You've done the easy stuff. The remaining practice breakthroughs require courage and emotional resilience:
Attract the right team. Are the people you employ supporting you or merely filling a slot? Do they share your passion? Do they value what you value? Remember, you can train skills, but not values.
Difficult conversations. Are you willing to correct behaviors, point out sloppy work and demand high standards of excellence—in yourself and others? Avoiding conflict or the fear of confrontation holds many in bondage.
Delayed gratification. Are you willing to make investments in people and processes that may not payoff for months or even years? Are you willing to live beneath your means?
Make unpopular decisions. Will you enforce exacting procedures and policies, even if they're met with resistance? Is your vision resilient enough to withstand doubters, naysayers and foot draggers? Is your "story" or vision of the future compelling enough to inspire others?
Saying no. Are your boundaries so precise and unwavering that you can make decisions quickly and fearlessly, even if they may disappoint others? The freedom to say no is underrated.
Embracing the truth. Do you welcome the truth? Even if it's confronting, uncomfortable or discouraging? Or do you shoot the messenger, effectively insulating you from what is so?
You may have noticed that none of these skillsets directly involve the adjustment or your diagnostic and clinical skills.
Fascinating, isn't it? Those who mistakenly believe that superior clinical skills, research and having the most tools and gadgets rarely have practices that reach their full potential.
That's why you can shadow an especially productive chiropractor and will be unable to detect his or her secret to of success. Because, as Dr. Larry Markson wisely observed, "it's the who, not the do."
After you're able to reasonably master effective procedures and implement some fundamental efficiencies (time management, etc.), further practice development is almost always personal development.
It's not popular to blame the person you see in the mirror as the cause of an underperforming practice. The economy, the weather, location, pandemic du jour and a dozen other scapegoats are far more convenient. And may even have a minor influence.
That means, after you've done all the easy stuff what's left is your willingness to confront emotional limitations, your relationship with risk, jettisoning pride, being coachable and available to expanding the boundaries of your comfort zone.
There are no quick fixes or five-step programs, seminars, videos or scrips.
Instead, it will require that you familiarize yourself with virtually every fear you possess, and then bravely, courageously confronting each one. It's the only way they can be subdued.
- Fear of failure.
- Fear of success. (Actually, more common than you think.)
- Fear of rejection.
- Fear of death.
- Fear of being dominated.
- Fear of losing your identity.
- Fear of abandonment.
- Fear of public speaking.
- Fear of what others think.
- Fear of change.
Desensitize yourself to these and any others you have lying around and you grow as a person. Then, and only then, will your practice grow. It rarely happens any other way.
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.