Do You Believe You Are a Professional PT?

Do You Believe You Are a Professional PT? 
by Lisa Holland
 Dear PT, This holiday season I am asking Santa to gift you an abundant mentality ofprofessionalism and a deep sense of self worth so that you can Believe in yourself andbecome the smartest PT you can be. I want you to own being a professional physical therapist one hundred percent.”
As a budding writer, national women’s health consultant. public speaker and lately, feminine mentor for creative health oriented Medprenuers ( such as myself) I see the time has finally come for a professional face lift in what sags down the entire profession. This energetic vampire of a persistent inability to have a cohesive conversation on what makes physical therapy so damn special, continues to drain me at times.  As I age into the category of being one of the dinosaurs , I look and see a gap between the dream that never quite figured out a way to be realized and the attitude of personal authority by the whole.
Those who follow my professional page on Facebook know that I am big on giving my audience a Daily K.I.S.S. of tough love, hard truths so I am going to Keep It Super Simple and Spiritually Supportive Click To Tweet but very real.   “The MOST important question to ask when wondering if you are worthy of the pay raise, the prestige and the freedom of calling yourself by your hard earned professional credentials is “Am I a professional PT or am I more comfortable remaining an amateur?” Please do not become offended before reading the rest first because if I made you uneasy you were getting a message from your inner guide that there may be some truth in my statement.
Playing Small is A Choice
Truth is, some people enter into every profession wanting a job and maybe to hide behind a title. Not everyone who is now forced to become a Doctor of PT wants to play the role of primary care provider and that is okay but some are just scared to cross the line from amateur want to be to owning being on a professional team.
The one thing I know that by choosing to play small for a bit too long in my own career,   the monkey mind and the ego got as resistive as a brick wall. It took a bit of effort to prove to myself that my ability to help people thrive in their lives had nothing to do what profession I became.  It has nothing to do with what job I had or my perception of time in my day or what social media guru wants to hang out with me.  There are professional florists, carpenters and physicians and then there are the techs in each career as well but as a holistically oriented professional, I take the power of words on the mind and body seriously. I believe repeating a mantra about yourself over and over words will be felt in deep ways.  Even if you only think of them as a coordination of your vocal cords you feel them on your tongue and lips.  They evoke a vibe that means something, at least they intend to.  Even if you are not into this yogi energy as the world thing like me, you can not deny you have felt their power.
So let’s look at the title Professional verses the title Amateur . It has nothing to do with a certain credential. The word profession comes from the Latin profiteer which means “to profess a belief” ( Swisher and Page, 2013).
This belief is not just that which travels through the mind but it is one that is worn like a radiant suit of armor that shines by ,not only his or her commitment to the calling, but by his or her actions based upon that belief. Now lets look at this in contrast to the word amateur.  According to, The amateur  is defined as ”one who has a taste for “(something). One who is “the lover of” and comes from the French “amateur”. I guess one could call the amateur a bit of a taster at the buffet table. Maybe even a full time dabbler verses a committed athlete to the game?
Playing in The Minors Is Good Too
Don’t get me wrong.  The minor leagues are no joke.  Amateurs work hard to get there. They earn their pay and become captains of their team and entertain the fans who can’t make it to the professional games too but doesn’t it just they seem like they need to always be striving to prove they deserve to be there?  I believe they work harder for respect than I do because I worked harder to map out opportunity. It is as simple as that.  I am not better, just played the game a little smarter so now I have some flexibility in how I can get paid. I hold no one down because they are happy enough at the amateur level but I just happen to know that was not for me.  I saw that glass ceiling in the world of ATC so I decided to add the PT.  When I saw the ceiling pop up again over Physical therapy I decided to being in the yoga. This fire and catalytic creativity was not going to be happy, no matter what I got paid to remain an undervalued player on a AA team so I learned how to get paid professionally in what I knew I could be as a Professional PT and get noticed. I am doing it again as a public speaker now.  I am using my natural strengths of influence and creating coaching programs and cheering for the ones that want to get noticed.  I am using it to shine for the  PT players that are mompreneuer wanna be’s to find me.  The one’s maybe working in those clinics part time with you who have settled because they are not quite sure they have the desire and toughness to play in the big leagues and be the queen of their home just the same.  It has always been simple but I will never say it is easy. There has always been resistance.
