Business Fundamentals: Identifying And Living Your Core Values with Stephen Rapposelli, PT

PTO 60 | Living Your Core Values

 

An organization needs to adhere to its values in order for growth to thrive. Stephen Rapposelli’s turning point in his clinic came when decided to implement some structure and identify what his company stood for and how they got things done. As you’ll hear in his story, once he and his team decided to clarify their core values and begin working, hiring, firing, evaluating, and championing their values, the productivity, culture, and profits significantly increased. It’s never too soon to introduce, implement, and live by the values you crystallize with your team. What this does for you is it gives you and your team an automatic decision matrix by which they can make their own judgment calls without you and be right 90% of the time. In this episode, Stephen details exactly how to decide on your company values, how to utilize them going forward, and how to hold your company accountable to them. Discover these great, fundamental wisdom for business owners to obtain your goals in business.

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Business Fundamentals: Identifying And Living Your Core Values with Stephen Rapposelli, PT

I’ve got physical therapist Stephen Rapposelli out of Delaware. Stephen owns a number of PT clinics. He is also the Vice President of the Delaware Physical Therapists Association. I came across Stephen because he wrote an article in July 2019’s Impact Magazine about team building via identifying core values. I’ve talked a number of times about values here and there in the show, in parts of discussions but never had an episode dedicated specifically to that and more specifically how to create and maintain/work-by values that we have in our company. Stephen was awesome in his article in that he broke down exactly what he did to create values for his company.

He and I might agree that it’s probably many years too late. He and I would agree that we should have identified values in our companies much earlier than we did and start hiring, firing, promoting and developing a culture around those values. The transformation that can take place after implementing them and living by your values is transformational and empowering to the employees. You get people who are aligned with you and your purpose. You also weed out those people who aren’t aligned. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s okay if they don’t align. Let’s just make sure they are not on our bus and they move on. To be able to select like that can be powerful and puts you in a powerful position, nonetheless, we talk about some of the details of what he did to create the values.

I’ll share a little bit about what I did to create values for our company and also how we maintain those values going forward so that it wasn’t just a one-time talking piece or once in a while we throw value out or painted on our walls but never discuss it. How do we live and breathe the values is something that was cool that we got into during the course of the interview. Let’s get to the interview and talk to Stephen about values and the importance of them.

I’ve got Stephen Rapposelli, CEO of Performance PT and Fitness out of Delaware. He’s also the VP of the Delaware Physical Therapy Association. I’ve read his article in Impact Magazine regarding values as it pertains to our physical therapy clinics. I thought this was invaluable. I needed to have him on to share his story and also talk a little bit about values and the importance of them in our clinics. Stephen, thanks for joining me. I appreciate it.

It’s a pleasure to be on your show. I’ve listened to your podcast already and I love what you’re doing so far.

Thank you. I appreciate that. If you don’t mind sharing with the audience a little bit about yourself, your professional experience, what got you to where you are at this point? I’m sure along the way, we’re going to hit heavy into values and the importance of them.

Back in the Middle Ages, I was working for a private practice in Delaware. I was 25 years old at the time and I was working hard and I said, “I’m ambitious and I’d like to maybe one day buy into your practice.” He looked at me and he said, “That’s not going to happen. The owners are not going to sell to you and you can’t afford it anyway.” That’s one of those times where you realized that your life is going to go in a different direction. A few months later, I had my own business. It didn’t take long. At that point, I remember talking to the guy who’s building an office and I said, “I want you to build me the smallest possible office because I am out of business and bankrupt.” The guy knew what he was doing. He chuckled and he knew that I didn’t know anything about anything. He was kind enough to build me a little 1,100 square foot office. That’s how I started at the age of 26. My first employee was my mother. She was my receptionist and biller. She brought me lunch and she provided motivational speeches when needed. That’s how we got started.

That’s awesome because one of my first employees was my mom as well.

You can’t mess with a mother because nobody is going to rip off their babies. She was an advocate for me in the beginning and a good person to have and also all mothers.

They got your back and they want to see you succeed. She would go around and talk to my patients. She would walk around motherly like, “How are you doing?” She brought a great atmosphere to the environment.

