On this episode of the Healthy, Wealthy and Smart Podcast, I welcome Steve Anderson on the show to discuss leadership coaching. Steve is an Executive Coach with Orange Dot Coaching and the host of the Podcast, Profiles in Leadership.  He is a former Board of Trustee for The Foundation for Physical Therapy and was the President of The Private Practice Section of APTA for 6 years between 2002-2008.

In this episode, we discuss:

-Why you should invest in a coach

-The importance of outside perspective when you’re pursuing excellence

-How to be open-minded and gracefully accept constructive criticism

-Redefining your daily operations with purpose and vision

-And so much more!


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Orange Dot Coaching Website

Episode 197: The Graham Sessions with Steve Anderson

Profiles in Leadership Podcast

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A big thank you to Net Health for sponsoring this episode!

For more information on Steve:

Steve Anderson Steve Anderson is the ex-CEO of Therapeutic Associates which is a physical therapy company that consists of 90 outpatient clinics in Washington, Oregon and Idaho and a major hospital contract in Southern California.  He currently is an Executive Coach with Orange Dot Coaching and the host of the Podcast, Profiles in Leadership.  He is a former Board of Trustee for The Foundation for Physical Therapy and was the President of The Private Practice Section of APTA for 6 years between 2002-2008.  He was awarded the most prestigious award the Section gives out annually to a physical therapist, the Robert G. Dicus Service Award in 2010.   Steve received the APTA Leadership Advocacy Award in 2006 for his efforts in Washington D.C. and Washington State in the legislative arena.  In 2012 Steve received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Northwestern University Physical Therapy School.   In 2016 Steve was awarded Physical Therapist of the Year by PTWA, APTA’s Washington State Chapter.

Currently Dr. Anderson works with business executives and their teams to improve their leadership skills and coaches them to improve communication skills and working together better as a team.  He lives on Hood Canal in Washington state near Seattle with his wife Sharon.

Read the full transcript below:

Karen Litzy:                   00:00                Hey Steve, welcome back to the podcast. I am happy to have you on. So thanks for joining me today.

Steve Anderson:            00:07                Well, thank you Karen. I’m very happy to be on and I’m looking forward to our discussion.

Karen Litzy:                   00:13                Yeah. So last time you were on, we talked about Graham sessions and we’ll have a link to that in the show notes to this podcast so people can kind of go back and learn more about that. But today we’re going to be talking about the importance of having a coach. And first I’ll swing it over to you if you want to kind of describe what you do as a coach and maybe what is your definition of a coach because there’s a lot of coaches out there.

Steve Anderson:            00:45                Okay. So what I am is I’m an executive coach and so that means that I deal mostly with leadership training and communication skills and things like that. So what I do specifically is I work with people that are running companies, CEO types, and executives that are in leadership roles. And so helping them develop their leadership and communication skills. But then I also like to work with teams. And so I have clients that I work with, the CEO and their executive staff on how they can communicate together and how they can work better as a team when they’re trying to run their business and grow their business and so on. So that’s pretty much what I do. You know, but the definition of a coach is just somebody to help you, you know, figure out.

Steve Anderson:            01:40                I think what happens is we are in a very complex world and in our businesses and so on that they get very complex. I think a coach can help you simplify, look at things and simplified a little bit, help you kind of get out of your overwhelming rut, so to speak, and how you can start to look at things that are the smaller pieces and put that together and then just learn how to communicate with others and grow your business. And in a sense that doesn’t seem so overwhelming or overpowering. I see a lot of my clients in that mode of, they’re just, they’re just overwhelmed and they’ve just got so much to do and so many things to look at that they don’t really know what the next step is.

Karen Litzy:                   02:27                Yeah, I hear you there. I definitely feel like that on almost a daily basis. Now before we kind of go into a little bit more about coaching, just so the audience gets to kind of understand where you’re coming from. So you are a physical therapist and you owned a multisite practice, but let me ask you this. You could have retired and just kind of spent the rest of your retirement hanging out and you know, relaxing. So why make that shift to being a coach?

