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Dr. Eric Stretch: Transitioning out of medicine, how to know if you're in the wrong industry #4

April 01, 202340 min read


On this episode of AIM In Practice, the guest speaker, Eric Stretch, discusses the importance of identifying and pursuing one's passions. The conversation dives into Eric's personal experience of leaving traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture to pursue a career in information technology. The podcast sheds light on the fact that people in the healthcare and wellness industry may realize after some time that it's not where their heart lies. The guest encourages listeners to consider making a career shift if they are not happy in their current role. The episode also emphasizes the importance of constant learning and exploration in one's profession, and suggests breaking down large goals into smaller, more manageable steps. Tune in to the podcast to learn more about the lifestyle and passion of people in the health industry.

About Eric Stretch

Eric worked as a TCMD and acupuncturist for over 8 years, until he sat down and had a hard conversation with himself.  he realized that his heart was not in it.  This was not ideal for his patients, his family, and certainly not for himself. 

Eric did something that take tremendous courage and pursued his passion. 

The reason I wanted to speak with Eric is that I think it is important for all of us to remember, that as we go through our lives, things change and one of those things might be our love for what we do.  Maybe you don't have to leave integrative medicine completely, but maybe you do.  But perhaps you, or someone you know, need to hear that it is okay if this is not your thing!


Jess [00:00:00]:

Welcome to the Aim in Practice podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Jess Reynolds, and in this podcast, we talk about life as a practitioner, wellness in general, and what it means to practice. Today I'm talking with a really good friend of mine, Eric Stretch. Now, he's got a bit of a different story. He practiced as a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture for close to eight years. And then he switched and went to something totally different. Not switched to a different part of healthcare and wellness, but fundamentally to a totally different industry. He stopped practicing medicine and got into it. I think this is a really important conversation because it brings to light the fact that many people in this industry, they get into it with good intentions, but after a few months, maybe a few years, they realize it's actually not where their heart lies. But so many people stick to it, whether it's because of the sunken cost fallacy, thinking they put too much time into it and they can't switch out, or maybe it's fear, but understanding that it is possible and in some case it's encouraged to switch careers to something totally different I think is pretty phenomenal. And Eric had a huge amount of courage in order to do so. So enjoy this conversation with my good friend Eric.

Eric [00:01:14]:

Yeah. So this water bottle yeah, I wanted to tell you it's my favorite water bottle because it's got, like, these grips on it, so it lines up the mouthpiece. And you can either use a straw or you can tip and drink, like, whatever mood you're in. If you're in a straw mood or like, a tip mood. And it has a satisfying click to it.

Jess [00:01:33]:

Nice. I want to try the click. How do you open it?

Eric [00:01:36]:

Going up.

Jess [00:01:37]:

Okay. Oh, man. It's like super secure.

Eric [00:01:39]:

It's the whole thing.

Jess [00:01:40]:

I can't do it.

Eric [00:01:41]:

You got to work on those fingertips. Finger strength.

Jess [00:01:44]:

Yeah, I didn't do it. All right.

Eric [00:01:47]:

So, yeah, I guess that's how we're starting this thing. Are we allowed to swear on this or what?

Jess [00:01:51]:

You can do if you want.

Eric [00:01:52]:

Yeah. Good. I'm not going to because I'm a gentleman.

Jess [00:01:53]:

Yeah, of course you are.

Eric [00:01:54]:

But just in case one slips out, you never know. Kind of like the start of this podcast. You get blindsided by swears.

Jess [00:02:01]:

Yeah, exactly.

Eric [00:02:02]:

So, yeah. What do we do?

Jess [00:02:04]:

Well, I want you to tell us a little bit about what got you into medicine. It's an open question, but yeah, just take whatever route you want to. You get two sentences or 20 minutes.

Eric [00:02:18]:

Two sentences. I don't know how long these are. I don't think I have all that much to talk about. Fill up. Like it is like 4 hours long.

Jess [00:02:24]:

I usually am for six is my.

Eric [00:02:26]:

Typical need more water how I got into medicine. Well, so my family I have a family history of a lot of family members are in medicine doctors and nurses, and I got my mom's a nurse. Ever tell you that? My mom's a nurse.

Jess [00:02:43]:

Yeah, you did.

Eric [00:02:45]:

So, yeah, it was always kind of suggested, and I don't know. I mean, I didn't know what I wanted to do, and remember you went on your walkabout, and you you were going to decide you went on this walkabout, and you decide you're gonna you're gonna figure out what we were both gonna do with our yes. Yeah, I remember you came back, and you're like, we're gonna go into medicine. Yeah. You don't know what kind of medicine, but certain sort of medicine in general. And you're like, you're and I think eventually you say you're going to study nutrition, being me, and then you were going to do so you just went straight into acupuncture.

