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About Life Alignment
Change is often feared but it can also be the gateway to a life of fulfillment, joy and more in alignment with your life. This fourth solo episode of the Transition Journey (TJ) series explores this concept in depth, showcasing the personal stories of those who have dared to step off the traditional career path in search of something that aligns more closely with their core values and passions
Meredith Castin and Lauren Schipper, both former physical therapists, show us the courage it takes to pursue non-clinical careers. The narratives of Caston and Shipper are powerful because they echo a common sentiment among many professionals—the feeling of being trapped in a career that no longer serves them. Their stories provide hope and inspiration for listeners who may be contemplating a similar growth in their life alignment.
This episode emphasizes the necessity of aligning our careers with our authentic selves and offers practical advice for those looking to make significant changes in their careers. It underlines the importance of not giving up on one’s interests, hobbies, and talents, and how these can lead to fulfilling career opportunities. By being self-aware and open to new possibilities, one can find work that not only satisfies but also excites.
In addition to the personal stories, this podcast episode includes actionable tips and exercises to guide listeners on their path to life alignment. These tools are not only valuable for those seeking a career change but also for anyone looking to lead a more intentional and satisfying life.
Resources to Feel More in Alignment with Your Life
- Book: Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction, by Laura Fortgang
- Book: 48 Days to the Work You Love, by Dan Miller
- TJ1: Managing Stressful Work Environments in the Health Sector 040
- TJ2: What Career Options Do We Have as Rehab Professionals? 041
- TJ3: Finding Your ‘Why’. Career Change and Personal Growth 043
- Personal Finance for Healthcare Professionals with Tanner Welsch DPT 010
- From Physical Therapist to The Non-Clinical PT with Meredith Castin DPT, Entrepreneur, Writer and Editor 027
Welcome to the Rehab Rebels podcast. Are you a rehab professional ready to transition to an alternative career? Hear inspiring stories from others just like you and learn the best ways to bridge your career gap. This podcast has you covered. Now here’s your host, doctor of physical therapy and podcaster, Tanner Wells.
Tanner Welsch 00:21
Hello, welcome back to another episode of Rehab Rebels. This episode is part four of the Transition Journey mini-series, where we’re exploring life alignment. If you haven’t yet listened to the previous episodes, go back to the Transition Journey 1 episode, which is episode 40, and go through them in order. They’ll build on each other and it’ll make more sense. The goal with this life alignment episode is for you to have both clarity and a guide regarding creating a life in alignment with your unique self, leading to a more aligned career, better sense of purpose and more fulfillment in life. What I’m going to do with this episode is actually share a couple of stories from some guests who have been interviewed on the show. The first guest is Meredith Castin. She is the creator and owner of the non-clinical PT from episode 27. The second individual is Lauren Schipper. She’s a former PT who now makes dice Towards the end. We’ll break down what they learn from their experiences and from their stories, how their experience applies to our lives and how you can start your life alignment journey.
Before we get into that, I want to ask you a question. Feel free to pause and take as much time as you need to think about it. The question is what is the most valuable thing in your life? Some things that may come to mind are money, your house, maybe you have a business, or a nice 401k stashed away. Maybe you have kids. If you’ve listened to episode 10, the personal finance for healthcare professionals episode, you already know where I’m going with this.
The most valuable thing that we have is actually our time. I want to give a pretty simple analogy with how we spend our time is similar to how we spend money. Spending money on a service or a product to solve a problem, a need or a desire is voting with our dollars that, yes, we agree that this product or service solves our issues, our needs, or our desires. We can even take it a step further and say we agree with how this product is produced, maybe how the materials are sourced or how it’s constructed. It’s similar to how we also spend our time by spending our time with someone. We are seeing time spent with this person is worth it. It’s worth our time to spend with this individual or this group of people, etc. This has happened several times in my life. But if our time is spent in a passive way, willy-nilly, and we’re not being intentional, then we have to ask ourselves is it really in alignment with our life?
We’ll talk in the next episode of the mini-series about loving ourselves, mindfulness, mindset, belief systems, which I think will help bring also some more clarity with being more intentional and decisions about how to spend or who to spend our time with. Don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean that spending time on you or doing what you enjoy, or downtime, doing nothing, is not intentional. Those are great things. We all need to unplug and find ways to relax and unwind, but paying attention to what fills us up and what drains us is a really simple guide to help us decide what and how to spend our time. If you listened to the previous episode about what is your why, in episode 43, at the end of it, I have a call to action, a little bit of an exercise to help you guide you with directions in your life. Again, the episodes build on each other.