Steve Anderson:            03:04                Sure. So I was a physical therapist and came up through a company called therapeutic associates where I started out as a staff therapist and then I became a clinic director and eventually became the CEO of that company. And it had a very unique ownership structure in the sense that every director of every clinic in that company is an owner in the company. So I was certainly not the only owner in the company. I was one of many owners in the company. And so when I retired, you know, I retired fairly young, I guess when you look at what age people retire these days. And so I thought, well, you know, what do I want to do from here? I don’t feel like I’m ready to just do nothing. And so I kinda did the soul search and say, what are things that I really like to do?

Steve Anderson:            03:54                And when it comes right down to it, what I really liked to do is I just really liked to grow leaders and work with people as they’re going through their journey. And so, I went and got certified in a program called insights discovery, which is a communication system or style and started reaching out to people and I’ve got some clients and worked with them and learned, you know, how to improve and get better at what I was doing. And so now I do it on, you know, certainly a part time basis. I’m not doing this full time by any means, but it brings me joy. It feels like I have a purpose and it’s something that I just really look forward to doing.

Karen Litzy:                   04:39                I think that’s such a great transition from the work you were doing as a physical therapist to the work that you’re now doing as a coach. And for me, it gives a lot to think about because oftentimes, especially as a physical therapist, I know I felt this way when I graduated from college was, okay, I’m going to start working for a company and then I’m going to work there until I retire. And then that’s it. So oftentimes, you know, it’s hard for us to think far ahead, but being able to hear stories like yours I think can inspire a lot of people to say, Hey, wait a second. Like there’s more to retirement or there’s more to when, maybe whenever it is, you feel like your clinical work as a physical therapist is maybe run its course that you can use your physical therapy degree and you can use information, you can seek out new information in order to start a whole new career, but you’re still firmly rooted in the physical therapy world.

Steve Anderson:            05:43                Right. I think you bring up a really great point in the sense that, you know, you don’t, when you come out of school and you start your profession, start your career, you know, you can’t see often that thing that you want to do. In other words, it’s hard to visualize what exactly I want to do and what exactly I want to be. And I see new professionals coming out kind of tortured with that a little bit. Like they wanted to do something but they can’t see it other than just the day to day. You know, we’re working with the patient. So I can just share my journey a little bit in the sense that, you know, I was an orthopedic physical therapist and I worked hard at being good at that skill and then I became a director and I realized that I really liked working with the team and working with people and people don’t always, they think I’m just messing with them when I say this, but I was kind of a reluctant leader. I didn’t go in thinking that this is what I want to do, this is how it’s going to look. And, I just kind of evolved into that leadership role. And then as I took steps going through my career, all of a sudden I was voted to the CEO of a very large company at 41 years old. And to be honest with you, I was scared shitless.

Karen Litzy:                   07:03                I mean, I would be.

Steve Anderson:            07:06                Yeah, I was excited to be in this position, but I’m like, Oh my gosh, I mean, you talk about imposter syndrome and I was like, what do I do now? Everyone thinks I’m going to have the answers. So at that point I didn’t really know what coaching was or what coaching services wasn’t. As a matter of fact, it was fairly a new concept to have a coach. And so I didn’t have an opportunity to reach out to one and I didn’t really know what to do. And so when I look back on that time, gosh, I could’ve really used a good coach. And so what I did was I looked for other ways to try and improve my position or my skills. And so I took a few college level or I mean graduate level MBA courses and they were okay, but they weren’t really, you know, just resonating with me too much.

Steve Anderson:            08:01                And so then I eventually found this group called Vistage and you may have heard of that, but that’s an international group where they have CEOs that work together usually 12 to 15 in a group. They meet on a monthly basis and they basically just learn from each other and help solve each other’s problems. And so it’s like a group coaching, so set up and I was in that for seven and a half years and really, really learned a lot from that because I had, you know, peers to bounce things off or like could get vulnerable with you. Got to know him really well. And, I think when you can trust somebody and work with someone to get to that level of vulnerability, I think that’s where the learning really takes place.

Karen Litzy:                   08:50                And that group that was multidisciplinary group, that wasn’t just specifically for therapists or even just for health care, is that correct?

