In Art Of Coaching Podcast

Hey guys, just a quick reminder… Now through November 27th, we are offering 50% OFF ALL DIGITAL COURSES. Use code ‘GRATEFUL50’ at 

Speaking of being grateful… 

In 2009 a reckless driver lost control of his vehicle. The aftermath was a scene of twisted metal, blurred memories and a life forever altered. Kendell Bachik was paralyzed.

Rather than sink into darkness and accept the limitations echoed by many, Kendell focused on healing and proving naysayers wrong. Electing to look at therapies that were “outside the box”, Kendell trusted her recovery with strength coaches. Fast forward 2.5 years, she opened REACT, a neurological performance training facility. Her goal was to give others hope through her story, at a place where you felt “it” the moment you entered. She and her husband now lead a collective of coaches and therapists where people fighting neurological injury and disease come to defy the odds.

Kendell and I cover:

  1. What it’s like to be a mom, wife and business owner from a wheelchair 
  2. “Addressing the human, not the condition”
  3. Why she will always choose compassion over empathy 
  4. Can generating motion artificially build momentum organically?

Connect with Kendell:

Via her websites: AND

Via Instagram: @neuroreaction AND @mrs.bachik_methods 

Via Facebook:


Kendell Bachik  0:00  

It started like any other we were at a concert catching up with friends having a great time, wanted to, you know, rob a nightcap after the show. And what seemed like such an inconsequential place became one that really defined the rest of my life. As we spent the parking lot it was, you know, getting the line in the cab or catch ride with friends. I grabbed my boyfriend, we opted to drive friends hopped in the backseat. And, you know, honestly, within minutes being on the highway, the guy driving our car lost control of it. And I was sitting in the back and the last memories were looking out of the sunroof, and then bam, it always is tailing out of control at such a high speed. next act in that instant, I was paralyzed.


Brett Bartholomew  1:02  

Welcome to the Art of coaching podcast, a show aimed at getting to the core of what it takes to change attitudes, behaviors and outcomes in the weight room, boardroom classroom, and everywhere in between. I’m your host, Brett Bartholomew, I’m a performance coach, keynote speaker and the author of the book conscious coaching. But most importantly, I’m a lifelong student interested in all aspects of human behavior and communication. I want to thank you for joining me. And now let’s dive into today’s episode.


Hey, everyone, exciting announcement from now until November 27 2020. All of my flagship digital courses are 50% off, that’s five zero 50% off, all you got to do is go to and use the code grateful 50 grateful 50 It’s all in the show notes. So this includes our CEU approved course Bought In, which is critical for those of you who are strengthing conditioning coaches, or physical therapists or anybody else that needs recertification through the NSCA. But as we say, in every episode, our work is in no way only for those in the performance field. Yes, I may use the terms coach and athlete for that simply because it’s part of my background, and you simply can’t use every single description imaginable. We have people in every field from nursing and finance and education and members of fire departments that have taken part in our courses. 1000s of people have been a part of these things collectively, they’re all entirely self paced. So it’s okay, if you’re busy, you don’t have to finish these things. Like in three weeks, you can do it in 2023, if you want what is not available in 2023 is the 50% discount. Every one of these courses feature masterclass level production quality, they come with downloadable slides, notes and resources that aren’t available anywhere else. And no, that’s not a sales trick. I’m not one of those people that says, Oh, these aren’t available anywhere else. And then three weeks later, I come out with an ebook. And there they are. These courses have cost a lot of my life, not to mention money that we put into it. We really wanted to create something that helps people with communication, psychology, something that helps people understand how to navigate uncertainty in their career, if they’re into that that’s Valued. That’s our other course. And it’s a plan words were really clever. It’s like value education. Now again, are they going to solve all your problems? Absolutely not, you’re going to have to do work for that to happen. That said, there is a reason these courses are used in a lot of different professions and with a lot of different professionals. And we all know that excuses come most easily the things that we should be doing. So this is just a part of the suite of services we have. If you’re not into online courses, make sure to reach out to us at for communication mentoring has today’s episode, we’re going to talk a lot about how that impacts and alters the lives of others, especially people that have gone through catastrophic injuries, catastrophic things in their lives and have a long road to recovery. So again,, use the code, grateful 50 and you will get 50% off. If you have any questions, just email info at art of 


All right, getting into the episode today. I want you guys to imagine something I want you to imagine it’s Halloween. And at the time of this recording, it was just Halloween. And we know how the air typically feels during that time of year. Now I understand that there’s different people in different parts of the world, right? So it’s all relative to where you’re at. And if Halloween doesn’t resonate, whatever. Let’s imagine it’s evening and you’re out with some friends. Maybe you’ve gone do a concert, and you get into a car. And it’s no different than any other evening you get in a car, you’re maybe going somewhere else, you’re maybe going to an after party, maybe going to a friend’s house, maybe you’re going home. And all of a sudden the driver loses control. And after that it’s blank. This is exactly what happened to our guests today. Kendell Bachik. The aftermath of this scene that she lived out was one of twisted metal, blurred memories and a life forever altered. Kendell was paralyzed. Now a lot of what we talked about today is about how rather than letting this experience take Kendell and make her sink into darkness, and accept all these limitations echoed by many And mind you. The doctors told her after this, she would be lucky if she would ever feed herself again. Now she’s in a wheelchair, right, and she hasn’t been able to walk again. She’s been paralyzed for 11 years to date. But because she thought outside the box, because she trusted her recovery with unconventional methods. And because she didn’t listen to these people who failed to communicate with her in a personal way, who failed to understand that any kind of recovery, any kind of success story. You have to look at the human, not the condition. She overcame all these things. Two and a half years into Kendell’s journey with paralysis, she opened React, which is a neurological performance training facility. And if that term intimidates you, don’t worry. We talked about this in the episode and we break down what neuro and neurological and all these terms mean. And her goal since then has been to give other people’s hope people hope through her story at a place in time where they felt they might need it the most. Now what’s really impressive about Kendell is She’s a mother Throughout all this, right? And she doesn’t look at this as a situation where she’s a victim. She doesn’t want empathy. And we talk about the difference between empathy and compassion. So I really hope you join me, I hope you listen to this entire episode. I hope you take it to heart. And I hope it empowers you because we all know somebody who is dealing with some kind of physical malady, right? They may not be in a wheelchair, but maybe some other life freedom has been taken away from them. And these kinds of things in these kinds of discussions are critical. So please listen deeply. Give Kendell your time. And let’s learn more about how to understand the human, not the condition. Without further ado, Kendell Bachik.