Jess [00:03:12]:

Straight in acupuncture, yeah.

Eric [00:03:13]:

So you decided for both of us, as most of my adult life has been. Yeah, I just did what you told me, basically, but no, I've always had, and I still do. Even though I'm not in it anymore, it's it's still a fascination. Yeah. And I think about it all the time, and, you know, as as much as I am constantly trying to figure out what my passion in life is, medicine is pretty up there in its generalized form. So the big question was kind of what form of medicine do I go into? And that was kind of the mail into the question. I was too old, and I didn't have the educational background to go into traditional, proper medicine.

Jess [00:04:00]:

And we've talked about how much of a nightmare that would be often all the time.

Eric [00:04:05]:

In hindsight, even if I did, even if all those cards did line up pretty happy I didn't go down that path. Well, before we even met each other, I decided that I was going to the fire department, and that was after I originally thought that I just wanted to be a paramedic. And so it kind of evolved from wanting to be a paramedic and then wanting to go into the fire department and then going into nutrition and then going into acupuncture. It was all medicine under the umbrella of medicine, but it all just sort of I couldn't decide what format I wanted to actually use, what tools I wanted to use, but yeah, so it's always been I don't think there was any kind of magical moment that I decided that I liked medicine. It was just always been interested in it, and it's what I like to do, what I like to read about.

Jess [00:04:58]:

Which is interesting, because then when you actually got into it right, once you graduated, you practiced for, what, eight years? Nine years.

Eric [00:05:06]:

Well, when did I yeah, eight years, I think.

Jess [00:05:09]:

Eight years. Yeah.

Eric [00:05:10]:

I think that that feels right. Yeah, that feels good enough to me.

Jess [00:05:14]:

Close enough.

Eric [00:05:15]:

Ballpark of eight years. I don't know. It was such a weird when I graduated. It was such an anticlimactic, kind of finished with a bit of a whiffle that it was hard to say exactly when I finished school.

Jess [00:05:29]:

Right? That's right, because after you technically should have finished, there was still like another year of having to monkey around and.

Eric [00:05:36]:

Had to go to a different school to finish up the doctor of Chinese medicine thing. That was a whole to do, but yeah, I think it was about eight years, give or take, that I practiced for most of them had evolved.

Jess [00:05:49]:

When you were practicing, what did you find? The difference was because once you started practicing, did you still have the same interest in health and wellness throughout that entire time?

Eric [00:06:01]:

Yeah, well, yeah, I think so. It's such a broad topic, though, medicine, that you can have an interest in medicine without even overlapping with what you do professionally in medicine. There's so much to it that even though I was practicing in acupuncture and I was trained in that, I never really read about acupuncture, though. I wasn't going home and watching YouTube videos on Chinese medicine and stuff, that was never really my gig, despite what my education would tell you. I would still read about medicine. I don't think that ever waned. And even though I'm not even in that field at all anymore, I like to read about it really a lot. Yeah. And a lot of the podcasts that I listen to are kind of based around a similar podcast to you and that kind of thing, general health stuff, and it's still fascinating to me. But no, when I was practicing, I still would read about it. It was still a big interest of mine, but just not really acupuncture.

Jess [00:07:04]:

Yeah, that's interesting. That was not only your education, but your gig. Like, you were the acupuncturist at your clinic and wasn't your passion the only.

Eric [00:07:12]:

One there and no, it never really was. Never really was my passion. And I think that was sort of the detonate to the whole thing. I think to be successful in that industry, I think you or any industry, really, I think I think you just you need to you need to really kind of dive in to that stuff. And it just it was never a great fit for me, you know, I wanted it to be, but yeah, I.

Jess [00:07:36]:

Mean, you definitely put the effort in.

Eric [00:07:37]:

Certainly tried. Yeah, there's a lot of hours, but yeah, it's one of those things you just can't force at the end of the day. The sooner you can recognize that kind of stuff, I think the better. But it's a hard realization to come to it's, that sunken cost fallacy where you put so much effort and money into something that it's easier not to think about it. It was literally like when I left the clinic after my day of work, I could barely tell you where I worked. My brain just shut off. That door closed, and I was off doing something else, thinking about all kinds of other stuff. I never thought about it. That just is incompatible with having a successful practice.