I’m surprised in the beginning she didn’t run over people to get patients because mothers will do that.

How long ago was this?

PTO 60 | Living Your Core Values
Living Your Core Values: Success comes down to you as a professional and how you treat people.

 

That was a long time and you’re going strong. That’s amazing.

One of the takeaways that I tell people is every phase in the physical therapy industry, there are storm clouds on the horizon whether it’s DRGs or this is going to happen or this is going to spell the end. You survive it. If you treat everybody special, there will always be a place for you. Whether you go cash-based or not, whether you do this model or not, whether you do that or not, it doesn’t matter. It comes down to as a profession, how we treat people. That was one of the main takeaways for being in the business for almost many years.

You started with a 1,100 square-foot clinic. Where are you at now? Do you still have one clinic or do you have multiple clinics? What are you doing now?

We have three offices. We’ll probably be going to have a fourth. Part of the reason we grew, because most PTs who start out you can have one office and have a great job for the rest of your life. We added offices primarily because we had great staff members who said, “I want to be a clinic manager one day.” For years I’m like, “I’m the clinic manager so that’s all you can go.” To provide an upside of a career ladder and an opportunity for growth is one of the reasons why we added offices.

You definitely had the opportunity maybe more so in the staff that you employed. The Jim Collins principle in Good to Great, “First who then what.” You had someone who was aligned with your values and provide an opportunity.

If you can surround yourself with people that are better than you, you're going to be successful. Click To Tweet

I was lucky enough to hire as a partner a guy who went to high school. We’re like an old married couple. We know what each other is thinking without having to say it. Every now and then you can hook up with somebody truly special and this guy certainly is. He’s better than me. If you can surround yourself with people that are better than you, you’re going to be successful. I was lucky enough to be able to do that almost every step of the way.

What’s his name, your partner?

John Bradley, the best guy I’ve ever met. He’s almost Christ-like. I’m surprised three sheep aren’t following him because he can have a following.

What would you tell your younger owner self many years ago? What would you tell him about now with the experience that you have?

I wish I had a mentor. I didn’t have a mentor and I didn’t go out to find them. I remember I lived in a community that has these giant corporate businesses. In Delaware, there’s DuPont, whichever is a household name. I remember a guy who was a consultant for them and who was a patient of mine. He said, “Tell me about your business.” I said, “I’ve got this one office and I’m happy the way I am. I don’t want to get bigger. I’m going to stay the way I am for the next many years.” He goes, “That’s not going to happen.” I’m like, “No, it will be fine. I will stay the way I am.” That is God’s honest truth. In any business, you’re either going to get bigger or smaller whether you wanted to or not. Hooking up with a good mentor that can help you grow professionally and personally is the number-one success tactic that a younger PT should and must do. They are out there.

How do you recommend they go about doing that? I’ve heard the same thing and I’ve heard Tim Ferriss recommend it and how he recommended going about doing it. How did you go about it? How do you recommend people go about finding a mentor?

PTO 60 | Living Your Core Values
Living Your Core Values: You need to have your mind expanded. You need a coach and a mentor.

 

I didn’t have a mentor. I didn’t have anybody to bounce any ideas off of. I stunted my own growth significantly because I was happy doing what I was doing. I didn’t force myself because I was truly ignorant to look ahead and beyond myself. Mentors come in many different forms. I do think if you’re talking specifically for physical therapists, you need a physical therapist mentor and you need a business coach mentor. Those can be two different things because I now surround myself with coaches and mentors. It’s okay to have more than one and you should have more than one because if you’re a physical therapist, you quickly realize that there are people out there who don’t think like you. That’s a good thing. As physical therapists, we think in a certain way and sometimes that’s not good.

It can definitely be to our detriment.

Have you ever met someone who’s in business that’s not yours and you speak to them in a mastermind group and you’re like, “I did not even think like that, I didn’t even know that type of thought process existed?” As you’re doing that and coming to that realization, you’re expanding your skills and your abilities and that’s what it comes down to.

