Overcoming the Paralysis of Analysis (Expert Call-in Follow Up)

podcast and resources belowAPHA Expert Call-in

If you are NOT an APHA member, please note: 
You will have access to this page only through Wednesday, January 22. If you wish to earn your CE, please follow the instructions below before then.

January 2020

You've joined APHA or another organization. You've taken PracticeUP! courses. You've earned your BCPA. You've met with your attorney and have your contracts ready to go. You have a website ready to go live....

But you just can't launch your new practice. You keep coming up with other things you need to do instead, or barriers that prevent that big step.... Like quitting your day job. Or taking another course. Or asking more people if it's a good idea. You wonder if you know everything you need to know.

Does this sound familiar? And if so, what will it take to actually get your practice going?

The description used for this sort of procrastination is Paralysis of Analysis. You just get too far into your head and you're afraid to take the plunge, so you don't. You postpone... and postpone...

It should not surprise you to know that you are in the majority of almost-advocates - and for good reason. Starting a new business is scary! Spending the time and money without the confidence it will pay off can be overwhelming. Worrying about whether you can really be successful is... well... paralyzing!

Where will your new clients come from? How will they know to hire you?

How can you be sure you can help them. Or - what are you supposed to do if you can't?

What if you fail? Or - what if you succeed and don't have enough time to help everyone?

The Paralysis of Analysis is the elephant-in-the-room of so many almost, not-quite-ready, need-some-confidence advocates - and its time we address it. When you don't launch, then your dreams are dashed, and patients miss out on getting the help they need. It's lose-lose - a no-win situation!

This call, led by Trisha Torrey (APHA Director) will provide you with some usable advice and concrete steps to help you get past your paralysis so you can launch your practice with the confidence required. We'll look at what those mental barriers are, and we'll discuss strategies for overcoming them.

 

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Get Unstuck – Learn to Overcome the Paralysis of Analysis

This post was published at, and has been shared by the APHA Blog.

It is provided so you can find it in a search here at myAPHA.org, but you'll need to link to the original post to read it in its entirety.

Link to the original full length post.


Get Unstuck – Learn to Overcome the Paralysis of Analysis

Common scenario:You have dreamed about becoming a private health /patient advocate or care manager for a while. You know you can do it, you know you are a good advocate, your heart really WANTS to change careers to advocacy, you know people need help with their medical system challenges…Plus everyone you know thinks it’s a great idea! They all tell you – OMG – there is such a huge need!Maybe you have helped friends and family members over the years, or you have been a doctor or nurse for decades. (I often hear, “I’ve been an advocate all my life. Now I just want to get paid for it!”)But something, maybe not clearly defined, is holding you back. Mostly it’s because you know you would have to start your own business to be truly independent (there’s the Allegiance Factor, after all)… and you’re not sure you’ve got the chops to do that. You just can’t seem to make that leap from being a volunteer who steps in to help, to being a professional, privately-paid, patient advocate, navigator, or care manager in your own private patient advocacy practice.You’re just stuck. Your heart is THERE! But your brain won’t let you move forward. Sound familiar?Getting stuck in your own head when your heart wishes to make changes is called the paralysis of analysis – our tendency to over-think, to worry that we’re not doing something exactly right, to be concerned that we’ve missed some important detail…. to the point where it stops us in our tracks.The BAD news is double-edged: Paralysis of analysis keeps us from pursuing our dreams. Even worse, it means the patients who need us, who we would help, may not get the help they need!In other words – if you are among the paralyzed, there are people getting sicker or poorer because you haven’t thrown that switch. Ouch.There are several causes for the paralysis of analysis, and they are all about questioning one’s own capabilities:Some people are afraid to throw the switch because they are unsure that they are really prepared. So, in classic avoidance behavior, they decide…


 

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Why Lifelong Advocates Can Fail at Independent Advocacy

This post was published at, and has been shared by the APHA Blog.

It is provided so you can find it in a search here at myAPHA.org, but you'll need to link to the original post to read it in its entirety.

Link to the original full length post.


