MMM Summer 2008

2008 is the Summer of Love as Bill explores some of the distinctions of loving patients rather than merely caring for them.

Monday Morning Motivation | Love is Patient

June 2, 2008

Love is patient.

When you truly love patients, you don't impose your time schedule. After all, the patient is the one doing the healing, not you! They have the capacity to consciously or unconsciously slow or accelerate their healing. That, combined with the limitations of matter, makes investing your self-esteem and value as a chiropractor in something out of your control, is risky business.

Being patient extends beyond the first weeks or months of care. Think eternally. What if it takes two, three, four or more episodes of starting care and stopping care, spanning a decade or longer, before patients "get" the idea that chiropractic care is a lifestyle decision and can be much more than a natural, short-term diet for pain relief?

What if they never get it?

To use love as an adjunctive procedure with the chiropractic adjustment, remove expectations and help patients become more patient.

Monday Morning Motivation | Love is Kind

June 9, 2008

I was raised to be considerate of others. Being considerate of others came with specific action steps:

Respect the property of others.
Say please when you want something.
Say thank you when you receive it.
Address anyone older with deference.

How does that apply to chiropractic practice?

It's the patient's health not yours. Careful about pressing too much to "help" more than they want. Otherwise, it will be taken as judgment.

"This side up, please." It acknowledges them as person, not just a spine or the recipient of a procedure you're administering to their body.

"Thank you for always being on time for your visits." Right above acknowledgment is appreciation. It usually prompts others to do even more.

"Good afternoon! What's the best thing that's happened to Mrs. Smith today?" She may ask that you call her Maryann, put your deference has been communicated.

Respect. Acknowledgment. Appreciation. Deference. Love is kind.

Monday Morning Motivation | Love Does Not Envy

June 16, 2008

Love does not envy.

The newest patient drives up in a nicer car than yours. What's your reaction?

If it produces a twinge of jealousy or ignites a sense of insecurity, it can interfere with your ability to accompany your chiropractic care with love. Turns out, your wealth may not be in a depreciating automobile, but in your education, a richly rewarding family life or some other form. Envy suggests that you believe you have a void, lacking something necessary to be complete and whole.

You are already complete. You are fully equipped. You have exactly what you need. In fact, the only thing truly missing is acknowledging that nothing is missing!

Be careful about making judgments about the material world that is so easily detected with our five senses. What you see is merely temporal. It will pass. Instead, attend to matters of the heart where peace can take root and flourish.

Monday Morning Motivation | Love Does Not Boast

June 23, 2008

Love does not boast.

We probably don't think of ourselves as one to brag, show off, blow our own horn, talk big or "swagger." We tend to think of that as being offensive.

"I don't boast!"

Really? Do you exaggerate? Exaggeration is a more subtle and sinister form of boasting.

Exaggerating the elements of a story to enhance its meaning.
Exaggerating your statistics to falsify your success.
Exaggerating your importance to receive admiration.
Exaggerating the no shows to blame a staff member.
Exaggerating your value by seeing patients after hours.
Exaggerating circumstances so others will do your bidding.
Exaggerating the difficulty so it will produce praise.
Exaggerating the imposition of a request with a heavy sigh.

Next time you find yourself inclined to exaggerate, consider the motive behind it.

Love does not boast. No coloring. No shading. No effort to look good or cover up the flaws. In other words, love is honest, unprocessed and authentic.

Monday Morning Motivation | Love is Not Proud

June 30, 2008

The scriptures make it clear that pride is an abomination. Pride is one of the qualities specifically identified as sinful. Perhaps because pride makes us feel like God.

It's tempting to overlook the fact that the patient is doing the healing, not you. Sure, you found the ignition, inserted the key and turned it (adjustment), but what happens next is outside your control. You can take credit (if you dare) but the credit belongs to their Maker who installed the capability to self-heal in the first place!

The marketplace quickly ferrets out arrogant, conceited and prideful chiropractors who are revealed by their response to grateful patients:

"Oh, it was nothing." (Really?)
"We got lucky this time." (Lucky?)
"Tell your friends." (So, I can help them, too.)
"You're welcome." (I deserve the credit.)

Pride. It can cause you to forget that you're merely an instrument. It's sooooooo tempting to take the credit!

Monday Morning Motivation | Love is Not Rude

July 7, 2008

Love is not rude.

Do you impose your will on others so you can get your way?

Cutting in front of the line, or the reverse, not permitting the driver to merge onto the highway in front of you, is obviously rude. I'm sure you're not rude in your office!

Depends how you define rude. However, examples of rudeness I've experienced, or patients in focus groups have mentioned, include:

Showing up late for the first patient of the day.
Allowing an emergency patient to prolong the wait of an established patient.
Making patients feel small because they just want to be pain free.
Any form or derivative of "I-told-you-so."
Projecting the value you place on health onto patients.

Justified as the prerogative of "leadership" or the workings of a "health coach," these overtures make you big and the patient small. This is a time-tested practice de-building strategy. Instead, make patients feel big. Anything else would be rude.

Monday Morning Motivation | Love is Not Self-Seeking

July 14, 2008

Love is not self-seeking.

Virtually every action, every word and every thought can be separated into one of two categories: manipulation or ministry. That is, does it serve you or is it of service to others?