Kendall, Bachik welcome to the show.


Kendell Bachik  7:31  

Thank you. Thanks for having me.


Brett Bartholomew  7:33  

No, it’s our pleasure. Listen, you have a fascinating story. And I always try to make sure when guests come on that, you know, we always tee it up for our audience, we want people to feel like this is a dinner guest they already know a little bit about them. And I’ve done that in the intro, but nothing, I mean, nothing can replace hearing it from your own mouth, the person that experienced it, I’d love for you, if you’re comfortable with it to talk a little bit about that. So our audience can really get it in their mind’s eye the things that you have overcome what brought you here today, so we can dive deeper into this. So if you’re comfortable with it, take it away.


Kendell Bachik  8:11  

Sure, um, the timing is actually interesting, because my accident that sent me on this path happened on Halloween. So, you know, every year around this time, I spend a lot of time sort of reflecting and thinking back on that moment, and, you know, sort of wishing I could have a moment in my own body and then I really like snap back to my purpose and it really puts me back on track. And, you know, just thinking back to that night on Halloween in 2009. It started like any other we were at a concert catching up with friends, having a great time, wanted to, you know, grab a nightcap after the show. And what seems like such an inconsequential place became one that really defined the rest of my life. As we spent the parking lot it was you know, getting the line in the cab or catch ride with friends. I grabbed my boyfriend we opted to drive friends hopped in the backseat. And you know, honestly within minutes being on the highway, the guy driving our car lost control of it. And I was sitting in the back and the last memories were looking out of the sunroof. And then bam, it always it’s tailing out of control at such a high speed. I next act and in that instant, I was paralyzed and everything for me changed. Luckily I don’t have any memories so I don’t have you know the anxiety of that moment and but everything I knew in that exact moment had been taken. I was robbed. I was depleted. I was just lying there motionless. I couldn’t do anything. And it forced me to reinvent myself and through that I have learned so much. And it has set me on a path to so much purpose, that that’s why I’m here to share my story today. And that’s what my husband and I are, you know, have a vision. And we’re excited to tackle this space of neurological injury and disease.


Brett Bartholomew  10:18  

So I mean, with that Kendall, you know, you’re a mother, you’re a business owner, you’re so many things. And I have to imagine that at least at the beginning, and maybe it is now right, I’m coming at this from a naive perspective. And I want you to bring our audience into this. I’m sure it’s frustrating when you’re all these other things, that people see you in your wheelchair. And they immediately have these mixed emotions. We’ve had somebody on the show before, that had cerebral palsy. And, you know, they just said, it always threw them through a loop when somebody was like, I don’t know what to call you. And he goes, Well, you can just call me Matt, you know, like, and so how long did it take for you to adjust that? I mean, obviously, you’re dealing with it in your own life, and you’re saying, holy crap, you know, now I’m in this situation, I’ve got to adjust to this new reality. But also making sure that when you went into a room, you were able to own that, and you made it clear, like, you know, I don’t need attention. I don’t need pity. I don’t need anything of this. This is not the thing that defines me. Right? Was there, I have to imagine that happened in stages for you. And that was something that frustrated you to some degree, or am I wrong? I mean, can you talk to me about how 


Kendell Bachik  11:23  

you’re spot on, I mean, I think that when anyone, you know, sees themselves one way, and then you have a life altering traumatic event, and who you are, is no longer that person, it takes you a while to find your new you if you will. And when I used to look in the mirror and see myself in the wheelchair and see myself slumped over just, you know, the way that my hands worked, and it was really demoralizing. And I think until I found a community of other people that were living this injury alongside me, it didn’t really connect for me, I think a lot of it had to do with not only the emotional healing, but the physical healing. And as I began to have those two components together through this program that I went to out in California, I was just, you know, I had no path forward, I had no identity, I would look in the mirror and not even see myself because I didn’t feel myself. But then once I began to regain strength amongst others, I think all of us as people, we just want to belong. And when you have these injuries, everything you knew is taken and everyone’s so fearful, they kind of shy back and you don’t know where you belong. And I think once I found this community of individuals that was battling their neurological injury disease alongside me, we all finally had a sense of belonging again, and then through that belonging, we found strength in one another. And then through those emotional strengths, we found the physical strength. And it just, it really set me back on track. And I think the biggest thing for me, and learning all of this is the difference in being empathetic towards people in this situation versus being compassionate. Empathy lacks the tool to do anything you just look at, you just see the people in the store that just looking to smile at me while grocery shopping, or you know, the, you know, the guy that runs over awkwardly to, you know, help me in my car. They’re very empathetic. And that’s really sweet. But they’re not being compassionate in the sense that they’re not allowing me to empower myself. I think something my family did really early on was that Compassionate Leadership in the sense of they will be, we’re here for you, we wish he could take this for you from you. But you have to begin to to heal from this because you’ve got to move forward. And so I think that that once I found a path forward, and I was surrounded by others that were battling this, too, that’s where I began to find myself. And that’s where I began to find a purpose. And that’s where I begin to not worry about the looks and the smiles and the you know, the things where people want to cater to you because you’re in a wheelchair.