Why Lifelong Advocates Can Fail at Independent Advocacy

Many of you, despite the fact that you have developed outstanding patient advocacy skills, will not succeed as independent private advocates, because you don’t act on one important distinction. Doesn’t seem right or fair, does it? So what’s that distinction? Let’s try a metaphor: Colleen has always loved houses, and has been the admin in a real estate company for almost 30 years. She has handled details upon details for others – from seller contracts to purchaser contracts, from hiring inspectors, to setting and retrieving signs on a property’s front yard. She knows her stuff, she’s done it all, she’s seen it all, and now she’s decided she wants to do real estate work on her own. So Colleen earns her sales and brokers licenses, quits her job, and goes into business for herself. Colleen does everything she thinks she’s supposed to do to be successful. She makes up business cards and some flyers. She builds a website. She lets everyone in her neighborhood and her church know that she’s got decades of real estate experience, and now she’s ready to help them list or buy a house. Her phone rings on occasion, but… The business just doesn’t come in to support her well enough. Eventually she is forced to take a part time job so she can pay some of her bills. But, of course, if people call her for help right away and she’s at her job, she misses the opportunity. Six months later, Colleen is forced to give up her dream of being in business for herself, doing the real estate work she is passionate about. She can’t support herself. Not enough people call her. But she just doesn’t understand it – Colleen can’t figure out why she can’t build a business. What Colleen missed, the reason she can’t succeed, is the same reason many of you who read this will go out of business, too. Until you recognize it and act on it, you are doomed to fail (unless, of course, you win the lottery and can be a patient advocate for free, with no worry…


 

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The Master Advocacy Events Calendar

APHA maintains a public master calendar of events, which you'll find cited each week in the APHA Agenda, and which highlights programs taking place throughout advocacy, from all organizations, as we learn about their offerings.

Do you have event you would like to promote to all advocates? 

Instructions for submitting items to the calendar can be found linked from the bottom of the calendar page.

If you represent an organization that offers an advocacy-related program open to anyone who would like to attend, you may also promote it on the Discussion Forum.

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Cyberchondria – Are we Putting Too Much Faith in Dr. Google?

This post has been shared by the AdvoConnection Blog. It was written with a patient-client audience in mind, but might be useful to you, too.

It is provided so you can find it in a search here at myAPHA.org, but you'll need to link to the original post to read it in its entirety.

Link to the original full length post.


Cyberchondria – Are we Putting Too Much Faith in Dr. Google?

You may be reading this post because you are curious about that term – “cyberchondria.”  It’s not hard to figure out what it means. It means hypochondriac-ism as a result of doing online searches. More precisely, the act of diagnosing ourselves by using the web, then upsetting ourselves through our findings. It’s when we decide a headache is really brain cancer, or low blood sugar is translated as Parkinsons, or forgetfulness becomes Alzheimers. The word “cyberchondria” has been around for 20 years or so, ever since search engines first arrived on the web scene. It is often couched in the same sneer as self-diagnosis, as if no non-medical professional should be taking their time trying to figure out what their symptoms mean on their own. We can’t possibly be smart enough to do that, right? Argh. Bull-pooky! As a result, I find the word insulting; as if we patients don’t have the ability to process information properly, or are blowing our symptoms out of proportion. It’s at least as insulting as my last post, about providers telling patients their symptoms are “all in your head.”  If there is one thing I hate, it’s being underestimated. Calling a patient a “cyberchondriac,” or insisting that patients are wasting their time by self-diagnosing are both underestimations. Totally demeaning and disrespectful. And so I actually take a different approach to such insults. See what you think: We know our bodies better than anyone. We know when everything feels right, and we know when something feels “off.” Because we know our bodies, and because – unlike our providers – we can take time to explore more information as it’s presented to us, we may actually have the ability and opportunity to be even more accurate than our providers by using the web, provided (and this is important!) we know the best ways to use only accurate and credible information to do so. This includes the fact that providers aren’t being trained anymore to diagnose by using their own sense. They are being trained to rely on test results. Now, that may sound like a good thing – and often it is. But test results can be wrong (mine were wrong twice!) and not every diagnosis has a corresponding conclusive test anyway. So then what? In my book, You Bet Your Life! The 10 Mistakes Every Patient Makes (How to Fix Them to Get the Healthcare…


 

 

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Families Need You: A Thanksgiving Opportunity

This post was published at, and has been shared by the APHA Blog.

It is provided so you can find it in a search here at myAPHA.org, but you'll need to link to the original post to read it in its entirety.

Link to the original full length post.


