Today is the one year anniversary of officially starting my practice as a Naturopathic Doctor and opening my own business!
(okay it was actually Wednesday, but I was busy with patients during the week so I’m blogging about it today :D)
Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor was really hard. I can’t even begin to describe the rollercoaster that was the four year post-graduate program at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM). Only my fellow CCNM graduates truly understand how amazing, challenging, fun, frustrating, rewarding, and at some points, utterly ridiculous that time of our lives was.
Every class at CCNM had a slogan. Ours was “Embrace the Journey”.
I love this slogan so much. It was what I would always tell myself when things got tough during those four years, and is still what I tell myself when I’m going through a hard time (or a hard workout :p).
After graduating and completing my licensing exams, I felt like I could do anything and learn anything.
I think this is partially why I had the guts to start my own business fresh out of school, in a new city, new province, half-way across the country, with a crap-load of student debt.
Don’t get me wrong, this decision was scary. Very scary in fact. But I think being a little bit scared to go after your dreams is good thing.
Because if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.
Well, this year has been intense.
Looking back on it, I am so much more proud of myself for everything I’ve accomplished in the past 12 months compared to what it took to become a doctor.
I had several opportunities to work as an associate in already established clinics, in Toronto and in Calgary. I could have stayed where I was comfortable, or I could have moved into something more comfortable.
Instead, I decided to dive head first into the unknown, to step out of my comfort zone and tackle my goals.
And that is why I am more proud of this year than any other.
Being a student was hard, but it was also comfortable. I was told what I needed to do and I knew how to do it.
Being a business owner? Not so easy.
Your GPA isn’t the thing that suffers when you’re not putting in the work, it’s your ability to feed yourself.
This year brought on an entire new set of challenges and so much more learning. And the decisions! So many decisions!
What colour of paint? What size of door? What kind of light fixtures? What bank will give me a business line of credit? What POS system should I use? What accounting software? Where do I purchase medical supplies? How do I register my business? What about business cards? Brochures?
You get the idea. It was a whirlwind…but I was right about my ability to learn anything. There was so much I didn’t know about starting a business. There is still so much I don’t know. But I learned, and will continue to learn.
In the midst of starting a business, learning how to practice naturopathic medicine without the guidance of a supervisor, and figuring out a new city, I managed to make some amazing new friends, compete in various fitness activities (3 CrossFit competitions, 1 bodybuilding competition, a 5km race, and a Mud Hero race), become certified in intravenous therapy, and write a massive pharmacology exam that required about 3 months of studying.
I’m sharing all of this because sometimes you just need to publicly share your wins. And this year has certainly been a win!
I’m also sharing this because I need to personally recognize what I’ve done so far and where I’m at.
Because I’m not good at being patient. Because I have big goals set for myself and often I feel like I’m not accomplishing them fast enough. Because I just want to do everything RIGHT NOW.
And I know there are others out there who have this problem too. It’s hard to be patient. It’s hard to see the big picture sometimes. But we need to. We need to be realistic with ourselves and recognize where we’re at. We need to recognize that we are doing our best and we are on a journey.
A journey that needs to be embraced.
And so, I’m celebrating my one-year anniversary by doing just that. Embracing this journey and the challenges it brings me. I need to. We all need to.
Because life is not about the destinations we set for ourselves. It’s about the journeys we went on to get there.