If Tiger Woods were a chiropractor, would he have a successful practice?
That was a question I wrestled with in a dream last night. (Sick, I know.) But it begs the question, what does it take to be a successful chiropractor? How would you define success?
I assert that producing symptomatic results with a sufficiently high number of patients, like a license to practice, is merely a baseline requirement, and not the essence of being a successful chiropractor. There are plenty of chiropractors who produce great results, but who aren’t successful. These are the chiropractors who will often lament, “I just get ‘em well too fast!”
Conversely, there are new graduates fresh out of college who produce excellent clinical results, yet aren’t successful as chiropractors. Hampered by poor tableside manners, low energy, fear of strangers or a host of subclinical personality disorders, they are unable to sustainably exchange their valuable skills at a profit.
So, just what is it that separates successful chiropractors from struggling chiropractors?
To answer the question I originally posed, I think many would agree that Tiger Woods could be a spectacular chiropractor. Sure, his focus, concentration and discipline would all be helpful. Combine that with even the most modest clinical skills and he could be a champion chiropractor.
However, there may be one other characteristic of a Tiger Woods that would help assure his success. It would be his willingness to accept what is. As in, the ball landed there. Or, the ball is in the trap. Or all the other observations one can make when things aren’t going as planned. In other words, I’m assuming there is no self-talk that includes the word “should.” As in, the ball shouldn’t have landed there. Or, the ball shouldn’t have gone in the trap. The successful, regardless of their ilk, banish forms of the word: should.
“I should be getting more referrals.”
Sure, and I should be taller and have more hair.
“Patients should bring their kids in for care.”
Sure, and gas prices should be lower.
“Patients should value their health enough to pay for chiropractic care out of their own pocket.”
Of course, and teenagers should listen to their parents, keep their rooms clean and not stay up to all hours of the night.
"The chiropractor down the street should stop ruining the reputation of chiropractic."
Sure, and taxes should be lower.
“My staff should anticipate my needs and support our purpose better.”
Yet, they apparently don’t. Now what?
I’m imagining that Tiger Woods observes, "The ball landed here. Now what?" No anger at the ball. No self-incrimination. No should-haves. The truth is, the ball landed in a particular place. By not arguing with what is and not regressing into the past with “could-haves” and “should-haves” he remains resourceful and exhibits a calming sense of grace and confidence—characteristics of the successful, regardless of their endeavor.
I mention this because when arguing with reality and what is, reality and what is always wins. Always. The unwillingness to look at and accept what is, is the source of tremendous suffering. Whether it be the reality of diminishing third-party reimbursement, having attracted patients who value how the bill is paid over what is done and who does it, the fact of high staff turnover, patients who don’t say goodbye, being out of shape or other aspects of what is so in your practice or your life.
Until you will accept what is, you’ll remain powerless to make the change necessary to produce a different result. Until you are no longer a victim you won't have the courage to do what you already know to do. In other words, you can never leave a place that you refuse to admit that you are. What is, is.