Sometimes I’d be in a mastermind group and I recommend the same thing, a mentor, a coach, a mastermind group. That’s why my mantra is, “Step out, reach out and network.” Reach out means reach out to someone else, whether that’s a coach or consultant or mentor in this case. Networking definitely needs to be part of a mastermind group of some others so you can have a different perspective. I would sit in mastermind groups and tell them the issues that I’m having with physical therapy. As I’m describing the issues and recognizing they’re coming from a different perspective, I’m thinking, “This is a stupid mindset.” It is a mindset or it’s a story that I was telling myself and was so ingrained that I believe it. I could tell from their faces and the way they were looking at me like, “Why do you do that way? Why are you thinking like that? There’s no reason you have to do it like that.” It’s something that becomes ingrained.

Those are limiting beliefs that you don’t even realize. You talked to a guy who’s a dry cleaner or does home repairs. He’s like, “This is how we acquire customers A, B, C and D.” You’re like, “We could never do it that way.” Maybe you should do it that way. Maybe it’s okay to do it that way. You need to have your mind expanded. You probably need a coach and a mentor and it’s okay to have one for one specific thing. Maybe I don’t know anything about Facebook ads. Go with a coach who does Facebook ads and teaches you all you need to know about that or business processes that are different or contracts that’s different. It’s okay to cut and paste and get different coaches and mentors so that single piece of advice would push people forward much more than you can do yourself. I found mentors in books and I’m a firm believer that reading books is probably the gold standard for all of us. Any question that you want to have answers is in a book. Someone wrote a book for it, whether it’s how to think better, how to invest better, how to open up a business, how to close a business. Anything you want to do, someone’s written a book on it.

I’m huge into books. The one thing that I would say about books, they have a ton of knowledge. There are people out there though that will gain knowledge without converting that to action. That’s where the benefit of a mentor and a coach comes from. Now you’re personally accountable if the mentor or coach is doing their job. You need someone to hold your hand.

If you treat everybody special, there will always be a place for you. Click To Tweet

Books provide us with ideas and then you have to execute. One of the tips that I give people is I have the Amazon app on my phone. Whenever I’m out networking with people, I will ask them the same question, “Tell me a book that you absolutely love.” Whenever they tell me, I open up that app and I buy it right there without question. You slowly add that to your own personal library, which your personal library should only be filled with books that you have already read. I threw out my entire Encyclopedia Britannica that I had never read. I decided to throw them all out and go with books that I’ve read. You can buy those books used.

It’s $10 to $20.

If you get one idea out of that book, wasn’t the $10 worth it?

To go back to where we’re focusing on in values, is that something that you got out of a book? You had your clinic for many years. Where along the process did you decide, “I need to install some values in my clinic and the way we do things?”

A few years ago, my partner and I were like, “We’re busy. We’re seeing all these patients but we’re not making money. What’s wrong with this?” That was the same time that my then office manager said to me, “I looked at the Department of Labor statistics and you’re underpaying me by about $15,000 a year.” I said, “We’re doing the best we can, but my income went down by 50%.” She looked at me with a straight face and said, “That’s not my problem.” That’s the other day that changes your life. I went, “I am no longer going to live this way.” I hired a consultant who came out. I paid him a lot of money and besides him saying, “You have to fire your office manager,” which I did, he started making me look at processes.

I realized all the things that I was doing wrong as a business owner or things that I wasn’t doing. When you’re a physical therapist, you figure, “I’m great at physical therapy. If I treat people, everything’s going to be a success afterward.” That’s not necessarily the case. I picked up a book called Traction by Gino Wickman, which I recommend everybody to buy. It talked about establishing values. I’m like, “Let’s skip that part. Let’s go into the tactics. What can I do to make more money than I did last year?” I force myself to go through the boring hard work of creating the foundation for my business, which starts with values. It sounds boring and stupid. Why do I have to identify what my values are? I know my values. My values are great. My values are my values. “Tell me what they are.” “Do good work, that’s not it.”