Brett Bartholomew  14:09  

Yeah. And you use some, I mean, there’s some golden content within that the terms belonging and compassion are huge. One belonging I certainly can appreciate. I mean, there were many, many periods in my life where, you know, I felt lost or confused. And I think, you know, one area that I finally came into my own is when I went to college, you know, in high school, I never really, my brother and I had very different experiences in high school. He loved High School, like, that was his thing. What have you high school was a time where I went through my hospitalization. I was kind of an anxious kid, I knew I kind of want to do more in the world, which is a weird thing to think about in high school. But you know, then when I got into college, I found all these other people who were interested in different things where a lot of my high school friends it was either kind of drinking drugs or sports and that just you know, that’s phases some high school kids go through that. I didn’t have that I had the sports part of it but not the other pieces. And in college, I started to feel like I belonged right in different other areas of my life when I worked with military, you know, hearing their stories about why they joined the military, and even now, you know, because that’s a population we work with. And that’s when I first started working with adapted athletes. You know, we had members of the military, that were in wheelchairs, we had members that had both legs, you know, not just both legs gone, but an arm gone and a leg gone. 


And, you know, when I started training these guys, I mean, I’d have groups of, you know, combine or NFL or major league baseball players, and then I’d have to go work with adaptive athletes, and you just cut you knew right away. I mean, at first, you’re not sure how to approach it. You know, as a young coach, it was my first time I knew this, I’m not going to draw attention to it. My stepfather has polio. And when I met him for the first time, I remember asking my mom and I was super young, I’m like, yo, do I? Do I shake his hand? Because it’s in his right hand? Do I not? Is he uncomfortable with it? And she’s like, it’s nothing different. So I just got used to that, right, you see these things? And you get used to it, you realize, like, Hey, see beyond that. And I think it’s important because we can hear about it. And during a time where we talked about so many types of inequalities and injustices and commute what, essentially boil down communication based issues? You’re right, Kendell, like, you need to understand the difference between empathy and compassion. I never felt bad for these people, and they never wanted me to. It isn’t empowerment, you know, like, when working with these athletes, it wasn’t like, Hey, do this for me. It was like, No, I need to learn to do it myself. Because that’s the reality in which I live yet. and I want to ask you this. It’s funny, because sometimes you almost get punished if you’re a leader for not being empathetic, right? By the greater audience. They’ll be like, Oh, well, you should be more patient, you should do this, yet the people we work with and the people we lead off, and if it’s the right fit, or like, No, I want to be pushed, I want to be challenged. Like I don’t need your pity, you know, where do you stand on that, like, in terms of what society thinks and tells us to do and how to lead? Versus you being somebody who’s self driven? Right, have like, really high level of self efficacy, all these things? Where do you feel like that line is?


Kendell Bachik  17:05  

You know, yeah, I mean, everything you just said is like, absolutely the, I think something that’s very unique about the training program, and the training facility that we have created, is that difference in that delicate balance between the empathy and the compassion, individuals that have been through this injury, they lose a lot, and they rely a lot on other people to help them you know, get to where they have to be, there’s a lot of things that you don’t see outwardly that affect people on a day to day basis. So when they have appointments with us at React, you know, we hold them accountable to that. And, you know, sometimes the compassionate thing is to not back down and to make sure like you do show up for your appointment. And if we need to adjust once you’re here based on you know, situations, we absolutely can pivot, but you can’t just make excuses and not be held accountable just because of everything that you’ve been through. And that has backfired. Sometimes there are people that say Kendell just does too mean, she sticks to her guns too much she does, she doesn’t understand. And it’s, you know, that’s the part where I laugh a little, like, I don’t understand, what are you talking about, I’ve been through this myself. Um, but I held myself to certain standards, and I’m certainly going to hold those to you as well. And I think if you stick with me, you will actually thank me in the end, when you have, you know, overcome those hardships, and you’re now back on track with things. But yeah, I mean, that that that has come to haunt me sometimes being more of that compassionate leader versus the empathetic and wanting to sit there and wallow in their pains. And while there is very much a moment for all of that, I still myself have moments where I play the whiny or I’m just so frustrated that I can’t, you know, run alongside my daughter at the beach. Um, you know, there is a space for empathy, but it’s not somewhere you want to stay. And I think that’s a really unique thing that we do at React is that compassion and we put that power back into our clients, instead of letting them just get away with all the excuses.


Brett Bartholomew  19:12  

And that’s when they I want to dive a little bit more deeply into because when we hear about and one I want our audience to know more about React. And I’m always curious, despite the fact that conversations I’ve had with you and your husband Ryan, you know, there’s a simple truth and it’s uncomfortable. There’s a stigma around anytime we hear the word neuro, you know, when I first came into the performance field, there were people that use the term neuro to make almost anything seem more complicated, sexy, right? It was like the buzzword of the time like and we see it in a lot of different fields. It’s certainly not just performance, we hear about neuro linguistic programming, we hear about all these other kinds of things. And, you know, there’s been people who as there is in every field, use that term, they bastardize it they make a lot lot of claims, hey, we’ll get you to walk again, we’ll get you to do this. And they kind of broadly state these things right to people that have been in similar situations to people whose lives are massively impacted. I mean, on a separate yet somewhat related note, I mean, I even look at my father and my father’s got tremendous kind of spinal issues. And he’s always like, hey, what do you think about these places that claim this and claim that I’m like, Dad, the same thing you would claim, you would think about people that claim somebody can just get in the stock market, because he was a financial advisor for 40 years, and they’re just gonna get rich from day trading. And that’s common I go, that sounds like bullshit, it usually is, you know, talk to me about that, talk to me about how you guys went into a space that you believe in, that you’ve done, the research for you’ve lived yet, you know, is filled with charlatans, and how you navigate that, because if you just attack them, you take away from you, 


Kendell Bachik  20:54  

you’re like the crazy one. 


