I was speaking with a doctor on the phone the other day who was lamenting about the state of his practice, recounting the different adjusting techniques he had employed over the years. More recently, his analytical bent had prompted him to pursue various postural and structural models of chiropractic. "But I was the busiest when my purpose was about finding and reducing subluxations," he confessed.
It's tempting to think that your practice volume is the effect of what you're doing; a technique, a procedure or a script. Perhaps initially, but sustained practice performance is the result of something far more subtle. Many chiropractors search for it at technique seminars and practice management programs. Predictably, they often see a brief bump in their numbers, but the practice fails to maintain this hoped-for increase. Experience these roller-coaster ups and downs long enough and you can become cynical and resigned. What is this elusive quality?
If Einstein was correct, you and I are energy. Energy cannot be destroyed, but it can change form. If we’re not emotionally (energy in motion) invested in our business, our marriage or any other pursuit, it's revealed by stagnation and a burdensome obligation. And the reverse is true. What we give our energy to, grows.
That’s why you experience a temporary up tick in your numbers after attending an inspiring chiropractic seminar. It’s why you see a short-term increase in patient volume when introducing a new procedure. It’s why you experience improved results soon after adding a new technique or tool to your arsenal. It’s tempting to attribute the increase to the seminar, procedure or new clinical intervention. But the true source of the increase is you—your new, focused intention, your heightened attention and your enhanced presence.
No matter how helpful each one improves your clinical results or increases your capacity, it’s usually not enough to sustain your passion for long. And your search resumes for the next “drug” to fuel the emotional engine that powers your practice.
If this is true, it begs the question, “How can I remain excited and passionate about my practice?” Only when you face this issue can your practice enjoy the sustained productivity you desire. Resolve this energy management problem and you’ll no longer search for temporary, outside-in solutions. Start here:
Fire in your belly. Think back to why you chose to become a chiropractor. Something propelled you to ignore the well-meaning advice and pointed questions (“Why don’t you become a real doctor?”) and pursue a chiropractic career, anyway. Reacquaint yourself with whatever it was and restore its importance in your daily delivery of chiropractic care. It’s an access point to restoring the passion necessary to practice at a higher level.
No fire? No higher purpose? No crusade? No problem. It’s never too late to find your North Star and hitch your practice to it.
Find a bigger meaning. If you’ve reduced chiropractic to just knocking down the high places and improving biomechanics, you’re destined to have a small, pathetic role in the lives of those you attract. Instead, look beyond the obvious. Visualize the ripple effect of their improved health, touching the lives of every person each patient knows. In doing so, you affect thousands of people every day. Imagine how your intervention enlarges the capacity of others to do more and be more. See your adjustments as gentle nudges toward a better life; as encouragement (giving courage) and compassionate prodding toward new possibilities.
To create and sustain the passion necessary to help more people, you must look beyond your own selfish survival and acknowledge the larger significance of what you do. If you have been deceived into believing that what you do is small, your practice reflects it. If you’ve bought the lie that chiropractic is merely a superficial therapy for headaches and low back pain, you’ve toed the line and surrendered your greatness. And if you keep looking outside for reasons to fuel your inside, you will remain in bondage and prove your detractors right.