PTO 60 | Living Your Core Values
Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business

We decided to get the staff together and have a staff meeting. I put a whiteboard up at the front of the office and I said, “In your mind, think of the best employee that you’ve ever seen here. You don’t have to tell me who it is. I don’t care if that’s not me. Think of who is the best person that is the heart of this business. When you got that person in your mind, I want you to tell me some words that you describe that person.” For the first three minutes, everybody just sat there. In my mind I’m going, “I don’t care how long it takes. I don’t care how uncomfortable the silence is. Someone is going to say something.” You give people the eye-roll, you give people a look and sooner or later somebody says, “She was friendly.” “What else?” “She was good with patients.” “What does that mean she was good with patients?” “She treated them like family.” “What does that mean?” “When people come in, she was always honest.” “Tell me more.” We came up with sixteen words. I said, “We have sixteen words, now we’re going to come up with four.” We start eliminating words. What is truly the non-negotiable must-have quality of that person that says they are the Performance Physical Therapy or they are our brand? We came up with six values: honesty, integrity, respect, treat people like family, treat people with enthusiasm and teamwork.

Now we have these six words. What are we supposed to do with that? As it turns out, you do everything with those words. Everything you do comes from those words. It means that I can’t be everywhere. I can’t be in all three offices. I can’t be there from 6:30 in the morning to 8:00 at night. Somebody is going to be there without me and they’re going to have to make a decision. How do they know if they’re doing the right thing? Whatever decision is in front of them, if they say, “Am I being honest? Am I respectful? Am I treating somebody with integrity? Am I treating somebody like family? Am I treating them enthusiastically?” Whatever decision is in front of that employee, if they run it through that filter and it comes up yes, 99 times out of 100, they’re doing the right thing. The opposite is also true. If they’re about to make a decision and it’s against one of those values, they’re probably not doing the right thing.

When you have to hire somebody, you hire them through those values. When you fire somebody because there’s somebody, “I’ve got to let Jane go. I’ve got to fire Jane. Jane does not fit in here.” You can’t just say that. You have to be able to come up with some reason why. When they don’t embody one of those values that helps you as a manager to say, “This time you did this and it wasn’t honest. This time you did this, it was disrespectful. This time you didn’t work as a team and here are the examples.” It allows you to make all these decisions for the betterment of your company and make sure that you’re course-correcting. It’s almost infallible.

It’s fundamental and it gives you so much power to be able to fire somebody according to the values, to hold people accountable according to the values, to do performance evaluations according to the values. Probably the most important is to be able to hire according to the values. As you’re sitting there, sometimes we would do group interviews and we would talk about our values. We’d ask them what they thought about those words and you watch the body language. The people who weren’t comfortable in that space talking about values, those were the people that we weren’t too excited about hiring in the first place. As we would evaluate people, we’d evaluate them according to the values and how well they were representing those values.

Have you ever made a mistake hiring somebody, Nathan?

Yes, of course.

Your customers and your patients should know what you stand for, and that guides all your actions after that. Click To Tweet

In retrospect, you try to evaluate that and say, “How did this person fool me? How did they get through? How did they get here with me not knowing it?” People can fool you in the hiring process. That’s probably one of the single most important things that a business can do is hire the right people. Those values allow you a clear, common, easily reproducible set of metrics to evaluate a potential employee. You and your staff are called to develop an assessment tool to evaluate that. How do you assess whether someone’s honest? How do you assess if somebody has integrity? How do you assess if someone’s a team player? How can you assess that objectively? One way we assess if someone’s a team player is if they’ve played on a team. In your entrance exam for your business, do you play sports? What sports have you played? Do you volunteer? Those are simple questions that can help filter out the people that that need to sit for the face-to-face interview and those who should self-delete out of the mix.

We should have done it so much earlier in our careers, especially as owners. It would have made things so much easier. Sometimes you think you’re so small that you’re like, “What does it matter?” You’ve got to take the long view there, get a little bit bigger perspective. As you’re developing your foundation, it would make things so much easier if you hired according to your values, even if it was yourself. Maybe it’s you and your mom back in the day.

The exercise that my business partner and I did was very similar to yours. We didn’t bring in our whole company and reading your experience, maybe we should have but anyway, that’s here or there. We did the same thing. We said, “What characteristics do we highly value in people that we revere and respect? What are some of those characteristics that we expect out of ourselves or out of our company?” We made a list of twenty. Some of them were very similar and so they eliminated each other. Maybe you could use a different word to describe them better and started narrowing them down. It’s the same thing. It’s a cool process. We enjoyed it.

