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Are You Repulsive?

magnet.jpgMany chiropractors seem to go beige when they consider the prospect of who they must be to attract new patients. Apparently, the thinking goes something like this: “If I can knock off my rough spots and remove any traits that might be remotely off-putting to others, I’ll be more attractive.”

Wrong.

At first glance, this chameleon-like strategy makes sense. However, it is a recipe for mediocrity and an exhausting walking-on-eggshells existence that not only makes you less attractive, it eventually leads to resentment.

Turns out, you must repel others if you ever hope to attract new patients into your life.

Consider the classic horseshoe-shaped magnet. It only attracts iron filings at its polar ends. There is little magnetism in the middle. Same with personalities. You must have a “charge” to attract. Of course the rub is, a charge will also repel. If you find yourself in a scarcity mode of thinking, the risk of potentially repelling even one new patient seems too risky.

Chiropractors used to be known for being edgy, controversial and even extreme. Nowadays, with the hope of fitting in, the promise of “integration,” “acceptance” or the approval of the medical community, many chiropractors have lost their “saltiness” and show up bland; neutral. In the middle. Unattractive.

Keeping your philosophy and unique worldview largely secret, reserved only for sharing with fellow chiropractors or a few patients who are “safe,” often means that most of the patients you attract are equally dispassionate, not fully invested and require more attention to keep on the straight and narrow. Maintaining the charade; biting your tongue; suppressing your soul; presenting only the most politically correct beliefs for fear of judgment and rejection is the perfect recipe for a small, manageable practice.

Now, if chiropractic were some type of “iffy” therapy with rare success and founded on some flimsy premise best kept secret, it might make sense to keep things close to the vest. But that’s not the case. Chiropractors can afford to be bold; even poke fun at the prevailing notion about what passes for health care. Not in an attempt to raise chiropractic by knocking down medicine, but to inject an element of doubt and skepticism into the prevailing mass hypnosis of symptom-treating, germ-fearing, live-for-today mentality that passes for health care.

As you step up, maybe testing the waters with baby steps, revealing what you believe to be true, be prepared for three reactions:

Repulsion. As mentioned above, once you assume a position that is left or right of center on anything from aspartame and water beds to fluoridation and swine flu, it increases the possibility that some will flee. Taking a position for this or that can give some patients the perfect excuse to drop out of care at the earliest possible moment. Fortunately, unless you hold extreme views (unlikely if you’ve read this far), this reaction will be the least common of the three.

Neutrality. A vast number of people may be mildly interested, but nonplused by your flag planting and position taking. Your opinions may produce genuine curiosity or simply mere acceptance. Nonmainstream ideas are to be expected when you consult an “alternative” practitioner. This will likely be the reaction of the vast majority. Not a big deal.

Attractability. If you’re willing to risk the occasional rejection, you’re rewarded by patients who draw near. “Amen!” “I agree!” “Me too!” they proclaim as they drop their guard and draw near a kindred spirit. The result is a bond more likely to blossom into a respectful, long-term relationship. This is how you attract your “tribe.” It’s how, over time, you collect those who appreciate you for reasons beyond the technical skill you have. It’s what creates profound levels of confidence, loyalty and respect.

Ironic that greater respect is obtained by taking a stand than by showing up lukewarm and wishy-washy hoping to be politically correct. This is the mark of a leader. They take a stand, even when it’s unpopular or even risky.

Simply put, as you become more courageous by risking rejection, you become more attractive!

Thinking you can have the crest without the trough, the peak without the valley, expansion without contraction or attraction without repulsion is a childlike belief that constrains far too many chiropractors. Become a more significant influencer and change agent in the lives of those you encounter by more frequently risking rejection. Be bold. You know the truth!

Comments (5)

David Boyd, D.C.:

Bill is correct again! I always say, you can stand on a corner handing out $100 dollar bills and someone is going to complain about it. Be kind and understanding...they do not know what you know. It's a privilege to be different.

maryland chirppractor:

I have to say that this is one of my biggest obstacles. I tend to take it personal when patients choose to not listen to what I recommend. I keep telling myself that I am the expert and they know very little about health and what they need, why don't they listen? I also keep telling myself that I am not responsible for their bank accounts or their choices and I need to let it go. Unfortunately the first option seems to win out more these days with my mind. I really need to follow the path of.......for lack of a better way to put it........not caring. (not with regards to the patients well being, just to the choices they make.....those are their problems.) This post seems to really hit the nail on the head with what I am dealing with with my patients.

The first time that I have seen you be this direct about this subject. Absolutely true! Think of all the great, busy chiropractors, all of them planted a flag and announced their beliefs-- a word of warning-- really think about what your beliefs are before you pronouce them. Just spouting something you heard from someone else will not suffice.

Great post Bill! You really hit the nail on the head in this article. Thanks!

Travis Pillipow:

Bill,

Perfect timing for this blog entry. Being new to the profession and in the first 6 months of practice, this could not have hit home harder. Feeling like you must please everybody, and cater to all types of people, might be the hardest thing to do. It seems as if your message of what you are truly meaning to tell people gets clouded by what you think that they may want to hear. The mindset of telling your practice members the truth versus a watered down version, and having them leave, or be "repulsed" is a scary concept, but it seems the more you do this, the stronger practice you build.

I would love to hear other thoughts on this matter. I am trying to incorporate this theory into my practice everyday. If they don't want to come, I cannot take it as a personal insult; or let this bruise my ego.

Great entry - repulse people with the truth, in turn attract the right people with the truth.

Travis

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From April 28, 2009 4:40 AM

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