During the Q & A at the end of my speaking gig this past weekend, I became present to an issue that seems to constrain many chiropractors from experiencing the practice ease they deserve: worrying about what others will think about what they say or do.
This even prevents some chiropractors from telling the revolutionary truth about chiropractic. Combine this, with the temptation to show up as the heroic healer to get the adulation of patients, and you have a recipe for an underperforming practice. Worse, the chiropractor becomes the victim of insurance companies and a casualty of the cultural notions of why someone would see a chiropractor.
I think those who suffer from this arrested social development would be wise to take an inventory of their answers to three key questions.
At its root, worrying about what others think is a spiritual issue, revealed by the answers to these simply questions:
1. How do others see you?
2. How do you see yourself?
3. How does God see you?
Question #1: How Do Others See You? (Least important)
The short answer is, it’s none of your business how others see you!
Many people constantly worry about how they are perceived by others. This, by the way, is what constrains many from public speaking and other forms of self-expression. They worry about how others will view their body or judge their words. This is so overwhelming that many are unavailable to rise above their emotional subluxation and take the risk.
Conversely, freedom in front of an audience and be fully you at all times is possible when you realize that it’s not about you. Certainly, there are ways of showing up that can either help or hinder your intentions, however, when you commit to serving the audience (patients) and get yourself out of the way, you can become a powerful force.
Everyone you know has formed an opinion about you. That’s their business, not yours.
Question #2: How Do You See Yourself? (Moderately important)
Now we’re getting somewhere. Being able to look yourself in the mirror is far more important than what others think about you.
If you’re not a sociopath or suffering from a mental disorder, most people have a far lower view of themselves than what is appropriate. By knowing your strengths, weaknesses and limitations you could form a truthful estimation of who you are. Do you tend to put yourself in the pit (low self-esteem) or put yourself on a pedestal (egotistical hubris)? All things being equal, either extreme would be a sign of ill health.
Many chiropractors will take on a persona so they don’t have to risk showing up as themselves. Some of the more common and unhelpful ways of being include the fixer, the doctor, the coach and the buddy. They rarely show up as themselves!
Question #3: How Does God See You? (Most important)
Those who habitually make practice and their circumstances about themselves often infringe upon God—who grants the free will to do so. However, the judgment and punishment from taking credit when it’s not yours to take, or attempting to usurp God and actually be God by taking control, is delayed for later. That’s why of the three questions this is the most important.
Scripture is replete with examples of those who paid a high price for being selfish and self-centered. This me-me-me focus in chiropractic practice might show up as:
• Taking credit for the results produced by chiropractic care
• Accepting blame for the speed of a patient’s recovery
• Imagining that what patients do is a reflection of you
• Constantly worrying about your reputation
• Unwilling to confront patients about past due accounts
• Modifying your procedures or policies so patients will like you
• Referring to them as “my” patients as if you owned them
There are many more, but you get the idea.
Making practice about you, your income, your debt, your reputation, your practice volume, your dreams or your future is the surest way to keep your practice small and inconsequential. Because it’s not about you. Never has been. However, you can make it about you if you wish. Just remember that when you do, you make yourself the hero at the expense of making the patient (and their ability to self-heal given them by God) small.
Seems kind of risky to me.