Jess [00:08:23]:

Yeah, because I talk about this a lot with other people. When you're a practitioner, for some people, it's like, practitioner is what you do when you're at work, but you're, like, all in. But then other people, being a practitioner, whatever it is, it's their entire identity. Right. But it kind of sounds like it was neither one for you. It was like when you were there, you weren't like, I'm an acupuncturist. I am this.

Eric [00:08:46]:

Yeah. And I was always the odd man out at the clinic, because you're right. It's one of those you kind of have to live the lifestyle gigs and working at it. Like, I worked at a multidisciplinary clinic with all sorts of different practitioners of various disciplines, and no matter how different it was, everybody kind of lived the life, though. Whether you were a chiropractor or a naturopath or a dietitian or whatever.

Jess [00:09:12]:


Eric [00:09:12]:

Could tell that they were in that that was their lifestyle. This was, you know, health in in general. Not that I, you know, health. I mean, I'm a big fan of health, obviously, but it's not my hobby, you know, and I think a lot of these all these people, they it's their it's their profession, and it's their hobby. Yeah, it's you know, it's what they like to do. I remember my dad, he would tell me so my dad's a cabinet maker, and he would tell me that because he originally started out as a chemist who went to school for chemistry, he graduated, and he started working for this battery company or some nonsense and hated it. And he always knew in the back of his head his grandpa was a cabinet maker, and I think his grandpa before that was a cabinet a long line of cabinet makers, or woodworkers, I guess. And so he always kind of knew that's what he wanted to do. And so eventually, not dissimilar to my situation, just he did it a few years earlier than I did. I decided it's got to happen. You got to ditch the whole thing that I'm not interested in and go for what I want to do. So he went and became a cabinet maker. But I remember when I was a kid growing up, there's all those shows on Sunday night, like this Old House and, like, The New Yankee Workshop, those sorts of shows, and my dad would obsessed with those shows. It seemed totally normal to me. But thinking back on my acupuncture life, it's the equivalent. It's the same thing with that. When he wasn't working, when he wasn't at his shop, he'd be thinking about woodworking. He'd be reading about it. He'd be watching these shows. He'd be thinking about projects that he's working on. He never really shut it off. I never had that in acupuncture.

Jess [00:10:53]:


Eric [00:10:53]:

Would really have to force me to read any material in an extracurricular manner.

Jess [00:11:01]:

And I mean, that's kind of part of being a professional, too, right? It's like people who invest in this career path, maybe professional is not the right way, but having having this as your career, so many people who have chosen a career and dedicated huge portions of their life and their education to it, it is who they are. And people say they don't like that question, what do you do for work? Because it's like, that's not important. It doesn't identify me as an acupuncturist. But on the other hand, there's actually kind of something to it, right? When you get to a certain point in life, that question is quite telling.

Eric [00:11:35]:

I think it's no coincidence that when you go and meet a whole bunch of new people they've never met before, that's usually the first question is, what do you do? And when people say, what do you do? They're talking about your work. It is kind of how people identify. I think it depends on what you go into. I think if you're working a nine to five office job, then you probably don't have to live that lifestyle the same way. But I think if you're choosing something like acupuncture or massage or any of the alternative medicines, really, you got to kind of be all in on it, I think. And it's hard to know. It's hard to know without going all into it. You kind of have to sort of jump in with both feet to even know that this is not something that you wanted to jump into with both feet. It's a hard because it's not like I didn't know what acupuncture was before going into it. I mean, I lived with you at the time, and when I was studying nutrition and you were doing acupuncture, and you'd tell me all the crazy shit that you were doing in acupuncture and needles and stuff, and all this wacky ass nonsense about Chinese medicine and like, it sounds amazing. I don't know what any of this means, but sounds great. And I was kind of into it, and that's why I kind of decided to go switch into that. But you don't figure that out. You don't figure out that it kind of sucks. That's the way life is. But it's hard to know what you're not into until you actually until you try that thing. Like when we did the fire department, I mean, we both did the fire department thing for a whole, like, year, and we both decided that was 100% that was what we were going to do. It was going to the fire department. That's the toughest you've ever been.

Jess [00:13:16]:

Yeah, it was great.

Eric [00:13:16]:

You're like a little muscle guy and drinking all those whey protein powders and all that. Terrible. Straight from the can. Straight from the can. Yeah. Was under the Mount Royal Gym that we would go to and we were doing like, CrossFit and we like we were those guys.

Jess [00:13:32]:

This was back in like CrossFit was just like barely even a blog starting.

Eric [00:13:35]:

And we would have like the medicine balls out in the hallway and stuff and be like, banging medicine balls all over the place, crushing cans of protein.