Steve Anderson:            08:58                Exactly. In fact, I was the only CEO in that group from healthcare. And then they make sure that there’s no competitors or you’re not competing with anybody in that group. And so you start out kind of with people you don’t know. And over a period of time you start to know and trust each other. And, and over a longer period of time you can really, you know, really get down to things that you have a tough time talking to most people about because you’ve really gotten to know these people. So I look at that as kind of a coaching relationship and the fact that my clients that I work with now, once they get to know me and once they trust me, you know, they can tell me the thing that they’re afraid of or they can tell me the things that they don’t know, without looking weak to the people they lead or without, you know, being their fear of, you know, people thinking maybe they don’t really know what they’re doing, but they can share that with the coach. And then we can get down to the real nitty gritty of that and what that means and how to work through that.

Karen Litzy:                   10:08                And it sounds like you were able to take what you learned there and combine it with what you learned through your career and then the extra courses taken after retirement to kind of hone your individual coaching skills in order to better grow your clients.

Steve Anderson:            10:30                Right. And I think the emphasis on that scenario you just discussed was the experience. I think the experience you can’t buy experience, you can’t, you know, like when I look back on mistakes I made when I had less experience, you know, I wish I could go back and do those again cause I think I would do them a lot better. But yet that’s how you learn. So hopefully a coach has the experience to help you, say this happened to me and this is how I went through it. And, and this is how I can see you maybe, you know, getting there. I do question or scratch my head sometimes when I see, cause I do see business coaches that have never run a business.

Steve Anderson:            11:18                So that always kind of makes me feel like, well, you know, I want somebody who’s been in the trenches. I want somebody who has worked through this before and can help me see some ways through it as opposed to someone who’s just read a lot of books and knows all the catch phrases and the authors and so on. But I think the experience is the key there. And if we look at it from the clinical side, you know, if on the clinical side as a physical therapist, we probably refer to it more as a mentor, maybe then a coach. But same thing there. You want somebody who has experience and who has seen, you know, tens of thousands of patients and has that experience that you don’t have that can help you maybe see through some things from their experience. And to me that’s what makes it a really good mentor and a really good coach.

Karen Litzy:                   12:12                Yeah, I would agree with that. 100%. And you’re right, there’s nothing worse than seeing coaches advertise their services and they’ve had a business for less than a year. So, let’s talk about pros and cons of having a coach. Let’s get practical here. So what are the pros? So if someone’s out there looking for a coach and they’re on the fence, what are some pros to having a coach?

Steve Anderson:            12:43                Well, again, I think I said a little bit earlier, but I think a good coach can help you simplify what you’re trying to accomplish. You know, I think a good coach can look at a complex situation and help you make it simpler. You know, coaches can be your external eyes and ears and provide a more accurate picture of your reality and recognize fundamentals that you have and that you can improve on. And then just breaking down some actions that you do to make them more practical. To me, one of the things that I work a lot with my clients with is it seems so simple, but communicating with others is so powerful. And if you really know how you communicate yourself or what motivates you and how you come across, and then you really get to know the people that you’re communicating with and what resonates with them, then you construct your language and you construct your behavior in a way that connects with them.

Steve Anderson:            13:51                Because I can think that maybe my approach is I totally get it and I totally understand what I’m saying and I can look at the person across from me and they’re looking at me like, you know, so I’m not connecting with them. So I have to know how to communicate that. And, you know, as we talk about it here, it seems simple, but I think there’s a real skill to that. And I think there’s a real ability to kind of craft your message in a way that connects with people.

Karen Litzy:                   14:26                Yeah. And I think whenever you talk about relationships, whether it be a personal relationship, a business relationship, the thing that tends to break it down more than anything else is lack of clear communication. Right?

Steve Anderson:            14:47                I was just going to say, and it’s like if you look at your family or you look at your people in your business, I’ve always believed that you don’t treat everybody the same. I mean, you have to be fair, but when we’re talking about communication, in other words, the way that I would approach one employee could be very different than another depending on who they are, and you know, how they communicate. And so I think a really good leader is able to go in and out of these different styles, I guess, of communication that resonate with that person. And it’s not the same for everybody.

Karen Litzy:                   15:29                Yeah. And it’s funny, I was just about to bring that up because I was going to ask you a question of, let’s say we’ll take a scenario here. You’re the CEO of your physical therapy business and you’ve got two people working in your front desk and you’ve got four physical therapists, and let’s say you, I don’t know, you notice that you have an unusually high cancellation rate with your patients unusually high. And so you kind of want to get to the bottom of it. So how you would speak perhaps to the people working at your front desk may be a little different than how you would speak to the therapist because they have different roles in your business, right?

