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August 2007 Archives


Could You Use More Margin?

When do you refuel?I’ve been thinking about something I encountered a couple of Saturday mornings ago before a recent speaking gig in San Diego. I didn’t speak until after lunch, so I had the opportunity to take a self-guided tour of the aircraft carrier USS Midway. If you have the opportunity invest a couple of hours and take the tour.

What’s been rattling around my mind this last week is a little factoid I learned during the final part of the tour, explaining the refueling-at-sea process necessary to keep carriers battle-ready. In fact, one of the reasons the USS Midway had been mothballed and turned into a museum was because it was the last of two aircraft carriers known as “oil burners.” (The remaining diesel carrier, the USS Kitty Hawk is to be retired next year.)

Refueling at sea is done by “oilers” who pull along side and match the carrier’s speed. Lines are shot between each vessel that are used to support the 3” fuel line. It’s a rather serious maneuver, especially in the middle of battle operations!

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Monday Morning Motivation

This summer I'm sharing a handful of the 3,000 proverbs written or collected by King Solomon. Put his wisdom to work in your practice:

14:28 A growing population is a king's glory; a dwindling nation is his doom.

A practice grows because the chiropractor grows.

In the backseat of a stagnant, languishing practice is a chiropractor who is no longer learning new skills, trying new methods or inspired by the possibilities of enlightening patients about the nature of true health. Even more detrimental is simply trying to maintain the status quo, clutching to what you already have.

Even if you've already had your biggest day in practice, you can still grow, intellectually, perceptually and intuitively. Learn a new adjusting technique based on principles opposite to what you're doing now. Hire an associate and become an incubator of more successful practices. Volunteer your time in community service, enlarging your personal network. Confront whatever you're uncomfortable facing. Stretch yourself!

Look at nature. Living things are either growing or dying. What are you doing? What's your practice doing?


Do Less Be More

be_more.jpgThe deeper I dig into what makes some chiropractors adored by their patients, the more I’m convinced that it’s who they are, rather than what they do. And while a lot of lip service is paid to “being,” I’m discovering that few are available for the introspection and self-examination required to “be” someone more attractive. Because like all healing, it requires going through, rather than around.

Most chiropractors have set up their lives so no one calls them on their stuff. The staff learns to keep their mouths shut and look past their boss’s practice-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors. Advice from a spouse is dismissed with a routine, “Honey, things have changed. It’s not like it was when you worked in the practice.” And your non-chiropractic buddies are unhelpful, recommending that you buck up, put your head down and just push harder.

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Lack of Loyalty

Call in The Hammer!One of the ideas I’ve explored in these recent postings is my belief that it can take most patients many tries of starting care and stopping care before they “get” the lifestyle benefits of chiropractic. Having spent their entire lives steeped in the medical model of symptom treating, most patients aren’t about to embrace chiropractic after one spellbinding report of findings and incremental relief that comes over weeks or months. Then, because patients see how deeply you care, many feel guilt or shame when they discontinue care. This, combined with the fact that most chiropractors are unwilling to keep in touch with patients during the dormant phase before their eventual relapse, creates a voracious appetite for new patients.

I think I know why.

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Monday Morning Motivation

This summer I'm sharing a handful of the 3,000 proverbs written or collected by King Solomon. Put his wisdom to work in your practice:

25:28 A man without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls.

To the degree you can control yourself you'll be able to control your practice.

You can't control patients. Those who try, are the recipients of resentment and anger. Not only are they greeted by failure, but they get the longer lasting legacy of patients who would never give them the pleasure of returning to the practice when their problem inevitably returns.

At its root, attempting to control others is about getting your needs met.

Do not attempt to have your physical, mental or emotional needs met by your patients or staff. Exhibit discernment when you sense that a patient is coming on to you. The reverse is even more crucial. Do nothing in your practice that you wouldn't want your spouse to see or your community to read about on the front page of the newspaper. Either we discipline ourselves, or something or someone else will do it for us.


What Does an Adjustment Do?

Do you steal from patients?I get some revealing answers when I ask chiropractors, especially those still in chiropractic college, what they think an adjustment does. After a long, uncomfortable pause I can tell that they’re either not sure, have never thought about it or more likely, they’ve never actually had to put their own mental representation into words. Some, I suppose, are fearful that their working model of an adjustment might be amateurish or miss the mark completely. Yet, there is very little more important than being clear about what an adjustment is, what it does, what it doesn’t do and what your intention is when delivering one. Without clarity on this vital issue, you’ll resort to being a spine “fixer,” deluded into thinking you’re the one doing the healing! Many chiropractors have fallen into this trap.

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Monday Morning Motivation

This summer I'm sharing a handful of the 3,000 proverbs written or collected by King Solomon. Put his wisdom to work in your practice:

22:28 Do not move the ancient boundary marks. That is stealing.

Property lines are important. If you've ever built a fence, only later to discover it encroached upon your neighbor's property, you know it can be an expensive mistake. As is encroaching upon the territory of patients.

Know what is theirs and what is yours.

For example. It's your job to provide a care plan that is most likely to produce the greatest results in the shortest amount time for the least amount of money.

But it's their job to embrace your suggestions, follow them, show up for their appointments, do the actual healing and pay you for your service.

Blur these boundaries and you encroach upon the patient's property, making the encounter about you rather than them. Attempting to control patient priorities and behaviors that you're powerless to control is not only emotionally exhausting, it's unsustainable. Worse, few patients appreciate your overtures and often come to resent your rescue attempts to save them from themselves.


Medical Deprogramming

How do you create obedient patients?If you have any hope of making lasting change with patients beyond the relief of their most obvious symptoms (inviting a subsequent relapse) you must facilitate a patient’s belief change so they see chiropractic as a lifestyle decision, not just a short term diet for pain relief. I use the word facilitate because you don’t have the power to directly change anyone’s beliefs but your own. In the same way I cannot change your beliefs, you cannot change a patient’s. We can attempt to make a compelling case for what we think is a more enlightened perspective (as I’m trying to do here). And we can make it emotionally “safe” to abandon an old idea and embrace a new one. But like healing, it’s an inside job that you can’t do for someone else.

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Monday Morning Motivation

This summer I've shared a few of the 3,000 proverbs written or collected by King Solomon. Here's the final one for the summer:

3:3 Never tire of loyalty and kindness. Hold these virtues tightly. Write them deep within your heart.

It may surprise you, but most inactive patients still see you as their chiropractor. Do you see them as a patient? It's tempting to abandon patients who are in the dormant phase of their relationship, but the true test of a practice is maintaining a connection with those you've helped in the past.

A birthday (one of the two times each year a patient is likely to think about their health) is the most obvious opportunity. As patients age, they get fewer birthday greetings, so your thoughtfulness can have high impact.

Exhibit kindness by acknowledging them without a direct overture to resume care. You're merely keeping in touch, letting them know that they're on your mind and you still see them as part of your practice family. Consider using our Relief & Wellness patient newsletter, our wide range of postcards and 50 Patient Letters to demonstrate your loyalty.


Where Did All the Chiropractors Go?

Would you go to jail for chiropractic?I applaud Greg Stanley for so eloquently expressing a growing tension felt by many practitioners in his recent Dynamic Chiropractic article “The Sustainability of Chiropractic” Greg is a fellow non-DC, spending a similar amount of his life in service to the chiropractic profession. He may have overlooked an important distinction in his assertion that we may have an oversupply of DCs.

There may be too many DCs. But there are far too few chiropractors.

Continue reading "Where Did All the Chiropractors Go?" »

About August 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Chiropractic Practice Blog in August 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

July 2007 is the previous archive.

September 2007 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.