Families Need You: A Thanksgiving Opportunity

Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season are right around the corner. Smart health and patient advocates and care managers can find this season to be a golden opportunity to expand their reach in many positive ways. The holidays are family times. Generations come together. Inevitably someone is facing a health and/or health system challenge.  Aunt Joan has a new cancer diagnosis and hasn’t even considered a second opinion.  Dad needs help sorting out his meds, while daughter Francine questions about whether he’s taking the right drugs at the right times, or whether the prescriptions he’s taking are causing some new symptoms. Cousin Jack is drowning in medical debt; he has no idea know how to fight a denied claim, or choose the right health insurance plan.  Uncle Victor, age 78, doesn’t have a DNR or a will because he doesn’t understand their importance. These are the times family members begin to worry – and wonder who can help out. The answer is YOU – a friend, a neighbor, a fellow church or temple congregant.  YOU can help them. They probably just don’t know that. There are a few ways you can quite simply, and gently let them know that you are available should the need arise.  Here are some ideas for getting the word out: Begin by making a list of friends and acquaintances you have phone numbers or email addresses for. Don’t worry about whether you know they need you or not. Often families keep these sorts of challenges private. Now, put together some sentences that address each of the following: 1.  Appropriate greetings – as the holiday season arrives – Thanksgiving, New Years, plus whichever religious holidays their families celebrate. Ask how they are doing. Show empathy when you know its pertinent. 2.  An announcement that you have launched a private, independent advocacy practice. 3.  A brief reminder that sometimes families come together during the holidays, and may raise topics that are difficult or uncomfortable to discuss in relation to health matters, or hurdles that are caused by health problems… 4.  Offer a solution, that as…


 

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You May Be a Criminal Without Even Knowing It

This post was published at, and has been shared by the APHA Blog.

It is provided so you can find it in a search here at myAPHA.org, but you'll need to link to the original post to read it in its entirety.

Link to the original full length post.


You May Be a Criminal Without Even Knowing It

You’re probably shaking your head… Criminal? Seriously? Of course you haven’t broken the law!  You’re a law-abiding citizen and would never consider doing such a thing! And yet, there may be hundreds of you who have done just that. Further, you would deny it – until you learn the facts. The facts, described here, may help you get back in line with the law if it’s required. I recently heard from one of our APHA members – we’ll call her Member A – who reported discovering that entire portions of her website, her intellectual property, had been stolen by another advocate, who we will call Advocate Z. Member A reached out to Advocate Z, explained that she had found the text from her website, word-for-word on Member Z’s website, and asked her to remove it. Advocate Z had plagiarized Member A’s website; copyright infringement by its very definition. It’s the theft of your intellectual property. It’s against federal law, and it carries huge fines and prison time. Even the FBI has something to say about it. Now – at this point you’re thinking… OK. What does this have to do with me? I didn’t steal any content from another website! My question to you:  are you sure?  Let’s begin here:  Who built your website? Advocate Z’s response to her own copyright infringement is typical: she dismissed the plagiarism by saying her web designer had supplied the copy on her website, so he was the one who had stolen it. Therefore it wasn’t really her problem. Not true!  For one thing, when YOU own a website, when it’s about YOU and YOUR business, then YOU are responsible for it. And if the content on your site was originally stolen, then YOU are considered the responsible party, not your web designer. That means that any copyright infringement that may appear on your site is YOUR crime. Unless it is part of commentary by someone else and is cited as commentary, then no matter who put it there – it’s your crime. It makes no difference whether you knew it existed or not…


 

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When Your Provider Says, “It’s All in Your Head”

This post has been shared by the AdvoConnection Blog. It was written with a patient-client audience in mind, but might be useful to you, too.

It is provided so you can find it in a search here at myAPHA.org, but you'll need to link to the original post to read it in its entirety.

Link to the original full length post.


When Your Provider Says, “It’s All in Your Head”

