Self Improvement

The 2 Most Valuable Lessons I Learned in 2016

The only differentiator in the game is your passion and your hustle.
– Gary Vaynerchuck

I learned 2 HUGE lessons this year. One lesson was from a mistake, and the other was from a success.

Here are 2 lessons I never want to forget:

Lesson #1:       I will never again stay at a job I hate.

My first job title after college was Recreation Supervisor at a resort, and I initially took it because it was a full-time leadership position with benefits. Looking back, I should’ve had higher standards, but I stayed for 8 months even though I learned my entire job in about 2 minutes. Talk about beyond bored.

It made me realize what I want in a job. I need to be challenged, constantly learning, with room to grow, and freedom for creativity. Getting out of that job allowed me to discover my real purpose in life.

[BOTTOM LINE] There is way too much opportunity & not enough time to settle for a job I hate.

Lesson #2:       Social media is THE game-changer.

Speaking of opportunity, BLOGGING = OPPORTUNITY.
I’m no expert, so I can just go off of my own experiences, but creating my blog is in the top 5 best decisions I acted on in 2016. Blogging is for evvveryone. It adds credibility – and this can be on any topic – not just PT.

For example, a guy who absolutely loves tea could have a blog on tea. If he markets himself & shows his love for tea & shares valuable content to other tea lovers, he could one day get his dream job that is all about tea! I can’t get over the fact that we can create & evolve our own career paths with social. I have used my blog to write about things that matter to me & things I want to be involved with in the future.

[WORDPRESS USERS] I can now say I have experience building a website (& engaging with an online community) using WordPress with 3 months experience. By the time I am going through PT school interviews this will be about 1 year of experience. By the time I get done with PT school it will be over 4 years experience of running a website! I’ll just stick with it & be patient.

Twitter = the ultimate networking tool.
If you don’t have one, then get one ASAP.

How do I utilize Twitter?
All I do is talk to other people who have the same interests as me. I can to talk to the biggest influencers in the field of PT & I have access to PT school admissions, PT school instructors, clinic owners, other students & potential co-workers/bosses/clinical instructors.

[EYE-OPENING MOMENT] The time when I was invited to shadow one of the PT’s I admire most. This was possible even though I was clear across on the other side of the country in Florida & she was in North Dakota (in the town I would be moving to)!

BONUS: Adding Twitter to my resume.
If I can learn & understand Twitter, then I can use it as a resume-builder when I am looking for any job. One day in a job interview I will be able to say that I am a Twitter expert and know how to market myself/businesses online. It will be just another skill to set me apart from other applicants :))

[PRO TIP] I engage w/people I would one day want to work with or those whom I admire. One day (Maybe in an interview? Maybe to even get offered an interview?) I’ll be able to mention that conversation we had one time on Twitter & how it helped me :)) Even better, we will have talked enough on Twitter that the person recognizes & therefore trusts me more than other random applicants!

[FUN FACT] Sophia Amoruso of GIRLBOSS & Nasty Gal liked my tweet a while back & I was elated!

Moving Forward:

To say I’ve got plans for 2017 is an understatement. I’m really pushing myself to think BIGGER.

I’m not big on new year’s resolutions, so I don’t have any of those for you guys. I’m more into shorter-term goals (Think 1 month, 3 months, 6 months). They work better for me.

Coming up in January is a Plank Challenge! I’m doing a TON of research on core strength lately & am excited to share it all with you.

[PLOT TWIST] It’s not all about the plank!

I’m about to bundle up & venture into the North Dakota snow globe that I now call home. I need to get 12 different fruits to represent the 12 different months of the new year. It’s a colorful & healthy & very Filipino new year’s tradition I got from my mom :))

Do you have anything you’d like me to research when it comes to core strength?
What are your plans for NYE?
Any new year’s traditions you have?
Any blogging tips you have when it comes to a posting schedule?