Steve Anderson:            16:18                Absolutely. You have a different message for them. And, even when you look at your four physical therapists, let’s say, out of those four physical therapists, you have an analytical person who thinks in very analytical terms. Well then the way to approach that would be to talk about the cancellations and no shows from a data perspective. You know, here’s the numbers. Here’s what it used to be. Here’s what we want it to be here. You know, so you talk in very analytical ways. You may have someone else that has a real, you know, that they have more, they have a real caring about people in their feelings approach. And so you might talk to them about that situation and don’t talk about analytics, but you might talk about, look at what our patients are missing. Look what we’re not, we’re not reaching their potential. We’re not, you know, touching their hearts, you know, or whatever. So you talk more in those terms and then, other people, you will have different approaches. So I think that you have to know your people well enough to know that sitting in a meeting with six people, I’m giving the exact same message and expecting all of them to embrace it and have it resonate with them all at the same time is probably unlikely.

Karen Litzy:                   17:35                Gosh, it’s so much more complicated than it seems at the surface, isn’t it?

Steve Anderson:            17:40                Well, it is, but I think that that’s what most of us feel. And that’s where I think a coach can come in and say, okay, it’s complicated, but we can make it simple. It’s a step by step, day by day thing that we can break down. And then it’s just like anything else, once you understand kind of the process, then it’s practice and you just practice and you practice and you get better and you make some mistakes and yet you do some gaps. And yet, you know, you put your foot in your mouth. Sometimes you learn from that. And over time that’s where experience starts to build and improve.

Karen Litzy:                   18:17                Yeah, I guess it is. Once you have that framework, can it become sort of a plug and play kind of practice thing?

Steve Anderson:            18:28                It’s good to break it down as simple as possible, but you’re also dealing with humans. So just when you think that you just wouldn’t, you’d think you’ve got it figured out. Someone will throw you a curve ball that you didn’t see coming and so then you’re going to have to, you know, readjust. But, it can be done much better than I think most people do it as just a general statement. You know, there’s a great if I can put a plug in for this, a great Ted talk by Gawande, who most of us know who to go on deals and the title of the Ted talk is want to get good at something, get a coach. And he goes through the scenario of how, you know, he is a surgeon was thinking that he was doing pretty well and he improved and he improved.

Steve Anderson:            19:20                And then he got to a point where he just couldn’t, he felt like he’d hit his limit. He just wasn’t improving much after that. So his question was, well, is this as good as it gets? Is this how I’m going to be? And I’m pretty happy with that, but you know, does that mean this is where I’m at? And then he decided to go back to Harvard medical school and hire a retired professor who was a surgeon and had him come in and watch one of his surgeries. And as he’s doing the surgery, he says, Oh man, I’m killing this. This is going so well and I probably just wasted the guy’s time and the guys and my money. Cause what’s he going to tell me? This was going great. And then the guy came back with a whole two full pages of things that he could work on.

Steve Anderson:            20:09                And he was kind of taken aback from it at first. But then he started doing that and he said, and I broke through that limit. I mean, he said, I’m a way better surgeon now. My infection rates are down, my outcomes are better. You know, and that just proved to him that anyone has a coach. And then he looks at the sports world and says, why is it that the number one tennis player in the world and the number one golfer in the world, they still have coaches. If they’re the best, why would they have a coach? Well, because they need that extra eyes and that extra set of ears and so on to kind of help them break through the next level and the patients. And so I do think that that all of us could benefit from a coach or on the clinical side, a mentor. And I just think it’s a really good way to spend your time and money to get to the next level.

Karen Litzy:                   21:01                Yeah. And, I love that you brought up that Ted talk. I’m familiar with that Ted talk. And you’re right, it just shows that even when you think you’re at the top of your game, to have that external eyes and ears on you because you don’t know what you don’t know. And so to have someone there to point that out in a constructive way and in a way that is going to make you improve, I think is the key. I think opposite, but as the person. So if I’m looking for a coach, I need to be mentally prepared for that person to maybe tell me things that are going to make me feel uncomfortable or that might hurt my feelings. I say that in quotes. But I think you have to be mentally prepared for change. Would you agree with that? As far as the people that you have coached in the past.

