I first started thinking about the power of presence as I looked at the pile of mail that had accumulated over the past two weeks while I was traveling. It resonated again when I considered the new exercise routine I’ve started to lose some body fat that somehow just showed up. But it really hit home when one of my team members asked to speak to me about something that was bothering her. To me, this issue had just started, but for her it had been months.

When we fail to stay present, we also fail to notice things around us, causing us to feel like they’ve just magically happened. How does that happen? Could it be that the small choices I make every day are more impactful than I realize? I mean, something must be happening, because on Monday I had no papers on my desk and by Friday I had a stack that looked like I owned a mail marketing company.

There is a word to capture this experience: insidious. It means, “proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects.” Yikes! Without presence, we are doomed to fall prey to the insidious curse of insidiousness.

“It’s easy to forget what’s important, so don’t.” – Jack Butler (Michael Keaton) in Mr. Mom

They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure—don’t ask me who “they” is because I don’t actually know).  But I do know that “they” are wicked smart. And I wholeheartedly agree with their point. But how do we prevent potentially insidious life events? By being aware of what is occurring in and around us. Note that I said in and around us. That means in my mind, in my body, and in my external environment:

Physical Therapist Salary Guide - Regular BannerPhysical Therapist Salary Guide - Small Banner


Being present in my mind requires me to connect with my thoughts. For example, is there a thought or opinion that I didn’t share with someone that may have been valuable to him or her?  Why did I withhold it? Fear? Anxiety? Anger?


Being present in my body means considering how I feel: Am I hungry? Do I need sleep? Better food? More water? But it also means taking note of the physical sensations I experience as a reaction to my environment. For example, as that team member is talking about the issue that is bothering her, I notice that my jaw is starting to feel tight and there is that familiar aching in my right shoulder. Maybe I’m feeling scared? Or frustrated? Or both?


Finally, being present in my external environment means observing what and who is around me. Maybe I become aware that the radio is too loud as I’m trying to talk to someone in the car. Or perhaps I notice that one of my business partners seems to have shut down in the middle of a meeting.

But in a world full of sensory overload, it can be difficult to consciously connect with these internal and external factors at all times. It’s important to check in with your mind, body, and environment on a regular basis by asking yourself these questions:

  1. What have I complained about three or more times that I’ve taken no action to address?
  2. Did I ask for feedback from one of my team or friends to support my growth?
  3. Was there a conversation that I walked away from feeling like I didn’t fully express my feelings or my thoughts?
  4. Did I do one thing today that nurtured my spiritual, emotional, physical, or mental well-being?
  5. Did I laugh today and appreciate at least one thing or person in my life?

These questions continually bring me back to presence in my day-to-day life, and support me in moving past those insidious occurrences. If you think these questions would be valuable to you, please use them. And for more tips on how to maintain your sanity, check out my podcast: The Super Fantastic Leadership Show (specifically episodes 35, 56, and 67).

  • 5 Common Performance Review Methods Image

    articleJan 13, 2016 | 4 min. read

    5 Common Performance Review Methods

    In her Founder Letter this month, Dr. Heidi Jannenga talked about reviewing work performance and providing feedback to the staff in your rehab therapy clinic, stressing the importance of creating consistent and fair performance reviews. While rounds of applause and pats on the back are great, they can’t compete with detailed and data-based evaluations. But if you’ve never provided your staff with formal performance reviews, you may not know your options for doing so. To give you …

  • The 3 Immutable Laws of Direct Access Marketing Image

    articleOct 15, 2014 | 8 min. read

    The 3 Immutable Laws of Direct Access Marketing

    It took expensive membership dues, countless lobbying and volunteer hours, and 25 years, but we finally did it: Direct access to physical therapy services is now available in all 50 states in at least one form or another. It wasn’t easy, so it’s important to take a few moments to celebrate our achievements and raise a glass to all of the passionate physical therapists and physical therapy advocates out there who made it happen. Okay, time’s up—and …

  • Four Ways to Maintain Company Culture as Your Practice Grows Image

    articleJan 20, 2014 | 6 min. read

    Four Ways to Maintain Company Culture as Your Practice Grows

    Your clinic is growing. Not a bad problem to have. But a growing practice does pose some challenges when it comes to maintaining your already great company culture. In fact, it poses quite a few challenges. After all, it’s easy—well, easier—to create and keep a cohesive culture in a small, core team. Once you start forgetting names, however, it’s a whole different story. There’s hope, though. Here are four ways to maintain company culture as your practice …

  • Culture Advice from the Greats Image

    articleJan 8, 2014 | 5 min. read

    Culture Advice from the Greats

    Looking for some pointers to help make your company culture great? Well, look no further. We’ve assembled some fantastic culture advice from the greats. Here are four of the top tips: 1. Document Your Values Senior Writer Charlotte Bohnett will cover how to document your values in a later post, but here’s an anecdote that demonstrates why writing things down is important—especially as your practice grows: “TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie remembers a time when everyone would say …

  • How to Hire for Fit Image

    articleJan 21, 2016 | 2 min. read

    How to Hire for Fit

    How can you find those elusive job candidates who truly are the right fit for your practice? When it comes to building a successful PT practice, hiring good employees isn’t just important; it’s essential. But finding the right candidate for each job often is one of the biggest challenges practice owners face. Why is it so difficult to find someone who’s the right fit? Many times, it’s because finding the perfect person for the job means looking …

  • Can You Hear Me Now? The Physical Therapist's Guide to Giving and Receiving Feedback at Work Image

    webinarJan 5, 2016

    Can You Hear Me Now? The Physical Therapist's Guide to Giving and Receiving Feedback at Work

    Feedback: everyone wants it. Professional feedback, in particular, helps us become better employees, managers, peers, and providers. It’s mission-critical when it comes to improving patient care and exceeding business objectives. Why, then, are we rarely getting the feedback we need or giving others the feedback they deserve? And when we do deliver feedback, why doesn’t it always have the desired effect? On January 26, Dr. Heidi Jannenga will team up with special guest and renowned leadership coach …

  • Four Ways to Fix a Broken Company Culture Image

    articleJan 16, 2014 | 6 min. read

    Four Ways to Fix a Broken Company Culture

    So, you read yesterday’s post , and maybe, just maybe, a red flag—or eight—jumped out at you, felt a little too familiar, or possibly even gave you the chills. And now, you’re beginning to worry because you’re seeing signs that your culture isn’t up to snuff everywhere—in your front office and your treatment area, with your suppliers and your patients. Well, set your worries aside. Of course, a less-than-stellar culture isn’t ideal, but there’s still hope—and time—to …

  • How to be Wildly Successful Without Being a Jerk Image

    articleNov 11, 2015 | 3 min. read

    How to be Wildly Successful Without Being a Jerk

    I consider self-awareness and mindfulness to be the most crucial components to leadership success and healthy organizations. Don’t get me wrong—you can have zero self-awareness, live in stress most of the time, be a total jerk, and still be monetarily successful.  However, if you would like to lead differently and measure the success of your life by more than how well you did surviving the day, please keep reading. I offer a leadership model here that I …

  • How to Create an Employee Recognition Program that Works Image

    articleJan 28, 2016 | 2 min. read

    How to Create an Employee Recognition Program that Works

    Forget about employee-of-the-month parking spots. Here’s how to give your employees the appreciation they really want. As a leader, it’s up to you to keep your staff happy and motivated. One of the easiest—but most often overlooked—ways to do that is through something I call Active Appreciation. Receiving recognition for a job well done feels good—we all know this. And a little intentional appreciation—above and beyond high-fives and gold stars—can go a long way toward increasing employee …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.