I play all day on Snap & Twitter!
Come say hi :))

TWITTER: @ptcontender
SNAPCHAT: ptcontender

84 thoughts on “The 2 Most Valuable Lessons I Learned in 2016

  1. I’m starting Plank challenge again in January…I’ve got to strengthen my core for dancing…do you have any idea (with the exception of plank) any exercises that can be done with a Hiatus Hernia? I can no longer do anything like sit ups, crunches, push ups, burpees….anything that triggers the hernia but need some ideas on what else I can do! Any ideas would be fab!! Happy New Year and best of luck with your 2017 goals 🙂

    1. Hey Rachel! Thank you for asking. I’ve gotta say I don’t know anything about hiatus hernias, but I am doing research on it now – all because of you! I asked some Physical Therapists on Twitter & am going to ask my sponsor PT from the hospital I just observed at. I did a quick Google search & didn’t find much useful info, so I’m now looking at research articles. I’m really interested now! How about I email you everything I find after I compile all of it? You can email me at so I have your email address :))

      Thanks so much for commenting & Happy New year to you too. (p.s. I’m glad you’re doing plank challenge!)

    1. Aww thanks so much, Dr. Andrea! You’re always very encouraging. Also, you seem to really enjoy & have a lot of passion for your career — how did you decide that psychology was the path for you? Happy New Year :))

      1. You are very perceptive. 😊😊I love what I do.

        I chose psychology … and all the years it took to get my PhD and eventually train to become a Psychologist because I am driven to help people. (My mom is also a Psychologist.)

        Working with young adults is my favourite part. Helping them & encouraging them to follow their dreams. No matter the obstacles.

        (Hence my blog “thriving under pressure.”) 🌟💫

          1. It depends… I use it to upload my food pics mainly as I don’t want to put that on my blog as well. I love getting stuck at instacat hash tags soooo cute … I try to avoid other things … some is just feeling too fake. It could be interesting for you/your career I suppose.

          2. Oooh okay I’ll have to check out your Instagram for the food inspiration :)) and yeah, I definitely agree that it could be benefit a career bc it’s all about reaching ppl & if I never got on Insta, then I’d never be able to interact with ppl strictly on that platform. Thanks for the insight!

    1. I like that exercise :)) I kinda fast forwarded to the part where he does a few reps of the actual exercise. I like that it adds some rotation to activate more core muscles! Thanks so much for suggesting the video. Happy 2017! (Oh & loved the accent lol)

        1. Hmm twisting is usually fine, but I would not do the exercise if it is painful.. I’m definitely not anything close to being an expert though. Physical Therapists are movement experts so seeking out one of those is always the best bet :))

          1. Actually, he’s really good and he’s a triathlete so he gets me. He also does our tri club’s run clinic so if I make it out I get free advice.

          2. I think it was last year in July; before my first triathlon. I usually see him a couple times and then go work on the stuff he gives me to do. Then a few months later, typically after I’ve hurt myself, I go in again.
            It’s probably not typical because we see each other at run clinic and club board meetings and we chat through FB messenger. He invites his clients to ask questions/report on progress like that.

  2. Hi Jess! It is freeing when we realize that we have options and don’t have to settle for jobs we hate.

    Twitter is my favorite social networking site. I’ve been on a break, but will be back at it on Tuesday. You’re right, it is the ultimate networking tool. 😃

    A plank challenge sounds great. I would love to do something like that.

    As for blogging consistency, an editorial calendar is something good to have. I’ve been slack with my consistency, but I plan to do better this year.

    Have a great 2017!


    1. Hey Evelyn, thanks for visiting my blog so soon & for the happy comment! I know you’ve been blogging for years now so its encouraging to hear that you also have the same thoughts on Twitter. (Plus it’s how we met, so there’s another positive!)

      I’m working on a blogging schedule now, but it’s kinda slow going. How do you decide which posts go where in your editorial calendar? Thanks for the tip & I hope you have a great 2017 too ❤

  3. When I was an Active Duty Marine, I was only able to leave once every 4-6 years. When I hit my 12 year mark and decided that it was time for me to leave, I was able to quit on my terms. It made a lot of my superiors angry, but I was able to leave when I wanted to (which is a very rare and special privilege). I vowed that I would never again be in a situation with an employer where I couldn’t leave when I wanted to. Life is too short to work in a job that you hate or to be in a situation that isn’t right for you.