Brett Bartholomew  20:55  

And we see that already, in so many professions, people lose track of what they’re doing, because they’re so busy fighting everybody else, how have you guys approached that whole thing. And in answering this, please give us a little bit more background about what you guys do at your facility?


Kendell Bachik  21:13  

Sure, I’m starting on the neuro space in general, I think as neuroscience has progressed, and we’ve begun to understand that the brain is not as plastic as we once thought it’s not so black and white, there’s actually quite a bit of gray. there are naturally a lot of locations, facilities, professionals, that are excited around the neuroscience and the neuroplasticity. And so it is a very trendy space. And then you also couple that with a lot of people that get into this get into it, because someone they love was impacted by this, that does not mean that you’re going to be good at it. And that does not mean that you know, the business side of things, it just means that you have the passion. There is a lot of muddied, you know, techniques, facilities, there’s a lot of bad stuff out there, even though it’s all coming from a good place. there is a lot of seeing something on the internet or social media and replicating that without understanding why. And when you are training the nervous system, the great things about it, that it is, you know, plastic that you can repair it that can become maladaptive, too, you can do more harm than good. So it’s really hard to sit here as someone that lives this injury and then also has a facility that is offering services to this population of a change. And to see all the bad ones out there, but you got it, you just got to stay focused. 


So React is a nonprofit. And we offer, we have strength and conditioning coaches and therapists, and it is a collective, where everyone that comes together on our team is driven by our shared mission and our shared vision to really change this narrative and change the recovery potential around these neurological diagnoses. But then, we have a unique mindset of actually listening to our clients, trying to get to understand their strengths and weaknesses, what they want to accomplish, and blending all of their personal needs and wants and desires with our knowledge and our tools and our ability to shape a recovery program that actually is customized to them. And not just following some flowchart or following this compensatory narrative that is just so frustrating in the traditional community of like, accept it, adapt and move forward, we just like go at it and say, you know, screw all that here’s some principles that we know about the body, here’s what we know, from our creative expertise and strength and conditioning. Here’s what we know about your individual goals needs and where you’re at, let’s go. And that shift of empowerment and hope accompanied with tools and knowledge, make react really, really unique. you know, as far as other competitors in our space that are muddying it, I think the most important thing that we can do here at React and what Ryan and I can do with our vision, is to stay focused and try to scale and reach the families and the coaches out there in the world. And teach them are good. And then allow them to go home to their communities in their professions and bring what we’ve taught them so we can hopefully grow the stronger side of this and maybe slowly the other ones will lead away.


Brett Bartholomew  24:51  

Yeah, not definitely not in your control, right. You just have to focus on your thing. Here’s, something I know some of our audience has to be wondering and Even I’m fascinated by. So let’s say you go in there, right? You’ve had a catastrophic accident and heaven forbid, right? But let’s say you did. And obviously, this is part of your story. So you did. And you’re working on this stuff, like, what does that even look like, right? Because you can paint this with a broad canvas. Like, for example, if somebody goes to workout, they have a general idea, okay, I’m supposed to foam roll, I’m supposed to warm up, I’m supposed to do this, if somebody is going on a date, they know they should shower, they know they should dress, they know they should brush their teeth, there’s so many things that we know the process of that thing. But when it’s like, Hey, you’re in this wheelchair, and we’re gonna work on everything from a neural standpoint, to try to enhance the functionality you do have, and maybe even, you know, get you out of this are less dependent on this, where the healthiest start, and I understand just so it doesn’t feel like there’s pressure on you. That’s different to everybody. So feel free, I want to get to where you started.


Kendell Bachik  25:55  

Sure. Um, when I first rolled into the program that we’ve replicated, I just looked around and was in complete shock that this place was an actual gym. And it didn’t, it wasn’t like, you know, two tables, and you know, a couple weights and you know, weight stacks, and it was like, spin bikes, and, you know, like vibration platforms. And like just there was a girl on an upright spin bike, and I’m like, she cannot possibly be paralyzed. Because we can’t do that. And she sure enough, at a C five spinal cord injury from skiing down a mountain was absolutely paralyzed and was pedaling that thing on her own. And I was just like, wow. I know, it’s incredible. And honestly, when I first had my injury due to how high up it is, I’m technically considered a C six, spinal cord injury, they told my family that the most I should hope for was to be able to feed myself independently, and that I would require around the clock caregivers. And it might at some point make sense for our family to look at assisted living. And then I go into a space like this, and people are crawling and walking and riding bikes. And I’m like, wow. So where do you start on all that? Basically, there’s some fundamentals of you know, the way that you train a nervous system. And they really just revolve around lots of repetition, and movement. And so all of our program starts around that now we have a lot more expertise, when it comes into it, I’m just really simplifying it. But we basically listen to their goals, then we do a couple little tests to sort of see what traces and what feedback we’re getting from the nervous system. And then we just pound it, pound it and pound it with all of the tools and knowledge we’ve experienced over these last 10 years. And then just we combine it with keeping it interesting because people have to come. Repetition is the key to making progress here. So people come for years and years if they can and so you got to keep it interesting, because if the mind is not engaged in this recovery, it’s just not going to happen. So that


Brett Bartholomew  28:07  

I mean, like we’re going to continue to dive into it, right? A lot of it is stimulus response, right? Like, we know that even for example, my son, right 11 months at the time of this recording, and you know, he’s standing, he’s not walking, but we know that there’s a step reflex. And we know that even when he wasn’t standing, we could move his legs independently right now, even though at that point in time, he didn’t have conscious awareness of how to move his legs in a coordinated fashion. We know that there’s a neural response to when we move his legs in a coordinated fashion for him. Yeah, we know that there’s degrees of freedom that the body and this wonderful computer up in our that we’re born with is assessing Hey, what’s going on everything from if I tickle the bottom of his foot, the Babinski reflex to touching his head, there’s, there’s things firing. So you know what I want to orient from our audience because I don’t want either you or I to get lost in jargon speak because we’ll nerd out. But what I want people to appreciate and what I want you to kind of verify or just, you know, say no, that’s not the case at all. So the woman that was on the spin bike, let’s say I’m on the bike, and I can’t use my legs, right? I’m legitimately paralyzed, can’t use my legs, you know, just by moving it, whether it’s we know we can’t do it independently. But if you guys facilitate the stroke of those pedals, and my legs are now going through that range of motion,