Jess [00:13:45]:

Different life.

Eric [00:13:46]:

Yeah, but we were all in on that 100% at some point. Luckily we realized that with that before we even really got too far into it. But it took a while before we realized that that wasn't what we wanted to do. So it's hard. It's one of those life questions of how cautious do you be with your life? Are you forever worried that you're not going to fit with this thing and so you don't try things? Or do you just kind of go for it and see what happens? I don't know. I guess that's kind of the way I did it with acupuncture.

Jess [00:14:30]:

But about how long into either the schooling or into practicing? Did you like in retrospect, right, if you were to kind of turn back the clock and really find the first moment where something inside of you is like, this isn't my thing. How far into your practice do you think you were before that? That first inkling started to show almost.

Eric [00:14:51]:

Immediately, I would say. To be honest, I think I was more excited about the concept of being in medicine than I was excited about the particular kind of medicine that I was in. I was proud of being part of medicine, but it didn't really have anything to do with acupuncture. And so I kind of knew that it was a poorly fitting shoe right from the get go. Even going through school, I think it wasn't like you school came relatively easy to me, so I didn't really have to put in a tremendous amount of I mean, still there was still effort involved, but it never required all of my effort. I think if it did, then I might have clued into it a little sooner.

Jess [00:15:52]:

Yeah, right.

Eric [00:15:53]:

But yeah, it never really I don't remember when maybe earlier on in school it was a bit I know I was more into it, but no, it never I don't think yeah, I don't think it ever really felt totally right. What I do now in it and that kind of stuff that feels more right to me. It's just a different feeling. The kind of job that I have now. There's times that I'll get messages. It's the nature of being an It. Stuff happens. All hours of the day is rare. It's not a common thing that I have to do, but every once in a while I'll get a message at 09:00 at night or something that some shit is happening in some bush in Saskatchewan that needs to be sorted out. But with this, I don't mind. It's a weird, like, I'm not thrilled about it, but I don't mind. I don't mind hopping on and I don't mind kind of sorting this out because it kind of feels good to me. I sort of enjoy it. I enjoyed it enough that I don't really care. Whereas if like when I was practicing acupuncture, if I had my schedule laid out for the day and I had maybe the last two spots were open or something and I was going to go home early that day, if somebody booked in to that last spot, like last minute, man, was I pissy about that. That was the worst it was the worst possible thing that could have happened to me ever.

Jess [00:17:34]:


Eric [00:17:34]:

And and I mean that's within regular working hours, you know, like, I mean, you should probably assume that you're going to work a full 8 hours, but no, it would make me crazy when that happened and so I think that alone is kind of shows that retelling. Yeah. I don't know. It never was a great fit. And yeah, it was just a matter of how long do you wait until you give into it.

Jess [00:18:04]:

Thinking then if you were to imagine you're having a conversation with a practitioner, they're kind of like later on in their career, maybe they're graduated, they're two or three years in, and they either were to say, hey, man, I'm kind of not too sure if I want to be doing this, or you get to know them and you sense that. What would you say? What are some signs that a person would look out for in themselves, in how they approach practice? That is like this is a pretty telling that you should investigate and maybe not doing what you did. Right. Like, you completely fundamentally shift your careers.

Eric [00:18:39]:

But I'm a very courageous person.

Jess [00:18:40]:

You genuinely are like, man, the amount of courage it takes to spend over a decade investing in something and then going like opposite direction.

Eric [00:18:50]:


Jess [00:18:50]:

So maybe not doing that, but maybe like maybe acupuncture is not for you. Perhaps you could look at something else. What are some things that would come.

Eric [00:18:58]:

Up besides what we already talked about with whether or not you're living the lifestyle? I think that's the obvious one. I think a stagnant practice would be another pretty good indication that if you're doing the same thing over and over again, literally with how you're treating your patients that was what I did. I latched on to what I was good at and what I knew and it's kind of all I wanted to do and I wasn't looking to expand in any way. And I think with any kind of medicine, really, it's a lifelong pursuit, whatever your modality is. And so I think if you're looking at your practice, if you have a stagnant style and technique wise and a lot of stagnation there, then I think that would be a pretty big one.

Jess [00:19:55]:

It's interesting as you say that? Because I talk a lot about what it means to practice. I find this idea of us calling ourselves practitioners and the practice of it like that word, right.

Eric [00:20:04]:

Such an interesting literal idea of practice.

Jess [00:20:06]:

The literal idea of practice. And it's built into what we identify as as a practitioner. Right. And it's kind of like you're saying you stop practicing like you stop putting the effort in.