Let’s dive into the stories here. The first one we’ll talk about is Meredith Castin’s story, the founder and creator of the non-clinical PT. To listen to her full episode, go back to episode 27. We have a pretty deep dive into her story and journey and some realizations about the industry, the rehab, and the healthcare industry. Some things about Meredith. She actually was a graphics design major and that was her first career working in the graphic design space. She had a great experience with a physical therapist and that led her to pursue a career in the physical therapy path.
But after five years of treating patients and just being burned out, not having any energy, and having a really bad experience with a VIP patient, she realized that she didn’t want to be a physical therapist. This wasn’t a long-term thing that she was going to be able to do until she retires. So she was looking for ways out of the profession and there were some writing opportunities that came up for what was then the new grad physical therapy website and she was posting content, writing content, and she actually had individuals reaching out to her asking her how can I do what you do? How can I be a writer and produce content on a website? So that’s a short summary of how her journey started with creating the non-clinical PT.
But let’s break down what she learned. Meredith learned that she deserved to be treated better than what the PT environment was providing her. You know, both from the standpoint of just feeling drained and always on all the time and then having a really bad experience with the VIP patient. She knew she had to find something else. I want to share a clip from our episode here that I think really helps bring home to a point about her story.
Meredith Castin 05:42
Yeah, that’s a good question, because I never saw myself as a writer. The funny thing is that come from a family of writers. In some sense Both of my parents were educators, my mom was an English major and then I had a grandfather who was a professional writer. So I probably should have thought a little bit about it. But I never thought I was a very good writer, except that there were really random things that would happen that I probably should have paid more attention to.
In college, I remember I pulled an all-nighter writing a 15-page paper and I thought I was going to flunk it and then got called to the front of the class to talk about it. And then there was this other project that I wrote that they wanted me to read it for the class. And then, the same thing, I got a scholarship to PT school based on the essay that I wrote. And I was no stellar candidate, but I think I wrote a really good essay. So I never really thought that I had this stellar talent. I knew I could write, but I never thought that I had enough to make a career of it. Nor did it. I don’t know. I don’t know why. And then the interesting thing is I had this first career right out of undergrad where I was a graphic and web designer, and I remember at one point they had a severe writer shortage at this firm where I was working. I was just trying to be helpful and I was if y’all need some help with writing content, I can write a little bit. And so they pulled me over and I wrote and I remember the editor was you’re pretty good at this, and I was just oh really.
And so even with that I didn’t, I still didn’t put the dots together. I was not connecting the dots, but I know I wrote a really funny email to one of my friends about a biggest trip gone sideways. So at one point, she said you should do this for a living. So that clicked something in my brain, thinking maybe I could. I guess I’ve got a little bit of a neck for this. And so I think, when my friend slash co-worker had said we’re starting this blog, do you want to try your hand at it? I was, okay, I’ve been told a few times that I can do this and I want to try it. I’ll take anything. At this point. I did it for free. It felt like I was getting paid to do any of this and but it was just anything to get out at that point. I’m so glad I did because I feel that really launched my non-clinical career in a lot of ways.
Tanner Welsch 07:44
Where Meredith’s story really I think comes full circle is when we look into her past. She enjoyed writing growing up at a young age, but she never thought that this could actually be a real career. She later had opportunities to write for colleagues and websites, which brought on more opportunities, and also she was able to practice and improve her skills and eventually talk with those individuals who wanted to do what she did and formally mentor them. That’s how she got where she is today with creating the non-clinical PT. So that’s Meredith’s story. We’ll go on to Lauren Schipper’s story.
Lauren had some cultural societal pressures to have a doctorate degree. She pursued being a physical therapist and she realized she didn’t want to be a PT due to the poor management, and poor organization of the company she was working with, and then she just felt she wasn’t being treated the way she felt she should be treated and the pandemic hit and that’s when fuel on the fire and it just was too much. So she actually started a hobby in 2019, making dice, and because of the pandemic, she ended up switching full-time to making dice around the pandemic. And what she learned from her experience was that one reason she chose PT was becasue she was told it is a flexible schedule. This is a career where you can have a flexible schedule, and she realized pretty quickly that this actually wasn’t the case, and that’s why she likes making dice. It is because she can make her own schedule and it is flexible. She doesn’t have to reschedule patients or she doesn’t have to see patients on the weekend.
Let’s listen to a clip from Lauren from our interview to help drive a point home here as well. So here’s the clip from Lauren.
Lauren Schipper 09:29
That I’m just an art kid. I think I’ve always been meant to do art when I was working until 9 pm at night and I couldn’t even come home and like cook which I now realize is creating something with my hands and having a tangible product, that will put me down of really hating that job I couldn’t create anything. I had no time, and once I got a different job and I was able to start cooking again, I was able to start doing my hobbies again, I have three crochet projects and a needlepoint project going on right now. I am always making something with my hands, and I think I should have just admitted that to myself a long time ago, when I was in my senior year of high school. I could have had more free periods, but instead, I took 10 periods of art. I took ceramics and black in my photography and my friends were like you could come hang out. I said no, I need to go throw some ceramics right off. This is what I want to be doing. It’s not a high-pressure situation.