Kendell Bachik  29:28  

and that is exactly how it starts that that range that motion, that repetitive, that is the task specific, over and over and over stuff that your body and your brain need to learn rewire, so to speak. So in the beginning of the anyone on these spin bikes, you get them up there and you secure them in place. And then the coaches take one foot each because it’s so important to keep joints in proper alignment while you’re doing this because again, if you don’t and you’re doing that with good with a pedal for you, and then the weight of the wheel also continues to move it and then the body mechanics of shifting your hip from side to side. So it’s a lot of like cheating, if you will, in order to get that movement, and then the movement is continued by the trainers. But the hope is, and for some people over time, that passes and becomes a little bit more of, you know, there’s a little bit of a signal firing through there now. And so now I can do part of the movement, I can push a little, I can’t necessarily pull it back up, but I can push to the weight of the wheel pulls it, and then you know, just over time that progression happens, just like the developmental movement, that you were just talking about Bronson. You know, it’s like, you know, he doesn’t know that his legs are going like that. But eventually it all gets put together. And then he puts that together. And then we follow those same patterns in our facility to help reform your ability to do these things that you, you know, used to take for granted.


Brett Bartholomew  30:58  

Yeah, I mean, we even see it with and I know I’ve mentioned a couple times on this podcast, and you know about our my neighbor who had a brain tumor that literally burst. And you know, she had a midline shift in her brain, I basically started on this side, even though this is a time of year at the time, I’m recording this, I don’t typically take on athletes or anything like that, and focus more on art of coaching and our consulting in our communication psychology part of the business. You know, I helped her with her rehab. And she, I mean, she had to learn how to walk again, she had to learn, she couldn’t squat stand up anything. Again, this is a woman who, you know, had full capacity of her body prior to this, right, she’s in her 40s, she came and my wife used to kind of train her in the garage, they’re just good friends of ours that are neighbors that are trying to embrace the active lifestyle. And now here I am, you know, I started doing water Wednesday’s with her, because we had to go back to some of the most remedial stuff, removed her body weight, essentially, or percentages of it, because she couldn’t go through it. And even when she couldn’t like, perform a certain task, I’d have to get her into these ranges of motion, I’d have to kind of do these things. And we started seeing that neural firing. And I think, you know, again, we don’t want to muddy it. For people that aren’t used to the term neural, all we all we’re talking about here is sending a signal removing signal from noise and, putting people in positions of self discovery and exploration. Right?


Kendell Bachik  32:16  

Yeah, it’s just getting that energy back into life that’s almost been dead, because it’s just sedentary. You know, exercise is medicine, movement is medicine, and our bodies are meant to move. And when these things happen, and we aren’t given those freedoms, we need other people to help us move our bodies, and it’s through that, that you can build, and start to then actually create movement where you didn’t have it. 


Brett Bartholomew  32:42  

Yeah. And I think it’s it’s a, it’s a construct, that should make sense to anybody. If we know one thing that’s not going to help anybody dealing with any level of paralysis is not sending any kind of signal. Just like if you have a business right now that’s been hit by COVID. Not trying anything, not experimenting with anything is obviously going to create entropy, a failed relationship, not communicating, not saying the things you wish you would have said, is not going to create stimulus. So it’s just hey, we have no guarantee that these things are going to work. But we know that if we can flood the system in a strategic way with a variety of stimuli, whether it’s lights, whether that’s a range of motion, whether that’s forms of vibration, whether that’s forms of this, we can maybe start to reinvigorate aspects of this otherwise dormant system, are you going to be able to think Go ahead, go ahead.


Kendell Bachik  33:29  

No, I was just gonna say like, it’s that narrative right there that I think frustrates me more than anything, and is one of the biggest things that Ryan and I want to do with breaking off and creating basic methods, which is our last our family name. And giving a personal voice to this journey, is one of the biggest things we want to change is that narrative, that narrative of like, when you have this injury, you are literally the first thing out of their mouth is to hope for very little hope is just immediately taken. And then after they take your hope. They tell you, you need to accept it and move forward. I don’t think anyone’s ready to accept anything right after like, when your mom passes, you’re not going to accept that right away. When you get a cancer diagnosis. You’re not going to accept that right away. Why in the world, are we telling people after a brain injury or a spinal injury or multiple sclerosis diagnosis, they need to accept it right away like, so they take away your hope. They tell you to accept it. And then they tell you that most of these people around you that you love are going to be gone in a few years because your future is really hard. Oh, okay, so now I’m supposed to go off and fight for my life again, like no people are just defeated and deflated. And if we can change that narrative and say, Listen, there is a path forward. How much you will regain physically is really unknown. We have a lot of great tools. We have a lot of knowledge and we have a lot of opportunity, and we’re going to give you everything we have. But we’re certainly going to empower you to believe in yourself and fight ain’t a path forward. And that is what Ryan and I want so badly to change, because I don’t feel like there’s any other spaces where you have such a bleak and in the narrative, it’s like, I always say to people like, What if people were going into, you know, disadvantaged communities as far as like economically disadvantaged, and going to their school systems and high school and saying, You know what, guys, the likelihood of many of you going to college is bleak. And those of you that do get in probably won’t finish. So just, you know, what don’t even apply? I mean, no way, would we say that? So I think for Ryan and I, that is the biggest thing, in addition to the training itself is getting this narrative to change of like, Yeah, this is awful. I mean, this is one of the worst things you can go through. However, there’s a community of people behind you, there is hope. And there are options, and we just have to sort of time will tell what that looks like.


