Choosing a career is a decision that individuals tend to make at a fairly young age, and it is expected to stick for the rest of their professional life. Even when a person is fortunate enough to find a career that they truly love and are passionate about, they face the potential and risk of “hitting a wall” or “burning out.” Sometimes, the pressures and demands in a career can make them forget how much they truly love what they do.
For Physical Therapist Jim Clahane, this was the path he was heading down – losing his love for what he feels he was destined to do, which is help others regain their health. Instead of letting this get him down, he took the opportunity to do what many people are afraid to do. He pursued his dream. He quit his job, started his own business and recently celebrated his one-year anniversary at his new self-owned business in Mechanicsburg, Inspired Physical Therapy.
Clahane has 24 years of experience as a physical therapist. Walking away from a position at an established company is a step that many would think irrational, but it’s one that he took. With a strong support system of family and friends, Clahane says he was able to push through.
“I think a lot of people reach a point in their lives where they need a change,” he explains. “And I think most people are just afraid to take that step. So I tell people that if you want to take that step, then go for it. And if you go for it, you have to be all in. If you’re only halfway in, you’ll never survive.”
The calling to start his own business came about when he provided care in Africa for two weeks. This trip changed Clahane’s views not only on his profession, but also on life.
“I kind of found my purpose in life in a lot of ways and started to realize that life was about more than having a lot of stuff,” he says. “I chose to walk away from it all. I wasn’t quite sure what would happen, but here I am now in 2016 starting to put together something that is pretty special, and I think we have made an impact on the community, and the purpose behind the business is alive and true.”
Inspired Physical Therapy was established in August 2014 and moved to its permanent location in Mechanicsburg on June 1, 2015. The mission of Inspired Physical Therapy is to “be the industry leader in orthopedic and sports rehabilitation” and to “help patients achieve their optimal level of function and performance,” something that Clahane is passionate about and fears that professionals in the medical field lose sight of at times.
“There are certain things that shape who a person is, and as physical therapists and health care providers, we should focus on getting our patients back to their full potential,” he says. “But most of us don’t take the time to hear that. The pressure is being put on to have more patients and high production, so therapists feel threatened to get the patients in and out and get the volume up. I just don’t think that’s healthy for our profession and that the people miss out.”
There are three physical-therapy assistants who work with Clahane at his facility. On a consistent basis, Clahane says that his facility sees an average of 20 to 25 patients per day, which he considers to be a good volume to be able to keep the business going and give each patient the ample amount of time he believes they deserve. Clahane is thankful to have an office manager to help maintain many of the duties at the facility, but he finds himself struggling sometimes to maintain the day-to-day tasks of being a small-business owner.
“I think the hardest part is probably staying focused on the vision of making a difference in people’s lives and having to juggle that with the true life of day-to-day finances, the running of the business and not having enough patients to pay the bills,” says Clahane. “But truly, you can’t allow money to dictate what you do.”
Becoming an entrepreneur and pursuing his dreams while staying in the profession he loves is something Clahane wants to use as motivation to others in any field. He never takes for granted his ability to give back to others every day through his job.
“This is bigger than me,” says Clahane. “This is bigger than any other physical therapy entity out there. I think we have an obligation, all of us, to make a difference in the lives of others. And I just happen to be fortunate and blessed enough to be able to do it with what I do in my profession.”