What is the ONE thing you should be doing?

career Oct 21, 2018

I’m sitting on an airplane right now.  I have been for a little over an hour and that’s after sitting in the airport for seven hours.  I’m not worried about the flight taking off as much as I’m worried about the upcoming week. I have a lot to accomplish and not as much time as I’d like to get it all done.  It is not only that I have a lot of things to do, but I have a lot of different things.  I’m going to write, make slides, film, grade, review material for an upcoming weekend course, and treat patients.  Sometimes I can’t help but think that going in multiple directions is a bad idea. It seems appealing to only have to focus intently on one thing.

Over the weekend, I heard the saying, “He who chases both rabbits catches none.”  I’m certainly chasing more than one rabbit. I found myself questioning not necessarily the amount that’s on my plate, but the variety.  Should I focus on...

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Do PTs need a professional mentor?

mentoring Oct 12, 2018

My career right now is pretty great.  I like what I do, I work with amazing people, and the flexibility allows me to be involved with my four boys on a daily basis.  But, the journey to get here was not a straight line nor a direct route. No, it was more of a wandering path. You could say that I took the scenic route, only the scenery really wasn’t that great at times.  There was a lot of indecision, frustration and really a lack of guidance. So, do PTs need a professional mentor? No, you don’t need one. But, you don’t need a map or a GPS in a new location either, although it helps a ton.  I didn’t have a designated professional mentor through much of my career. However, I believe I would have been able to get where I wanted in my career much faster (and with less disappointment/frustration) if I had a professional mentor.

Here’s how it usually goes… You graduate from PT school and start a new job. On your list of must-haves...

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To The PTs That Wish They Had More Time

productivity Oct 07, 2018

I wish I had more time I thought to myself for the hundredth time.  The last few weeks have seemed to require more time than I’ve had to give and it has been all I could do to stay afloat.  There was no time for reading, my apartment saw disarray reminiscent of my teenage years, and I could barely get the necessities done.  

I’ve been swearing for weeks that “I just need to get myself together.” Yet, the past weeks have not presented any opportunity to do so. Over a year ago I felt similarly and so I tracked how I was using my time.  I remember being shocked that I found 10 extra hours to put toward my two highest values of growth and relationships.  When I did this again recently, some extra time appeared, but not 10 hours.

I think we all wish we had more time.  No matter where we are in life, time always seems scarce.  So, how do we find more time in our already busy days? We don’t find time, we optimize it. And, I...

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The Triple Threat of Quality Mentoring

mentoring Sep 29, 2018

Almost everyone is seeking a great mentoring relationship. Whether you are a mentor or want to be mentored, it can be challenging to foster a high quality mentoring experience. A great mentoring relationship is such an elusive thing.

I have found 3 characteristics of high-quality mentoring relationships. Shared experience, mutual vulnerability, and showing up can result in the meaningful mentor/mentee relationship we all seek.  This triple threat is not something we look for but rather can take steps to develop.

Shared Experience
I think the most important quality of a great mentoring relationship is shared experience. I have always admired those who have served our country. I am amazed at military units who bring people together from all walks of life and geographic locations and yet become and remain best of friends. Certainly shared life-threatening experience causes a relational and emotional bond that can't be described. But I think it goes deeper than that. When you are...

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How to Overcome PT Documentation

burnout Sep 14, 2018

This was NOT how I wanted to spend a Sunday. The previous week’s documentation had piled up leaving me with a screen full of unfinished notes. This was nothing new. It seemed like most nights and weekends were spent catching up on documentation. To say I was annoyed by documentation was an understatement, I was angry over it. And while I was sick of it, I knew there was no escaping it. Yet, there was an escape, just not in the way I hoped….

As we sat in the stands, we argued about when Bon Jovi would play Livin’ On a Prayer. We debated when, not if they would play the song. Bon Jovi can’t do a show without playing their signature song, fans would revolt. That’s when it hit me- how difficult it must be to play the same song over and over with the same intensity as the first time. Bon Jovi first played the song in 1985 and most recently played it September 2018 during their current tour. It cannot be enjoyable to play a song upwards of 1500 times and...