We came up with Professionalism, Accountability, Growth and Empathy. That was an easy acronym to remember, PAGE was our acronym. Eventually as we rebranded along the way, we came up with some cultural values as well. We wanted our company to be known for family, fun and freedom, the three F’s. A lot of the things that we did around developing the culture revolved around those three things about family, fun and freedom. We took this but didn’t ingrain it into our company until we started using them more. We talked about using the values to hire, fire and evaluate employees. Do you bring up values at other times during the weeks or months in between all those activities? Tell me about those.

You think that’s gimmicky, the three F’s. The value of that is you are setting very clearly and simply the expectation in your company. You should promote that to customers as well. Your customers, your patients should know what you stand for and that guides all our actions after that.

What are some of the things that you’re doing to incorporate values into the discussions between those events?

PTO 60 | Living Your Core Values
Living Your Core Values: People can fool you in the hiring process.

 

We have weekly and quarterly leadership meetings as well as staff meetings. We identify what those values are. We take one of those values and talk about it and we give examples. That’s huge. What you do is you reinforce it every single time. One of my morning rituals as a CEO is I go onto Google and I look for Google reviews. When someone writes a Google review, that instantly gets copied and pasted and goes company-wide. The subject line is, “A great way to start my Monday or guess who got a five-star review? See who got a shout out.” That reinforces those values as well. It comes up time and time again. The more you talk about those values, the more it becomes part of your company’s cultural dialogue and vocabulary almost to the point where it’s like an inside joke to people, where you can look at another staff member and go, “You people like family.” They get that and they dig it. It only happens with repetition like anything else. That’s true personally as well because you can’t talk about professional development unless you talk about personal development. That’s part of that personal ritual that we all go through. Atomic Habits is a great book by James Clear about how to develop these personal and professional habits on a day-to-day basis to get more out of your day productivity-wise.

We got a lot of traction out of the values when we started talking about them weekly in our team meetings at each clinic. We would highlight one maybe and then ask if someone had exemplified that during the course of the week or recently. We brought that up significantly in our quarterly events. We would shut down the clinics one Friday afternoon a quarter. We would have a subject that we wanted to talk about that pertains to everybody. What everyone loved the most was when it’s almost like a religious meeting where people were standing up and we’d ask them to share who exemplified what value sometime during the course. People were emotional and they were in tears. They were excited and proud of their coworkers. They were excited to be part of such a team.

We call those shout-outs. We carve out time in that staff meeting. A staff member stands up and gives a shout-out to somebody else, “I noticed that Anthony went outside last week in the rain and picked up our flags so they didn’t get ruined. His pants got all wet. Thanks, Anthony. That’s great.” You’d think that’s dumb. That is some of the best use of the time you can do because it tells the employees what you value and that they’re being recognized by not just me but by each other. That’s a big deal. Going back to values, when you go to our website and you go to the staff page, we have each physical therapist do a video on one of our values. We’ve got an extraordinary amount of feedback, not only from patients but also from potential employees who said, “I saw those videos and that resonated with me, that spoke to me. I appreciate that,” or from a patient that said, “All physical therapy places are not the same. You feel like family to me because I watched you.” That’s a tip for your audience. If you do that one thing, that will 10X your results.

How engaging that is to have video posted on each value. You’ve ingrained it into your company. What has changed in your company since you had cemented values a few years ago?

That next year after starting that process, our profits went up 96% in one year. It’s that difference. It’s that much of a change because what you find is that the people who do not belong on your bus, get the idea fast that, “This is probably not the place for me.” It also makes those conversations easier if it gets down to it. If they don’t get it, if they don’t want it, if they don’t have the capacity for it, they realize it and they take themselves out. They find it uncomfortable to be around that environment where they’re not congruent and they take themselves out and they leave.

I would imagine a year later the ease at which you obtained that 96% profit growth was significantly greater. It was so much easier and the environment and culture changed.

