The Peaks And Valleys Of My Chiropractic Climb

Nov 30, 2020

Welcome! I'm so pumped to have you here with me! Today we're going to go into Storyland. 

 I wanted to wait and not dive into my story and really what I'd love to have you do as you are listening to my story just ask yourself what parallels you can draw and how you can use some of my lessons in your own life because hey, that's what we all do when we listen to stories.

That's the purpose of telling a story.

So I want to share a little bit more about my background, especially considering I chatted with you about co-creating the content for this and so I want you to have some context of where I'm coming from so that you know what is possible as far as things you could ask about or things you could request resources on.

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So, who am I and how did I get here? So I'm going to do my best to keep some of the backstories in a nutshell so I can jump into some more of the recent stuff that will have some lessons for you. I have been a chiropractor for 13 years; I actually fell out of a haymow when I was 12 years old. (For those of you that are not in the midwest, you might not know what a haymow is, it's just the top floor of a barn where you keep the hay) I grew up riding horses and boarding our horse and I was throwing some hay down and miscalculated and fell and I actually fell into a seated position and I suffered a compression fracture of L1.

Due to that, it was really severe I couldn't walk, move, and function for quite some time and as you know, there's not a whole lot you can do for something like that. So in that time, you know, my parents had taken the medical route with me and I ended up needing to be on some pretty heavy-duty drugs in order to function. But what we found was the side effects of all that garbage were massive; and I was so drowsy, I could barely stay awake at school, and you'll find out that I am a bit of a perfectionist-nerd.  So I really struggled and my mom decided to try another route and brought me to a chiropractor. (Shout-out to Cindy Munson in Plymouth, Wisconsin, I would not be who I am today without her.) And really within a few weeks life was different.

I had always loved science; In fact, I wanted to be a pediatrician. It was watching her practice, watching her care, her empathy, and the relationship that she built with me that really got me thinking about Chiropractic. I was like, here's this person who is this badass female she gets to run her own business! She gets to make her own hours and she gets to work with families and kids which is what I wanted to do.

Chiropractic was on my radar, hardcore.

So in my true perfectionist, let's just get everything done as quickly as possible. I actually finished my Bachelor's when I started my Doctorate at Logan and I graduated as a doctor of Chiropractic when I was 22. A little baby.  So I did the logical thing and I started my own practice right out of school. For the first lesson, I would definitely, if I could rewind, I would 100% have worked for someone for a time.

I'm a firm believer that everything happens in life for a reason and of course, what happened in my life led me to this place. It's a pretty great place, I have a life that I designed in a way that I love tremendously, but I would have loved some more hands-on mentorship and some real-life business experience. 

For a long time, I received a lot of opinions - all the time people thought that I was the CA and would ask where's the doctor? It was comical and so I came up with a quip right there. "Well, I'm old enough to be your doctor," and that served me well for a few years. I did everything myself for the first year and a half to maybe even two years. I should really go back and look but I hired a CA right when I opened and I let her go within like a week just because of the financial fear. I get it for all of you that are either students or in that initial phase. Like it's a scary place to be financially. So I like trudged along on my own, perfectionist-crazy-work-ethic, which you will find is a going to be a common theme.

I built slowly and I was not lighting the world on fire and I definitely year-over-year there was growth and I was paying my bills and I got to the point about four years into practice where I was seeing consistently like 75 a week. I actually at that time was given an opportunity to bring an independent contractor.

And so I made the decision to actually take out another loan and build out a bigger space to accommodate this independent contractor; I actually had been renting out space within my office that whole time as well to a massage therapist and an acupuncturist in order to keep the overhead manageable - something I would definitely recommend in the beginning if that's available to you.

I ended up at that point with a pretty pain based practice. When I first got out of school I wanted to build this beautiful lifetime wellness practice and I was going to be all cash and I wasn't going to take insurance. But, as the months ticked by I had no idea how to get new patients adequately. So it was a lot of feet on the pavement, right? I did so much volunteer work, I did so many networking events, and all kinds of speaking gigs. It was a slow build and so as those months ticked by and the growth was more difficult I found myself enrolling in insurance networks. I found myself really struggling to explain what we do in a way that people could understand and so by five years in I was still in that same ballpark. I was seeing seventy-five to a hundred a week consistently but my care plans were pain-based.

