Spending time in self-reflection is an essential part of understanding your role in the lives of others.
What often distinguishes busy, thriving chiropractors from those who are merely surviving is that successful chiropractors tend to ask better questions.
When these chiropractors do spend time in self-reflection, they get better answers. And having solid answers to the following five questions can bring clarity, focus and a sense of peace
1. Who are you?
How are you choosing to show up in your practice? There are three ways that many chiropractors choose to present themselves. These personas are convenient ways to create an identity and guide the interactions you have with patients.
The fixer: From this vantage point, you see patients showing up with problems and, like a plumber or electrician, your job is to put them back in working order. Be careful. Patients can do many things that either help or hinder your plans for their healing.
The doctor: While in reality chiropractors are limited to arousing the innate ability of patients to selfheal, chiropractors who embrace a medical doctor persona often do so to hijack the social authority commonly given to medical doctors.
There’s a third path: You choosing to be the facilitator, guide, coach or inspirer and a source of encouragement and hope
2. What is your intent?
What are you attempting to accomplish when you get a new patient in your practice? What outcome are you hoping to achieve? What part of your imagined outcome do you have any control over?
Often the intent of your intervention is based on the persona you’ve adopted. Fixers want to see pain relief—or at least improved biomechanics. Bosses want to see patients toe the line and show up for every visit. Doctors want patients to follow their “prescription” and perform the home-care procedures as outlined
3. What is your purpose?
Adjusting patients helps you advance, pursue or fulfill your purpose. Confusing what you do with your purpose blurs an important distinction between cause and effect: the ends and the means.
Adjusting patients is how you help restore spinal biomechanics and nervous system integrity. But for what purpose? To produce your income or relieve their suffering
4. Where does your responsibility end?
Establishing and honoring clear boundaries is essential if you want to help as many people as possible and enjoy a sustainable career. Accepting the responsibility for relieving a patient’s symptoms causes many chiropractors to take on a burden that is not rightfully theirs. While you can reduce nervous system interference along their spine, whether that produces a reduction of their symptoms or does so at the speed expected by the patient is out of your control. Patients can do countless things that preclude the relief they seek
5. What’s your plan?
It’s not enough to get a license, borrow from your parent’s retirement nest egg, open a practice and think that success will be automatic. You want a practice, but you’ll find yourself in a small business, facing the same challenges of every small business: getting and keeping customers.
You may call it a “practice” instead of a business, and call them “patients” instead of customers. But that only obscures the fact that you need a plan to introduce your services to as many strangers as possible.
William D. Esteb was introduced to chiropractic in 1981, when he was asked to help write and produce the profession’s first video-based patient education. He has written more than a thousand blog posts and is approaching his 20th year of publishing his weekly Monday Morning Motivation email. Review his patient education communication tools at www.patientmedia.com