The Economy, The Boll Weevil, and Your Unexpected Prosperity
Practice Management
Written by Tom Owen III   
Sunday, 25 September 2011 21:40 Read : 1597 times

 

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T
alk to just about anyone, in any profession these days, and a similar theme weaves itself throughout the conversation; our nation’s poor economy has left few untouched. Many chiropractors have certainly felt the sting of this unfortunate downturn. We’ve had numerous conversations with several practicing chiropractors in recent months and no doubt, times are tough out there.  However, we’ve noticed that while many stories started out with the same details– lower collections, few patient visits, a few of these doctors have ended the conversation by saying their practices are healthier than they have been in a long time and their outlook is optimistic for the future. The circumstances started out the same, why were the outcomes different?  It may surprise you to know it had nothing to do with the market, their staff, or a magical newspaper ad. The difference was in the doctor’s response to the adversity he or she faced.

While some doctors lament their falling collections and hopelessly describe their uncertain future, others, in the same circumstances, tell us a different story. They say when their practice started hitting bottom; they knew they had to do something different. Let’s take a time-out right here. That sounds simple, doesn’t it? Something isn’t going the way we need it to go, so we decide to do something different. Simple logic. However, we never cease to be amazed at the powerful results of acting on this simple thought, and we also never cease to be amazed at the number of doctors who don’t think this way.

We tell clients who find themselves in troubling situations that if they don’t do anything about their current situation, they’re insane. That may sound cruel until you understand our definition of insanity, which is, “continuing to do the same thing while expecting different results.”

If something isn’t going right, it may be time to do something different. This is the blessing of adversity. Adversity forces us to acknowledge that our current way of doing things isn’t working. It forces us to consider change and do things we may have otherwise never done. This was the common thread in the different outcomes of stories we’ve heard from doctors all over the country. Some of them do nothing, and watch their practices shrivel up and die, while the adversity our economy has brought has stirred others out of their comfort zones and forced them to make changes within their practices. Those changes, albeit uncomfortable or risky, brought about the success they needed to survive the perils of the economic downturn. For many of them, the change they made was calling us and asking for our help. Most admit, they would have never sought out our help had it not been for the desperation they felt as a result of this horrid economy.  The adversity they encountered was a blessing in disguise because of their proactive response.

The current situations of many chiropractors remind us of a true store that happened over a century ago in Enterprise, Alabama. This small town’s commerce was all but wiped out, but the same culprit that almost destroyed it, is now the town’s hero. What is on the monument that now stands at the center of Enterprise, Alabama’s town square? A boll weevil.

The monument honoring the boll weevil is a robed, Statue of Liberty look-alike, holding the enormous black bug over its head. The statue’s head is bowed in somber respect.

The boll weevil ravaged 60 percent of the region’s cotton crop in 1915, and even more the next year, decimating livelihoods and towns. Yet, the inscription on the monument’s base says, “In Profound Appreciation of the Boll Weevil and What It Has Done as the Herald of Prosperity.” The herald of prosperity? The boll weevil?

In 1917, with their economy and society almost destroyed, the down-and-out farmers of South Alabama faced tremendous adversity, much like many in our profession are facing today. However, the adversity the boll weevil caused, forced these farmers to do something different. They had no choice; they couldn’t grow cotton any longer. They were either going to die into extinction or they were going to have to adjust and innovate. Over the next few years, they began diversifying into peanuts and other crops and no longer depended so heavily on cotton. This forced change helped the farmers of Enterprise thrive, even when other areas of the South, primarily dependent on cotton, continued to suffer. Take note, the other areas of the South didn’t suffer under the destruction of the boll weevil, their adversity wasn’t as severe, therefore, they were not forced to make the needed changes and diversify their crops. For the farmers of Enterprise, the enormity and severity of their adversity, and their response to it, saved their economy and birthed their prosperity.

What changes is your adversity forcing you to make? Consider the cotton farmers of Enterprise, Alabama and consider making those changes to save your future. What you are suffering through right now may be just what you need to propel you into the changes that will bring the prosperity you’ve been waiting for.

 

by Tom Owen III, and Todd Osborne, D.C.

Dr. Todd Osborne, a 1989 graduate of Palmer College, ran a successful high volume multiple doctor practice, and is currently Vice President of AMC, Inc., as well as an author and lecturer. Visit www.amcfamily.com or call (877) AMC-7117 for more information.

Tom Owen III -

Tom Owen III, President of Affordable Managing Consulting, lectures extensively from coast-to-coast to thousands of chiropractors and students annually. He is the author of Chiropractic from a Business Man’s Perspective, and has spent the last 25 years in the day-to-day trenches of the chiropractic profession. He lives by his quote that “In the end, all that is left are the lives we’ve touched and to what extent they were changed.”

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