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30-25-20: The Most Consequential Year of My Life

March 6, 2023


My wife, Stacy, says I’m the emotional one in the family. I can be a bit of a “mush,” with pictures of my kids all over the place, reflecting on what they’ve accomplished and where I’ve been in my life.

That’s why it struck me when I realized that 2023 is a big year for milestones – 30 years as a chiropractor, my 25th wedding anniversary, and the 20th anniversary of Natural Healthcare Center. I think it’s healthy – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually – to look back with a fresh perspective and process what happened.

How Everything Came Together So Quickly

I graduated with my Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree in December 1993, passed my boards in March of 1994, and started my first job in April at a chiropractic practice in North Jersey. A friend told me about a practice in Bridgewater where a chiropractor was out sick on disability, so I was onto my second job by June.

The office manager at this practice introduced me to Stacy in September of 1994. We went on our first date and later got married. More on that story in the next article.

At this point, I had already started pursuing public speaking opportunities. If there was a Borders or Barnes & Noble, I was there speaking to whoever was at the bookstore, sometimes for hours.

Back then, I already had the same vision as I do today. I wanted to touch as many lives as possible, emphasizing the true definition of health – not only being free of illness and injury, but building and maintaining an optimal state of health that accounts for physical, nutritional, and psychological well-being.

That’s the Triad of Health you see all over Natural Healthcare Center, our website, and our social media pages.

This is why 1994 was the most consequential year of my life. I started my career as a chiropractor and health educator. I fell in love. I defined my vision and purpose.

Sounds like a fairy tale, right?

Humble Beginnings

Of course, there’s another side to this story. When you reflect as I’ve been doing, you can’t help but feel humbled by all the mistakes you made, and how you persevered.

When I started my career, I was living with my parents because I had $150,000 in college debt and no money. I had three patients – my mother, my father, and my sister. I remember thinking that nobody would want to see me and I would never get patients.

I spent the first 10 years of my career not only working for other people, but working aggressively for other people.

If a new computer system was being installed, I would stay late and pull wires through the walls with the IT people. If the office was being painted or remodeled, I would watch to learn the process. I wanted to know everything about the business.

I was very green as I figured out my place in the business world, spending countless hours speaking, writing, and meeting people. 

But I was determined. That determination fueled the transition from working for other people to starting Natural Healthcare Center.

Usually, your first practice is very small. I skipped that step and went right into buying an established practice and a large piece of real estate – on the same day. 

That wasn’t exactly the plan. Of course, I’ve always said that if you want to make God laugh, create a plan.

It may not have been my plan, but it was by design – God’s design – to guide me to that place at that time with those people. God has given me the spirit and determination to follow my dreams and maintain my core values of passion, customer service, and consistency.

Was it easy? No, but is anything worth having ever easy? Every experience led me to where I am today. It’s a journey that has been both humbling and tremendously rewarding.

In the next article in my 30-25-20 series, we’ll focus on the best decision of my life.

Dr. Proodian

Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician, health educator, and professional public speaker who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise is in identifying clinical imbalances and restoring the body to health and functionality. Contact: jproodian@naturalhc.com or (732) 222‑2219.