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The Numbers Game

numbers gameI propose that all chiropractic seminar speakers implement a voluntary ban on the speaking of patient numbers from the stage. Let’s put a stop to the “How would you like to be seeing 100 patients a day?” And the, “Why aren’t you seeing 500 week like I am?” Or, “If you were a real chiropractor you’d be a member of the 300 club.”

Granted, the numbers game is convenient. But virtually meaningless. Without the context of knowing about your marriage, the revolving door at the front desk, your fees, collections, location and how your children resent you, how many patients you saw “back in the day” is irrelevant.

Visit numbers are an effect or result, not a cause. Chasing some mythical number is classic symptom treating and a sure-fire recipe for frustration. Comparing yourself with others in this way, or believing that you’re a second-rate chiropractor because you aren’t serving as many as someone else, is absurd.

There are a couple of reasons why chiropractors do this. And they share one thing in common.

Low self-esteem. It’s so easy to fall prey to this all too common malady when you inappropriately suffer from a sense of inferiority produced from one or more of these beliefs:

You’re inclined to compare yourself with others. It was comedian Bill Cosby who observed, "I don’t know the key to success, but I do know the key to failure is trying to please everybody." An unwillingness to march to your own drummer is a sign of self-doubt, which can result from the belief that you aren’t entitled to your own life. You are.

Others remind you that you’re not a real doctor. I never understood this. Why would someone want to be a doctor, real or otherwise, so they can prescribe medication and be the third leading cause of death? If it’s the stethoscope around the neck thing, I think you can wear one even without a license to practice medicine.

You take rejection personally. Remember, a no is just a no. When someone rejects chiropractic or better health or lifetime care, it’s not a reflection of you. It’s a far more personal insight into them! Why feel slighted because others are inclined not to value their health or are close-minded to the truth? Don’t let their problem become your problem!

What you do is so easy it doesn’t deserve respect. At the other end of the spectrum are chiropractors who believe they don’t deserve the fee they receive for such a quick and simple procedure as an adjustment. They compensate by either adjusting every articulation of the body or rely on an adjusting technique that takes far longer to administer than necessary.

Unable to produce 100% compliance or 100% results. Because you depend on the patient’s healing ability, you have no control over the results. And don’t forget that repeatedly coming to your practice is an imposition for most patients. In other words, it would be unwise to risk your self-esteem based on what patients do.

The Chiropractic Exaggeration Factor. After speaking in front of chiropractic audiences for over 25 years myself, I know how tempting it is to exaggerate here and there to make a point. If a speaker has to resort to spouting numbers of patients that he or she did this or that to (back in the day), take it with a grain of salt. Remember they’ve told the story so many times they’re not even sure it’s true anymore!

Everyone else knows something you don’t. Perhaps. But unlikely. Far more likely is they work harder or smarter than you do. Or have greater discipline. And almost certainly, they believe something different than you believe. The good news is that if anyone can do it, you can too.

The only way I know to raise your self-esteem is to tackle something difficult and succeed. You can’t hum a mantra, repeat an affirmation, do a ropes course or rely on the praise of others. By becoming a chiropractor you’ve chosen the hard, difficult narrow path that relatively few have taken. Well done! It may be time to raise the bar and take on something even more difficult. Such as systematically explaining chiropractic in an effective and meaningful way. To strangers in your community. And exposing yourself to rejection.

Comments (4)

Always grateful that you can "spot the splinters." It'd be a great business if it weren't for those dumb patients who don't understand us!!

Jeremy Broadhead:

Thanks, Bill. This is a great post. I always look forward to Monday Morning Motivation. I am very impressed with your insight. I could spend days just going through your archives. Thank You.

Bernard Kaseman:

I seldome get any meaningful motivation from your Monday Motivation email. It seems you continue to tell chiropractors of their weaknesses, as you perceive them, but how about the patients. You make them appear to be innocent in this process of patient care. Furthermore, you make them seem to be always correct. The cliche about "the customer is always right" just ins't so and doesn't apply, as I don't see them as a retail customer.
You have several books about what the patient thinks and does. How about telling us something about them to give us better understanding. I don't doubt your sincerity but sometimes you come across a bit snooty. and maybe you are a bit burned out from constantly telling chiropractors about their shortcomings. I know that you know about the Biblical "taking the plank out of own eye before telling the other person about their splinter". I hope this will help you help us. thanks for all that you try to do for the profession but how about helping out the patients to better understand their chiropractor. It is the road less travelled.

Sasha Berson:

A great post, Bill.

I am not a chiropractor, most of what you wrote about spoke to me and the challenges I, as a small business owner, have to deal with on daily basis.

Thank you for the time and effort you've put into writing and sharing the insights.

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From November 23, 2012 9:54 AM

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