Eric [00:20:17]:

Yeah, well, yeah, it's totally true. I never thought about it as the literal idea of practice. But really what it is, it is what it is. You like to think that you're a little past the stage of practicing when you're when you're actually working on patients. But it it is you're you're you're exploring, you know, different stuff all the time. You know, it can be little tiny things of just like how you palpate or something, or how you're exploring the bot, or it can be giant concepts of how you approach a problem in general. But I think you should always be kind of thinking about that back to my dad analogy again. That was why he was doing all that stuff, doing all his own research. He's simple joinery. How many different ways are there to construct a joint? A million? It's the same with, if not more so with medicine, if you're not exploring all these avenues. And I guess that's what they're trying to get into with continuing education credits and all that, is they're encouraging you for sure to explore, but people don't. That was mean for me. Continuing education credits were phone those guys in.

Jess [00:21:37]:

I think that's an important sign too. It's like, on one hand, we're compelled, right? We have to get these continuing education credits literally.

Eric [00:21:44]:


Jess [00:21:45]:

And it's like do you view that as this really cool opportunity? Something is driving you forward the right.

Eric [00:21:50]:

Way to look at it? Yeah.

Jess [00:21:51]:

But if not, maybe that's another sign too.

Eric [00:21:53]:

Yeah, I think there's a lot of different things that all come into all a factor there with how content you are with your professional life. But yeah, I know for continuing ed stuff, really, I would talk to other people about it, you know, working that I was working with and stuff. And people would they get super excited. They'd be traveling all over the place trying to, you know, really cool, you know, weekend courses that they wanted to go to and who knows where, california or somewhere. And they can't wait. And I'd be thinking like, sounds like a nightmare. I don't want to do any of that. All this other stuff that I'd much rather do with my time and my money and my effort than work. But that just doesn't work. You just can't do it that way.

Jess [00:22:46]:

It's not sustainable.

Eric [00:22:47]:

Yeah, I guess it depends what you're looking to get out of it. But for me, if you're looking to support a family and pay a mortgage and stuff, like it's just good luck. If you're going to really half acid, quarter acid, and you kind of have.

Jess [00:23:03]:

To full acid in this business, full asset. You got to full asset every last life. Yeah, because if you're not like, people aren't going to give you I mean, some clinics will give you clients, but if you're half ass in it, that reflects too. You're still going to give an okay treatment. But relative to the practitioner who walks into the room is like all in, and they're the one who is thinking as much as I can, every little thing I could possibly do to make this session perfect.

Eric [00:23:28]:


Jess [00:23:29]:

So then it's not sustainable in that regard as well.

Eric [00:23:31]:

Well, I think the advantage of.

Jess [00:23:36]:


Eric [00:23:36]:

You'Re really pursuing whatever your form of medicine, as with everything you have, eventually you start to develop your own style with all of this stuff. And I think that can alleviate some of the frustration that can come with a new practitioner as well as I think when you're just getting out of school, you don't know what kind of acupuncturist you are or what kind of massage therapist you are. You're just regurgitating what you learned in school. I think what helps with that is developing your own style. And in order to develop your own style, you kind of have to do all that legwork that comes along with it because otherwise you don't know what the potential is. I think for me, I wanted to transition entirely out of medicine, but I don't think that that's totally necessary for a lot of people. I would imagine the majority of people. If you're not happy with your current practice, I don't think you necessarily have to I mean, you can you probably don't have to move entirely out of it.

Jess [00:24:50]:

That's more what I did.

Eric [00:24:51]:

Well, yeah, I think for you, you were a weird kind of a weird guy in general, but stop.

Jess [00:24:57]:

And a conversation.

Eric [00:24:58]:

Yeah, but no, I think for you it was like a different kind of it always felt like with you in acupuncture, it was almost like it was too small for you. I think you had too much going on acupuncture. It didn't fill up enough of your brain space. I think that it didn't offer enough. And so I think for you, it was almost like acupuncture was too small for you, that you needed more.

Jess [00:25:28]:

And that was the solution. There were times where it was like.

Eric [00:25:31]:

The opposite of my problem. That was too much.

Jess [00:25:35]:

Too much.

Eric [00:25:35]:

It was not enough for you.

Jess [00:25:38]:

There were times where I'm like, I tap out. I don't want to do this anymore. We've had that conversation in the past, like how many times? But little by little, I realized the different ways a person could go about that because my practice was similar. It was stagnant.

