Who doesn’t want to do better? regardless of whom you talk to, most people want to be in a better place than they are today. As you may have guessed, for many folks, enhancing their financial status is their number one concern. But, for other people, improving their health and improving their relationship with their spouse/family is what’s most important.
On the business side of the chiropractic profession, there is an enormous amount of focus on self-improvement. Some practice management consulting companies contend that most of the doctor’s "challenges" in practice are a result of issues that reside between their ears. In other words, it is the doctors’ lack of self-esteem, self-confidence and goals, as well as a poverty mentality that act like a gigantic anchor holding back their ability to achieve more in life, and more in their practices.
I completely agree that headspace issues are not only a legitimate concern, but must be addressed in order for anyone, in any walk of life, to move forward. Obviously, this is not just a chiropractic issue. Having said that, I also believe that there is more to the puzzle than simply addressing the doctor’s personal issues. Once the doctor feels better about him- or herself, has the self-confidence to move forward, and has a list of goals that have been carefully outlined and prioritized, the next step is laying out the road map to get from where you are now to where you want to be in the future.
There are plenty of ways to make this discussion more complicated, but that’s just not my style. The point here is that we can all attend seminars that have us exiting the venue with a "YES—I can do anything" attitude. We can all read books that help us to attract positive energy. We can all listen to audio programs that show us how to become more goal-oriented. All of these action steps are a move in the right direction. However, what is often left out is direction and implementation.
Now I’m not suggesting for one moment that some practice management consulting organizations are not providing some amount of direction. What I am suggesting is that, more often than not, the direction is too vague. Imagine yourself attending a seminar where seventy-five percent of the weekend was spent making you feel better about yourself (a very worthwhile investment). On the last afternoon of the last day of the seminar, the focus switches from the headspace phase to the implementation phase—the point where you are shown how to get your wheels spinning and make things happen. Now that you are feeling better about who you are and where you want to go, the practice management consultant tells you to go out and tell anyone and everyone about chiropractic and, of course, about your practice. That’s great until you realize that you are uncertain about what to say, how to say it, how to position what you say, how to distinguish and differentiate your practice, etc.
You quickly realize that the "Just Do It™" mentality isn’t enough. Sure, it’s a great starting point, but building your practice requires more than just desire. You have the "Just Do It™" fire burning deep inside, but you are not sure about the "How to do it" that seems to be missing. You’ve been given some direction so that you have a USP (unique selling proposition) that is reminiscent of "Chiropractic turns on the power," but, beyond that, you are really only a vague ambassador for chiropractic instead of what you should be, an ambassador for YOUR chiropractic clinic.
To achieve your goals, you must have direction. To put it another way, you must have specific steps mapped out to get you from where you are to where you want to be. Telling a doctor to go join the chamber of commerce in his or her town is not a specific step. Telling the doctor exactly how to make the most of their membership (specifics) in the chamber of commerce is more in line with a direction-oriented train of thought.
To achieve your goals, you must understand how to implement the strategies that will lead you to your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Again, the "Just Do It™" mind-set isn’t enough. What is needed is more specific information on how to do it, when to do it, and where to do it. Lack of direction and lack of a strategy for implementation often result in frustration and, eventually, damage to one’s self-esteem and self-confidence. In the end, many doctors find themselves right back at the beginning of their journey with their goals now appearing even farther beyond their grasp.
We’ve all heard the expression, "To achieve, you’ve got to believe." That expression is valid and represents an excellent beginning. Like a person who has a vision of their dream home, they start with a mental image and eventually create a blueprint. In between the blueprint and the day you cross the threshold of your new home is the construction process. In essence, in your practice, you must learn how to become your own general contractor (instead of relying on someone else or some organization which tries to make you dependent on them) so that you are able to travel through life with the ability to turn a blueprint into reality.
Dr. Marc Swerdlick is a 1998 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic and is the president of S Group Inc. and practicecentral.com—Chicago-based companies that offer marketing strategies and systems to health and wellness professionals, as well as to businesses outside the health and wellness arena. Dr. Swerdlick offers his Pre-Sale Strategy, New Patient Acquisition, and Patient Reinforcement Seminars for chiropractors in conjunction with Integrity Strategies LLC. For more detailed information on these seminars, contact Integrity Strategies at www.integritystrategies.com or by calling 1-608-865-0466.