In a recent conversation with Annette, a young woman who has MS (multiple sclerosis), she described to me the first time she went for a drug infusion which had been prescribed by her neurologist. She arrived for the session using her walker, barely able to keep her balance. Exhausted, she was finally able to get comfortable in the infusion chair. As the nurse began setting up the needle and catheter injection system into her vein, she looked at Annette and asked her, “Are you sure this isn’t all just in your head?” Now, it’s entirely possible the nurse was trying to make a light-hearted joke. But the fact that, a year later, Annette told me the story, still distressed over those words, means that it doesn’t matter if the nurse was making an attempt at humor. She upset Annette at a very horrible and vulnerable time of her life. Those words “all in your head” have plagued patients for centuries. They are a discount; as if the provider doesn’t trust that there’s really something wrong with you. It most often stems from his/her inability to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. When he or she can’t figure it out, they turn it back on you, the patient, rather than admitting their failure. It’s dismissive, and it’s condescending. Further, it isn’t just an occasional dig. The “all in your head” verdict is heard far too frequently, especially by 50 million patients who are diagnosed each year with autoimmune and neurological diseases, or cardiac problems. The great majority of patients who are “blamed” in this fashion are (no surprise here) women. If you have heard those words “all in your head” – or any euphemism that might mean the same thing – then there are some things you should know, and some steps you can take to alleviate it. First, you know your body better than anyone else does!  If something seems “off” and you can’t shake it in a day or two, then by all means, get yourself checked, and do NOT accept any sort of verdict like “wait and see” or “it’s all in your head”. That will require a few things from you. For example, you need to be able to describe your symptoms accurately, see if you can determine any triggers for them, and keep track of dates and times. Those will all be clues your doctor can use.…


 

 

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ICOPA 2019 Proved, Once Again, That….

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ICOPA 2019 Proved, Once Again, That….

… there is nothing like a shared experience to improve our worlds: personal and professional. Just WOW! (L to R) Trisha Torrey, Anne Llewellyn, Teri Dreher, ICOPA 2019 Organizers The inaugural ICOPA is in the books and it was ALL THAT. ICOPA = International Conference on Patient Advocacy, held October 3 to 5, with just short of 200 attendees and great pizzazz! We were reminded of how our collective conscience, our passion, our dedication, and our skills and knowledge, collide with our disturbing healthcare environment, to create life improving, life extending experiences for our patient-clients. We were reminded of how working together – in collaboration with all flavors of advocates from private / independent, to hospital advocates, to non-profit (disease-related) organizations, to providers and others can reap benefits for patients who need the help, and the advocates who find their own loads lightened by working with other professionals. We learned about topics from Medicare (watch out for 2020!) to working with LGBTQ clients, to “a day in the life”, to including guardianship in one’s practice, to the future of advocate certification, and many more. We networked our feet off, mixing, mingling, and and meeting others who share our experiences, plus – importantly – wonderfully supportive sponsors – companies that support our missions, visions, and goals. We learned that, YES, in fact, the rising tide (and OHHHH yes! make no mistake – the advocacy tide is RISING!) does float all boats! We met new folks who want to become advocates. We met long-time advocates who shared their hard-earned and well-learned, invaluable knowledge. We met American advocates and Canadian advocates. We invited those with interest to step up to leadership. We learned there is plenty of room in our tent for many, many more passionate and skilled people who want to be advocates and care managers. And we showed the world that we, as a profession, are here to stay! If you attended this year’s ICOPA:  please share your thoughts below ! And if you didn’t…  well… we hope to see you in 2020!  Don’t miss it!  LEARN ABOUT APHA MEMBERSHIP | MASTER LIST…


 

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Political Controversy: We Are Being Tested Once Again

This post was published at, and has been shared by the APHA Blog.

It is provided so you can find it in a search here at myAPHA.org, but you'll need to link to the original post to read it in its entirety.

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Political Controversy: We Are Being Tested Once Again

I’m a political being and a news junkie. Can’t help it. It’s in my blood – literally – because both my father and grandfather (Dad’s father) were journalists, both avidly interested in politics. In fact, Grampa’s beat was Congress for Gannett Press in Washington, DC. (Reginald F. Torrey) See? I come by it naturally. Which is why the news of last week, the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump’s actions, is painful to me. Now – do NOT get me wrong.  It’s not painful because I do, or do not, disagree with it! That’s not it at all. It’s painful because, as a business owner, I know it’s in my own best interest, and in the best interest of my business, to keep my opinions to myself. That is NOT easy for me! I meet many other advocates with political interest, too. I believe the reason is, that at our core, with very specific ideas about what is right vs what is wrong, leads us to intense interest, especially during these past few years. Thus, today’s topic and reminder. I’ve written about this before – the need for us as practice owners and business people to keep our politics to ourselves. Becoming publicly vocal about one’s beliefs on politically controversial issues can lead to a loss of business. I’ve taken heat for this recommendation, too! Readers have disagreed, saying it’s their duty to be vocal. And while I understand their reasoning, and I respect them and their opinions, I will continue to state emphatically KEEP POLITICAL CONTROVERSY OUT OF YOUR PRACTICE. I actually have a little more history on my side since the last time I went out on this keep-your-political-opinions-to-yourself limb. There have been a few examples of business people mixing their political beliefs with their businesses that prove my point about the business damage that can be done: Papa John – for whom the pizza company is named – took sides in the kneel-vs-don’t kneel politics of the NFL. He was ousted from his own company, and Papa Johns is still trying to regain market share. Many people who…


 

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Preventing a Deadly Outcome from a Visit to the Doctor

This post has been shared by the AdvoConnection Blog. It was written with a patient-client audience in mind, but might be useful to you, too.