Brett Bartholomew  35:59  

Yeah, and I think you know, so much of this ties into, I’m glad to use the word narrative Kendell, because it ties into communication. A lot of this is just the way doctors, surgeons, and people in medical fields tend to communicate, and it’s something they know, you know, this is a cornerstone of my research. One of the articles I dove into a while back is specifically talking about oncology people that work with various forms of cancer, as you know, how they go about bringing science to the art of delivering bad news, and it talks about it. And I’m going to quote here from a recent article, they basically say, you know, it says the body of research revolving the skills needed to communicate effectively with patients over the past 30 years has primarily focused on the provider, which means that a lot of time first of all, there used to be no training for anybody in medical personnel, they just focused on what they did, right? If it was a surgeon, you focus on the body and cutting and the injury and what have you, then people started realizing, and again, this isn’t subjective. This is actually peer reviewed research that shows if there’s poor communication, anything like that, that patients not only feel like they got lower quality of care, they feel like they’re just overall less informed, you use the key term less hopeful, and they’ve actually showed and you people can consider it placebo or not. But we know in many cases, placebo is real, poor communication with a doctor has actually increased the recovery times of treatments that are equal in scope and scale and the nature of the issue, you know, and so it just talks about these things. And there’s so much evidence saying that medical practitioners need better communication, because they will say these things, they’ll say, Hey, I got told when I had back surgery, you should never lift again. I got told, I mean, just the other day I’m getting in two weeks, at least from this recording, I’m getting shoulder surgery to fix an injury. That was a contact related injury from five years ago, I was doing a Turkish get up. And two soccer players that were on this field that I was training on. were messing around and right as I was standing up, one, push the other one into me. And so my shoulder subluxed, and it ended up being a massive labrum tear and what have you, and I’ve kind of dealt with it for five years. But the bottom line is, you know, the doctor just the other day, and I’m keep in mind, this is my business now focusing on communication. So I’m sitting here with bated breath waiting to hear what he says, because I know it’s coming. And I’m like, No. And I asked him the question, you know, I say, hey, you know, what’s your take on timeline, knowing that it’s just and he’s like, Listen, your days are lifting heavy weights, maybe over and I’m like, No, you’re talking to somebody. It’s been a strain coach for 15 years, and I’ve helped people that have been blown apart by RPGs, understand how to put weight overhead. I’ve lived through the whole baseball thing of all major league baseball players should never lift heavy weights, yet, we see that as they get stronger, right? They have more stability in a socket. But the point is Kendell, you’re spot on. like, when we think about what is the very first thing people experience after traumatic events, it’s usually communication with a health care provider and they plant that seed, they plant that seed of either lay here, here’s what you can hope for and ran what like what you said, and if I’m quoting correctly, they said, Hey, you’re gonna be lucky, best case scenario, if you can feed yourself, and you’re probably going to need care that sets the stage for horrendous things to come and lack of self belief if you’re not somebody who’s supremely self confident.


Kendell Bachik  39:29  

Sure, and our whole lives, we’re sort of taught, like, really trust these doctors. I mean, you go to a doctor and they’re supposed to be the experts in your health.


Brett Bartholomew  39:41  

That’s the one Oh, trust me.


Kendell Bachik  39:43  

Yeah. And then you like, are hearing all of this and you’re just like, I have no my inner voice is just really telling me that this cannot be this just simply cannot be. And what is so unique is that strength coaches understand the body Very well, they love to be creative. And so when you can find the right coaches that have that skill set, and then you remove them from this medical predisposition, and you just teach them these principles of plasticity, and you teach them the way the nervous system can respond, they don’t have that narrative and that mindset, and they’re willing to kind of go above and beyond. And what is sad is, I have found that when I personally told my doctors and therapists about going to this program, they were like, oh, you know, tread very carefully. Those are not licensed clinicians, they shouldn’t really be doing this, you could really get hurt. And truth be told, I never got hurt. People are very cautious. We require things like bone density, we have skin check policies, like we’re very aware of our population. And we’re very, very cautious. But we’ve pushed that envelope, we push that narrative, and we’re not going to stop at Oh, you’ll probably never we’re just gonna see what happens.


Brett Bartholomew  41:05  

Yeah, and I think, you know, it’s interesting that doctors say those things, because, you know, really, for a very long time, it isn’t until relatively recent history, doctors have tried some crazy things, you know, in the 18th. I mean, there’s vast literature talking about the radical treatments, not just from like the 1400s in the 1500s. But the late 1800s, early 1900s. I think I’ve mentioned it on the podcast before but, it’s worth mentioning it again in you know, I’m doing some research for the next book I’m writing and we came across something that talked about in 1685. King Charles the second you know, is sick and basically he received well, at the time was considered cutting edge medical care from the top 14 men in the field that are these trustworthy medical men, right? This is what they did you ready for this? They shaved his head and applied blistering agent to his scalp. fed him gallstones from a goat had him drink 40 drops of extract from a dead man skull gave him a strong laxative forced him to vomit violently applied an enema containing what’s known as the inter alia, of the animal that made him drink sacred bitters, rock, salt, beet root, fennel seeds, so on and so forth. And again, I know I’ve talked about this, but some things bear worth repeating. And here’s the scariest thing, what we saw with kind of quack practices then, is what we’re seeing with some people not understanding the power of communication during these treatment processes. Now, I mean, think about it. And I want to get your take on it. You have to deal with difficult personalities, people that are dealing with self doubt, and all this, but how scary is this? So in the medical community has now said, Yeah, we know that we need to take communication training, because we’re dealing with complex subjects. Yeah, they were talking about a study in Japan that out of 153, doctors who were available in these two institutions that were told they have communication, training programs that could decrease litigation, enhance patient recovery, decrease patients, anxieties, understanding all these kinds of things. Only 30 agreed to participate 30 out of 100. And, and that’s what I I’d like to get your take on and I’m not looking for any kind of answer here. I’m just looking for whatever you think, why do you think it is you having been someone that was communicated with horribly, horribly? Why do you think it is we’re so bad at that, and not only that, we’re so woefully unaware of how bad we are at communicating with people that are dealing with these things? Or just in general?


