There's a temptation to be hard on ourselves. In fact, we're the best at it. We know our faults, our shortcomings and our inclination to do the opposite of what we know we should. Worse, we're painfully aware of the shortfalls that others, thankfully, are oblivious to!
That's because we spend enormous amounts of energy to hide our flaws for fear we'll be found out as an imposter.
You and I are not the first to wrestle with this. It's what we do about our tendency to self-criticize that makes the difference.
I'd like to suggest that you and I shed the notion that perfection is some sort of unspoken goal. Give up the idea that you have to be the perfect specimen of health or you can't be effective at helping others. We're all flawed. We all come up short.
With the chiropractic consulting and coaching that I’ve been doing recently, invariably the subject of getting new patients comes up. It may show up in the context of reduced insurance reimbursement or the revelation that the doctor is tapping his or her savings to keep things going.
Regardless of how it comes up, chiropractors get little comfort from my observation that “…you wanted a practice but you’re actually in a small business, facing the same challenge virtually all small businesses face: getting new customers.”
Only when you completely own this idea, make friends with it and cozy up to it, are you likely to escape the bondage of imagining you somehow deserve a constant stream of new patients simply because you endured four winters in Davenport. It may have worked that way 10-20 years ago, and your professors may have believed that, but those days are long gone.
Jettison the notion that marketing your practice is somehow dirty or beneath you. “But Bill, I didn’t sign up for this to become a salesman.” Really? Everybody is a salesman. Whether it’s the drug companies minimizing the unwanted effects of their concoctions or your seven year-old child who wants a later bedtime. Begin by abandoning the entitlement mentality and acquired helplessness learned from the days of low deductibles and $75 office visits.
While I rarely urge chiropractors to look outside themselves for solutions, part of the solution may reside with the person you’ve chosen to answer your telephone at the front desk. Especially, if that person has been with you five or six years or longer.
Not the actual programming. That exists to attract enough eyeballs to sell to advertisers. It's advertisers who interrupt your fixated gaze with messages that make you feel shortcomings that will compel you to buy their product or service.
It even affects those who swear they're not swayed.
You'll probably want to mute the commercials and look away. Later, you might want to abandon this drug-administered-through-the-eyeballs all together. Watch your optimism and hope return.
If you want to be a beacon of truth and profoundly influence those you touch; if you see a patient's ache or pain as merely a way for strangers to enter your sphere of influence and be enlightened, inspired and affirmed, stop watching the boob tube. Be in the world, but not of it. Be the spicy, salty rebel you are.
Abstract: Not all inactive patients are created equal. Create a plan to contact your inactives on a systematic basis so you maintain your connection during the dormant phase of their chiropractic care. Even more important is to avoid the most common mistake of small business owners that produce the classic “roller coaster” practice. 6:06
Tags: inactive patients, reactivations, top-of-mind awareness, practice management software, borderline patients, birthday cards, New Year’s resolution, feast or famine, chiropractic supplies
Do you realize how blessed you are to know the truth? You probably forget how rare and valuable your knowledge of health and healing are.
Imagine how many have squandered their life savings because they thought health came in a pill or a bottle or a doctor. Consider how many have surrendered their bodies to irreversible surgery.
The vast majority is inclined to choose the popular, the accepted and the mainstream. They look past the simple and the natural. They often unknowingly harbor a mistrust of their own body.
Remember that we're each granted free will by our Creator to choose a path congruent with our beliefs. Honor that. Just make sure that those you meet know your truth. Share your beliefs with compassion and kindness. Whether they take root now (or never) is not your responsibility. But telling the truth is.
Ask most people what they want, what they really want and after some stammering and deer-caught-in-the-headlights look, they'll mention some half-hearted goal or the acquisition of some possession.
Tragically, most of us are far more able to describe what we don't want!
Your mind can help you achieve anything. But it must be focused.
Identify one overarching, achievable goal or accomplishment. Write it down. Construct a short sentence containing your desire. Post this statement throughout your environment in places you'll encounter dozens of times a day. In your sock drawer. On the dashboard of your car. On the medicine cabinet mirror.
Fasten your mind on it. Affix your thoughts to it. Study it. Visualize it.
It's helpful if this "thing" isn't actually a thing. At least at first. And even better if it equips you serve others. Start with something small so you can convince yourself. Then go for it!
I don’t usually read this type of business book. You may know them. They’re written in the form of a short story, a parable or allegory in which the main character faces a challenge, a mentor comes alongside to teach the “grasshopper” new ways, he or she learns the lesson and all is well by the last chapter. The Go-Giver, by Bob Burg and John Mann is that kind of business book. I read the 127 pages over the course of two sittings this weekend—because it was a gift from my friend Dr. Nathan Unruh, the chiropractor in Sioux Falls at the helm of Envive. Plus, his recent recommendation of Patrick Pencioni’s book, Getting Naked (a business fable) was spot on, so I gave it go. Let’s just say, every chiropractor should read this book and practice the five principles it reveals. Especially if you’d like to be helping more people. Thanks Nathan.
Q: What is the best way to address a patient who says they have found other San Diego chiropractors who charge $25 per visit while our office charges $50 per visit? She's acting like we’re over charging her.
A: “They must know what their adjustments are worth,” is probably what you want to say, but that would just give you some temporary emotional satisfaction and avoid the real issue.
As I consult with chiropractors, I’m increasingly hearing language that suggests many feel responsible for a patient’s recovery. Naturally, this will hobble attempts to grow a practice and help more people. Instead of explaining to patients that the purpose of chiropractic care is to revive their ability to self heal, these patients (and chiropractors) think that the adjustments are “treating” their headache, back pain or other named ache or pain. Overlook this critical distinction, and besides frustration and misunderstanding, you’ll find yourself emotionally drained by imagining yourself responsible for things that you are not able to respond—such as what a patient’s body does with the energy you add at opportune times and places along their spine.
“But Bill, you don’t understand,” I can almost hear you say, “If I don’t help them with their problem they’ll leave.”
Really? Is that true?
Those who believe this are probably chiropractors who fail to establish a clear boundary at the beginning of the budding relationship, outlining what they’re responsible for and what the patient is responsible for.
When our memories are larger than our dreams, the end is near.
When confronted by change, many of us apply our energies in the hopes of restoring the old. "I want things to be like the good old days."
Unlikely. In fact, impossible.
Imagine trying to take patients back to an era before insurance coverage. Or consider how impossible it would be to return to the days before the influence of the Internet. Or to make lifestyle decisions as if you didn't know the truth about chiropractic and the nature of real health.
When we resist change (or anything else) our fears, worries and uncertainties assume an unhelpful, larger-than-life status. Worse, our negative frame of mind limits our creativity, forcing us into a shortsighted defensiveness that prevents us from seeing opportunity.
Befriend the future. It's where your larger, more significant practice lies. It will be here before you know it!