Steve Anderson:            21:55                So, yes, you’re exactly right. You know, as people that educate and all different ways, we know that the person who’s going to learn something has to be in a position that they’re ready to learn. In other words, they have to be open to the fact that they have to look at themselves and be willing to realize that there’s things to learn and they need to be open to suggestion. And so, yes, I have had some clients where, you know, they kind of thought they were just doing really great and, you know, our discussions were more like them reaffirming, you know, that they did it right and that this is how it should be and whatever. And you’re kinda on the other end of the lines, like, I’m okay, so then why am I on this call?

Steve Anderson:            22:49                You know, so it’s almost like they’re using you to reaffirm to themselves how great they are. That has happened. But, it’s rare. It doesn’t usually happen. Usually the people that I work with are people that want to work with me because they want to get to the next level. They know that they and I don’t really have any clients that are horrible at this. You know, it’s kinda like Gawande said is it’s people that are really functioning at very high levels but just want to get to the next level. And so, I think the people that are really bad at it are so bad that they don’t even recognize that they need a coach or they can improve. I think the people that are the best clients are the ones that are functioning at a very high level. But no, they could maybe just get a little bit further, a little bit higher, if they had a boost or if they had somebody that could help them get there.

Karen Litzy:                   23:48                Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. And now we spoke about the pros. Let’s talk about the cons. So I think maybe we might’ve just said one con that if you’re not ready for a coach, then it might not work out so well for you. And that’s coming from the person who’s seeking. Right. So, yeah, I think you have to be really ready for it. And if you’re not, then maybe it’s not the right time, but are there any other potential cons that you can see?

Steve Anderson:            24:19                Well, I think that, you know, the, the obvious one is it costs money, you know, and it takes time. You know, so, the way that I would answer that is yes. But then also, you know, look at how much money PT’s spend on con ed and going to conferences and things like that. That takes a lot of money and a lot of time too. So it is just a priority. And, you know, I believe that the return on investment, so to speak, is very high in coaching. Because you really are getting that one-on-one approach. So, and then the other mistake that I see people make sometimes is, you know, I work with a client for awhile and then they kind of say, Oh, okay, this is great. Let’s stop now and I’m going to go work on this stuff and then I’ll get back to you when I’ve had time to work on it, practice it.

Steve Anderson:            25:15                And, I think that that’s okay. But I do think that sometimes, just having a person continually working with you, even if it’s a lesser frequent time interval, I think it is good to reinforce that because it’s hard to just take all this information and then drop everything and then just work on that without step-by-step approaches along the way. You know, it’s kinda like I would make a reference to working with a patient that if you gave them a whole bunch of exercises and then say, okay, when you get all these exercises perfected, then come back and we’ll go to the next one. Well, you can imagine what those exercises look like without some coaching along the way. If you returned in three months and said, okay, let’s look at the exercises, you likely wouldn’t even be able to recognize cause they changed them or they haven’t done them. Right. And then they kind of, you know, one thing leads to another.

Karen Litzy:                   26:12                Right. Or because they don’t have the accountability, they don’t do them at all.

Steve Anderson:            26:17                Yeah, that’s true.

Karen Litzy:                   26:18                Right. So I think that’s the other part of the coach.

Steve Anderson:            26:22                Coaches will help you, you know, be responsible to help you, or be accountable is probably a better word.

Karen Litzy:                   26:32                Yeah, absolutely. Cause I know like I have certainly done continuing education courses and things like that and you learn so much and you’re all gung ho. Then a couple of weeks later you’re like, what? I haven’t been doing everything that I learned at that course or I haven’t been as diligent let’s say.

Steve Anderson:            26:58                Yeah, exactly. Right. And, I think the other thing that’s kind of scary when you start any new thing is that you’ve probably heard of the J curve. You know, whenever we change behaviors or we try and improve on something, we kind of go in this J curve, which is, if you can imagine what a J looks like, a capital J,  you start at a certain level and you dip down into the bottom of the J because you often sometimes get worse before you get better. And so it’s that struggling time and that fumbling time and you just can’t quite, you know, get it then, then you kind of come up on the other side of the right side of the J and then you reach a higher level. And so some people are unwilling or don’t want to get into the bottom, bottom end of the J because it’s frustrating. Sometimes you struggle and so, I mean some people would just rather, you know, go with the mediocrity and just keep going solid without the struggle. But sometimes you need to jump off the cliff and then get down into that lower J curve a little bit before you can really improve.

