Do you know that feeling of wanting to do more? Like, that feeling inside that's so strong, it keeps you up at night?
Hi! I'm Dr. Danielle Eaton. I'm the show host and creator of all things "Aligned Women"--which has grown from a Facebook following, an email newsletter, a podcast and now..... a business that supports other Moms in Chiropractic.
Let me take you on the journey leading up to WHY I created this podcast.
Since becoming a mom in 2011, my career (which I--like you--put years of hard work, time, energy, effort, and money into developing) has steadily evolved. When my first daughter was born, I was working as the Assistant Director of Sports and Rehabilitation at Logan University. It was a job I loved--fast paced, challenging, and at times--yes, stressful. My job (pre-mom status) involved a lot of travel for sporting events and academic conferences. I had a steady paycheck, paid vacation time, and medical insurance benefits. Yet, it only took a few months of motherhood for me to start feeling that I really wanted more time and flexibility to be with my little girl.
So, it seemed like the next step then would be to venture out into private practice for the first time in my career (I'd always had a position with Logan University since the time of completing my Doctor of Chiropractic there in 2008). But owning your own business is scary, hard and costly, right?!? Well, from late 2011 through most of 2012, I learned the hard way that working FOR another doctor as an associate in that doctor's business was actually the hardest, least rewarding, and most degrading. However, it was the kick in the pants that I needed to take the leap of opening my own chiropractic office.
After all, that was my goal.... my plan..... my intention.... when I started chiropractic school way back in 2004. To own a business that helped other people.
Overall, private practice went surprisingly well! I'm a friendly, down-to-earth, smart kinda chic, and I'd like to think that I'm able to help people feel comfortable in what may be sometimes uncomfortable settings. I really shouldn't have been surprised by the growth that our business experienced in a short period of time. My sister worked in the office as the Office Manager, and she is also an outgoing, down-to-earth, friendly and smart girl. We worked well together, and our patients were treated like our own family and friends. My style of chiropractic practice was (at that time) one in which I liked to help people get better as quickly as possible--implementing appropriate rehabilitative exercises and muscle therapies to make that happen. Patients really appreciated how quickly they got results, and often referred their family and friends.
Let me be really honest here. In order to practice chiropractic the way that I wanted to--in the way that felt right in my heart--I needed to spend 15-20 minutes with each patient on each visit. Let's do the math together. That means I could see 3 to, at most, 4 patients per hour. Let's go with 4. If I literally did nothing else but treat patients for an 8 hour day, that would be 32 patients seen in a day. On days that I saw 20 patients, I was physically, mentally and sometimes even emotionally exhausted. It left me with very little to give to my family. Or to MYSELF.... HA!
In the mornings and in the late evenings, I was teaching Anatomy, Physiology and Biology at two colleges. I was literally coming home from work, eating dinner (or NOT), and falling into bed with my little girl (while my husband--actually, usually folded the laundry and did the dishes).
I was burning out FAST. Like, really fast.
Perhaps I could have changed my practice style to reduce the amount of time that I spent with patients. But I honestly didn't want to do that. That, too, would have been soul-crushing. So because owning my own practice was my goal, my intention and my purpose of having gone to school to become a Doctor of Chiropractic in the first place, I just put my head down and kept going. Day by freaking day.
That is..... until I experienced a miscarriage.
The pregnancy was not planned, but I was so so happy and full of excitement with that pregnancy. A few weeks in, over the course of about five days, I lost the baby and there was nothing that I could do but cry. In fact, I cried just about every night for close to two months. I was absolutely devastated. The weight of a lost life that I was supposed to have been protecting and supporting felt too much to bare. I was certain that the stress that I had chosen to put myself under--both physically and mentally--had been the cause of my miscarriage.
I started re-evaluating.........EVERYTHING.
What was I doing with my life? Was I even really happy? Had I gotten to see my daughter (who was then 3 years old) learn and change and grow? Was the work that I was doing in my practice actually making the difference that I wanted to make in people's lives? Was this really all there was to the experience of being a chiropractor? Work, work, work, work, work, work..... Like that bad Rhianna song. :-/
Two months after the miscarriage, I was fortunate to be able to attend my wedding--Yes, I attended. I was still so busy and overwhelmed with treating patients, teaching, maintaining patient files, billing insurance, and marketing the business, that I wasn't really involved to the usual degree that a bride is with the planning of her wedding. My husband did a LOT of the wedding planning work! We had a nice honeymoon in Cabo San Lucas.....
....where we made a honeymoon baby! Yeah, if you are paying attention here, you will see that just two months after a devastating miscarriage, we were blessed with another pregnancy (which, by the way, resulted in another baby girl who is healthy and vibrant).
With her conception, I was DONE. I was done being a very part-time mom to my first baby. I was DONE wrecking my own health in order to serve others. I didn't know what the next step was, but I knew that I was not going to sacrifice another pregnancy to keep physically and emotionally pushing myself--all so that I could keep up with a business that was running me.
So I WALKED AWAY.
Six weeks after conceiving my second daughter, I sold my practice.
I left quickly and swiftly. But I took with me guilt, embarrassment, and shame that took me many months of reflection and willingness to do the hard work to get through.
I continued teaching part-time, rested during that last pregnancy and used the extra time on my hands to learn about other business possibilities and create a new vision for the future.
A whole new world of possibilities have opened up before me in the last three years of not practicing chiropractic full-time. I invested a LOT of time, money, energy and effort in learning from the best mentors and coaches how to truly create a life and business that I LOVED and that was right for me AND my family.
I now know that, if I truly want to, I can create a business that fits around my and my family's lifestyle--instead of trying to fit our lives into time and space around a demanding business.
I know now that the only person that can define success and create a life and business in alignment with that definition is ME.
I started feeling a calling from The Universe that my place in our chiropractic profession was not to go back to practicing full-time, but to support other Moms in Chiropractic to guide them through also creating a life and business that is right for them and their families as well.
The world needs more true healthcare leaders.
Women make amazing chiropractors.
Doctors of Chiropractic are amazingly well positioned to be leading our world to better health and wellness.
When women create a life and practice that's right for them and their families,
they're so much better able to create the change they wish see in our world today.
Aligned Women is my contribution to Chiropractic.
I'm here to support YOU in creating the life and practice that's right for you and your family.
Dr. Danielle Eaton