Enter At Their Risk

It is knowledge that affords us the opportunity to walk through their doors, it is something else altogether that has the potential to make us successful.

Don’t underestimate the power of having a customer walk into the dressing room or on stage or to the cash register. Don’t forget that as soon as your audience walked into the conference room, they changed.

In a posting last month, Seth Godin spoke of “episode markers”, physical acts that change our psyche. He recommended changing the markers to change the context for the customer.

As a home care physical therapist, the patients that I see are home-bound, and although the physical environment of their home cannot change, the context in which they perceive (and exist within) their home can. My patients merely need a catalyst, or perhaps an insightful and respectful therapist might do.

.     .     .     .


The Dalai Lama’s colleague came…we had lunch together a few weeks ago. As soon as he entered the room, I felt totally happy and immersed in something much bigger than myself. It sounds like mumbo jumbo but in fact I felt compassion, I felt empathy, I felt like “it doesn’t matter”…I felt happy, and enlightened. All of that, just looking at his expression.

The above quote is from V.S. Ramachandran, speaking of the influence of mirror neurons in an interpersonal interaction between himself and another gentleman associated with the Dalai Lama. Ramachandran himself is a scientist, and to the best of my knowledge, does not fancy himself a Buddhist. But still, just the presence of a single man was able to change how he felt. The opposite can be said of that person, and we all know one, who enters a space and “sucks the life right out of the room”.

The key for clinicians is to understand our role as an episode marker. When we enter a patient’s space we act as catalysts, changing and influencing those whom we interact with by our mere presence alone. We become part of the therapeutic environment, creating a context that the patient will either thrive or flounder in.

(Not that it is necessary, but I miss my tie.)


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