Everybody has wisdom inside them. It's a matter of having the opportunity to share ideas. Click To Tweet

What happens is then you’re like a forced coupler. Everybody knows what they’re supposed to be doing when they’re supposed to be doing it. As the owner, you wind up having to talk less. You now can concentrate on shoring up your processes, being more efficient, being more effective and documenting things, which none of us does.

We all need to get down to the dirty work and do that because it’s an ongoing process. What the values did for you is exactly what you’re talking about. It gave you some freedom and independence. It allowed the employees to take on more responsibility, to be sovereign and give you the freedom to then work on those things. It allowed you to be the leader of your own ship, to be up at the helm looking forward instead of looking backward.

My late father who was a very smart man but I didn’t realize it at the time. One of the things he said to me is, “Your biggest job as an executive is to think.” I’m like, “Dad, that’s stupid. I don’t have time to think. I’ve got to do all this stuff. I’ve got patients to see, I’ve got to write checks, I’ve got to meet doctors.” My dad was right, the most valuable thing that we can all do as executives is think. You take uninterrupted time to think, give me two hours to think and I will come up with something good. What most of us do is you’re running and gunning, you’re hacking and chocking, you’re bobbing and weaving. You don’t have time to do anything and you wind up doing crisis management all day versus being the smith of your own fortune, planning ahead and then executing on it. That’s the difference between having a job and growing your business.

It makes all the difference when you can have a bedrock of shared purpose and values and with those people come in alignment as to how things get done, then it’s an unstoppable force. The weeding-out process can be painful but in the end, it’s so amazingly better once you go through all that. Things become easier.

Identifying those values does it for you. You should always stress testing, meaning that in January when we have our two-day leadership retreat, you say, “Is this what we value? Let’s take each one of those. Are we about being honest with ourselves, our employees, our physicians and our patients? Do we want to be honest? Is that a value?” We stress test it. We argue about it and we’d go back and forth. If it needs to change, then we change it. If it stays the same, then we’re on board.

What a great exercise for you. I’d be surprised if your values change all that often, but what I’d imagine happens is how are we not being honest and what do we need to do to correct it? Is it picking one value?

PTO 60 | Living Your Core Values
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

Yes, that’s exactly right. You have to have the fortitude to be able to test your beliefs. One of the other powerful things that we do and it’s emotionally exhausting to do this, but we go around the room with each leader and say, “What do I need to do more of and what do I need to do less of?” That is one heck of an exercise. Even if you only have two people in your leadership, even if it’s just you and your mom, “Mom, what should I be doing more of? What should I be doing less of?” You have to be able to trust each other. My leadership team, I’m sure they were sweating bullets but they let me have it when they went around the room. One of the things they said was, “You’ve got to be less distracted. You’re being pulled in all different directions. You’re going after the next shiny thing. You’re checking your phone. You’ve got to be less distracted.” That was embarrassing to hear that. I was the CEO. I was supposed to be the knower of everything, the perfect one. They’re telling me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear. It changed my behavior. That is the mark of a real awake executive to be able to have that feedback and then to try to implement it.

In that setting, you’re becoming vulnerable. Initially, when you described the exercise, I thought like, “I’m coming up with it myself. This is what I need to do better at,” but they’re telling you. You can get in an uncomfortable position. You set yourself up for a lot of vulnerability and emotion to come up but what does that do for your team? I can’t imagine the trust and the cohesiveness that comes after a hard exercise like that.

That’s the prerequisite for that exercise is to be able to establish that there’s trust and then there’s safety in this group. It doesn’t matter that there’s are fifteen or there are five or there are three. You carved time out of your day off to get together and better yourselves personally in the profession. Once you set that stage, then you can be vulnerable and say, “What is the number one thing I can do to help myself this year coming up? What do I need to do more of? What do I need to do less of?” It’s those two simple questions. It’s almost not as valuable if you do it to yourself in your own head because I can fool myself easily. I can tell myself anything I want to hear but getting that feedback and as a CEO or as an executive, you don’t get that very often. They’re not going to tell you.

I love what you’re doing with values. You’ve got to be proud of the company that you’ve built after going through the structuring process, the hard times and also this focus that you’ve put on the last few years.

