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The Power of a List: Organizing Your Life for Success

Click here for a printable version of this article with photos

By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB

It’s that time of year again when we are making our New Year Resolutions, so I thought it would be helpful to share some simple, straightforward and extremely powerful strategies that help me achieve my goals. If, while reading this article, you start thinking, “I know this stuff” or “I’ve heard this all before,” take a moment to ask yourself if you are truly applying these concepts to your daily life. Setting goals and working to achieve them helps build confidence and a positive self image. It also helps you live life to the fullest.

When I identify a goal that I would like to achieve, I ask myself very specific questions to get clear about the actions that are necessary to attain my desired outcome. The quality of the questions we ask ourselves ultimately determines the quality of the answer our brain delivers, and this answer is what drives our behavior. Therefore, it is important that you ask yourself strong, good quality questions that will help reveal positive outcomes. Stay clear of poor quality questions that are doomed to elicit negative answers.

Examples of negative, poor quality questions might be: “Why does this always happen to me?” or “Why do I always do stupid things?” When you are in this mindset, your brain is likely to respond with equally negative answers, such as “Because you’re stupid,” or “You’re undereducated” or “You lack hands-on or business experience.” These types of questions and answers only serve to reinforce negative attitudes, which won’t get you closer to any of your goals.

A positive, good quality question is clear, specific and focused, as well as empowering, honest and objective. For example: “What resources are currently available that will allow me to grow my practice, analyze and communicate my findings, deliver the highest quality hands-on care, and educate my clients about the importance of getting regular massage?”

For our questions and answers to be effective we must clearly identify our goals and then list the tasks that are necessary to complete these goals. Next we must organize these tasks into a plan of action. Finally, we must occasionally reassess and review our plan to determine if we are on the right track. Below is my “Power List,” which consists of actions and goal-oriented questions. Whenever I want to achieve a new goal, I turn to my Power List to get started.

David’s Power List and Goal-Setting Questions:


Visualize It…

What do I want and why do I want it? What is the ultimate goal or outcome?

Close your eyes and see it, feel it, taste it, smell it, hear it and say it.

Plan It…

When must this be completed? What is the deadline?

Writing project goals and target dates on calendars helps plan strategy.

Model It…

Who has the experience, resources and track record for me to model?

Find a mentor. Invest in your education and client education resources.


Write It…

What are the individual actions necessary to achieve the goal?

Write it down as you break it down. List every step necessary to achieve this task.


Do It…

What can I do now to move this goal toward completion?

Take immediate action. Daily progress builds momentum.

Enjoy It…

How can this be a fun and enjoyable process?

Making the experience a pleasurable one improves productivity.

Support, Balance and Nurture It…

Am I eating healthy, sleeping and exercising to properly support myself?

You will need the energy and a clear mind to take action. Get massage regularly!

Refine It…

Am I on course to achieve the target? How can I improve the process?

Review your goals and the results of your action plan frequently.

Start with the first steps on the Power List, and ask yourself what you want out of your life and your practice. Some of your goals may include producing better results with your clients; integrating more clinical work into the spa portion of your practice; assessing and educating your clients with simple visual aids so they commit to a series of treatments; or establishing new referral sources while maintaining current ones.

Now ask yourself why you want to achieve these goals. What would achieving these goals provide and fulfill in your life? Your reasons may range from growing your practice to giving you more knowledge, experience, skills and confidence to produce better results to planning quality time with loved ones, family and friends. The key here is to make sure your targeted questions elicit focused answers.

As you work your way down the Power List, you will eventually need to determine what it will take to achieve your goals. Perhaps it will require you to take a uniquely special seminar or buy a program that heightens your level of knowledge and skill set. Maybe it will require you to implement specific office management systems through the use of professional forms.

Keep in mind that one of the most important tasks on the Power List is to write down your goals and your plan of action. Writing things down frees your mind by allowing you to empty your thoughts on paper so that you can stop the constant loop from running in your head. Additionally maintaining lists keeps you focused on the task at hand.

In closing, I’d like to reference one of my favorite motivational speakers, Tony Robbins. In his seminars, Robbins talks about the danger of focusing on the past or what is called the “Looking Behind” or “Rear View Mirror Syndrome.” It is impossible to move forward when our attention is focused on our failures, poor decisions or other negative experiences in our lives.

Remember: We learn something from every experience. It’s the perception or belief that we have about the experience and the actions we take that ultimately determine the final outcome. Instead of focusing on the negative, ask yourself what you learned from the situation. Generally, our past failures are often simply the result of using the wrong strategy or taking the wrong actions. Additionally, dwelling on the past by playing old negative tapes in your head will cause you to think, hear, say and feel in a negative way. And it will be those negative feelings and emotions that drive your actions.