Some in chiropractic teach that using any means possible to get patients to do the right thing (because it's for their own good), is within the domain of good doctoring.

You might want to rethink that advice.

By crossing that boundary, you have dishonored their understanding, judgment and free will. By overpowering them with persuasive speech or fear tactics you usurp their dignity and reduce them to mere spines; children who must be parented.

Oh sure, you can probably squeeze another visit or two out of them. But "do-gooder" overtures rarely last. Especially when the underlying motive is to make you look good. The appreciation you hope it will produce is dismissed as heavy-handed selfishness.

Monday Morning Motivation | Love is Not Easily Angered

July 21, 2008

Love is not easily angered.

What does it take to get your hackles up?

Consider the patient who unexpectedly drops out of care (with six more visits on their plan). Or the patient who informs you that they're still taking their medication and attributes their progress to it, not your care. Or, how about the patient who observes that they don't believe in chiropractic? And don't forget the patient you adjusted on the first visit who doesn't return to hear your enlightening Harvey Lillard story!

Ironically, anger is a you thing. Not a they thing. You and your body create the anger. Not the patient!

Instead, love, from where all healing comes, looks past who gets the credit, looks beyond the politics, sees past the policy and rethinks the procedure. Love only sees the person. Not the shortcoming. Not the misunderstanding. Not the could-have-should-have.

What do you see?

Monday Morning Motivation | Love Keeps No Records of Wrongs

July 28, 2008

Love keeps no records of wrongs.

What many overlook is that a true chiropractic practice is about two things: referrals and reactivations. Those consumed by how many new patients they see either miss the point or have been misled into thinking wide rather than deep.

A referral is a gift. Ask for them if you wish and you may get a guilt offering or the name of someone who could benefit from chiropractic care, but a true referral is volitional. A surprise. Unexpected.

A reactivation is proof you didn't make the patient wrong. Or small. Or feel stupid because he or she didn't embrace your vision of health on their first exposure to it.

Since most patients don't "get" chiropractic their first time, keep no records of wrongs. Instead, you might observe in passing, "Looks like it's been awhile since you've been in. Welcome back. Let's get started!"

Monday Morning Motivation | Love Does Not Delight in Evil

August 4, 2008

Love does not delight in evil.

You've probably seen the cartoon showing a chiropractor delighting in the first winter's snow or ice storm because it means more business.

You may not harbor such evil thoughts, but what are you doing to help make yourself obsolete?

Subluxations are a result or effect of physical, chemical or emotional stress that overload the body's ability to accommodate. Are you teaching patients ways to mitigate these stressors?

Physical instruction: How to sit. How to lift. How to get in and out of their car. Proper computer ergonomics.

Chemical instruction: The burden of artificial flavors, colorings and preservatives. The allergens of wheat and dairy. The stress of refined sugars.

Emotional instruction: The importance of prayer. The power of forgiveness. The ability to neutralize emotions through the process of EFT.

The highest calling of any doctor (of any ilk) is to help prevent what it is they treat.

Monday Morning Motivation | Love Rejoices in the Truth

August 11, 2008

Love rejoices in the truth.

If you define truth as a "highly likely explanation of what is" and combine it with the observation that "what is, is," you have a vantage point neutral enough to deeply serve patients.

Most suffering results from attempting to resist, ignore or deny what is so. Thankfully, the meaning we attach to what is, is within our control. In fact, one of your greatest responsibilities is helping patients attach appropriate meanings to the circumstances prompting them to seek care from you.

When you love patients, you tell the truth. Compassionately. Understandably. It just is.

You don't minimize. ("You have a little bone spur here.") Minimization is a disservice.

You don't exploit. ("I hope your children aren't suffering from the same thing!") Using fear, even when justified as in their best interest, is manipulative.

Instead, be centered, gentle and considerate, knowing that ultimately the truth can set us free.

Monday Morning Motivation | Love Always Protects

August 18, 2008

Love always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres.

You probably know some secrets about those you care for, that if widely known, would discredit or at least embarrass them.

Protect all secrets.

You tell the chiropractic story to all who will listen. Some overtly reject it. Others show polite interest. Others embrace it with passion.

Trust that the truth will eventually reign.

You help a patient with their admitting complaint and at the height of their progress, they discontinue their care without warning. Was it something you said? Was it something you forgot to say?

Hope that you made it easy to return should they suffer a relapse.

You feel like you're in a constant uphill battle to fight the allopathic, path-of-least-resistance mindset. It seems little progress is being made.

Persevere. You may not change the world, but you can change it for a few, maybe more! Press on.

Monday Morning Motivation | Love Never Fails

August 25, 2008

Love never fails.

Some day the computer that you use to receive this message will fail and make repairs unjustifiably expensive. It will be placed in the trash bin, joined by the monitor and mouse.

Your office building, the adjusting table you use and the patient records you keep will fall into disrepair, become worthless and get discarded.

Those spines you straightened and the curves you restored will eventually become the dust from where they came.

In fact, as you look around at the material world that surrounds us, which can be detected with the five senses, it will all pass.

Everything will eventually fail. Except love. Love, because it is spiritual and not bound by the physics of this world, will persist. Eternally.

This week create more love. Instead of arguing, love. Instead of persuading, love. Instead of controlling, love. Instead of resisting what is, love. It never fails.