It’s never over.

It’s much more enjoyable.

You think, “What else can we do? What else can we tear apart and rebuild and make it better?” It’s also very easy to look back and be like, “Was I a dope?” You’re right. You were a dope. Everybody’s a dope. My only competition is the man that I was yesterday. Don’t worry, that person’s not even here anymore, just keep moving forward. How’s that for advice?

This is a great conversation. We’ve covered a ton and we nailed some of the important topics that I think of when it comes to values. Is there anything else you want to share?

Try to always better what you’re doing no matter what. Nobody has the answers. I know that I don’t and I’m always looking for the next teacher. Everybody has something to teach you. Be open, be willing, do it without ego, do it with humility. You’re a better person for it because time is short. None of us has as much time as we think we do.

That’s great advice. I’m shaking my head because I agree with everything that you went through and felt like we’ve gone down a similar path.

You should also probably tell your audience more of your story because you have an incredible story to aspire to, from having a practice in Arizona, selling it and moving to Alaska. That’s pretty bold and it’s very impressive that you do that.

It’s hard for me to self-promote. It’s difficult to do that. I know I need to get that story out there, that’s for sure. I’m sure I will here in the coming months.

PTO 60 | Living Your Core Values
Living Your Core Values: Try to always be better at what you’re doing no matter what.

 

I told you that I think somebody should interview you for your own podcast.

I will have to do that. I did it with my business partner, Will Humphreys, a few episodes ago. It didn’t get into our story. I’m glad you said that because I think I’m going to try to get Will on again and talk about our story a little bit and how we got to where we’re at. It’s an intriguing story and worthy of note.

Some of those lessons, you’ve got some gold in there. You’ve got some nuggets that are valuable to people that they can benefit because as a PT owner, especially if you’re a one-man show or one-office show, you think you’re the only person. You think you’re out on an island somewhere. For years and years, I’ve felt that way. I didn’t realize that there’s a whole community out there of people that you can connect with and resonate with and say, “When this happens, then I feel like this. Do you ever feel that way?” They’re like, “Yeah,” and then we all get better for it. That collaboration with peers is vital. The private practice section is doing a great job. They have the peer-to-peer network that they promote that I’m part of that is very valuable. I benefit from it and about every practice owner can benefit from it as well. There are resources out there, you just have to reach out and ask for it.

That’s why my mantra is, “Step out, reach out and network,” because it’s out there. As independent business owners, we can get stuck in our little bubble, our 1,100 square-foot space or 2,500 square-foot space and think that’s our world. Our thoughts become realities and we get self-limiting beliefs. It’s important that we got to step out of that. We’ve got to stop treating full-time. You’ve got to reach out to get a coach and mentor as we discussed and you’ve got to network. That’s where growth occurs. There are resources out there to help you.

Another common problem is you go to these networking events or you go to a conference and you think, “Everybody is more successful than me. Everybody knows more than me. Everybody has gone down to that path and I don’t. I’m just a mess.” That’s probably not the case. Everybody has wisdom inside them. It’s a matter of having the opportunity to share ideas. You have an incredible amount of knowledge that you should be spreading to other practice owners and I look forward to hearing more of your show because that’s very good.

Thank you. I appreciate the comments. Thanks for coming on. Thanks for taking the time. I appreciate you sharing your experience, Stephen. It’s a great resource and I hope more and more PT owners take this specific lesson to heart. It’s invaluable and I appreciate it.

Rock on with your mission because you’re doing great work and it’s a pleasure to be here. You’ve got nothing to sell but everything to give.

I appreciate it, Stephen.

Thank you.

Important Links:

About Stephen Rapposelli, PT

PTO 60 | Living Your Core ValuesStephen opened his private practice in Delaware in 1992, at the tender age of 26, because he was told by his former employer that he couldn’t afford to buy into that existing business. He has since grown to 3 clinics and has been voted best PT business in his state for numerous years.

He also serves as Vice President of the Delaware PT Association, as well as sitting on the IMPACT editorial board. Stephen plans on devoting the rest of his career to promoting independent practices across the country.

 

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