We're meaning making machines.
You and I show up on planet earth without consent. Our sperm won, but just what did we win?
For the first two decades of life, we're on the lookout for clues about how to succeed at this thing called life.
My parents are arguing—is it because of me?
I'm unable to please my teachers—am I dumb?
Others make fun of my clothes—are we poor?
If I get enough right answers, will I win?
Am I good enough?
As life unfolds, we frequently assign inappropriate meanings to our experiences. We reach incorrect conclusions. We make errors in interpretation.
But after a couple of decades, we think we've got it figured it out. (Just ask any 20-year-old!) Then, we live out the rest of our years by our conclusions.
No wonder life can be joyless. We're living the life of a moody, immature teenager!
Remember, patients are going through the same thing. If they've never been to a chiropractor before, for better or worse, they're comparing you with their medical doctor experience.
If they have been to a chiropractor before, they're comparing you with their previous chiropractor.
Every clue produced by your website, office environment, procedures and support team is used to make meaning of their experience.
Is this place safe? Can I trust them? Will I be respected? Can I be helped? Do I have reason to hope?
For new patients, the experience is far more fragile than most chiropractors even imagine. After all, you're in your practice all day long. There's nothing scary here. What's the big deal?
This is a symptom of losing beginner's mind.
It often happens as early as completing the first semester at chiropractic college. Instead of thinking like an ordinary person, you start thinking like a chiropractor.
Naturally, that's the intent of the professors. Even the institution. "Be the doctor, doctor!"
Yet, in the process, the individual who later walks across the stage to receive his or her diploma, has often become blind to the intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs of their customers. With their brand-new hammer, it's tempting to see the entire world as a nail.
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, in-office consultations, 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.