Monday Morning Motivation | How Many Are You Seeing?

Posted by Bill Esteb on Feb 24th 2024

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“Real chiropractors see at least X patient visits a week.”

“If you are a good chiropractor, your PVA should be at least Y.”

“Your mission as a chiropractor is to save as many lives as possible.”

There are others, but this chiropractic trash talk, with its undercurrent of judgment and condemnation, has done inestimable damage to far too many chiropractors. The result is an unhelpful habit of comparing oneself with others.

It often creates an “I’m not good enough” or “who do I think I am” belief that steals the deserved joy and soul satisfaction that comes from serving others.

Comparison is a dream killer. It’s one reason why social media can be so unhelpful.

Reminds me of the busy chiropractor who was approached by several younger colleagues at a chiropractic gathering and asked, “How many are you seeing?”

Not taking the bait, he wisely answered, “One at a time.”

This is one reason why setting goals based on seeing a certain number of patient visits is so useless. Whatever number you choose, someone, somewhere is seeing that—and more.

Worse, should you pull out all the stops and hit your number, then what?

Apparently, you set an even higher goal.

And so, it goes.

You call that a life?

Setting up some statistical goal as a substitute for discipline or having a high and noble purpose is rarely successful. In fact, it’s often soul crushing.

A career of chasing some made up arbitrary number is just the human equivalent of a dog chasing a car. Not only does he rarely catch it, if he did, he wouldn’t know what to do with.

Worse, it assumes that relentless practice growth is a worthy goal. True, it is easy to measure. Like a factory machine stamping out widgets. It's often linked to the addiction of being busy.

I see this frequently in my HeadSpace Coaching. It’s a sign that the chiropractor has been persuaded that it is better to go wide, rather than deep. Patients become objectified. Spines. Conditions. numbers. A means to an end.

Keeping score in this way appears widespread, especially among those for whom chiropractic is more than a career, but a calling.

But in the end, the purpose of your practice is to serve others in such a way that you are able to support you and your family.

Don’t lose sight of that!

Because on your deathbed you won’t be congratulating yourself about your biggest practice day, how much money you made, or having reached some made-up statistical goal along the way.

But there’s something far worse rarely revealed by those who make declarations about what “good” chiropractors do. 

What you don’t hear from the microphoned speaker, the “do-it-the-way-I-do-it” crowd, or those who think bragging about the number of patients they’ve touched is somehow inspirational, is the emotional toll it takes:

    The wake of failed marriages
    The estranged relationships with their children
    The covered-up addiction
    The prescription medications
    The repressed anger and resentment
    The superficiality and loneliness

More than enough reasons to be reluctant to compare yourself with others. Or worshiping some numerical accomplishment. Especially when it’s income, patient volume, or some other worldly metric that matters so little in the big scheme of things.

By all means, help enough people so you can earn the professional income you deserve. Be open to the opportunity for personal growth that is required to be more generous and confident with those looking to you for hope. And slay the personal demons that try to imprison you with mediocrity and the path of least resistance.

But trading your peace and ease for what others might think of as success is never a fair trade.

Bill Esteb Headshot Photo

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 chiropractic gatherings since 1985. His 12 books explore the doctor/patient relationship from a patient's point of view. His chiropractic blog, coaching program, patient focus groups and consulting calls have helped hundreds of chiropractors around the world. Since 1999 Monday Morning Motivation has been emailed to over 10,000 subscribers each week.