Deciding What Glass Ceilings You Believe You Have is A Choice
There are legal boundaries against me cutting open an abdomen to get at some pelvic adhesion I feel but it is not like I think I am proficient enough to perform surgery because I know they are there and can describe a surgical laproscopy and then hold space for them to decide an educated alternative solution. Catalysts know, there will be resistance to their light until the game is over and they have won. It is that simple.  You keep dodging down the field, sometimes you drop the ball but most likely you are the one that scores.  If someone has a mind on being a “Professional PT” then they need to also have their heart set on owning it. Those two levels of personal integrity need to be in receptivity of each other’s message or the internal GPS will lead them down some scary parts of town. So I teach Medprenuers to learn enough about themselves to protect core integrity and to have your body language and professional presence in tune with that wisdom.  I 100% believe in my business PT services as much as my clinical ones. You either believe full time you are a solution or you are feeding into the non solution which at times often feeds into the bigger problem. Don’t get me wrong, you do not need to work actively 24/7.  You do not even need to be the one taking the lead but that is just a matter of how many you care to help, the value you place on your services, the platform you use to deliver them and, the support staff you have.  Despite any one of those choices, Belief in what you bring to the service is necessary to be perceived and respected as a professional… Click To Tweet
Letting go of the Pity Party of the Early 2000’s 
Professionals do not rely on others to validate their dreams or believe in them Click To Tweet. That is amateur level attitude.  In fact, a professional will not get angry when others do not believe in them or when they see their colleagues succeed.  They know it is foolish to bank your goals on external validation and that one PTs success in changing the resistance to receiving our work is everyone’s.  The most ironic thing I have observed in PT is that I actually think the other professions don’t care about us as much as we do about them.  I think some people have way too much anxiety about self worth that was there before they became a PT and I think some of my smartest colleagues, across disciplines started realizing somewhere in the late nineties and early 00’s that allopathic medicine was on a path to implosion.    For example, I realized in 2004, when planning Belly Guru LLC that the war that was being waged between PT and ATC and PT and DC and PT and MD was a bunch of personal fears.  The chiropractors and personal trainers in my area did not sit there for hours scanning my website and fighting my vibe on social media. For a good reason, they don’t have to. First, up until recently, none of us were there and second, insurance made us complacent.  Those competitiors just saw their chance to reach out and take hold of the truths before me. While the APTA kept highlighting the idea that physical therapist are an irreplaceable member of the allopathic team, I woke up to the fact that money matters more than that facts and that the perfect storm was on the horizon because they were creating the DPT and somewhere along the line, doctors of physical therapy were not going to be supported by veteran PTs feeling threatened, as they did with the ATC, as they do with the team strength trainers ( CSCS anyone) and preety much everyone who works with people and move.  The fact remains, the smart PTs are the ones not scared one bit to take the allopath health care team lead in ACOs or direct access care.
Primary Care PT 
Want to hear the scary truth? Professionals feel they have complete personal authority to do what they want to do Click To Tweet.  If they lack the ethics others may suffer but a professional hit man will kill you if he wants to get paid.  That being said, some veteran PTs in charge of hiring new PTs don’t believe in them being a primary care provider. I get it, it is hard to believe in yourself when you spent years making good money for putting on a hot pack and watching twenty minutes of straight leg raises and then were questioned about that level of skill. It is hard to see years of professional credibility lose out to a change in insurance plans by a long time client and then see some kid have a You Tube video going viral sending people to the fitness guys next door but, don’t knock down your colleague that gets it and has more courage to try modern ways on more than you do. Come on, what are you doing? Think about it, are they wrong?   Who the heck wants to get a first opinion on their back pain from a physical therapist that believes he or she is cocky just because they introduce themselves and inform their client of their academic level at first contact.  Who is going to trust a plan of care with the undertones that I am less smart than the physician down the road because that person can perform surgery ? It is only the one’s who lack the belief in all they have learned who are threatened by another profession of any name.  There are many ways to skin this cat. My service will speak to the educational level of any letters around my name because none of those pieces of paper mean I can actually clinically get my client’s needs and apply it.  
How about Just Focus on Believing you Are a Professional Primary Care Provider 
Let me explain, No amount of schooling or pats on the back or letters after your name can get you from an amateur level of practicing in your profession to a career as a professional primary care PT. The truth is, you may never have come into the work to do that and we need you playing your game but do what you can to support the tribe.  Stop promoting the same fears that you were told to swallow that are just not true. Professional PTs are playing the game like a professional. We know we can wear that professionalism many different ways and we have every right to do it Click To Tweet. I also personally know, by years of experience and credentials and models of service delivery and ways of getting paid that this thing called work, outside the home, is part of the bigger game of life to be played.  That level of faith in myself to become loud about being significant to others goes way beyond my faith in the physical therapy profession. It needs to because that is about politics and money and media and I still want to get paid and service women and their families to be strong relationships and happy which is exactly why I am here using all my education and life experiences to become a professional cheer leader of sorts to my peers because I know that is the missing piece nowadays.  The world has plenty of people palpating knees. The time has come for the Doctor of Physical Therapy Medpreneur to start coordinating health for people and believing they are a big picture solution.