MMM Summer 2007

This summer I'm sharing a handful of the 3,000 proverbs written or collected by King Solomon. Put his wisdom to work in your practice:

Monday Morning Motivation | Proverbs 12:27

June 4, 2007

"A lazy man won't even dress the game he gets while hunting, but the diligent man makes good use of everything he finds."

Are you being a good steward of your inactive patients? Do they know they'd be welcomed back to your practice? Do you still express interest in their life and their health?

It's tempting to write off inactives as having somehow rejected you and chiropractic. This prompts many offices to spend inordinate amounts of energy trying to acquire new patients. But the real opportunity is to cultivate the dormant relationships of those whom had a positive experience, know where your office is located and would prefer to return to familiar place when they experience their relapse, rather than start over with someone new.

Many are merely waiting for a reminder or an invitation. They think you're angry with them because they let you down by dropping out. Remember, it can take a series of relapses that span several years before a patient "gets" chiropractic. Be diligent. And patient.

Monday Morning Motivation | Proverbs 15:2

June 11, 2007

"A wise teacher makes learning a joy; a rebellious teacher spouts foolishness."

Do patients find your patient education overtures a pleasure and a delight? Or has it become an unpleasant chore that is inconsistent and involves repetitious explanations in which patients remain passive and are largely feigning their interest?

If so, you've been teaching rather than educating.

True education is Socratic and interactive. It requires that you be curious enough in what patients believe to ask questions. (And listen!) You can only make chiropractic relevant by knowing what's meaningful to patients. Then, you must appeal to their right brain, not just their analytical left-brain. That means telling stories.

"A while back we were seeing a patient that thought…"
"When I first heard about chiropractic I was skeptical…"
"One of our many once-a-monther patients was in the other day and they were telling me…"

Abandon any preconceived notion of what patient education is supposed to look like or sound like. Once you start having fun, patients will too.

Monday Morning Motivation | Proverbs 5:22

June 18, 2007

"Plans go wrong with too few counselors; many counselors bring success."

Who are your counselors?

My experience has been that in many offices, the support team is one of the most overlooked, undervalued and virtually ignored source of advice. Whether due to ego or incompetence, many chiropractors shut off the wisdom from this source by ignoring their advice, making the staff afraid to offer a competing viewpoint or simply never asking.

Same with patients. Many chiropractors pay lip service to patient feedback, even offering up lengthy surveys, but often discount the findings. More effective would be quarterly focus groups run by a staff member or even an interested patient. Focus groups give you body language and verbal cues absent in written surveys.

Seeking the advice of wise counselors doesn't eliminate your responsibilities, it merely broadens your range of options and reduces the chance of oversights or mistakes when considering new policies or procedures.

Monday Morning Motivation | Proverbs 18:15

June 25, 2007

"The intelligent man is always open to new ideas. In fact, he looks for them."

Some of the most successful chiropractors I know are those who suppressed the urge to reinvent the wheel and simply modeled the behavior of those already successful.

This is true for those on the forefront of chiropractic technique, diagnosis, procedure and communication.

Ironically, the folks who are failing in practice are those who dogmatically stick with their own notion of what patients should do. But they don't. Yet they persevere anyway. Until they are humbled sufficiently to ask for help and abandon their preconceived notions about how the world should work.

Who's doing what you want to be doing? Who has what you want to have? Become a student. Belief what they believe and you will be able to do what they do. Like a tie that goes out of style and returns, it's an idea so old it seems new!

Monday Morning Motivation | Proverbs 28:20

July 2, 2007

"The man who wants to do right will get a rich reward. But the man who wants to get rich quick will quickly fail."

As third party reimbursement continues its death spiral, it serves to expose the motives of thousands of chiropractors. Some search for other services that they can bill insurance companies for and still get reimbursement. Others get back to the basics. And still others freeze with uncertainty as their fear creates a confusing fight or flight response.

During this time of change it's especially important to remain mindful of these two simple truths: 1) Income is the effect of service, and 2) There is no shortage of new patients.

We've all heard that if something seems to be too good to be true, it probably is. Just glance at the increasingly shrill advertising in chiropractic publications. Is it really about the money? Or is money an effect? Is it really about new patients? Or are new patients an outcome or result of truly serving?

If you're numbers are down, look for ways of being a more generous servant.

Monday Morning Motivation | Proverbs 10:2  

July 9, 2007

"Ill-gotten gain brings no lasting happiness; right living does."

Cheating, or using means that unfairly give you an advantage, such as leveraging your social authority as a doctor, produces a hollow ìsuccessî that never creates lasting joy. Worse, it creates a mistrust (of ourselves) that we must constantly cover up, fearing someone will see through our cover up.

Are cash payments carefully recorded and reported? Laxity here sends powerful signals to your staff and can result in even far greater damage due to privacy breeches or even theft.

Related to this is the inclination to treat a patient's insurance policy, rather than the patient. These and other lapses of judgment, which often occur when we think no one is watching, weigh us down with guilt, shame and the fear of being found out.

If you've found yourself the recipient of ill-gotten gain, regardless of how you've justified it, make amends. Confess your trespass, change your ways and get back on track.

Monday Morning Motivation | Proverbs 12:25  

July 16, 2007

"Anxious hearts are very heavy but a word of encouragement does wonders!"

