DO YOU WANT TO IMPROVE?

Mary Ann and I are personal coaches for many doctors and Ca teams around the country. It has been a rewarding experience to have an impact on their lives and future. Success can be defined differently by doctors, but I see common threads running through their course of change needed to achieve success. Here are some highlights. 

1. SETTING GOALS 

The first step for any consultant is to evaluate the present, and set goal for the future. You cannot manage anything well without accurate statistics. However, I caution doctors not to look at these stats except at special times. A lot of my success has come when I can get doctors to focus away from income and realize that the mores important part of practice is the service they provide. A balance must be present in both areas. The key to goal setting is begin where you are right now. You have to grow in increments. Most of the time I hear excuses and apologies for not keeping good stats and not setting goals. You have to believe that you can grow, that it is not location, HMO’s, or other factors. Holding you back has to be coupled with your determination to help the next person and how you believe your adjustment can change lives. Ask yourself what you are doing today, and how your adjustment can affect people tomorrow. 

2. TAKE THE BIG STEP 

This is an opportunity to get rid of excessive complaining and whining. I always tell my office teams that staff meeting must be the only place for a "gripe" session, so put it down on the agenda. But with each gripe there has to also be a positive marker to make the practice go forward. If you have a lot of gripes yourself personally, make a special time in the day (between 6-7a.m.) and then no more gripes the rest of the day. Whining focuses energy on what’s wrong, so you have to have the positive markers to counteract this problem.. Positive energy is productive. Whining is counterproductive. 

3. TAKE THE FIRST STEP 

If you want to change for the better, you cannot write down some unreachable goal. First take a baby step. When I diet, just going to bed without assaulting the frig’ is a positive baby step to my weight control. The same in practice growth. Five more extra patients makes all the difference in your service. Don’t cut hours, unless you want a loss in volume. 

4. OPEN UP YOUR EARS 

I do not encourage patients to talk to me very much in the adjusting room. I trained the patients not to tell me their symptoms and to accept a fast, efficient adjustment. My manner is not abrupt. It is only business procedure. When I have "cleared out" the patient and instructed him, I am finished. However, when a patient does speak, I try to really concentrate on what he says, because I know he is breaking my unspoken rule, thus he must have an important point (I hope). If you let patients push idle chatter in your face all day, soon you will be a poor listener. 

5. WHEN IS MY TIME COMING? 

At "burn out" time, this is the question many doctors ask themselves. It can lead to self destruction. Every week, have a special time for yourself; work out, ride your bike, read, participate in your hobby. Make sure this is after your "quality time" with your spouse and children. They are first.- feed them your dreams! Next, comes you. Pay yourself every week, even if you have to carry the checks around uncashed. Put your whole heart in your "self" time, the same as in your family and work time. 

6. SEEK WAYS TO GROW 

To increase you sphere of influence in your community you have to meet new people. It is easy to make friends of your patients, so select a few people each year to be your mentors. They can give you new ideas and help you grow. Read books and articles that will make you grow. Most important is the spiritual advance. Attend a Bible study group each week. 

7. BECOME "UNSTUCK" 

Examine your regular routine and see where you are "stuck". If you can concentrate on the "possibility" instead of the problem, you can make progress. Attitude means everything in life. Unstuck is better. 

8. RELAX! 

BJ Palmer used to sell these "Relax and Keep Smiling" cards by the thousands. They really worked. Learn to not try so hard, and to take your mind off of yourself. Do not measure yourself with how other people are doing. The consistent pace, the lean horse - both can make it in a long race. So take a deep breath, and smile as you go back to work. 

9. NETWORKING 

Attend meetings where there is a cadre of like minds to help you go forward. This cadre may include your pals from chiropractic college. Find at least one person who shares your dreams. Find another with whom you can share your "fatal flaws"; someone who can accept you and your dark side. Call this person when the demons surface. Tell someone today that he is your best friend. Remember, this person need you too. 

10. TIME ALONE WITH GOD 

Find a time each day to be quiet. P and go over the things you are thankful for. Make this a lifetime discipline. Exercise at least 4 times a week. Read positive books, and read your Bible everyday. 