So they were "well, let's see you three times a week for two weeks and if things are improved then we'll see you twice a week for it." And then it was literally week by week visit by visit and then "wellness visits" were once a month because that's what I had learned in school even though I had gotten checked and adjusted if needed at least bi-weekly.

So I was telling people one thing but I was living another and that led to a lot of disappointment in practice. By five years in I was wondering if this was it is? 

There were two of us, but all the insurance hoops and all the heavy stuff with pain, right? Like I literally every day would go to work and think,  "people are not going to feel good all day." It was so draining and it was not what I envisioned. It wasn't exactly what I thought was possible, but I had no idea how to get from there to what I wanted. Sidebar, the average chiropractor sees a hundred a week; So there's no one way - there are many variations in techniques, in different practice styles, and that means we spend different amounts of time. So this is no shame here - this is just my journey. I got to the point where I was just not sure if this is what I wanted and throughout year one through year five there were a lot of times that I consider doing something else. I looked into nursing school regulations and how much I could use my chiropractic classes towards to just be a nurse and get a paycheck. I taught at colleges the first three years of my career because that was my only way to make any income for my family. Basically, all of what I was making at the practice was going back into overhead and it was being reinvested into growing the practice. Thank goodness I got married and my husband had a great job and he kept us afloat financially because those first few years were a struggle; I was thinking, I invested all this time and money in becoming a doctor, and is it supposed to be this hard? Is it supposed to be this underwhelming? Then In the heat of all of those thoughts, I got pregnant, and I shouldn't say that it was a surprise because it was a planned pregnancy. It actually took quite some time for me to get pregnant because of course, I was under massive amounts of stress in my body wasn't in the best of shape. I had a really difficult pregnancy and it ended in an induction due to health issues. I was induced on a Tuesday and I had our first child on a Friday. So yes, you read that right - I was in labor from Tuesday to Friday. That is how committed I was to the unicorn-pixie-dust-fairytale-rainbow-birth that all of us envision. I mean any of you that are listening that have kids, you know what I mean? You have this picture in your head of what it's going to be especially with how naturally minded we all are and that's not how it was. Maybe I'll do another episode to go more in-depth with just this part but it ended in an emergency C-section. My son did not have any vital signs. (His name's Keaton, we'll talk about him by name as we move forward)

Keaton was born with no vital signs, the absolute worst thing you can hear as a brand new mama, right? I'm staring at this blue sterile drape in the operating room that I didn't want to be in and I hear nothing when he comes out. Nothing. The scariest moment of my whole life. So thank goodness for the beautiful medical community - they have their place, everybody, right? So they resuscitated him but he had a lot of issues when he was born. He was in the NICU, he had his subdial hemorrhage and that continued into a hematoma, he had breathing issues, and he was on a CPAP machine. It was rough, and his bleeding was so bad that his head was misshapen, and they weren't sure if they'd be able to stop the bleeding.

He had all kinds of tests and so many things in those first few days of life that of course, I was petrified of what was happening.  I really should have just called another chiropractor to come help but for some reason, I felt like I had to do this myself.

After a few hours after his delivery, (He was pulled out by a vacuum from my C-section incision) I checked him and still to this day the worst atlas subluxation on an infant I've ever felt - It made me a little nauseous. Honestly, even just like palpating it I was like, "oh my gosh, how is he going to be okay?" But I checked and adjusted him as needed every few hours and they told us that he would potentially be in the NICU for six to eight weeks and we left with a happy healthy baby when he was 5 days old. 

I will never forget sitting in that NICU looking around at all of the other parents and honestly just thinking and saying to myself, "you got to get over your shit. You have to start telling people what they don't know and you have to be willing to share the message."