Eric [00:25:50]:


Jess [00:25:50]:

I was doing the exact same thing. I had zero desire to book any more clients. And if I did have all the exact same things you're describing right. I've had those same experiences, but then a different route of doing it. Knowing that I don't want to leave the medicine industry necessarily, but I really had to fundamentally shift how I practice in order to be able to sustain it.

Eric [00:26:13]:

Yeah. I think for you, it's almost like you went to school and you got your toolbox, you got your little purse of tools that we come out of school with the tool purse. But you have your toolbox and you were using it effectively, but then it's like you were also kind of standing in Home Depot with your little toolbox, man. It's like so many tools. Tools. Kind of looking around at all the aisles of tools, it seems kind of why I maybe need a bigger toolbox that seems more for you. That's kind of what happened is you just made everything your toolbox. It certainly made sense for you. But I think yeah, you ran into an issue more of like boredom and apathy, I think, and overly content with because, I mean, you were always good at it. You still are, obviously. So it's not like it was a lack of efficacy. This wasn't enough. So now you got to build an empire.

Jess [00:27:20]:

Exactly. That's that's good now.

Eric [00:27:21]:

Yeah, yeah. But but no, it yeah. Opposite problems. Yeah, for sure.

Jess [00:27:26]:

So and when you, when you were sort of getting near the end right? Like, there was a point obviously in your career where you're like, okay, that's it. I got to get out. I have to switch something. What was that process like?

Eric [00:27:39]:

Stressful. Stressful, for sure. Yeah. Again, in my situation, I was in my early thirty s, I guess early to mid 30s, when decided like, this is really time to jet. By then. I had a house, I had a wife, I had a kid. And so making such a major career shift and decision like that is tremendously stressful. And I think that kept me from doing it longer than I should have waited. I think another big moment for me was COVID, which COVID just obliterated our practice downtown, being in a clinic downtown. I mean, we were shut down for a while and then just nobody was working downtown. And I mean, who the hell wants to go downtown if you don't have to? And getting an acupuncture treatment is not motivation enough for most people to go downtown. And so that really sucked for the clinic. There's a lot of introspection there. There's a lot of searching about just from a financial kind of practical sense of like, we can barely pay our bills at this point, so something's got to give here. And so I think that was often think back, I think the worst thing that could have happened to me is being financially comfortable.

Jess [00:29:11]:


Eric [00:29:11]:

Because I'd probably still be doing it right now if I didn't. Struggle with that. I think luckily for me, in a weird way, in hindsight now, it was a good motivator just being so financially hit by COVID and everything around it that the practice was only just doing okay anyways and then COVID just knocked it off the platform there. I think that was a pretty big one for me was COVID. It really kind of forced my hand with all of that. Even then it's a long process because I knew that I was passionate about Tech. I still am passionate about tech. We talk about reading and doing your continuing education credits and stuff. Obviously I don't have to do that with Tech. But you kind of do though. You don't formally have to do it, but you kind of do.

Jess [00:30:12]:

If you're not doing it, you're in the dust six months from now.

Eric [00:30:15]:

It moves so quickly. But I do it. I go home and I watch Tech videos on YouTube and I read about it and I get excited about it. All this stuff that we got with our new iPhones and all that kind of man, I couldn't sleep for like days before I knew that I was getting a new phone and I was going to get a new watch and stuff to play with. So excited. Totally all that. I was never that excited about anything to do with Acupuncture. But the problem was so you're interested in Tech. What does that mean? We've had that conversation about a billion times is how do you translate that into some kind of a career? And that was a challenge for sure and it just kind of came down to patience. You just have to be constantly searching and just being patient with the process.

Jess [00:31:06]:

It's like a scary thing too. Not only just leaving a career, but you were leaving for Tech. And Tech is notoriously young men's game, right? Like the people getting into it, they're fresh out of school and they've been doing Tech their whole life, right? So there's a couple of things that would be very intimidating, I think, for a lot of people. Not only switching careers, fundamentally going into something that you have to get a brand new education for and something that's totally different, but also being kind of middle aged, having a wife, having a kids, having a house, all those things kind of.

Eric [00:31:36]:

Yeah, no, you're totally right. It's terrifying in a lot of ways, but I think when you're passionate about something, that thing that you find terrifying, it kind of turns more into motivation than paralyzation in a way. Or stagnation, God forbid, Chinese medicine, take anything from it. Stagnation awful when you really are in. I really enjoy it. For me, all of that stuff, it is scary and I'm scared all the time is a constant state of terror now. But it's kind of motivating and I've come to embrace it in a lot of ways. It's never really going to end, I think that's any career worth suing is going to have that.

Jess [00:32:32]:

I was just thinking the same element to it.