It is provided so you can find it in a search here at myAPHA.org, but you'll need to link to the original post to read it in its entirety.

Link to the original full length post.


Preventing a Deadly Outcome from a Visit to the Doctor

Today I’m sharing an experience with you in hopes of preventing something we do but don’t think about; something which can be dangerous. At a recent doctor appointment, I found two people in the waiting room just hacking away, coughing up a storm, and very likely infecting others. They were together, and there for only a minute before the nurse took them back to the exam room, removing them from proximity to the rest of us who were waiting. I went to the reception window and asked for bleach wipes, but instead they sent someone out to wipe down the arms of the chairs those two folks had been sitting in, and the table and magazines in front of where they sat. But I guarantee – there were still bugs remaining in the waiting and reception area. I had to wonder – how many others might get sick from those germs? As I continued to wait for my appointment, I thought back to a similar, probably more deadly experience 10 years ago. Remember Swine Flu?  In 2009, the Swine Flu pandemic put the world under siege from a microscopic bug, naked to the eye – and yet, a killer. Almost 61 million Americans contracted it, and more than 12 thousand Americans died from it. Globally, hundreds of thousands of people died from Swine Flu. In the middle of the Swine Flu crisis, I had a check-up appointment. I arrived at the doctor’s office (not the same doctor – I have moved 1200 mile since then) to an overflowing waiting room, walked to the check-in window, and was asked to sign in. I looked down at the pen and paper I was expected to use, and instead dug my own pen out of my purse to sign my name. I could only imagine how sick I might also get if I used the office pen!  (I then looked around, saw how many sick people were there, told them I was leaving, and I would call to reschedule. I didn’t want to stay so exposed in that waiting room.) It’s possible I saved myself from getting sick, or even dying. I realize that may sound overly dramatic – but – who knows? I’m not even a germophobe, but I will certainly protect myself when circumstances and possibilities are so obvious. Fast forward, back to today… It seems like a simple thing, right? …


 

 

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Happy 10th Anniversary to AdvoConnection! Gifts for You, and a Challenge, Too

This post was published at, and has been shared by the APHA Blog.

It is provided so you can find it in a search here at myAPHA.org, but you'll need to link to the original post to read it in its entirety.

Link to the original full length post.


Happy 10th Anniversary to AdvoConnection! Gifts for You, and a Challenge, Too

They have been the fastest, most exhausting, most rewarding, and most humbling years of my life… And they result in a story in which the universe has played quite a large role. On September 18, 2009 – ten years ago this week – the AdvoConnection Directory was launched. Just the directory. Here’s what it looked like: Nothing like today’s directory!  No, 10 years later, we’ve kept up with its growth, we’ve kept up with technology – AND we’ve kept up with MEMBERS. It might surprise you to learn that having members wasn’t even in the cards when we first launched. The original intent was simply to provide a means for patients to find help. They could search and find one of the 30 – yes! only 30! – advocates who had listed themselves in the directory.* No members?  Not really. We had listed those people who self-described themselves as advocates, never realizing how quickly they would become overwhelmed by the number of people who needed their help. Nor did we realize that most were volunteers. As volunteers, with requests to work 24/7/365, many while maintaining other jobs, they could not sustain the work. Which is when the universe kicked in. Many readers of this blog know that my work in advocacy resulted from a heinous misdiagnosis in 2004. À la “hell hath no fury” – my total disgust with the healthcare system resulted in my work as Every Patient’s Advocate. Eventually I realized that if many people were doing the work I was doing, then many, MANY more patients would benefit. The AdvoConnection idea-seed took root in my head. The original AdvoConnection logo. Notice the link instead of the APHA logo in the middle. Here’s when I realized the universe was speaking to me, when I realized that what advocates needed was NOT about advocacy – most already know advocacy and know it well. What they really needed was help starting and growing a business so they could SUSTAIN their advocacy work! Make a living at it! Do good by doing well in business! So what does that have to…


 

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