We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Zak Goodman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. Zak, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I wouldn’t say there was much of a thought process behind starting my own business. I believed, and still believe, that there was a big hole in healthcare that nobody else had filled. So I decided to start my business on the basis of patient healing through intentional movement. Before I started my own business I worked at an integrated wellness clinic, a “one stop shop” for all your healthcare needs. They have chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, physicians, nurses, etc. It all sounds so good. Everything in one place! But I found that there was a lot of dissatisfaction with very slow and very little resolution of patients’ issues. The goal in this setting was to push patients through a series of steps, each person the same as the next. Get adjusted, get injections, get your ice or heat, and come back in 3 days for the next 6 months, oh and don’t forget to purchase some supplements on the way out… This is highly inefficient and very expensive for the patient when it comes to healing. So with the money I made working as an employee, I bought the necessary pieces of equipment and started my business in the back of a Crossfit gym. Over the course of a year I worked my way into my own office, located in Mesa Riverview.
My goal has always been to empower patients through the healing process. Your body is not rebelling against you. It wants to heal; we just need to give it the proper environment to do so. By label I am considered a chiropractor, but in my experience that is not enough. Individuals plateau with stagnant care. While everyone may plateau at different points, there always needs to be a plan for progress. Chiropractic adjustments break the pain pattern by bringing more range of motion into the spine and joints. But what will make it stay there? What is preventing the body from returning to the same old pains over and over? The answer I found, were habits. Pain does not come from what you do, it is how you do them.
So to change how people move I needed to learn how injury free people move. I studied hundreds of hours of videos, and hundreds of people, and learned to teach patients how to move in these ways so the same pain did not come back. The patient also gains the knowledge to perform these movements on his or her own through progressive physical awareness. We don’t need more doctors to rely on, but more resources for growth.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My business model is quite simple, get people better. The execution is what can be quite difficult. In natural health care, quick fixes don’t exist, at least not on a more permanent time span. In any situation where we decide we want to improve ourselves, there needs to be a point of recognition that our old patterns are no longer serving us. With that awareness we have a foundation for self-improvement. To increase our emotional IQ, we become aware of habits or reactions that no longer help us get what we want or need. When it comes to physical pain, we go to the chiropractor and get adjusted, or go get a massage, etc. We leave feeling better but the pain comes back relatively quickly. Our pain might be gone for 5 minutes, an hour, or a week, but my point is that the same pain DOES come back. This is because we’ve received no feedback, no self-awareness, in the process of healing. There’s been no deepened awareness of our body, how it breathes, how it moves, and where it rests in space under gravity. My endeavor has been to teach my patients physical awareness. Then teach them how to move out of pain with this heightened understanding. I absolutely love this approach. Every person is different. Each patient moves and learns differently. So I’m constantly thinking critically and creating different ways to educate patients. I’ve come to use many different types of tools: verbal cues, resistance bands, mirrors, and video feedback, among others, to move patients into positions they subconsciously avoid due to compensations. These compensations are precisely what leads to our physical pain. As we unlayer and remove these compensations, the body naturally feels better. With evaluation we find the cause and approach, as opposed to chasing pain (the symptom).
Owning a business and getting to this point hasn’t been easy. I’ve learned a lot about business, but even more about myself. How I deal with failure, how long it takes to rebound, and how the stress may pervade into other parts of my life. In all honesty I’m still learning how to get through many of the ups and downs in business, but am trying to move through the phases of failure more quickly and use it as a tool for more success. I find that a small business is an extension of the self. Personal wellbeing is amplified through your small business brand. If your mental, physical, and emotional health is suffering, the business’s health will soon follow. So to get through the tough aspects of business, I always go back to how I’m treating myself, then my relationships, and then project that back into the business.
I’ve learned two huge lessons from having a small business.
1) Pace yourself. I love the quote “We overestimate how much we can get done in a day, and underestimate how much we can get done in a year.” I tend to try to book every minute of every day, and if I’m not doing something I’m missing opportunities. That’s BS. Move at your own pace. Rest is necessary for growth and creativity. Everyone’s pace is different. I’m honestly a bit on the slower side, but that’s alright. Who’s going to tell me otherwise? 2) Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s easy to count every failure and missed opportunity as a loss. But there are going to be wins, and there are going to be losses. Not everything that glimmers is gold, but sometimes the best opportunities pop up so suddenly it’s unbelievable.
I’ve always been active and athletic. Activity was a constant in my life to relieve stress and stay healthy. However, when I was in my late 20’s stuff hit the fan. My body essentially started to fail on me. Numbness in all of my limbs, severe ringing in the ears, blurry vision, sciatica, you name it. It felt like the rug was pulled out from under me. I couldn’t exercise without my skin feeling like it was burning. However, slowly but surely I found the right care to treat the root cause of my symptoms. When I plateaued with that care, I found another that would get me through the next phase in healing. I did that continuously, without rest, for 6 years until I could exercise vigorously again. I still have limitations, so I’m still working, but I’m ecstatic to be where I am now compared to where I was. Not only are the symptoms mentioned gone, but I have less back pain and fewer neck issues than I ever have. With my knowledge and experience I hope to help each person that is on the same pursuit. I have formulated my practice around continuous progress. And if I can no longer help you, I will be a resource to point you in the direction that will work. My goal is to help you get to yours, because your health is first and foremost.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There are so many places I still haven’t visited myself, but there are a few places I have come to enjoy. Anytime family comes to visit I take them to Cornish Pasty. They have great food and a good vibe. The best way to explain a pasty is summarized as a gourmet hot pocket. And they have dozens of different types, from chicken pot pie to cheese burger fillings. They also have a ton of vegetarian options. I also enjoy the various breweries around the valley. I’d take friends to Four Peaks and Wilderness Phoenix to chill in the evenings. I think they have great food and great beer. For breakfast I have to at least take them to Crepe Bar in south Tempe. Food is absolutely delicious! I’ve been living in Tempe the last few years, so the coffee shop I’ve come to enjoy is Infusion. They pride themselves in their coffee. Activities would depend on the friends/family visiting, but would definitely include hiking, camping, or rock climbing, or a combination of these activities. My wife and I love spending time outdoors when it’s nice, so when people come to visit we like to show off why we moved here in the first place. The botanical garden and first Friday in Phoenix are always a good time. I also love to golf. So I’d either take my people golfing or go to Top Golf. Something I don’t do so often is go shooting. One of the first things I did when I moved out here was go shooting with a friend. It was such a fun time and I think a bunch of my friends would enjoy that as well.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First and foremost I’d like to thank Mina, my wife, for her patience with me and putting up with the difficult aspects in running a new business. I’d like to thank Colby and Laura Giles for their support and knowledge that has helped me grow. Crossfit Tempe, and Watus Cooper of Unfair Advantage for giving me a home while I grew. Synergy Restorative Medicine and my friends/members of BNI Ambition for all of the awesome referrals. John Haddad with Level 8 Wellness and Tim Smith, my business coach, for being great mentors. Grant House for the awesome shout out and support. And lastly, all of my patients for trusting me with their care. A book that has largely helped me is 7 habits of highly effective people by Steven Covey. There is so much information to help with professional and personal growth. It has been a place to turn to during the easy times and the tough ones.