Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board

By Lynn Steffes, PT, DPT

I remember being at a middle-school slumber party when I first learned the game, “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board,” The point of the game is for four or five friends to be able to lift someone each using just two fingers.

At face value, this seems like an impossible task! The secret formula is for all members of the group to be highly focused on the task at hand all the while repeating the saying: “Light as a feather, stiff as a board.” The individual being levitated remains stiff and still. Miraculously, it seems, that the group is able to lift their friend high into the air without much effort. In my experience, the game actually worked!

As a private practice business consultant and member of the PPS COVID-19 Advisory Board over the past year, I have been a witness to how this phenomenon has played out in our own Section. In this brief article I wanted to capture its essence and application to a small group’s ability to accomplish great things when teamwork, a little faith, and focus are applied!

When COVID-19 hit our nation and began to unravel the everyday delivery of health care and our private practice world, PPS stepped up! Amy Snyder, PT, DPT, currently Vice President of the PPS Board, kicked off what felt like a miraculous process: the inception of the COVID-19 Advisory Committee. Board members, Committee Chairs, and other PPS volunteers were called together first daily, then three times a week, weekly, and finally monthly to “levitate” our practices despite what seemed like a potential impossibility before us.

The group’s strength was both in their faith in the importance and dedication of our members as well as a singular focus on not only surviving through the pandemic but thriving. It was a unified effort to provide a lift to all practices through financial problem-solving, telehealth innovation, advocacy, and virtual marketing. Practice owners joined the efforts through their faithful attendance at PPS webinars, town hall meetings, and by accessing PPS’s COVID-19 resources made available with the assistance of PPS’s Chief Operating Officer Carrie Stankiewicz. Many practices not only bounced back but found new connections, efficiencies, and avenues to serve their patients, referral sources, and communities. Out of every crisis comes learning, and I believe each practice owner should take away key lessons of faith, focus, and teamwork into what looks to be an even brighter future! Share your faith in your team’s gifts and their tenacity in accomplishing them. Help identify individuals that can apply their strengths to your process. Create a laser focus on areas that need your attention to create actions that move your practice forward.

Host regular communication opportunities that keep your team unified. Daily stand-up meetings or weekly in-person or virtual connections can establish true teamwork to accomplish your goals.

I credit young middle school giggling pre-teens for setting the example of how faith, focus, and teamwork can accomplish “miraculous” things! 

Lynn Steffes, PT, DPT

Lynn Steffes, PT, DPT, is president and consultant of Steffes & Associates, a national rehabilitation consulting group focused on marketing and program development for private practices nationwide. She is an instructor in five physical therapy programs and has actively presented, consulted, and taught in 40 states. She can be reached at

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