yes, abdominals. You can be blessed with good genetics, train like an Iron Woman, or even get liposuction – all of which will result in sculpted, defined abdominal muscles. But if you don’t exercise and eat well once you have them, they will go away; just like your business will go away if you pull away from it in time or energy.
But I digress. Take the above lesson to great heart, and when you’ve eaten your business up and spit it out – taken it from concept to reality and done it well for many years – you might feel the same sense of ‘failure’ that I did. I didn’t leave my practice because it was failing – in fact, it was thriving. It was me who was failing to listen to my inner voice saying it was time to move on.
Are you feeling that same sense of unrest? You’ll need to take a good, hard look at your business and your self. If you are running away from something – employee issues, falling sales, decreased market share or something similar – turn your bad self around, put on your big girl panties, and do the hard work to make it right.
But if in fact you are running towards something, well then that’s a good thing. So…
- Put together an exit strategy.
- Talk to trusted advisers.
- Decide what’s next – either the next big thing, or a sabbatical so you have some headspace to formulate the next big thing – and lean into it.
Sometimes you have to step off the ledge to truly know that the universe will support you.
I wish you peace in your process.
Dr. Tania Howard – Health and Wellness Guru – www.drtania.com Annapolis, MD
Dr. Tania decided to become a chiropractor at age 15 when she experienced a complete metamorphosis in her health through chiropractic. She completed her undergraduate work at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, and doctorate at Life Chiropractic College in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the founding partner of Broadneck Family Chiropractic, where she has practiced for over 20 years with two amazing partners who make it possible for her to take her message ‘on the road’.
Hollywood called, and she enjoys providing care on movie sets and behind the scenes at live performances. She’s been profiled in Washington Post Magazine and many trade publications, and has done extensive postgraduate work in prenatal and pediatric chiropractic, nutrition, exercise, and family wellness. A chiropractic lifestyle has helped her to stay fit enough to become a triathlete at the age of 40! She lives in Maryland with her three true loves, husband Braden and daughters Francesca and Julia.
The advice and guidance Dr. Tania has given her patients has been written, filmed, and boiled down to be informative, yet entertaining. There is a LOT of good health information available online, but most of it is, excuse us, BORING! Conversely, there are so many entertaining lifestyle bloggers to enjoy, but few, if any, have any healthcare credentials. She fancies herself a “Dr. Oz meets Bethenny Frankel” hybrid, and it’s our intention that Drtania.com will bring good, solid health and wellness advice from an “every girl” perspective, to it’s readers.