  4. First time commenting! First I want to say thank you for following me so that I could find your blog. You have a very fun writing style and manage to really impart your energy into your writing. Very impressed because that is a difficult thing to do.

    Great all around post and very insightful view on social media. I have been playing with the idea of getting a Twitter, for the purpose of networking, but really just don’t like the idea of being on my phone more often than I have to. Definitely going to reflect on it and give it some thought because there are obviously benefits, which you highlighted, to using it correctly.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks so much, Nate! I’m glad you reached out & commented. I love interacting & your kind words made me smile :)) My writing skills are one of the things I hoped to improve by creating a blog, so that was great to hear!
      I know what you mean about being on your phone more often than you need to.. I can only imagine you probably have texts going all the time during PT school w/your classmates especially leading up to tests. That’s how it is just for my prereq classes! However, you could always just use it on your computer — works just as well & you can still have the networking benefits without the phone hassle :)) I’ve been really trying to embrace social media lately because it seems that is where our world is now.
      Just revisited your blog & loving it! Going there as soon as I finish this comment. Also, if you end up getting a Twitter, then let me know! It would be fun to chat there too :))

      1. Very true about the computer. And I will be sure to let you know if I do end up getting a Twitter

        Looking forward to the next post, and wishing you luck in your PT pursuit:)

  5. You are so way ahead of me on the social media marketing game!! Kudos to you. I too last year decided that enough was enough of staying in a job I hated. Welcome personal training full-time from my own home studio! I would love to train clients online more however, just need to learn how to set up automatic systems. I have a ton of learning to do.

    1. Hey Jess & thank you! You learn by doing so you’re going to be great! (one example is you’re learning the whole self-hosted thing by getting through the obstacles along the way) I think it’s so cool that you’ve decided to do what you really enjoy — that’s the kind of life I want to live too :)) I am thinking of being a personal trainer or group fitness instructor for more education & more opportunity. Do you recommend any certifications to go through?

      1. I went through NASM and enjoyed the course. However, I felt it lacked the business end out a bit. It touched on the subject but only very briefly. I wish I had more knowledge as far as how to manage operations and systems. Right now I’m fumbling my way through excel and word…

  6. Jess, this is awesome!

    Trust me, you are miles ahead of a lot of physical therapists and physical therapy students out there. Having a social media presence is essential for building a network of patients. Honestly, I do think this will help you getting into physical therapy school because it shows your passion and commitment.

    As far as certifications, one I’m considering (3rd PT student) is the CSCS (certified strength and conditioning specialist). From what I’ve heard, it’s fairly easy to get and looks great on resumes. But, getting your personal training certification is a great way to have a side hustle during school and work off debt. I know a few physical therapy students doing that.

    One of the best people that I’ve interacted with on social media has been Greg Todd, PT Builder. I’ve taken two of his online courses that focus on building up your personal ‘brand’ and succeeding in the physical therapy field without relying on referrals. He also covers great business strategies, interview techniques, etc. He’s active on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Periscope, etc. He has been vital in my physical therapy journey.

    Best of luck for the New Year!

    1. Hey Rebekah, thank you for being encouraging & giving me some hope about PT school! I am now looking into the CSCS since you’ve suggested it — had no idea it was so well liked for resumes — so thanks for that too! Also, it’s great to hear about some PT students with their side hustles, esp because I have seen on some school websites that you’re not allowed to have a job because of the huge commitment you’re already doing full time for school.

      Also, a 3rd year PT student?! You’re almost done! So exciting :)) good luck on your semester. And Greg Todd is THE guy who inspired me to make my blog – I love him/his work/communication skills & high energy. Lol dont even get me started on Greg Todd! It’s awesome that he has helped you that much too. I hope the best for you for this last stretch of school 😄

      1. Yeah, no problem. Another thing you might want to do (unless you’ve done it already) is join the Doctorate of Physical Therapy Students Group on facebook. There’s a lot of helpful discussion there, and I’ve seen undergraduates post in there for advice/recommendations about PT school. I love the new research and ideas that come through that group.