Eric [00:32:33]:

Yeah, that's just the way it should be. If you can master something even within just however many years we've been alive, it's too small, that pond is too shallow. I guess it depends on the person. It wouldn't be satisfying for me, though. You need those big things and yeah, for me, the big thing was just something else.

Jess [00:32:59]:

Something else, yeah. I think that's pretty important because having the constant desire to keep wanting to do things one but also having that almost fear type motivation. Right. And there's a nuance between it because of course, I know you're a kid when it's like you're scared all the time, but it's like there's that little bit of something saying I need to keep improving in order to be the best I can at this. Yeah. For a bunch of reasons. Right. And that's so important to do in in all aspects. I mean, it's important in in the wellness industry too. Like that motivation, I think, is one of the things yeah. It makes you a good practitioner.

Eric [00:33:36]:

Absolutely. I mean, wellness or just medicine in health in general, if you're not a little scared of it or a lot of scared of it, then you're not giving it the respect that it deserves, really. And yeah, that's probably a sign that maybe you're not into it. Because for me, with Acupuncture, I was a fairly competent practitioner. I was pretty good at what I did. But there was obviously an endless amount of expansion and knowledge that I could have learned. And if you're not into it, then that terror element, it ends up turning into more just apathy about the whole thing. You you just kind of just don't it. It becomes so much that you just kind of decide it's too much money, it's too much time, it's too much. There's no point in pursuing any of it, really. I mean, why bother? What I'm doing now is working. I have happy patience. I had a lot of success with how I did things and so just keep doing that. I don't know. For most of the career, the bills are being paid and it was all good. So I think when you're not passionate about something, that's what ends up, I think, happening with that terror motivation. It just turns into apathy. Yeah. It's funny. I do think you shouldn't identify with what you do for a life for a living, but it does have a tremendous impact. It does.

Jess [00:35:25]:

There's a line in there, right. There's a certain amount of identification that I think it's going to come no matter what. No matter what, you're going to identify to some degree of what you do. And it is different for everybody too. But I think when you do identify it, even if it's only the smallest little bit and you identify with what you do. How does that make you feel? Does it make you feel like, yeah, okay, I'm okay with this, or does it make you feel like, this sucks?

Eric [00:35:52]:

Yeah. Well, yeah. Are you proud about telling people what you do? I was always kind of embarrassed, honestly, to talk about being an acupuncturist. People, when they seek an acupuncturist, for me, my style ended up becoming more almost like a physiotherapist than it was an acupuncturist. But that's not why people go to an acupuncturist. Most people at least most people are looking for that more kind of esoteric, kind of alternative approach, as they should. That's what most acupuncturists offer. But yeah, you get pretty good at kind of dodging that kind of stuff when you just I mean, I hardly knew anything about it, but yeah, I was pretty good at referring people off to if you're going to come in talking about all that kind of stuff and go, this is not going to work. If you don't want dry needling, then I'm not your guy. Yeah. You want something else.

Jess [00:36:46]:

You don't want, like, semi sort of physio stuff, but not quite.

Eric [00:36:49]:


Jess [00:36:50]:

Go to someone else.

Eric [00:36:51]:

Yeah. And unfortunately, being a pseudophysicist physiotherapist, it doesn't really work.

Jess [00:36:58]:


Eric [00:36:58]:

People would rather just go to a physiotherapist.

Jess [00:37:00]:


Eric [00:37:00]:

Weirdly enough.

Jess [00:37:05]:

We'Ve been chatting for nearly an hour, and I figure this is probably a good time to just kind of summarize and kind of wrap up. The question I'd like to ask you at the end of all this is, like, let's say somebody has identified the fact, like, okay, this isn't for me. I put in my time. I gave it a real try. For whatever reason, I thought I was into it, but my passion, my desire, my heart isn't into it. What do you got to say to a person like that who's ready for a career change to shift out completely out of medicine? This isn't the person who's completely out. Yeah. This isn't the person who's, like, shifting the style of wellness they practice. This is a person who's decided, no, I'm going into a different industry altogether.