Karen Litzy:                   28:09                And I think it’s also sometimes if you’ve had this level of success, let’s say the, you know, high level executives or entrepreneurs who have multiple six figure businesses, you know, they have this certain level of success and I think you can get a little complacent and you can think to yourself, well, I am doing well, I’m already successful. What do I need a coach to help me get more? Like I’m there already. I’ve made it. So what do you say to that kind of comment?

Steve Anderson:            28:41                Well, it just depends on what you want to do. You know, earlier in my career there was this Harvard business review article that was kinda, I used it as my management Bible cause it was, it just resonated with me so much. And the story was about the owner of Johnsonville sausage. This was in the day of Johnsonville sausage was only a Wisconsin company. And people who’s constantly knew about it, but no one else knew about it. And he described how he was making ridiculous amount of money. He was really successful. He was just, you know, kinda on the top of everything, but he couldn’t leave the factory without people calling them all the time. He was working horrendous hours, you know, all these things were happening. And so on the outside you would look at him and say, wow, he’s so successful.

Steve Anderson:            29:37                And then he went through this whole series of changing how he did things. Then in the title of the article is how I let my employees lead. And he grew leaders within the company and they took on the security responsibility and accountability. And so, you know, the end of the story is, is that now Johnsonville sausages, there across the country and probably international, he works less hours, makes more money and is happier and he’s ever been. So, you know, I sometimes, as you said earlier, we can’t always see what the other side looks like, but we just have to realize that there could be a better way. And then there could be a bigger prize at the end if you’re just willing to go down that road.

Karen Litzy:                   30:22                And I don’t know many people who would argue against that. I think it’s right. I mean that seems like it makes a lot of sense why to have working a little bit smarter, maybe still working hard but at least working smarter and making a better impact on the world, making a better impact with your patients. You know, being able to grow your business or your practice and seeing more patients help more people. So I think that another misconception when it comes to I really need a coach is that the coach is just for you and that no one else is going to benefit from it. Right. But that’s not true, is it? And on that note, we’re going to take a quick break to hear from our sponsor and be right back.

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Steve Anderson:            32:06                It’s certainly not true that your influence and who you work with and who you touch on a daily basis will greatly, you know, benefit from you being better at your job. And a lot of times it comes down to just helping you see, helping you find ways to resonate with what you’re doing. I’ll give you another personal example. So do you know who Seth Goden is? He’s kind of a marketing guru guy. And, so, you know, I was in my CEO position and I’m overwhelmed like everybody else and there’s so much to do and whatever. And so people used to always ask me, well, what do you do as a CEO? And I would always hesitate because it was like a kind of, what do I do? I answer emails, I talk on the phone, I go to meetings, I go, boy, is that, how boring does that sound?

Steve Anderson:            33:04                You know? And so I happened to be hearing Seth godin and going at this lecture and he said that you have to find a way to even identify within yourself, what do I do and why do I do it? And he gave out some, some ideas and it really resonated with me and I got excited about. So I went home and I worked at it. And so now people say, when I was a CEO, they’d say, well, what do you do as CEO. And I go, I’m an ambassador for my company. I’m a storyteller and I grow leaders and that sounds a lot better.

Karen Litzy:                   33:42                That sounds so much better than I go to meetings and answer emails.

Steve Anderson:            33:48                Exactly. And so you know, so now when I’m doing, I’m sitting there trying to get through my emails. I say, okay, what am I doing? Oh, okay, this email was because I’m being an ambassador for my company. Or this email was cause I’m helping this leader grow. This phone call was for this. And so now those things seem to have more meaning and more purpose. And it just changes my mindset. And so I think that’s what a good coach can help you see sometimes.

Karen Litzy:                   34:18                Yeah. What a wonderful example. And I often wonder that I would even say to my patients sometimes who are like executives and CEOs, I was like, well, what do you do all day? And they’re like, what do you mean? I’m like, you get into work. And then what happens? And it’s amazing how many people are like, I dunno, I mean I go to meetings and I answer emails and I’m on the phone quite a bit, like telling me what they’re physically doing at their job versus what is the meaning behind the job. And I think that’s the distinction that you just made there very well.

