Top 5 things I learned in 2013

I’ve spent the last week on vacation (actually, a staycation), and it has been wonderful. ¬†Not only is this time of year a great opportunity to be with your family and friends while watching copious amounts of competitive football, but it is also an ideal time to reflect upon the past year. ¬†Reflection is such a key habit both personally and professionally, for it’s how we continue positive growth. Don’t just do what you’ve always done just because you’ve always done it. ¬†What did I learn this year? ¬†A bunch of stuff, both personally and professionally. ¬†So, I’ve decided to share my¬†top 5 list of things I learned in 2013 (in no particular order of importance).

  1. I still have A LOT to learn. ¬†Even though I feel I have definitely grown both personally and professionally in a positive way this past year, I also recognize that I need to continue this to meet my personal and professional mission. ¬†Luckily, I love to learn. ¬†I’d attend a conference/seminar every month if I could afford it! ¬†While we can definitely be satisfied with our current state, by no means should we ever feel that we cannot break through our own ceiling. ¬†When breaking through, Just be sure to lead with your hands –¬†concussions are not fun to deal with.
  2. Brand promotion is a key skill set to master. ¬†I have learned that not only should all employees promote their company by fully representing that company’s brand (you should be proud of where you work and it should show), but also all employees should promote themselves as a valuable entity within that company. ¬†One can do this while still being a “team player”. ¬†As Thomas Plummer puts it, “we all have both a business brand that is local and a personal professional brand that is world-wide.” ¬†I do my best to provide a high-quality product to my clients. ¬†I work for and represent Somerset Medical Center. ¬†Hence, people tend to assume (rightly-so) that because I am providing this high quality of service, others who work for SMC will do the same thing. ¬†One key to both sides (professional – employer and professional – self) of this working to the fullest is that your personal professional brand must fall within the realm of your employer’s professional brand. ¬†Trust me, I’m a long way from mastering this. ¬†But, atleast now I have a better understanding of the path I have to take!
  3. Following up on #2, I have discovered blogging and I love it. ¬†Not only is it a great way to get my thoughts out, but more-so it’s a regular “self check” to keep me up on a variety of sports medicine topics – i.e. continuous review. ¬†After a great seminar by Thomas Plummer @ the Functional Training Summit in Providence, RI (amazing conference, BTW!) on building a brand, I had a great discussion with my good friend,¬†Jeff Buxton of Grove City College¬†about personal and professional growth. ¬†We came out of it both deciding to venture into the blogosphere. ¬†Sports Med for the Masses went live in July. ¬†This is my 18th blog, and since then I’ve had 1,149 page visitors. ¬†Thank you for all who take the time to read! ¬†I’m looking forward to sharing some more great topics and interactive guest blogs in 2014!
  4. I’ve reviewed and learned some great new treatment approaches this year. ¬†I’ve fine-tuned my concussion evaluation and care skills through a number of vehicles for the sake of the students I am responsible for keeping safe. ¬†I took a Kinesiotaping series (KT1-3), and biggest thing I gained from it professionally is that it works WONDERS for swelling, effusion, and bruising (see a sample use here). ¬†I also completed the Selective Functional Movement Assessment certification course, which I really enjoyed and valued. ¬†Even if you don’t plan on using the SFMA in consistent practice, it provides you some great tools to keep at your disposal. ¬†Also, as I mentioned in #3, the Functional Training Summit was once again awesome and I highly recommend attending to all rehab and fitness pros. ¬†I also dedicated more of my rehab and training to anti-rotation core stability exercises. ¬†Anti-rotation is the new “crunches”. ¬†I’ve seen it pay great dividends in both myself and my clients, ¬†It’s great to learn new things, as well as review things you may have forgotten or are already doing well, but Just remember – learning an awesome new skill does not mean it is the ONLY thing you use. ¬†It’s easy to get excited about something new. ¬†Stay diverse, and add your new skills into your continuously-growing toolbox.
  5. Last, but certainly not least, I’ve learned to appreciate what I have in life even more so than I previously have. ¬†We tend to take a lot for granted. ¬†It has been a rough year for my extended family, with illness, deaths, and personal challenges. ¬†I appreciate my family every day, and I try to make the most of every minute I get to spend with them. ¬†With my change in work responsibilities to JP Case Middle School in October, I am now only 1 mile from home during the work day. ¬†My daily commute went from an average of 1 hour to 2 minutes. ¬†This is an hour a day extra that I get to spend with my wife and kids. ¬†I’ve always done long commutes throughout my career, and this switch has given me a fresh perspective on the value of time. ¬†Speaking of my kids, I’ve also come to realize that good parenting is actually way easier than I thought it would be. ¬†While it is easy, it requires lots of patience, tolerance, creativity, and support. ¬†It is easy because, even though we all parent differently, if you love your children unconditionally, live in the moment, trust in the process, and keep them safe, things work out. ¬†Being a parent is the best damn job in the world. ¬†ūüôā

What’s your “Top 5 List” for 2013?

Thanks for sharing some of your time to read my thoughts. 2014 is going to be a fantastic year. ¬†I can feel it. ¬†I know it will be for you as well! ¬†There once was a great coach who said…”believe deep down inside that you were destined to do great things.” ¬†Now, go do them.

Happy New Year!


Ryan Stevens, MPS, ATC, CSCS

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