At that time I wasn't brave enough to go NICU bed to NICU bed to offer to check - but it was such a pivotal moment in my life becoming a mom and seeing with my own eyes and what my own two hands with the power of Chiropractic were capable of and what the body was actually capable of. Keaton's little body going through all that trauma and how much magic was in there and how I could awake and arouse innate and just get him on that healing path.

So after that, I realized  I needed to figure out how to stop being so fearful and how to grow my practice; because I told you I did a lot of things. It wasn't that I was sitting idly by but I didn't invest in actually figuring out how to communicate at a much higher level. I grew up with the mentality that "you push through and you figure it out." and still to this day really struggle with this. I don't love relying on other people so I felt like if I had invested all this time and energy in school, I should be able to figure this out on my own.

Again, mistake number two. I mean, there's got to be other mistakes that I didn't highlight audibly and if I could go back I would have definitely sought out help right off the bat. It would have saved me so many years of financial challenges and heartache as I started looking at becoming something completely different when I was called to Chiropractic for a very specific reason.

I started just consuming a lot of content online, documentaries, and other things of, "how can I how can I figure out how to do this thing called Chiropractic better? How can I bring my best self to this?" And at that time I found an amazing training company it felt like exactly what I needed and it was truly transformational. I will never forget some of those first conversations I had and I just brought all my stuff.

One of the things that I really struggled with early on was feeling like I'd never be successful in Chiropractic in a healthcare field because I was fat because I was a big girl, still definitely pleasantly plump, by the way. At that time, the height of my weight I was probably a good 55 to 60 pounds heavier than I am right now.

People had actually told me that maybe you won't be successful because you're not the picture of help. I'll never forget what Dr. David Jackson told me. He said to me, "You know, Krysti, your problem is not that. Your problem is that you believed them."  Talk about a punch to the gut. If you're listening and you are not perfect with your own health, please remember that people don't relate to people that are shameful perfectionists and I can guarantee you that there have been hundreds more times where I have been able to truly connect and empower a patient because I'm real.

And I'm not perfect when it comes to these things and that actually has given them such peace and in a lot of cases better results because I'm not gonna shame them into a path. I'm gonna say, "we all have our things, we all have our coping mechanisms." So anyway, that's a little sidebar for you. But long story short as I have evolved with this company and I had learned so much. I just rapidly evolved and I became that person that I was telling you about on the first episode with the whole, ready-fire-aim like I just did it all. If someone that I felt was a coach or mentor, if they were doing something a certain way and they said "that's the way you should do it" then I just did it. I did it blindly and I just ran.

I ran really fast and that worked really well for me initially from a growth perspective. I grew my practice like crazy pants. So I went from 75 to a 100 a week to the low 300s a week. Like, between 300 and 320 a week by myself, only doc, in about 16 months. I felt like I was on a rocket ship of growth and honestly, all it was was figuring out my own brain. Getting my mind right and starting to uncover my limiting beliefs and working on those and of course, in the process, I worked on my physical body after just having a baby. So I lost a whole bunch of weight and I just put myself first for the first time, I think ever in my life. I got great results and I was so in awe of working on myself and communicating differently and focusing on the inside of my practice and what that could do. 

I needed to actually figure out a way to functionally look at patients. So I got an insight and I got a CLA Insight subluxation station and I started learning how to interpret scans and how to bring the functional piece into my practice which of course, led me to different care plans, which of course led me to different wellness plans.

I'm just telling people the truth - I get checked and adjusted once a week. So, really I did very little marketing. I actually stopped most of what I had done in the past at this point and I did very little marketing in that first growth period. I just started talking differently in communicating at a different level and telling people what they needed and not being afraid.

This is a common affliction in our profession: people are so afraid to tell people what they need and they withhold that information because they don't want to be uncomfortable as the doc and they don't want to make the patient uncomfortable.

Everything changed and things just grew and grew and grew and I hired my first Associate. At that time this was in 2014 and things just continued to evolve. I started to drop Insurance one by one and the rest is history to be honest.

