The 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.
So you’re isolated. And the temptation is to freeze in your tracks and do nothing, fearing that you’ll make the wrong move and make matters worse. Turns out your instinct is probably correct. Do nothing. But you’ll want to “be” more.
Most chiropractors would prefer do something to get new patients rather than being something that would attract new patients.
Even as distasteful as lectures and screenings are for many chiropractors, they’d rather do them, than show up in their practice and be curious, interested, open and someone who makes patients feel big by simply being around them. In fact, they’d rather spend their last dime on some advertising or some other new patient acquisition scheme than having to “be” different with patients.
Is it because being is more difficult than doing?
If you’ve assumed the persona of a “doctor” or spine “fixer,” practice has probably become a burden.
If you’ve assumed the persona of a therapist or the one responsible for how patients feel, you’ve assumed an unsustainable obligation that surrenders your well-being for theirs.
If you’ve assumed the persona of a “coach,” barking orders (I mean suggestions) and nagging those who show up, you’re probably feeling unappreciated.
These, and other common personas I’ve seen chiropractors take on, taint their patient relationships and make practice a constant uphill battle. From within this way of being, they can’t see the carnage they leave in their wake. There are plenty of casualties. There are the stupid patients who don’t “get” chiropractic. There are the ignorant who don’t properly prioritize their health. And don’t forget the ungrateful who don’t even say thank you after being rescued from irreversible surgery. Judging, blaming and discarding forces many to have to entice, seduce and pander to get new patients. These chiropractors conveniently blame their circumstances, the drug industry, insurance companies or work comp laws in their state for their plight. But the problem isn’t “out there.” It’s in their office. It’s in their relationships. It’s in the way they’ve chosen to show up for patients. Start there:
Be more accepting. Resist the temptation to offer patients a “short cut” to the relief they seek. Avoid making their problem, your problem. If you’re inclined to pick up the patient and carry them, realize that when you set them back down, they’ll land precisely on the spot from which you picked them up. Healing is personal. It can’t be done for someone else.
Be more curious. The opposite of judgment, which closes down, makes small and reduces possibilities for growth is curiosity, which opens up, enlarges and increases possibilities for growth. As you demonstrate authentic interest in patients, you will be perceived as interesting—prompting others to draw near, wanting to know more about you, your life and unique philosophy.
Be more present. Shelve the past and allow the future to arrive on its own accord. The more you can stay in the present moment, the more powerful and influential you are. You’re powerless to change the past and the future is guaranteed to no one. Be here. Now. Offer up a deep, profound and accepting “Yes!” to what is.
Be more transparent. Separating yourself from others and holding yourself up as victim (or victor) is a sure way of surrendering or exaggerating your influence. Our flaws make us human and approachable. Our endless efforts to look good, impress others or hide our shortcomings isolate us. When we give up trying to boost our reputation we can finally reveal our true character. Only when we become comfortable with ourselves, do we give permission for others to be comfortable with themselves. And that’s when practice gets exciting!
We explore this being/doing dilemma as part of The Conversation. If you see an access here for your own personal growth, I’d invite you to join no more than nine other chiropractors for this valuable 30-day program.