I did go to a private school for high school, so then, of course, you go up to college and then you find your career and then you go to grad school for that career, and then your parents are doctors, so you’re supposed to be something too. You follow the path that seems like the right one, because you don’t become a professional artist. That’s not a thing. And dice making is art. I’ve come to realize, because for a while I was oh no, I’m just making dice, I’m making art. They’re just functional art. Queen resin art.
Tanner Welsch 10:40
So, uh, recap here she believed that she was, you know, supposed to be an artist she’s the oldest daughter of two doctors and she’s a caregiver and thought she was supposed to get a doctorate degree and, coming from a family that expects graduate school, that’s what she do. Looking back, she mentions that she was the weird artsy kid growing up, but she didn’t completely realize it until she Fully switched over to making dice full-time and that’s really where it came full circle for her is this: I love doing this weird artsy stuff as a kid. And then when she finally did that hobby and was able to find customers that wanted to pay her for her skill set and making these dice and doing it, that’s when things started clicking and the light bulb came on. Oh man, this is really what I’m supposed to be doing. She likes ice making because it’s different, she’s working with her hands, she’s got a flexible schedule and she also didn’t give up. I think that’s really important with her journey and story. She actually tried a handful of other side gigs and hobbies that didn’t end up actually pinning out or she wasn’t able to make any money from it, and then she stumbled on dice making and found people that were willing to pay for what she enjoys doing, which is making dice. So that’s pretty cool.
Next, we’ll talk about how their experiences apply to our lives. For both of their experiences, and for many of us, there are cultural and societal even family pressures and norms or influences that we feel that we need to follow. A simple example is go to college, get a good education, find a secure, stable job that pays well, and then your life is going to be perfect and you’re gonna live happily ever after, right? But what many of us realize is, after going through what we’re expected to do Educational and career path and actually doing the career, we realized that, man, this really isn’t what I thought it was gonna be. It’s not filling up my cup and this really isn’t gonna be a sustainable career path for me with these particular guests. What I like about their stories, too, is that they didn’t give up on their interests, their hobbies and their talents and they actually ended up eventually Gravitating to a position of opportunity to be able to apply those things either in a service or a product way that was able to provide income for them. I think it’s great. I think that’s that’s super cool and and really what it’s all about, and trying to find that alignment in our life, with ourselves and employment opportunities and income opportunities and figuring out how best ways to serve others. Also, another point I want to bring home with these guests is only after taking their risky big jumps outside of their traditional rehab careers to pursue an alternative career path did they realize they were meant to be doing this alternative, unique career path Meredith mentioned.
She just really didn’t think or believe that, you know, riding was an actual legitimate career, that that she could do. And Then she started doing it and the more opportunities came and then she’s doing a full time again, paid for it and Because it connected and related with their interests and desires and passions from a young age, it really came full circle for both of them. Right, you may be thinking but, Tanner, I don’t have any childhood passions or hobbies that I can pursue, and that’s okay. Simply by paying attention to your current passions, interests, hobbies, likes, and dislikes, and taking opportunities that align with those interests and hobbies, even if they’re free, and not giving up, ultimately you’re setting yourself closer to Having a more fulfilled career and a more fulfilled life, and I think the trick is not giving up, being willing to pivot and change as necessary, as we learned from Lauren’s story. She tried a handful of other different hobbies where she was working with her hands and doing artsy things, but they just didn’t actually end up paying off, and then eventually she got to make dice and yeah, the rest is history. So don’t give up.
Another thing that’s important to realize as well is I’m on our reference Carl Jung. Carl Jung talks about our persona, our public self, and he also talks about our shadow self or hidden self, and you know how we want the world to perceive us and what we do to go along with others. Is this persona, this public self, and our ego, regulating the persona with our, you know, versus our real self or the shadow self, this private, hidden self that we rarely show anybody? Or maybe you only share two really trusted best friends, significant others, or maybe our parents, and here’s where the problem lies. If we all show up as our persona, how we want the world to perceive us and how we show up to get along, what happens when you spend so much time doing that?
We forget who we really are, and if you pretend to be somebody long enough, you’re gonna forget who you are and you think it’s important to first have a level of awareness about this. What’s really influencing our decisions? What belief systems do we have? What cultural and societal influences are telling us? And first is being aware of that and then the step after awareness is we can ideally start working towards doing something about it. Because if those pressures and societal pressures, and maybe that persona self isn’t really aligning with our truest self, our shadow self, then there’s gonna be some conflicts with our lives and what we’re doing and where we’re going.