Steve Anderson:            34:56                Yeah. And I’ll give you another example. On the other end of the spectrum, I talked at a PT school once, gave a lecture and a young man came up to me and said, God, I was really impressed with what you were saying and it was a talk on leadership and I was really impressed with it and it seems like you really know what you’re doing. And he goes, could I come and just shadow you for a couple of days? And I said, you mean just my CEO job? And he goes, he goes, yeah, I’d love to just follow you and see what you’re doing. Whatever. I said, Oh yeah, you’re going to be bored to death. I mean, what am I going to be able to show you? I mean, you know, I’m sitting at a desk, I’m doing that. He says, why? And he wouldn’t drop it.

Steve Anderson:            35:37                So I thought, well, what the heck? So here, this a PT student came and shadowed me for a day and a half and he went to meetings with me and he sat there when I was on the phone and he watched me get caught up. I mean, it was just, you know, he just hung out with me. And when he left he said, Oh, this was really great. I’m kind of thinking, God, I hope I didn’t bore him to death. And I got an email from him about six years later and he said, Hey, you remember me, I followed you in whatever. And he says, I just wanted you to know that that day and a half set me on my course roots and my career and now I’m doing this and now I’m doing that. And so it had a huge impact on him. It was very gratifying and it made me feel really good, but I had no idea. So through his eyes, he saw things that I, you know, thought was mundane and day to day, but he saw things that he remembered and helped him, you know, find the career position that he wants. So that was a good story.

Karen Litzy:                   36:38                Yeah. That’s great. Yeah. And again, like you said, it’s that external eyes and ears, you know, we often don’t see what others see and you never know who’s looking. You never know who’s listening and you never know who’s watching.

Steve Anderson:            36:50                Right.

Karen Litzy:                   36:51                So what great examples.

Steve Anderson:            36:56                Yeah. And that’s another great point is when you are in a leadership role, people are looking and watching and everything you do and everything you say, matter. And, you shouldn’t take it lightly. You shouldn’t be afraid of it, but you should realize that you probably have a lot more influence than you realize. And so recognizing that and being aware of that and trying to make that message better, benefits everyone in life.

Karen Litzy:                   37:26                Yeah, totally. And now before we kind of wrap things up here, I have a question that I ask everyone and that’s knowing where you are now in your life and in your career. What advice would you give to yourself as a new grad right out of physical therapy school? So pretend you’re coaching yourself back in the day.

Steve Anderson:            37:52                You know, I told this story earlier because I remember it like it was yesterday and I came out of school. I wanted to be, this good, you know, manual physical therapist as I could possibly be. And so I was doing a lot of extra study and study group work and so on. And I can remember driving home from one of those sessions, I was probably about two or probably two years out of school. And I remember almost becoming overwhelmed with how can I possibly be as good as I want to be, an understand all this information and hone my skills and see the diagnosis and so on, how I was just overwhelmed with it. And, so I look back and I got through it somehow, but I would have loved to have had a coach then or a mentor that said, no, you’re doing exactly what you should do.

Steve Anderson:            38:52                You’re working on your craft, you’re putting in the time and effort and then you just have to go step by step, day by day. As I said earlier, because I would never imagined I would someday be the CEO of a large private practice physical therapy company. It just had never entered my mind at that stage in my career. So instead of being overwhelmed with, you know, this knowledge I have to get in whatever, I just need to start my journey, keep going and keep, keep moving and putting in the time and effort and where I end up in or I evolve into, I may not be able to predict, but I just know, I just know it’s going to be something exciting and fun. And as long as I make the right decisions along that journey, I can reach a level I would have never imagined I could reach. And I do see that in new professionals today and they’re struggling with that, you know, a few years out of school. And so my advice to them as it would have been to myself is just keep moving forward, step by step. Take some risks, find some things that resonate and excites you and don’t be afraid to try them and see where it leads.

Karen Litzy:                   40:15                Great advice. And now before we go, let’s first talk about your podcast and then where people can find you. So talk about the podcast.