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The Relationship of Wine Tasting and Your Ideal Career

career purpose Sep 07, 2018

The sip of dessert wine tasted amazing especially in contrast to the merlot I had just tried.  The moscato blend was welcomed as it washed away the “cigar and wood notes” of the merlot that the description promised.  After the tasting, we decided that we would buy a glass and sit on the patio.

I didn’t hesitate as I ordered the moscato blend and made my way outside.  Halfway through the glass I looked at it as if it were a traitor. It was nauseatingly sweet.  The first few sips were enjoyable, but with each sip the sweetness became more and more overwhelming.  How could something I had enjoyed so much during the tasting turn out to be so disappointing? Well, I think it is The Taste Test Illusion.

It reminded me of the Pepsi Paradox.  When Pepsi and Coke went head to head in a taste test, most chose Pepsi even though more people reported liking Coke better.  The people weren’t lying when they reported liking Coke more, but...

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What Do You Want To Do?

career Aug 30, 2018


“And that’s why I probably shouldn’t do a residency,” I concluded and looked back at my professor for her reaction.

She paused and I couldn’t tell if she agreed with the list of reasons I had just rattled off or not. 

“Sounds like you’re scared,” was all she said.

Scared!?  Had she not listened to me?  I had just listed poor timing, less financial compensation, increased work requirements, needing to take the boards early... and her reply was that I was scared.

After a long pause, she had me do an exercise… and I want you all to do it as you read.

Give yourself 20 seconds and try and spot every blue item you can in the room.  You’re going to need to remember the items so try to make a mental list.


… Seriously, do it before you keep reading.

Okay, now after reading the next sentence, close your eyes and do what it says:

Close your eyes and recall as many red items in the room as you...

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The Professional Value I Didn’t Know I Had

go first relationships Aug 24, 2018

I had a feeling, but I couldn’t articulate it.
I had a blast, but I didn’t know why.
The projects were hard.
Sometimes they took years.
Many times they were frustrating.
The projects were critiqued.
I was critiqued.
But I enjoyed it.

As part of the Professional Rebellion, we help people complete a values exercise to determine what is most important to them. This provides a foundation to help them live a life and a career that they love. When we created a new version of this exercise, I had to test it out on myself. One of the questions asked me to think about the times in my life that I felt most fulfilled.

As I looked back on my career, I recognized that my deepest fulfillment came from when I was in a group of people seeking to solve a problem or to create something new. We would sit and debate, discuss, get frustrated, and have ideas. These projects were so big they frequently took over a year to complete. Day in and day out we struggled together to achieve small wins...

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How You Make Coffee At Work Says A Lot About You

relationships Aug 16, 2018

Yesterday started as what seemed perfectly.  We’ve recently gotten a new Keurig at work and it has made me look forward to arriving early and making a cup.  So, I came in early and watched as the Keurig brewed my coffee.

The water tank looked low as I hesitantly pressed the start button, hoping that I wouldn’t have to fill it before making my cup.  It used all of the water except for a quarter of an inch at the bottom. I felt a huge triumph as I realized I was in the clear and my cup started filling.  I narrowly dodged having to fill the machine.

I happily sat drinking my coffee until I heard a co-worker complain, “Ugh, no one ever refills this.”  My triumph ended up being a crappy start to her day.

At work, we fall into one of two people- we are the type that refills the Keurig after we’ve used it for the next person or the type that fills it only when we have to refill it for ourselves.  We are the person that...

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The question that floored me

career development Aug 10, 2018

This was no ordinary phone meeting. I thoroughly enjoyed it. What I thought was going to be another phone call about performance systems with a professional sports team turned out to be an engaging conversation about how to improve culture in an organization through your hiring process and through personnel development. But it ended in the most unusual way. I will never forget it.

Phil, I know you are busy and I have already taken 45 minutes of your time, but can I ask one final question.... What books are you reading or what have you currently read that you would recommend?"

WOW! I was floored. This guy is at the top of his profession and was asking me what books I am reading. I told everyone I knew about this conversation and the question at the end. I am a huge subscriber to the leaders are readers concept. But this took my perspective to another level. I even discussed this question with my mentor. Why was this question so impactful to me?

1. The question showed humility


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