So, how I got into coaching was I was asked to be a mentor for that training company. So I did some volunteer mentorship for a few years and then in 2016. I was asked to become a more formal coach, paid on the team, and also in conjunction with that basically like the operations coordinator for the company. So I did a lot of operational things for this very very large chiropractic training company. And that was awesome! It was such an opportunity and it was such a gift, I would not be who I am today without those opportunities. 

I was the only woman on a team of all men and when I joined this company as a client, there was a very small contingent of women and the company very rapidly grew year after year and the female contingent very rapidly grew as well. And so I actually established a women's program within the program and it wasn't anything fancy it was basic but I just started sharing some different perspectives from my end on how things can be a little different for us in practice, not better or worse just different. That was something I was really proud of, being able to play a part in growing that female contingent in that company, and it just kind of got to a point after several years, so at the beginning of 2019, it just kind of got to a point where it wasn't feeling congruent anymore and my mission to really help women remember who they've always been in a way that wasn't just about pushing through and you know, working harder and longer and faster and it just it wasn't me anymore. 

My kids, I've missed a part, but I had a little girl. And this was actually right around the time that I was asked to formally be on the team. She was six months or so old when I was asked to join that team and my husband was still working in Corporate America. So he was a finance director for a region with a really large nonprofit. And so he had a really demanding career and we just got to the point within a few months where I was like, okay, basically between the three of us now, we have three full-time jobs. We have the practice which had continued to grow and at that point or so this was in 2016 at that point. I had a different absolutely amazing associate and we were seeing great volume between the two of us and then obviously have this other position with the training company that was a lot and then he had his full-time job.

He actually left his full-time job when our daughter was about nine months old, so in 2016, he left to become a stay-at-home dad. And that was also a big blessing and it evolved where he eventually did some contract work for the company that I was working for. And so again now I'm circling back around to where I was at the beginning of 2019. It was time for a new chapter and it was time for me to bring this message of alignment and healing and spaciousness.

Honestly, the hustle and the go, go, go work harder had created some major challenges for me. It was really not healthy for me. And so I made the decision for myself that I needed to make a change and I needed to step into something that was different because I had seen this process by the way it had worked really well for me in my history. Right? So I do think that there is so much room in life for hard work and action and I think certain personalities are that's all they need. Like, they do just need that motivation for hard work and action and you know choosing to continue forward despite obstacles. I think that can be very healthy but for my personality, because I told you, I have always been a perfectionist so for my personality, it was not long-term healthy for me. I needed to actually be easier on myself and I needed some space and I needed some ease, so I made the super difficult decision to step away. Which had honestly it was a very tumultuous time in my history and I stepped away knowing, that my heart and my mission were in a certain place, but I had no idea how I would do that and when I would do that, and it was heavy. It was overwhelming; there was a lot going on and at this point when I stepped away at the beginning of 2019 I had two Associates, and a practice, which of course had continued to grow, I was looking at purchasing a building for our practice, and things were just rapidly evolving.

So there's a lot on my plate and what happened when I stepped away was so unexpected, so many women reaching out to me being like, wait a minute. What do you mean? I need this other part. I need the part that you bring. And, you will find as I lead you through this podcast journey, I still, to this day, #truthtime #vulnerability, I still struggle with self-worth. I am the person that's like, "Really? You want to hear more from me?" and it was crazy to me the conversations that I had with these women that were reflecting back some of what I had been feeling and ignoring and pushing down for so long and so within a short time, I felt called.  In fact, I had several women that had left this training company months or even years ago prior to me leaving come and be like I want you to coach me. So yeah, the rest is history, to be honest.

So, in the Spring of 2019, I established a program called the Illuminated Squad and when I established that program my intention was to have a combination of 1:1 and group coaching community. I fully believed at that time that 1:1 was what was needed in order to get people from point A to point B. Now, I have learned over the years because when I first decided after some women were like I really want to hire you, I could just take on like 10 or 15 clients and then I'll be awesome and I can help them and help them figure out what they want in their life and their practice and then they just kept coming. So then I was like, okay, maybe 20 and then I was like, okay, maybe 33 then it was 40, and then it was 50. It really became clear somewhere between 30 and 40 that the 1:1 calls were actually not that needed. In some cases, where if they would just bring exactly what they needed and what they're looking for and if they were willing to honor those needs and just be transparent with the group they would able to get what they needed from a group setting. So I transition the squad into a group model in the fall of 2019. And that is where we stand today.