So it’s. It’s definitely something to keep in mind with trying to have life alignment and an ideal career that aligns with you. And what I found out that’s a good recipe for life alignment is you know what is your why, which is episode 43, and again I would start back at episode 40 and go through the transition journey just step by step. But what is your why is helpful, loving yourself, which we’ll talk about in the next mini-series episode, about mindfulness, affirmations, belief systems, mindset. And another really important factor is our environment’s health. This can be our work environment, our family environment, our personal environment and those networks and relationships that we have. And this mini series and this life alignment practices and calls to action and exercises that I’m sharing. It’s not whenever we get to that ideal career that we land that everything’s just great and over with. And you know we we no longer pursuing our interests or desires or passions. Sometimes, when we’re in grad school for our rehab profession, the whole idea and mindset is: Yes, we just got to finish this, get this degree, pass our boards and life’s gonna be perfect and great and I don’t have to worry about anything anymore and aught of money to pay for everything and and life’s gonna be just fantastic, and, as many of us find out, that’s not the case, and we’re also Wanting to change and grow and pursue other things. So I think this content is evergreen content and something we can come back to and or keep practicing throughout our lives. Some more food for thought. One, you know, it comes to looking at a complete holistic life alignment. Some things to think about our physical health, our mental health, emotional health, spiritual health, social health, habits, belief systems and, like I said, we’ll get into some of that and the next mini series episode and these are just touch points for reference throughout our lives that are always changing and involving. You know, we’re always changing and involving and our lives are and our environments are right. When COVID hit, huge change for everybody, and so it’s something to just keep in mind, and I think it would actually be pretty overwhelming to try to focus on each of these and Work on life alignment. Which each of these categories? So what I would suggest is focusing on maybe what’s the most prioritized in your life right now and Starting from there, working from there and baby steps, and don’t give up. What are some resources for? How do you align your life? We already talked about the mini series in general episodes, starting in episode 40, and then what is your why? Episode, and really aligning yourself with the outcomes and the life that you desire is really what we’re looking for. I’m hoping to add to having more clarity and providing more guidance with the next couple of mini series episodes that are going to be coming out with loving yourself and a healthy environment, but also be creative.
This is your life. You are in control of your life. You’re in control of your happiness, and if you are in a job that you just hate, or it’s draining you so much, or you get home and you just have no energy or time for you yourself, your loved ones, or maybe it’s just turning you into something that you don’t want to be, then it’s not going to be easy, but you are able to make the choices to get you somewhere else If that’s what you want. You’ll have to start taking baby steps to get there right. It’s not like it all happens in a day or a month. Asimple analogy that I can give is: how long did it take us to become healthcare professionals? Several years. I think the important thing is just to start, like most things, and just keep working from there and keep learning and keep growing the information that’s out there.
Use what applies to you and what works best for your life, and then leave everything else Also, experiencing and learning from other cultures, talking with people who have similar interests, and just experiment, try new things. A couple book resources I’ll provide as well. There’s one called Now what by Laura Fortgang. She’s got some good, really thought provoking exercises in the book. And another Christian approach that can be helpful is 48 Days by Dan Miller. I actually met Dan Miller at the podcast movement in August of 2023. We had a small group breakout session. I didn’t actually know he was going to be there or even really recognize his name, but he was there. It was pretty surprising. It was cool to meet him and he was a nice guy. That wraps up this episode.
The next episode I’m going to share I mentioned is about loving yourself. We’ll talk about mindfulness, mindset, affirmations, belief systems. I invite you to click that subscribe button so you don’t miss any of these solo episodes coming out. Something that I’m doing is I’m talking with listeners, the rehab rebel community to better understand the depths of this community. Maybe you are looking to leave a clinical job or improve your personal finances. We’ll have some solo episode personal finance stuff coming out as well as business stuff, as we’re rolling out these solo episodes.
But maybe you’re looking to improve your finances, leave your clinical career, or start your own business. I’d love to do what I can to help you get there. How I can help you is by thinking through your next career, financial or business move together and acting as a soundboard, discussing where you’re at, and what your goals are, and providing any insights and tips from my experience or the experiences of individuals I’ve talked to on the podcast. I’d be happy to help. You can connect with me on Instagram at the Rehab Rebels podcast. You can send me a DM there or you can go to rehabrebels.org click the contact tab and send me a message there. Thank you for listening and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode. Take care.
Thank you for listening to the Rehab Rebels podcast. If this podcast was useful, make sure to hit that subscribe button and leave a review. For more information about transitioning to alternative careers, head to rehab rebels dot org or follow us on Instagram at rehab rebels podcast. We’ll see you next time.
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