Eric [00:37:50]:

Yikes yikes. Yeah. Yikes yikes. No, I mean, I would say don't wait, I think would be my main, because it's very easy to be a little complacent with the whole thing and you pay your bills and then before you know it, it's two years later. And you've spent those two years thinking about changing and going off and doing something else, but you haven't done anything about it. I'd say just don't don't wait and explore explore everything. Like, I mean, I think everybody has a general idea of of kind of what they're interested in. I would hope that's the dilemma there. You have to figure out, you know yeah. I don't think you don't don't worry about your, I mean, passion a little bit, but, like, just what you're interested in. Like, when you when you go home after a day of acupuncture that you kind of hated. What do you pop on YouTube when you get home? And what are you watching? What are you reading about when you're on Reddit or Twitter or whatever, and you're looking, what kind of people are you following and stuff, and what podcasts are you listening to? It's all shaping what your interest is in. And so now you figure out what you're interested in, and now you have to figure out how you turn that into a paycheck. And I think you have to get comfortable with the idea of just starting at the bottom. I think we don't like that idea because I think when you come out of school, you're sort of sold this concept of now you're an accomplished person, you're an educated person. You've got paperwork on the wall. The days of being on the bottom are done for you. You're a medicine person. I think you kind of have to eat it a little bit, and you have to just get over it, and you have to start at the bottom. Whatever your field is in, it doesn't matter. There's always a bottom, and you have to figure out what that bottom is. And don't get too stressed about whether that particular bottom position, whether or not that specific position is encompassing, what your vision is of where you're going, foot.

Jess [00:40:10]:

In the door kind of thing.

Eric [00:40:11]:

Yeah, it's totally like you just have to get into something, and then you kind of let life take its organic path, you know, because I think when when you're when you're doing something that you're interested in that organic nature of life, it works for you. I've already found that just in the position that I'm in now, where I'm in the bottom position of it, but it's already developing, and it's starting to mature. I can kind of see where my next steps are going to be, and I can, I can I'm starting to sort of see where I want to go with this. And now, you know, I'm doing more kind of specific courses on my own time to kind of well, now I kind of have a better picture of what this industry looks like. Now. I can kind of start steering myself into a more specific direction. So I think you have to be comfortable with starting at the bottom of whatever industry you're going to be moving into, and you have to just start doing it and let that grow on its own, which it will. So you can't get too stressed about, you know, that that specific, that next that first step that you're going to be taking.

Jess [00:41:28]:

You got to do it.

Eric [00:41:29]:

Yeah. I don't know. There's some saying about eating an elephant in one bite at a time. Yeah, I think that would be my kind of advice, is don't wait. Do it. I think, you know, I don't know if you're really on the fence about it, then maybe you don't have to leave medicine entirely. I'm specifically talking about medicine now, and that's fine. I mean, that's probably easier if you can just transition into some other form of medicine. Not that easy anyway, so we had that discussion a lot. Not that easy, but not that easy, but probably a little bit easier. But yeah, don't wait, because deep down, you know and figure out what you're interested in. Also, you probably know that. And I think whatever you're interested in, there's going to be a way if you're a travel blogger, don't think like, okay, I'm going to be a travel blogger. You're interested in travel or you're interested in writing maybe, or whatever it is that you find more. So now you take that and now how do people make money in the travel industry? Or how do people make money writing? And you maybe become, like, an editor or something? Like, who knows? You can pick that apart, and you can turn it into something that can pay the bills. Don't wait. Figure out what you're interested in. Go for that bottom first step and let it flourish.

Jess [00:42:52]:


Eric [00:42:53]:

That's all you got to do, right? Just nike it.

Jess [00:42:58]:

Just Nike. I think that's a great place to wrap her up.

Eric [00:43:03]:


Jess [00:43:03]:

Miss, you got anything else you want to talk about?

Eric [00:43:05]:

No, I don't know. I mean, I barely I'm surprised. I had so much to talk about anyways.

Jess [00:43:08]:

All right, well, thanks for chatting.

Eric [00:43:10]:

Yeah, man. Yeah, I don't know. It's kind of fun, right?

Jess [00:43:12]:

All right, man.

Eric [00:43:13]:

Bunch of dribbling nonsense, but what can you do?

Dr. Jess Reynolds is a seasoned wellness practitioner with over a decade of experience in the field. He is the founder of AIM Online Education, a continuing education company for health and wellness practitioners. Dr. Reynolds is also the host of the AIM In Practice podcast, where she interviews practitioners, authors, and influencers from a variety of disciplines to explore the meaning of wellness and the art of practice. Her passion for wellness is evident in her work, and she is dedicated to helping others live happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.

Dr. Jess Reynolds

Dr. Jess Reynolds is a seasoned wellness practitioner with over a decade of experience in the field. He is the founder of AIM Online Education, a continuing education company for health and wellness practitioners. Dr. Reynolds is also the host of the AIM In Practice podcast, where she interviews practitioners, authors, and influencers from a variety of disciplines to explore the meaning of wellness and the art of practice. Her passion for wellness is evident in her work, and she is dedicated to helping others live happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.

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