Transforming an underperforming practice requires that you make some changes. Which requires seeing things differently. Which requires having an accurate assessment of what is so.
What are you pretending not to know about yourself?
Clinical skills - If your adjustments tend to be a bit on the rough side or inconsistently effective, start here.
Purpose - Adjusting patients is not your purpose. It's a way to advance your purpose. Do you know it?
Personality - If yours is introverted, off-putting or parental, you may need to rethink how you're showing up.
Communications - Are you a poor listener, dogmatic or the reverse, constantly seeking approval?
History - Do you have a reputation for hijacking a patient's free will, justifying it as being in the patient's best interest?
Tolerations - Do you say yes when you mean no? Do you claim it's okay when it isn't?
Lazy - Do you want success bad enough to do what's necessary?
There isn't any judgment here.
But often there is a "success on my terms" attitude that constrains what is needed to escape the status quo.
Inside the box we can't see box. Others can. Just as we can see theirs. But our box remains invisible.
Ultimately practice development is about self-development. A practice is merely the reflection of its owner. Your scotomas are its scotomas. Your principles are its principles. Your character is its character.
As James Allen observed in his 1902 classic As A Man Thinketh, "Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves."
It may seem odd to improve a practice by improving oneself, but other approaches only offer a temporary bump and things quickly return to the set point imposed by who we are.
Solid, sustainable practice growth comes from personal growth.
Which is why you would want to have a heart to heart with yourself to unmask what you know about yourself but are unwilling to admit. Be warned that the access point is often what we have the strongest allergic reaction to.
Here are some of the more common allergens that I've seen:
Resenting the business of chiropractic. It's called a practice, but it's a small business. They're called patients, but they're customers.
More than likely, you pursued chiropractic as a career because you wanted to help others. But if you can't run your business profitably you'll either want to learn how, or work for someone who does. It's a decision.
Disliking practice marketing. Simply put, marketing is a way to connect buyers with sellers. That can be everything from your practice sign, hours, adjusting technique and website bio, to your personality, punctuality, office décor, tableside manner and everything in between.
Thinking that marketing is dirty, unprofessional, unnecessary or only needed by those with substandard clinical skills is simply not true. Learning about marketing and improving the visibility of your practice is a decision.
Confronting an under performing team member. Countless practices are hamstrung by someone at the front desk who shouldn't be there. Often because the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know.
But you're doing them, your patients and yourself a huge disservice. More than likely they aren't living their dream or having fun. They simply lack the courage to find a better fit for their skill set. So they're parked in your practice until something taps them on their shoulder or you help them end their chronic, low-grade unhappiness.
If the problem is a lack of staff training, then you have some work to do. But if you know it's not working out and there's little hope of turning the corner, rip off the band-aid. Doing so is a decision.
Facing a personal habit or peccadillo. You know that thing that you work so hard to hide? That if exposed would be shameful? You know the one. Yeah, that one. It's interfering with the success you crave.
We exhaust massive amounts of energy attempting to conceal that thing. Which robs us of the joy we deserve and the impact we would like to make.
So we pose. We act. Cover up. Hide. Conceal.
The resulting lack of transparency and authenticity becomes a habit. Our withholding causes others to be reluctant to connect, surrender and be vulnerable. When we become vulnerable and show up real it sends a signal to others that it's safe to do so as well. As we lower our guard, it gives others permission to lower theirs. That's when true healing can occur. But it's a decision.
Healing a wound that is waiting for your forgiveness. Wayne Dyer referred to them as "justifiable resentments." One of the biggest energy sucks is holding on to past insults, upsets, offenses and injustices.
Still trying to please dad? Or prove something to someone? Are you holding on to the anger you have towards your ex? Or a previous employer? An associate? The promises made by your chiropractic college? An employee who stole from you?
Make a list.
Forgive everyone for every thing. Your forgiveness doesn't condone what they did. Nor will you necessarily forget what happened. But it frees you to move on and free up that space in your brain for something more useful.
Oh, and while you're at it be sure to forgive yourself. Again, it's a decision.
Your relationship with risk. Risk is defined as the possibility of loss or injury, peril or someone or something that creates or suggests a hazard. What does that for you?
Playing it safe, following the rules and coloring inside the lines may be your first inclination. Don't forget that you're a chiropractor. A rebel. A nonconformist. You chose the hard narrow unpopular path for a reason.
Kowtowing to the status quo or the sentiment of the shepeople around you isn't your style. Instead you are an advocate of possibility. Don't minimize that!
Strengthen your risk muscle by taking on the unknown. The way to increase your resiliency is to increase your confidence. That may require that you list every fear you have. From hurting a patient and being sued to being cheated on and suffering an early death and everything in between. Only when you know specifically what you're fearful of can you cozy up to it and neutralize its power. And yes, it's a decision.
Not knowing what you want. There's nothing that can dissipate one's energy more than simply coasting, waiting and not having any goals. Most of us spend more time and attention planning a shopping trip than planning our future.
Related to this is being comfortable. Comfortable is the enemy of excellence. It's okay to take time to smell the roses, but linger too long and we can lose sight of our prime directive. Choosing to have a say in the matter of our own life is a decision.
It's a decision. Which comes from the word decide. Which comes from the same root word we get homicide, suicide, insecticide and all the other "-cides" and means to "cut off from."
When we settle we give up on this gift called life. We become the equivalent of a pinball, bouncing off the bumpers and flippers, passively allowing life to happen to us, conforming to the expectations of others.
Because we wonder if we are even entitled to have a say in our own life.
This can be deeply confronting. It's hard work and seems unrelated to an under performing practice. However, it is the subtext, the underlying code and the operating system that controls our experience.
Because how we show for anything is how we show up for everything. Which is why practice development hinges on our personal development.
If that seems unappealing, not to worry. There are plenty of success peddlers willing to sell you a seminar program, nutritional protocol, expensive gadget or some other outside-in approach that can serve as a sufficient substitute or distraction.
Keep in mind that they are based on the lie that the "problem" is out there. But it's in here.
And it starts by identifying what you're pretending not to know about yourself.
Find out about Patient-Centered Coaching.
Bill Esteb has been a chiropractic patient and advocate since 1981. He is the creative director of Patient Media and the co-founder of Perfect Patients. He’s been a regular speaker at Parker Seminars and other chiropractic gatherings since 1985. He is the author of 12 books that explore the doctor/patient relationship from a patient’s point of view. His chiropractic blog, in-office consultations, patient focus groups and consulting calls have helped hundreds of chiropractors around the world. His Monday Morning Motivation is emailed to over 10,000 subscribers each week.