11. ASK FOR MOM AND DAD’S ADVICE 

No one will give you better advice than your Mom and Dad. No one else has such open and unpretentious hearts toward telling you the truth. No one wants more for you than they do. When they are gone, study the wisdom they gave you. It is always tailored especially for you. Start acting on their advice to get out of debt and to save for what you want, then buy! If you are defensive of people, you will get stuck. It is better to be gullible and enjoy people. Just don’t go into business with them!! 

12. FIND THE FUN IN LIFE 

Make yourself laugh and have fun. When the family is "up" for an event, even if you are dragging, use "self talk" to get with it. Find the fun in the moment. Learn to push everything aside to face your day as one who is having fun. Next, thank God for all you have. 

13. LEARN TO CHANGE. 

As a coach and consultant the most difficult obstacle I have to overcome is when the client resists change. The longer the doctor has been in practice the more he or she finds comfort in the routine. When the old formulae will not work any longer though, then the DC has to change. Make a point to be the one who decides on changing with the times. I have a doctor who could not get into a busy market area with a chiropractic presentation. When he changed the name of his presentation to a "safety talk" he got to present chiropractic to more people. Learn to be flexible without compromising principles. 

14. ARE YOU AN OPTIMIST? 

I have the research data on optimists and pessimists. Contact me if you are a pessimist, because you probably need some help! In order to be successful you must be able to see the glass half full, rather than half empty. Look on the bright side, and learn to change the attitude of a patient who insists on putting negative energy into petty events and situations. You have just so much energy to give out, so make sure you are giving out positive energy. Avoid the negative whenever possible. When I have a really negative patient, I wait until the adjustment is given and the power is turned on, before I do much talking. Then innate changes the person to the point that he or she can accept positive energy. Don’t give too much of your positive energy to negative events(TV) or people who look down on TIC. 

15. PRESENT TIME CONSCIOUSNESS 

Jimmy Parker taught me this important lesson back in the 60’s. He was bent on changing chiropractors into first class doctors. He did just that! He taught me not to look back, to go forward each day go on a moment by moment basis, and point forward for the good to be done. You can’t make the past better, so look today to glorify God with your life. 

16. ARE YOU INTUITIVE? 

When I help a doctor hire a new CA, I always insist on a trial period. We doctors are so attuned to the workings of the office that we can usually feel it in our gut if the new person is working out or not. Usually, when there is something that doesn’t seem right in the beginning, it only gets worse. If you "feel" that a person will not make a productive member of your team, let her go sooner instead of later. Trust yourself. You really know what is best. Just following your own lead makes it better. 

17. WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR MISTAKES. 

We all mess up. Expect it once in a while. I see spouses who really laugh at their mates when they mess up. Learn to laugh at yourself too. Loosen up! "Mr.or Ms. Perfect" is allowed to mess up sometimes! Today, tell your spouse one positive point about her character. Here is a key. You have to stop blaming yourself when you mess up. It just happens sometimes. You don’t plan for it! If you can laugh at the stupid things you do, things will go better. If you feel bruised and hurt then you cannot move forward and perform in a positive way. Get on with your life. Have fun! 

18. WHERE TO PLACE STRESSORS 

There is only one way to fight off your fears and worries. You have to have the attitude of a winner, not a whiner. That means you have to push yourself to do what you need to do to make things a little better today. You have to look at fears and worries as emotions, which can change quicker than the weather. When I feel fear deep in my gut for some unknown reason, I just keep praying over and over for help. God has never failed me. 

19. LEARN TO ENJOY LIFE 

I used to go to the beach with the family and I was the one walking the beach with the black socks and shoes on! I had a hard time learning to place "fun" on my goal list. My wife, Mary Ann, taught me how to enjoy vacations. If you are just the opposite and you love the vacation more than your productivity, then you may have a problem with laziness or direction. Get to work on these impostors ASAP. 

20. HONESTY IS JOB #1 

I read this somewhere and it stuck with me a long time. I thought service was number one, but it is really honesty. I see doctors being too aggressive with the jobs and pressures they put on staff, and this does not really improve performance. Staff must be given a spiritual reason, or chiropractic altruism to make the practice go forward. Make sure that every form is filled out correctly, every procedure, and every service billed, is honestly performed and needed. Attitude is more important than performance, so be honest with yourself. Give love and honesty first.