I grew up on the other side of the world. The Philippines to be exact.
Grew up with abject poverty in and around me. People living on dirt floors…barely eating twice a day.
I knew at a young age that I wanted something better.
Physical therapy opened that “better world” for me.
On Monday, August 22, 1994, at 7:22 AM, I arrived at Chicago O’Hare’s International Airport with $150 in my pocket…in fives and ones.
It was the beginning of my American dream…or so I thought.
I worked for a staffing outfit for my first 2 years, where they sent me on short 3-6 month assignments all over Indiana.
As fate would have it, I ended up settling in NW Indiana, an hour drive from downtown Chicago, specifically a small town called Valparaiso.
Valparaiso is what I now call home with my wife Jane, and our 2 kids…our daughter Alex and our son AJ.
After working for 9 years for somebody else (while waiting to get my permanent resident “green” card), I decided to open my own practice. We opened our doors in April of 2003.
At that time, my daughter was 3 and my wife was 7-months pregnant with our second child.
It was an exciting and stressful time in our lives.
I kept a full-time job while trying to get my practice going. I was putting in easily a 70-hour week between the two.
I realized after 4 months of opening that I am either fully in or out. I quit my full-time job and gave my practice my best shot the way I knew how (which I knew very little on how to run a private practice at that time).
We somehow got busy enough to have a schedule for 2 PTs.
But then we got stagnant pretty quickly within 2 years of opening. Then a slow downward drift started from year 3 to all the way to the end of my 7th year in practice.
It got so bad that by the end of 2010, I seriously considered shutting down my practice. I was barely paying myself and had to take on a home health side job just to make things work for our home finances.
But nobody wants to lose.
And I was losing badly.
I felt I failed myself but more so I failed the ones I love. My wife…my kids…my parents…and everyone who looked up to me thinking I was living the American dream. Deep inside, that dream is getting shattered.
There were many sleepless nights…the kind of nights you can’t turn off your mind when all the negative thoughts and fears seem to come out.
On New Year’s Eve 2010, I promised myself one final year to give it a go. It’s either I make 2011 my best year or it’s the final year for my practice.
I knew though that something’s gotta change.
I can’t keep doing what I was doing and expect a different result.
So I sought help. Help meant “business coaches”.
I learned how to become a true executive. I learned to get the right things done right.
And it got me started on the right path.
2011 was our comeback year.
We opened our 2nd practice in 2012. We were humming.
And for the first time in 2013, I felt the practice was set up enough that it allowed me to go on a 2-week vacation.
And what a vacation it was. Nothing extravagant, but the feeling of being away and not worrying that the practice might crumble was so liberating. It allowed me to be “present” with my kids and my family. They had my full attention.
The second night after coming back from our trip, I got this call right around midnight. It was the town’s Fire Chief.
“Mr. Alburo, your building is on fire!”
That fire in June of 2013 shut down our practice for a full 7 months!
We re-opened in February of 2014, and to my amazement, patients came rushing back. Physicians referred more patients compared to before the fire.
People love an underdog…and we were a true underdog story.
In February 2015, we celebrated our 1st year anniversary of re-opening. Hundreds of patients and a number of physicians attended our celebration.
I thought to myself…” now we’ve got some great momentum to take it to the next level.”
A month later…this happened.
Yes, that’s an SUV right in the middle of our therapy gym.
It was a brisk morning on March 6, 2015, when this drunk driver plowed into our gym, pinning one of our patients under it.
Thankfully she survived. She ended up coming back to us for rehab.
That incident shut our practice down for 7 weeks. Just when I thought we got some momentum going.
But amazingly, after each catastrophic event, our practice continued to zoom.
And I thought we were close to having all things figured out.
Until I met my 8 co-founders at NLPT. They helped open my eyes that we were still missing quite a few pieces that would revolutionize our practice.
They have been instrumental in helping me take my practice to the next level.
I have been out of patient care since May of 2017.
We have grown to 6 locations and 36 teammates as of the time of this writing in October of 2020.
More importantly, I enjoy being a true executive after having put systems and teammates in place to handle the daily whirlwind of running a private practice.
Despite Covid-19, we are profitable more than ever and have a solid team to carry out our core purpose of helping patients achieve their unhindered life.
And that same core purpose has framed the way I approach our clients here at NLPT.
How can I help you achieve your unhindered life?…
…a life where you enjoy time, choice, and financial freedom.
Let’s get started today.