We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Sean Thomas . We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Sean below.
Hi Sean, thanks for joining us today. Was there a defining moment in your professional career? A moment that changed the trajectory of your career?
Life’s defining moments are often the most frightening and the most invigorating at the same time. My career path from Brown University to my current profession as a Doctor of Physical Therapy was not perfect. My greatest accomplishment wasn’t the winning research project I presented in graduate school. It wasn’t any award I won for academic excellence or my extensive community involvement. It wasn’t even my promotion to clinical director. My greatest accomplishment was passing my national board examination to practice physical therapy. In theory, the process of reaching the next level in your academic career sounds simple. Go to school, study hard, take a test at the end, pass the test, graduate, and go on to work. But what happens when you prepare and sacrifice and find yourself one step away from reaching the next phase? What happens when your preparations don’t align with the requirements needed to get to the Action Phase? Should you quit? Move on to something else? No way!
It usually means you have to re-evaluate and ensure that you’ve done everything in your power to prepare for the task. The question is, what’s your limit for failure? I often think about this as I look back over my life at the various trials and hurdles I had to climb over to get to my current professional status. So many people would love to be where I am and to do what I do. Many may think it was easy. Well, I’m here to share the realness of failure on the road to greatness.
From 2011–2015 I took my licensing exam twelve times. Four years straight. Twelve times paying for, traveling to, and taking the same exam. Twelve times sharing with friends and family about what I was doing and my hopes for success. Twelve times hoping for a passing grade to take my career to the next level.
Some of you are saying to yourself, I would have just given up or found a new profession. You may be asking what made
“thought I gave everything I had to give. But just like when you work out and it feels like you’ve had enough, there’s always a little more. I knew I had a little more to give.
That’s what you need to get from the Preparation Phase to the Action Phase.
When I passed on the 12th time, I didn’t do anything drastically different. I didn’t bring a good luck charm to the test. I didn’t stay up all night preparing. I did what I had always done. I had faith. Faith that this was meant for me. Faith that there was nothing else I wanted to do than the task at hand. Faith that this was where I was supposed to be. Faith that I could do it. Faith that I had a little more to give.
When you know that all you have and want is the goal set before you, you will take yourself out of the land of doubt and catapult yourself into the realm of believing. James 2:26 says, “For the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” You’ve done the work to prepare for this moment. “Now it’s time to step your faith game up.”
“Don’t downgrade your dream just to fit your reality. Upgrade your conviction to match your destiny.”
— STUART SCOTT”
Be More Today Chapter 25 “The Test”
DR. SEAN A. THOMAS
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Sean, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
Sean Anthony Thomas was born in Harlem, NY and raised in the Hudson Valley. He attended Choate Rosemary Hall for high school and later graduated from Brown University in 2003 with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology. While at Brown, he was a captain of the Division I Track and Field Team and was Ivy League Indoor and Outdoor Champion in the Triple Jump. Dr. Thomas graduated from SUNY Downstate Medical Center with his Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2011 where he earned the Alumnae Award for Leadership, the Community Service Award, and the Best Research Award for his thesis entitled “Facilitating a Positive Change in Physical Activity Level with African American Adolescent Girls using the Trans-Theoretical Model.” Dr. Thomas has been working at Jag-One since 2012 and is currently the Clinical Director of the Georgetown Office. He is a Graston Provider, a certified kinesiotape practitioner, and is SFMA Level 1 certified. Dr. Thomas has competed over 20 Spartan Races, is a 5 time marathoner, a former professional dancer, and the C.E.O. of Be More Today, a company that provides information and inspiration to help ordinary people do extraordinary things. He is the author of “Be More Today: A 40-Day Guide to a Better Version Of You” and hosts a weekly podcast called The Be More Today Show. Dr. Thomas is the creator of Project 40, a 40 day fitness challenge which happens twice a year inspiring people of all ages to workout for 40 minutes a day. Be More Today hosts virtual challenges and is ok the process of starting its own Physical Therapy center in 2023. For more information visit www.bemoretoday.com.
Any advice for managing a team?
I’ve had the blessing and honor of being a leader on almost every sports team and corporate job in my life. One of the things about being a part of a team, whether in the field or in the office, is making sure everyone knows that we are on the same team. As human beings, it is inevitable that we are going to disagree on things from time to time. Someone is going to say something that is received a different way. Someone is going to have a bad day which impact the teams performance. Then of course you have your clientele that you serve who bring their own set of challenges and fires that have to be put out. Reminding your staff that they are integral to making the ship sail smoothly is very important. Although there may be a hierarchy in terms of title or even pay, everyone employee should feel valued for the work that they do and for the talents that they contribute to the team. Affirming those actions through verbal or physical means in a public setting or in a private conversation has proven beneficial in my experience overseeing my staff in the physical therapy realm. Quarterly outings and monthly team meetings also help to ensure that any in house issues are addressed and that communication remains a priority in the office.
Other than training/knowledge, what do you think is most helpful for succeeding in your field?
You have to be able to relate to people. In any health care field you have to interact with people. People who are hurting, need your assistance, and want to get better. You also have to build trust. If a person can’t trust you, they will never believe anything you say and will ever do anything you ask, even if it will potentially make them feel better. Bedside manor and body language are certain skills that can’t really be taught. I’ve been able to connect with my most “problematic” patients simply based on body language and bed side manor adjustments. Sometimes it’s not about what you say, but about how you say it that makes the difference.
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