Kendell Bachik  43:35  

Ah, you know, I think it’s twofold. I think, first and foremost, the medical community takes for granted their patients, because there will always be people sick and people in need of a doctor. And they don’t value their customers, so to speak, because when our life is in peril, or no and we don’t we have to go to a doctor. So I remember a couple of doctors touring react. And during the tour, we had an actual client pop in a potential client in a wheelchair pop in, and him and his family asked for a tour. So Brian and I split up, he hung with the doctors while I went off with the new family. And at the end of it, there was like a doctor that had a tear in her eye and she was like that was the most compassionate thing I’ve ever seen. You just spent almost 45 minutes giving this family a tour and explaining your program. There is no way in the world is doctors that we would ever be given that grace to sit with a family like that. And it was like we literally just take our patients for granted. So I think almost the like when posed to a doctor of like, Would you like to better yourself through communication there? Like why do I even need to like patients are always going to come to me whether I’m a good communicator or not. I think that’s one element of it. And then secondly, I’ve had several therapist Because tell me, they don’t actually even care about their bedside manner. I had one that worked for me. And she point blank said, I could care less about my bedside manner, all I care about is being the best therapist I can be. And I’m like, That’s interesting that you look at it that way that you think your gift and tools are only in the therapies in the modalities and not how you resonate within the heart of someone. So I think maybe it’s just a combination of taking for granted that people will always need them. And then feeling like, their most important asset is the life saving component or the, tools of their hands versus the tools of their heart and their mouth.


Brett Bartholomew  45:45  

So here’s what I wonder with that, how has it changed? How was the way you were communicated with change the way that you are aware of these things? And how do you translate that into when you deal with people that maybe, you know, they come in? They’re clients of yours, and they’re, maybe their expectations are off? Maybe their emotions are high? Still, you know, obviously, when dealing with people you’re going to, in any field, we’re going to have that right? People have misplaced expectations, people who are angry, even our star clients, or customers or what have you, after a while, can get irritated and angry? How do you resolve those forms of conflict? What is it made you more aware of as a practitioner, and just how you address these kinds of things?


Kendell Bachik  46:28  

You know, I think that I always just tread on, you know, people lack an understanding of how to deal with this, because there’s no textbook. So you know, when you go through this, and it’s like, how are you? You know, what did that feel like? Or how is this? When did you get this and it’s like, there’s no textbook, there’s no help and explaining any of it. So I think just that human element of me having lived this injury, and sitting in front of someone, and being very open and honest, and just sharing my experience, in and of itself, that moment, you can see people sort of let their guard down. And then they want to know, you know, am I going to make the recovery you made, or am I going to walk again, and honestly, my response is, like, I haven’t given up on walking, I know someone that it took seven years for them to learn to ReWalk, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to walk again. But that doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped because it’s so important to not lose sight of, you won’t ever be able to walk again, even if science has this breakthrough cure for us, if in the meantime, you’ve been taking care of your body, and your bones are no longer strong enough to hold you up your muscles don’t even lengthen your, your hip flexors have shortened into the seated position along with your hamstring. So for me, it’s like, you know, I want that for you, I want that for myself. you know, I don’t have a magical pill or, you know, I can’t look into the future and tell you, but I can certainly say, let’s not give up on that goal. And in the meantime, let’s be healthy and half happy, let’s Thrive let’s, you know, let’s do all the things people are saying we can’t do let’s do this together. And just kind of that bond.


Brett Bartholomew  48:14  

Yeah, I mean, listen, all you can do is hope to relate, I always talked about research relate, refrain if you can seek to understand where they’re coming from, if you can be straightforward, and Frank, and if you can speak in a language, they understand, right? It gets you closer than, you can everybody is going to have I mean, you’re talking about something deeply personal. I know for me, I would be a miserable person, if my mobility was taken away in many respects, because I have so much energy, that an output a way of me getting that out so I can clarify my thoughts so that I can, you know, do be just be how I am. It’s a part of my being is and I’ve had to deal with that on various micro levels compared to you. But you know, a lot of it comes down to timing, too. I try to urge people when they say, Oh, how can I get this person to buy in? This doesn’t work that doesn’t work. I go timeout. First of all, you know, what influence tactics do you even tend to use? And I use that term? Because that’s what we talked about in a lot of our courses. Like, I asked him to take inventory. I go, are you always trying to rationalize with them? Are you always trying to do you know, are you always trying to some other examples? Do you use Exchange tactics with them? Where it’s a lot of give and take? Is it something where you’re using legitimating tactics where you’re just kind of being more forceful and saying, Hey, this is how it is. These are the rules. There’s, I mean, there’s 10 to 15 different influence tactics we all use on a daily basis that were woefully unaware from. Yet it amazes me when people always think the other person’s the issue, right? Like you can think about the timing your message, how that message is delivered. All these kinds of things. Muddy that up. 


You know, I want to switch gears for a moment because this stuff has been pretty heavy. You’re a mom, and you have a beautiful little girl. Right? How old is Bryn? 


Kendell Bachik  49:56  

She’s four. 


Brett Bartholomew  49:57  

She’s four, you have a dog named cowboy and And how long have you and Ryan been married? 


