May 24, 2022 | Jamey Schrier, PT

3 Minute Read

Self-Compassion for Physical Therapists – The NEW Secret Weapon to Increase Your Productivity

Jamey Schrier, PT

Imagine being excited to go to work? Or better yet, imagine walking in the office with a big ol’ smile because you’re so confident of where the practice is headed? Sound like there’s a better chance of Shrek being on the cover of GQ?

There’s actually evidence that shows that self-compassion can help all of these things and more (except make Shrek the next cover of GQ).

Scientific evidence says self-compassion can make you happier, healthier, and more successful.

Simply put, self-compassion is the practice of being kind to yourself, especially under difficult or challenging circumstances.

It involves:

  • An acceptance that you are not perfect
  • A mindful self-awareness of your negative thoughts and emotions as they arise—without judging them

This isn’t mumbo-jumbo. It’s real.

We’re all hard-wired with what evolutionary psychologists call a “negativity bias.” It’s a tendency we have to focus more on our negative thoughts, mistakes and failures.

That evolutionary emphasis on the negative helped keep our ancient ancestors alive. Today, this bias is far less useful. It hyper-focuses our attention on the negative, making us fearful of healthy risk taking, and keeping us locked in old patterns from the past.

If you’re a perfectionist, and I bet you are, this may sound very familiar to you. Perfectionism is our negativity bias on steroids. Fortunately, self-compassion can step in to reset the negativity bias and uncertainty that creeps into a practice owner’s mindset, preventing you from reaching your goals.

This isn’t just feel-good territory. Practicing self-compassion translates into more effective leadership, more effective decision making, and more energy to devote to building your business… and all of this goes directly to your bottom line.

Here are three ways self-compassion can improve your business:

1. Increases Objectivity

Objectivity is your golden-ticket for success in practice ownership. You need objectivity to make smart, sound decisions about every aspect of your business, from finances to hiring to marketing. Developing your ability to be objective and rational—not reactive—is how to build a profitable, rock-solid practice.

As self-compassion experts explained to The New York Times recently, self-compassion enhances your objectivity by giving you a realistic view of yourself. It helps you avoid both under-confidence and over-confidence, and the errors that can accompany them. When you practice self-compassion, you don’t ignore your flaws or weaknesses. You acknowledge and accept them as an inevitable part of life. You work to learn, grow, and create new strengths, rather than letting your lack of perfection or mastery hold you back—or send you down expensive, unproductive and unprofitable rabbit-holes.

2. Increases Resiliency

Your role as an owner is a marathon, not a sprint. Perfectionists are significantly more likely to suffer from burnout, both by working themselves too hard and by being too hard on themselves in the process.

Studies of people from young adulthood to old age show that self-compassion increases resilience, elevating our energy and coping skills for dealing with challenges and setbacks. There’s no path for a business owner that doesn’t include challenges and setbacks; the difference comes in how well you’re prepared to respond to them. Self-compassion prepares you to whether those inevitable storms and come out stronger and smarter on the other side.

3. Increases Productivity

If you’re constantly listening to negative self-talk, it’s hard to focus on the important tasks at hand. This leads to poor results. Of course, this can also lead to being too hard on yourself for not accomplishing more with your time. By breaking that negative cycle, self-compassion frees you to concentrate on the work that needs to get done—then step away for some much-deserved downtime.

Research from the University of California, Berkeley found that self-compassion was more effective than self-esteem at motivating people toward self-improvement.

Positive self-talk can boost self-compassion.

Think about how you would talk to a friend who needed your support. Use that same kind, supportive approach in the way you talk to yourself. Use short messages when you catch yourself in moments of stressed-out, negative self-talk:

Everyone makes mistakes
Nobody has all the answers
You’re doing your best
It’s okay to ask for help and guidance

Ready to increase productivity, start by showing yourself a little self-compassion.

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