Steve Anderson:            40:27                Okay. Well, I just want to say on this podcast, how inspirational and how helpful you were to me. Because as you probably remember, I thought, well, maybe I should do a podcast and I believe I called you and asked you some questions and I had not a clue how to start it and what to do. And, I really, I commend you and thank you very much for helping me answer some of those early questions and so on. So my podcast is called profiles in leadership and I just try and focus on leaders and then how they lead and just learn something from discussions with each one of them. I’ve been doing it about a year and a half now, a little bit longer. It’s great. I mean, I’ve gotten some really fun, fun interviews, some inside the professional physical therapy profession and some are outside. I’m doing more outside the profession lately, which is fun. And, again, people ask me, why do you do the podcast? And, I say, because I learned something every time I do one, you know, every time I talk to somebody, I’ve been around a long time and with my experience, I still learn something every time. So it’s like that, that gets me in the jazz and I’m inspired by that. So that’s why I keep doing.

Karen Litzy:                   41:58                Yeah. And I also heard you say several times that it’s fun, so why wouldn’t you want to do something that’s fun?

Steve Anderson:            42:04                Exactly. And, and you improve. I mean, I heard somebody might’ve been Joe Rogan who said, you know, if you think I have a good podcast, you should listen to my first few.

Karen Litzy:                   42:15                Oh my God.

Steve Anderson:            42:16                I think we all start at a certain level and if you’re not improving, then you probably need to get out.

Karen Litzy:                   42:23                Yeah, probably

Steve Anderson:            42:26                I’m doing it. I think mine are much better than my first ones were. So, you know, that keeps me going too in the sense that I, you know, we all like to get better. We all like self-mastery. If we’re not improving, we’re probably not not having fun.

Karen Litzy:                   42:42                Yeah. I mean, like I look back at like the first couple of interviews that I did and it was like a straight up boring interview for a job that was not good. It was like, I was not showing my personality. It was very much like, so Steve, tell me about your job and what you do. And it was so, Oh my gosh. Yeah, it was not good. But you know, you got to start, like you said, you got to start somewhere. And I just took courses on public speaking and improv courses in order to help me improve because I knew where my limitations were and what needed to be done. But yeah, I can totally relate to that. The first couple are no good, not good, and it’s not because the guests weren’t great. It was because of me.

Steve Anderson:            43:33                Well, but look at the risk you took. I mean, to me that’s how you reach a higher level of excellence is you’re willing to take the risk. You are vulnerable. You were willing to be on camera and on audio and stick your neck out there and, you know, struggle through it a little bit and you improved. And then now you’re, you know, you should be very happy with where you’re at now because you do a wonderful job. So that’s to me what it takes. And if we relate it back to coaching, it’s the same thing. It’s yeah, I need to take a risk. You need to be vulnerable. You need to realize that, you know, with work time and effort and practice, you’re going to get better. And that’s what it’s all about.

Karen Litzy:                   44:19                Absolutely. Very well said. And where can people find you, find more about you and find more about your coaching business?

Steve Anderson:            44:27                Sure. So, my podcast it’s on all of the podcast platforms, but, probably the easiest way to find it is through iTunes. You just search for profiles with leadership, with Steve Anderson. I did some as I did with you early on. I was doing the videos. And so, I do have the video gallery. You can search YouTube for profiles in leadership with Steve Anderson and then also all my podcasts and all the videos that I’ve done are on my coaching website, which is orangedotcoaching.com and that’s orange, the word dot coaching.com. And you can see my services there for coaching. And then if you go to click on the media center, that’s where the podcast and the videos are stored.

Karen Litzy:                   45:18                Perfect. And just so everyone knows, we will have all of that information on the show notes at podcasts.Healthywealthysmart.com. So one click, we’ll get to all of Steve’s information. So Steve, thanks so much for taking the time out today and coming on the podcast. I appreciate it. I appreciate you. So thanks so much.

Steve Anderson:            45:37                Well, thank you Karen. And again, I just thank you for your early mentorship to me when I was trying to figure this all out and I haven’t forgotten that and I’m very appreciative that you’re willing to help me.

Karen Litzy:                   45:50                Anytime, anytime. You are quite welcome and everyone else, thanks so much for tuning in. Have a great couple of days and stay healthy, wealthy, and smart.


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©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.
©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.