Kendell Bachik  50:03  

Five years, 


Brett Bartholomew  50:04  

five years. Congratulations on that. Talking to me about the challenges of being a mother in the situation that you’re in and what you know, like, the questions Brynn asks you and what that’s made you kind of how that’s made you look at things differently, maybe that’s how that’s helped you grow. If you wouldn’t mind, if that’s too personal, feel free to let me know,


Kendell Bachik  50:24  

No honestly, after this, I’m such an open book. But you know, I haven’t put a whole lot of thought into that. Honestly. By the time I got pregnant with Bryn, I was really comfortable and confident in who I was. And I think a lot of that came from Ryan, my husband is someone that truly sees past a wheelchair, and truly sees past all these injuries to see the person for who they are. And that’s really powerful. And he tells me every day, how important and how beautiful I am, and how much and so, for those things, I was pretty confident when I got pregnant, and I actually guided my doctors through the whole process, because they were terrified to take me they had never had a spinal cord injured, you know, patient before, they did not believe that I would be able to have her on my own. 


Brett Bartholomew  51:19  

just to clarify, sorry to interrupt. Just to clarify for our audience, you had Bryn After this accident had occurred after you had lost mobility, correct? 


Kendell Bachik  51:27  

correct. I have been now paralyzed for 11 years and Brenna’s four so. Yes, I was very much, you know, you know, not comfortable, but just confident, so to speak in and who I was, and my, you know, physical and emotional stability. So, you know, having a daughter, you know, obviously every new moms really nervous. I think that my pregnancy was just like any pregnancy, my delivery was just like any delivery, other than the fact that everyone in the room thought I was gonna need to be rushed off to the O R for a C section, because I’m paralyzed. And I was able to push out through, you know, the movement, I’ve regained, and everyone was crying and, like, Wow, you’re a true miracle. And I kind of hate that word miracle. Because it’s like, no, this is years and years and years of hard work. And it’s not a miracle that she just came out this way. But, you know, just learning how to have that conversation with Brynn has been really something careful. It’s really cute. She always, you know, sees me fix my legs or stop them from bouncing, and she’ll do it, but she does it for me. And when I’m on the couch or ride around in my wheelchair, and she just to her, it’s completely normal, she doesn’t really know anything else. She does know that, like, I wish that I could walk and she always says Mommy, I hope one day you get walking legs. And she used to think that if she put her shoes on me that my legs within work, and she loves to like look at my scar. And there was a little stuffed animal that my dad gave me in the ICU and my mom told her that story and she just loves that little stuffed animal because she knows it’s the one that I had when I had my accident. So there’s obviously a lot of components of motherhood that she is exposed to that are not the usual that she I think it’s giving her a lot of insight that will serve her well into the future of being more of that of compassionate leader versus empathetic and,  I just feel like that empathy almost takes away your power even more with you that way. And, you know, I just you know, she’ll never really be that way. But, you know, what’s interesting is, I’ve actually gained a lot more upper body and hamstrings by being a mother. When I went in, like a year ago, for just like a regular update with my spinal cord injury doctor, they always do these tests, to, you know, kind of, you know, categorize where you are on their charts. And forever, I’ve always been a C 67. And after motherhood, I am now technically considered a key two because I’ve just gained so much strength in my arms and hands from, you know, adapting and picking her up and doing what you got to do to get it done.


Brett Bartholomew  52:11  

And that’s key, right? We adapt and we always find a way to come through these things. Listen, I am continually always impressed with your story. I there’s so many levels of it not just as you know, I think the biggest thing that always resonated with me is when you guys talked about one of your catchphrases, you know, it’s the human, not the condition. And I know that that was something that inspired me in my own journey. Because there was one point in time where people talked through me just as they saw the symptom of what I was going through as a teenager. It’s what got me interested in communication and social dynamics because when you see somebody as a human not because decision when you see something as a situation problem, and a true, you know, person issue and you look at the complexities of all these things, and you unwrap it, and allows everything else to come together, right? And we start forgetting, a lot of times people think that the micro makes the macro tick. And yeah, for sure it does. And I’ve used that phrase, but it also works in reverse. There’s nothing more complex than the human being. And when you can unlock those things, when you figure out what’s driving somebody, how they perceive something, how they approach something, not just in their professional life, but in their day to day life, as a mother, as a father, as a son, as anything, it gives you a lot of cues of how to approach these things. So that the other things you do do philosophically, technically, what how do you have greater impact? So, you know, I just want to thank you for being willing to talk about these things and sharing them.


Kendell Bachik  55:51  

Absolutely. I’m on a mission and you’re going to change this narrative, and we’re going to change the way we train folks.


Brett Bartholomew  55:59  

No doubt within that if people want to support your work if they want to learn more about everything you guys are doing. Maybe they’re an aspiring practitioner in the neuro field, maybe they know somebody who is in a wheelchair or had a catastrophic accident, and they’ve lost hope, anything. Maybe they just want to come visit and say thanks for what you’re doing and what is the best way to reach you? How do they learn more? How do they support everything you and Ryan are doing?


Kendell Bachik  56:23  

Sure, um, well, React is our nonprofit. And then Bachik methods is our more personal or family voice are routine. So you can visit or They are one another Same, same mission, same vision, one’s just a nonprofit arm and the other is like more of our personal voice and experience. So and then basic is very confusing how it’s spelled B, A, C, H, I K.


Brett Bartholomew  56:53  

Yeah, hopefully, it won’t be too confusing, because your name will be front and center on the podcast episode. So if you guys, when in doubt, guys look at your screen, and it’ll show you exactly how to spell Bachik


Well, Kendell, I appreciate you deeply. These things are critical. And guys, make sure you support their work. And most importantly, make sure you guys download the podcast reflection episodes, there’s going to be some questions on there that ask you guys, maybe things that you take for granted, or a things that you don’t think you take for granted. But you know, if you reevaluate them a little bit differently, you could see how your approach could change and more importantly, how do you communicate and how do you want to be communicated with during times of chaos during times of uncertainty during times of doubt, you’ll learn a lot about yourself by doing these reflection sheets. Thank you to Ali Kirshner for what she does, thank you to Kendell Bachik for coming on. And thank you guys for listening. Until next time, it’s the art of coaching podcast Brett Bartholomew Kendell Bachik, signing off.

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