Chances are, if patients are showing up with patterns of vertebral subluxation, they have far more going on in their lives than compromised spinal biomechanics. Tending to these emotional-psycho-social issues, even if it means merely being an receptive listener, is the key to more complete and lasting healing.

Great healers are mindful of this larger picture. Remove your technician's hat long enough to see this person in the greater context of their life. What are they facing this week? What are they worried about? What's distracting them and putting a drag on their life spirit? What's behind their lack of ease? Are they reliving in the past or worried about the future where they are powerless?

Rely on your instinct to provide some encouragement. Offer a word or two that can uplift them and provide a sense of hopeóthe most important ingredient of healing.  

Monday Morning Motivation | Proverbs 28:13  

July 23, 2007

"A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance."

We all make mistakes. It's how we respond when confronted by them that makes all the difference.

Our culture produces an incredible pressure to succeed and look the part of success. Yet, I count my failures as the most significant and meaningful moments of my career. And it wasn't because I intellectualized and accepted my mistakes and made a course correction. It was the humbling effect requiring me to surrender to a higher power.

If you've made some mistakes along the way, which prompt inactive patients to avoid you in the grocery store or cross to the other side of the street, apologize. Spend a day going through your inactive file folders and making amends. Ask for forgiveness. Ask to be given another opportunity to serve. Humble yourself.

Monday Morning Motivation | Proverbs 16:23  

July 30, 2007

"From a wise mind comes careful and persuasive speech."

The scriptures tell us to seek wisdom because it is more valuable than gold or silver. By feeding our minds with wisdom we have the potential of becoming wise ourselves. Our speech, whether it's what we say to ourselves or to others, reveals our wisdom. In this way, our words are effects; symptoms. Our grounding and command of the truth is revealed by the words we use and the distinctions we make.

Begin by guarding what you allow into your mind. Which probably means eliminating or significantly reducing the amount of television you consume, along with the rest of the media that propagates superficiality, image-over-substance and a herd mentality.

Do more reading (in and especially outside of chiropractic). Listen to inspiring CDs. Increase your awareness of ideas that have lasting truth, having withstood the test of time. The wiser we become the greater the impact of our words. And our life.

Monday Morning Motivation | Proverbs 14:28  

August 6, 2007

"A growing population is a king's glory; a dwindling nation is his doom."

A practice grows because the chiropractor grows.

In the backseat of a stagnant, languishing practice is a chiropractor who is no longer learning new skills, trying new methods or inspired by the possibilities of enlightening patients about the nature of true health. Even more detrimental is simply trying to maintain the status quo, clutching to what you already have.

Even if you've already had your biggest day in practice, you can still grow, intellectually, perceptually and intuitively. Learn a new adjusting technique based on principles opposite to what you're doing now. Hire an associate and become an incubator of more successful practices. Volunteer your time in community service, enlarging your personal network. Confront whatever you're uncomfortable facing. Stretch yourself!

Look at nature. Living things are either growing or dying. What are you doing? What's your practice doing?

Monday Morning Motivation | Proverbs 25:28  

August 13, 2007

"A man without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls."

To the degree you can control yourself you'll be able to control your practice.

You can't control patients. Those who try, are the recipients of resentment and anger. Not only are they greeted by failure, but they get the longer lasting legacy of patients who would never give them the pleasure of returning to the practice when their problem inevitably returns.

At its root, attempting to control others is about getting your needs met.

Do not attempt to have your physical, mental or emotional needs met by your patients or staff. Exhibit discernment when you sense that a patient is coming on to you. The reverse is even more crucial. Do nothing in your practice that you wouldn't want your spouse to see or your community to read about on the front page of the newspaper. Either we discipline ourselves, or something or someone else will do it for us.

Monday Morning Motivation | Proverbs 22:28

August 20, 2007

"Do not move the ancient boundary marks. That is stealing."

Property lines are important. If you've ever built a fence, only later to discover it encroached upon your neighbor's property, you know it can be an expensive mistake. As is encroaching upon the territory of patients.

Know what is theirs and what is yours.

For example. It's your job to provide a care plan that is most likely to produce the greatest results in the shortest amount time for the least amount of money.

But it's their job to embrace your suggestions, follow them, show up for their appointments, do the actual healing and pay you for your service.

Blur these boundaries and you encroach upon the patient's property, making the encounter about you rather than them. Attempting to control patient priorities and behaviors that you're powerless to control is not only emotionally exhausting, it's unsustainable. Worse, few patients appreciate your overtures and often come to resent your rescue attempts to save them from themselves.

Monday Morning Motivation | Proverbs 3:3  

August 27, 2007

"Never tire of loyalty and kindness. Hold these virtues tightly. Write them deep within your heart."

It may surprise you, but most inactive patients still see you as their chiropractor. Do you see them as a patient? It's tempting to abandon patients who are in the dormant phase of their relationship, but the true test of a practice is maintaining a connection with those you've helped in the past.

A birthday (one of the two times each year a patient is likely to think about their health) is the most obvious opportunity. As patients age, they get fewer birthday greetings, so your thoughtfulness can have high impact.

Exhibit kindness by acknowledging them without a direct overture to resume care. You're merely keeping in touch, letting them know that they're on your mind and you still see them as part of your practice family. Consider using our Relief & Wellness patient newsletter, our wide range of postcards and 50 Patient Letters to demonstrate your loyalty.