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:

WebPT + Billing Software - Regular BannerWebPT + Billing Software - Small Banner

Mind

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?

Body

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?

Environment

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).

  • articleJan 7, 2014 | 3 min. read

    January Founder Letter: It’s Time for a Cultural Resolution

    In 2011, the entire WebPT team sat in a conference room (we were a much smaller team back then) to reflect on the previous year—what we did well, what we wanted to improve upon, and what our goals were for the new year. One of those goals? Define and document who we were and wanted to be as a company. In other words, our company culture. So, the following year, in that same conference room, we poured …

  • 3 Steps to Avoid the Bad-Hire Blues in Your Practice Image

    articleApr 14, 2016 | 6 min. read

    3 Steps to Avoid the Bad-Hire Blues in Your Practice

    Hiring the right person for your practice can be tricky, because if you want to find a true “gem,” you have to evaluate more than a person’s qualifications. You have to hire for good culture-fit , too. And unfortunately, that’s a quality you aren’t going to find on any job board—or even a resumé, for that matter. This special “it” factor is something you have to intentionally look for during the hiring process. So, why is culture …

  • Creating a Culture Commitment: How to Document Your Practice’s Core Values  Image

    articleJan 14, 2014 | 5 min. read

    Creating a Culture Commitment: How to Document Your Practice’s Core Values

    Yesterday, I explained the importance of establishing and defining your practice’s core values —the foundation of your company culture. At the end of that post, I asked you to identify your practice’s core values and jot down rough definitions for each. Today, I’ll discuss how to document those values and their definitions in a well-written, easily distributable format. Why Before I leap into the how, though, I want emphasize why you should document your practice’s core values. …

  • 6 Steps to Giving Meaningful Feedback in the Workplace Image

    articleSep 26, 2016 | 7 min. read

    6 Steps to Giving Meaningful Feedback in the Workplace

    Feedback is a funny thing. Everyone loves to receive it, but no one likes to give it. And that spells trouble. Because without feedback, there is no improvement; and without improvement, relationships fail—especially in business. After all, employees leave managers, not companies . That’s right; at the end of the day, employees disengage and eventually quit because of poor relationships with their coworkers and leaders. And the root cause of that failed partnership often is feedback—or lack …

  • The No-Stress Formula to Successful Hiring Image

    articleJan 25, 2016 | 2 min. read

    The No-Stress Formula to Successful Hiring

    Does the pressure of filling an open job position have you sweating bullets? Matching a candidate’s skills and abilities to a particular role is no easy feat, but my hiring process strategy can help you shed some of the stress. Physical therapists have a process for just about everything—except hiring. And not having a comprehensive hiring process can be costly for your practice—not only in terms of money, but also with respect to morale. After all, there’s …

  • Motivation Restoration: How to Effectively Engage Employees in Your PT Clinic Image

    articleOct 8, 2019 | 8 min. read

    Motivation Restoration: How to Effectively Engage Employees in Your PT Clinic

    What if I told you that no single policy or engagement plan would be enough to motivate all of your employees —no matter how good it is? I hope you’re comfortable with your answer to that question, because that’s exactly what I’m telling you. There is no one-size-fits-all master plan that will satisfy the needs of every single one of your employees (unless, of course, you have only one employee or you employ a handful of clones). …

  • Founder Letter: The 8 Toughest Things You'll Have to Do as the Boss Image

    articleJul 7, 2016 | 9 min. read

    Founder Letter: The 8 Toughest Things You'll Have to Do as the Boss

    Whether you manage one or two employees, or sit at the helm of a multi-clinic chain, being the boss is challenging. And based on what I’ve learned in my own experience as both a clinic director and a tech executive, being a good boss is as much about leaning into the tough situations as it is letting go of what we can’t control. So, what difficult scenarios have I had to lean into—and let go of? Here …

  • Year of the Monkey? More Like Year of Metrics Image

    articleJan 7, 2016 | 7 min. read

    Year of the Monkey? More Like Year of Metrics

    Welcome to 2016! As we kick off another year of informative blog content, the Chinese zodiac calendar also resets—and 2016 is the Year of the Monkey. Those born in monkey years—including yours truly—are said to possess such character traits as cleverness and curiosity. We monkeys are playful, and we thrive on challenge. The monkey is just one of 12 Chinese zodiac signs, though, and each sign has its own characteristics. (You want to research your sign now, …

  • Cultivating Company Culture in Your Practice Image

    webinarJan 30, 2014

    Cultivating Company Culture in Your Practice

    “Culture” is fast becoming a buzzword in the business world. Not only does it help top companies hire—and retain—quality talent, but also it’s emerging as one of the best indicators of and reasons for success. In this month’s webinar, find out: Why culture is such a big deal for businesses How you can establish and maintain the right one for your practice How to hire for cultural fit Ways to demonstrate your culture online and in your …

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