Ben Hello Everyone!
Thank you for taking the time to view my website!
My name is Brandon Poen and I am a physical therapist with a mission to change the lives of as many as possible through self-development, education, movement, and fitness as I believe that this is my life purpose through my faith. Apart from therapy, I love to exercise, cook, hike, fly planes, listen to music, and more.
I grew up in the town of Bourbonnais, IL which is about 60 miles south of Chicago. I was a huge nerd in high school (I still am a nerd today) and I was very involved with the music department as a trumpet player…yes I was a band geek, no shame. While I was in high school, I was involved in competitive swimming and water polo. At that time, I really did not know anything regarding proper weight lifting/cardiovascular training principles and I irritated my shoulder a few times (of course when I was a teenager I did not do what I should’ve done). Luckily, I had no lasting consequences from these setbacks.
As a teenager, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and I was broke so I needed to find a job ASAP. I applied for a lifeguard position for a local waterpark on a whim as I was desperate for any job at that time. I ended up working there for 6 summers and worked my way up to supervisor. That job turned out to be one of the best things that happened to me as I learned so much about emergency management, communication, customer service, and even some about leadership. This experience also pushed me to look into a career in the medical field.
I started looking into medical careers which included nursing, medicine, exercise physiologist, athletic training, and physical therapy. I spent some time talking with and observing each of these choices, but I was still unsure after all of this. My decision was determined when I spent a week observing a local physical therapist in his own private practice treating a wide variety of orthopedic cases. Seeing the impact that he had in changing these people’s lives in the clinic and community truly made a lasting impact that made me decide to pursue physical therapy. I still maintain contact with this therapist as he is the reason that I am a physical therapist today.
I went to Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL and I worked my hardest to get into the physical therapy program (along with working on a Spanish minor) as I was very nervous that I would not get accepted as the program is very competitive (only accepted 36 students each year). I looked to my faith and I vowed that if I was accepted that I would work my hardest to become the best that I could be to do the best for others. I was so blessed and excited when the news came in that I had been accepted into the PT program!! I worked very hard while in the program to do my best to learn and improve as much as I could.
NIU DPT class of 2015 Graduation Day
I graduated in 2015 and I moved to Waterford, Michigan and started my journey as a PT for a great hospital system and I am still working there today. When I started out, I had a dose of reality: Working on my own in the real world is VERY different than what school prepared me for. I felt that there was a huge knowledge and skills gap from school to the real world and I honestly did not know what I was doing in the beginning. I made a lot of mistakes and I thought that I was a failure as I wasn’t getting significant positive life changes from my clients. I took continuing education courses which helped me a little bit, but not significantly consistently. As I continued to not get great outcomes, I started to spiral towards burnout and mild depression as I didn’t feel that I was achieving my life purpose and I knew that something needed to change. I applied for a PT residency program (that I visited prior to my move to Michigan as I was considering residency prior to graduation) for that upcoming year as I thought that perhaps I need more guidance and mentorship. I went through the application and interview process and I did not get accepted. I was crushed and felt defeated. I spiraled more into full blown burnout and I was not a happy person anymore and I was very seriously considering leaving the field of physical therapy entirely.
Not too long after that, one of my PT classmates posted on our class Facebook page about the podcast of Jeff Moore and how good the content was. I listened to his podcast everyday from that day on and I started implementing his advice and the tables started to turn for the better. I started getting more positive outcomes and my burnout started to subside as I felt that I was a new person. I found other motivational influencers including Greg Todd, Ben Fung, Gene Shirokobrod, Jarod Carter, Tony Robbins, Tim Ferris, Gary Vaynerchuck, Paul Gough, Mark Cuban, & Daniel Goleman and listened to their material.
Today, I am a completely different person with a new mindset compared to when I started out as a PT. I truly feel that I am partially fulfilling the mission that I was meant to do and I am happy. I know that I still have a long ways to go to reach the full mission that I know that Christ has for me, but I know that he is leading me in the right direction.
I know what many people are thinking: Why are you telling us about this?
Here is my reason: I think it’s beneficial to understand my journey/experience to see how it has shaped me as you can see why I am passionate about helping people and newer physical therapists. I want to contribute to helping new PTs bridge the gap between school and the real world to avoid the very real negative consequences that can result.
Thanks for reading everyone and let’s continue to learn and grow together!