So do you think now would be a good time to start making your Power List? Get started immediately! Cut out this article and put it in a place where you will see it every day. Share these ideas with your family, friends and colleagues. Build a team and find a mentor. Don’t put off your dreams and goals any longer. Your life is waiting!

Please let me know about your positive changes and any new ideas you used to achieve them.

Click here for a printable version of this article with photos

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Dissection Seminar Video: Interviews with Students and Staff

Watch a video overview from the Full Body Dissection Seminar at the University of South Florida (USF) College of Medicine. The video contains testimonials from students including massage therapists and acupuncture therapists, as well as David Kent and Don Kelley. They describe how the dissection techniques learned in this class benefit their daily practices and therapy.

Join us for our next class.

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Pushing Towards Greatness

Constantly going further in your life and career

By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB

What is “greatness” anyway? For some, achieving great success means making a lot of money; for others, greatness springs from internal peace and contentment. I know what I consider success in my life and practice. While I appreciate that I can earn a living doing what I love and that my success as a massage therapist, lecturer, and product and seminar innovator has made me financially secure, I also define my success by the lives that I touch—figuratively and literally.

I love connecting to the patients I see in the treatment room. I enjoy collaborating with doctors, chiropractors and other healthcare professionals to develop treatment plans for my patients. I like referring back to my anatomy and massage books when I have a challenging case. In short, I feel that my “great” success—if that’s what you want to call it—stems primarily from touching my patient’s lives for the better. But great success certainly doesn’t end there. A mother who got into the massage therapy profession so she could spend more time with her kids is what I would consider a prime example of great success. Ultimately, greatness and success are subjective depending on one’s dreams and aspirations.

To read the full article, click here:

David Kent – Massage Today: Pushing Towards Greatness (12/07)

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Force equals Mass times Acceleration: Creating action in your life

By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB

In the massage profession, Mass stands for us—the massage therapists, the mass of the profession. And as a profession, our numbers (mass) are large. Just as we comprise a mass, there is an even larger mass of people desperate to learn more about the benefits of massage through research. Studies indicate that people would benefit from receiving regular massage therapy. In fact, there are plenty of people out there getting massage and not disclosing it to their medical providers because the medical profession still has not fully embraced massage as an adjunct to healthcare; this is, in part, because research remains in short supply.

We see daily the life-changing results massage has on our patients. But we need more industry research to validate our knowledge and draw even more of the masses to massage. While we’re certainly making progress in the field of massage research, we would definitely benefit from more. There are many other professions with far fewer people, yet whose research base is more widely encompassing than that of the massage industry. If industries with a smaller number of professionals can produce a steady flow of research, then we in the massage industry—a profession large in number—should also be able to produce a more influential research base.

To read the full article, click here:

David Kent – Massage Today: F=MxA (01/07)

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All Systems Go

Effective systems for managing your practice

By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB

As a practicing massage therapist who receives referrals from hospitals and physicians, I find fulfillment in helping my patients return to their normal activities of daily living (ADL). Yet, years of clinical practice have taught me that treating my patients involves more than just the application of massage. Whole-body wellness requires an integrative approach to health care. As a massage therapist, there are many integrative methods I can utilize, including referring out when a condition falls outside my scope of practice; educating my patients about self-care; staying current on the latest massage research; and maintaining comprehensive systems so I stay organized in my massage practice.

To read the full article, click here:

David Kent – Massage Today: All Systems Go (08/07)

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The Power of a Minute

Time management strategies to help build your practice

By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB

There’s no doubt about it; our lives are busier then ever. While juggling careers, relationships, families and everything in between, we sometimes convince ourselves there is not another minute to squeeze in anything else. I know I often feel that way. But is it really true? Is life so busy that we haven’t even a single minute to devote to marketing our practice, learning a new skill or simply doing something good for ourselves?

To read the full article, click here:

David Kent – Massage Today: The Power of a Minute (06/07)

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The Body Is In Charge

Lessons from the full body dissection experience

By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB

There are five senses we learn from: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory and gustatory. Everyone learns differently. I am primarily a visual and kinesthetic learner. The first time I learned about fascia, muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and adipose in massage school, I processed the information by asking myself several questions: What do these structures look like? What do they feel like? And is it possible for me to see them? Lastly, where could I – a naive massage therapy student – find the answers to these questions? This was, after all, 15 years ago, when massage therapy instruction was slightly less sophisticated. I didn’t know, so I improvised.

To read the full article, click here:

David Kent – Massage Today: The Body Is In Charge (02/07)

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Dissection Seminar, Table 4

Join us inside the lab at the Full Body Dissection Seminar for a table-side discussion. Table 4 examines differences from one cadaver to another, muscles of mastication, positional attachment awareness, better structural location, and emphysema of the lungs.

Click play ↓ to listen.