So we have an amazing group of women in my group coaching program and I can tell you with so much certainty. This is what I was put on the earth to do is to just bring a different flavor to women in practice and help them see that we don't have to have all the answers and we can learn to go with the flow and we don't have to push so hard. The reason why I teach all of that is because it's what I needed to hear. It's what I needed to hear back then and it's certainly what I still need to hear.

Now so one of the things that my clients always tell me they love the most is that I'm in it. I'm in it with them, and I'm such an open book that I will tell you anything and I am the person where you know, there's no Chiro math over here. So I'm going to be super honest right now and tell you I don't have a million-dollar practice. We're getting closer than we've ever been but I don't have a practice that annually grosses 1 million dollars. We have a very high volume practice right now; I personally adjust 9 hours a week sometimes up to 12 depending on the week. Just based on at this point, I'm basically overflowing. So my two Associates are the most amazing badass women DC's, they are the heart and soul of our practice. They serve our people, they are the people who I would want to care for me and my family. I mean they do! Let's be honest, but we built this amazing team-based practice that's so freaking fun. I love what we have created together. And so we have, of course, a great team of CA's and we have a great family wellness practice. So 40% of our practice is Pediatric and typically year to year over the last few years our practice is still about anywhere from 8 to 12 percent Insurance over the last few years. We fluctuate in that range, so a very small percentage. But hey, I'm going to be the person that's like you don't have to be all cash of you don't want to be, you can choose! The vast majority, so our overhead is covered every month by our wellness people and I'm going to get into that more in a future episode. We're going to talk about how we really Covid-proofed our practice but I am living this life that is truly what I dreamed of and what I have consciously designed and I'm so excited to be able to bring some of the brilliance that happens inside my Illuminated Squad, in my group coaching program to you, for free on this podcast. I really am.

I am such a different take probably than what you're used to hearing because I came from such a unique background of really just kind of waking up to what I needed in a completely different way, and I'm excited to help you maybe wake up to some things that haven't been on your radar and embrace what needs to happen for you to be your full self in life and in practice. So again, I'm actively practicing. Right, that's a huge difference, so many leaders and coaches and our profession are no longer in practice. I think again, they should design their life how they choose. I think that's awesome that they're still giving back to the profession, but I am very much fully in CEO mode. I'm figuring out all the things right alongside you this year, you know has been crazy right alongside you right but we have continued to grow we are actually on pace to have our best year ever. It's just awesome the beautiful magic that can happen with Chiropractic! It is something I never take for granted, you know hearing those stories and seeing those qualities of life changes. It's just such a blessing and I am super pumped to bring that level of excitement to all of you. We'rere going to get a lot of that, you're going to get a lot of resources on how to really get clear on how you operate and get clear on what you are good at so you can take it from good to exceptional instead of what our society tends to have us do which is looking at our weaknesses and trying to fix them because you are who you are you're wired how you're wired and honestly spending time trying to fix your weaknesses is a waste. The most beautiful thing about my life now is that I have been able to build a team in both of my businesses to fill in my for my gaps. I hire people that are brilliant in the areas that I really suck at in order for me to continue to focus on my strengths and making them from strong to exceptionally strong and that's really how I live my life. 

So at this point, I have an eight-year-old and a five-year-old. My husband is still basically like a part-time stay-at-home dad and he works part-time for our Consulting business and then he's our CFO for the practice. So he does all kinds of amazing stuff with numbers, which we'll talk about. (We'll have him on in a few episodes.) 

I'm so excited to be able to help you find a higher level of self then you have acknowledged in a long time and I'm excited for you to build your next steps along the way. Can't wait to chat with you again on episode 3. Don't forget to hit me up on the 'gram. I'd love to hear any questions or takeaways you have!



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