        In regards to a job, I know a couple people who had jobs through PT school. Even one was a biology TA. I also was a bio TA, but I had to quit it partway through due to the workload. I thought I would be fine since I worked 3 part-time jobs in undergrad while getting my exercise physiology degree, but it wasn’t the case for me. Granted, I tend to stress a lot about school, so I think your personal disposition matters. Again, I know a few PT students that are personal training/wellness coaching through PT school, and it seems to be going well for them.

        I’m not surprised that he inspired you to blog! He’s the reason I’m blogging, too. 🙂 Have you thought about doing one of his courses? He’s just starting up Smart Success PT, and he’s offering a money back guarantee (within a month, I believe) if you don’t like it. It may seem like a bit early to do it, but I think you would find the information helpful. In his course, he goes into career goal setting, insurance, salaries, marketing strategies, how to use health and wellness as a ‘side hustle’, finances, clinical skills, and how to own your own practice. Plus, it plugs you into a support group that helps push you further along. My classmates range from first year PT students to PTs who have been working for maybe 5 years. I’ve gotten a lot out it. If you want to check it out, here’s the link:

        Thanks for the encouragement! I’m so happy to be almost there. 🙂 If there’s anything I can do to help you out, let me know!

        1. Hey Rebekah, thanks for all the guidance & recommendations! I am 100% positive that I would love Greg’s course. The only thing I’m concerned about is cost right now. I know it would be way worth it & completely valuable so I’m definitely considering it. I will check out that link & will go straight to you if I have any questions!
          Oh, and thank you also for telling me about the Facebook group because I had no idea it existed!

          P.S. I shared your blog post on ankle sprains on Twitter the other day 😊 Learned a lot from it & thought others might find it helpful!

  7. The problem with social media . . . time. I’m getting more comfortable with IG, but I rarely even look at Twitter (although I do have an account). It all takes time that we could be doing other stuff!

    Maybe in 2018 . . . I’ll get a handle on Twitter, too.

    1. Hey Judy, social media is definitely a time-suck. lol I try to make sure I am using it to network & not just mindlessly scrolling. I hear so many good things about IG, and still don’t have one yet. Maybe in 2018 I’ll get one of those lol. When you get Twitter I’ll definitely be on your follower list :)) Thanks for reading!

  8. Hi Jess! I can totally relate to what you have written in this post! I was doing a christmas job in retail last year and my manager was frankly quite rude to me on my first shift and afterwards hardly gave me any shifts. Not to mention I completely hated it – it was a stressful job especially for minimum wage and I’m so glad the contract was only temporary, because it gave me a chance to move on an do jobs that I actually enjoyed and would benefit my career. I’m sorry you had to go through the same. I’m so glad to have started blogging in 2016 also!! It really has made me a happier person overall and helped boost my confidence in so many ways and helped me discover new interests and learn from others. I’m so intimidated by how many comments you get, but yet you still manage to reply to them all – I know some bloggers with fewer comments who don’t even respond :’) Anyway love your content, will check out more soon! Xx enyiie

    1. Omg Enyiie, thank you! What a sweet comment :)) You have no reason to be intimidated — your blog is fun & beautiful & will definitely grow if you keep it up! I’m not sure why some bloggers don’t respond, but I love it! I am chatty I guess lol And I think part of the reason people comment here is because I like to comment on their posts. And I know exactly what you mean about it being a confidence boost! Blogging has led me to work on my writing skills, research & learn new things, and meet amazing new people (like you!). Also, SO glad you got outta that job asap…I’m looking forward to reading your blog from now on too:)) Oh p.s. I love that we feel the same about blogging! <3

  9. Hey Jess, I’m glad you for out of something you didn’t love! I’m happy to see you thriving! I did not know twitter was a game changer, always that it was more for celebs. I had one but didn’t quite get the grip on it. Any tips?

    1. Hey Monica! I am working on a post for how I use Twitter now, so tips are def coming soon. But until then, just don’t be afraid to reach out to people you admire/people you would like to work with, and just use it as a place to talk to others who have the same interests/career goals/hobbies/passions as you! You have got to lmk if you get Twitter :))

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