Are You a Participant in Life or Just a Casual Observer?


by Monte H. Greenawalt, DC, DABCO

Your life as a Chiropractor is filled with wonderful and beautiful opportunities to participate in life. Yes, you have within you the God-given ability to serve your fellow man. As a Chiropractic professional, you owe it to yourself and your profession to emerge as a leader in your community. Wherever two or more people come together a leader will emerge, and let the leader be you! You can make it happen. You’ve heard it said, “Make a plan and then work your plan.” This will lead to SUCCESS in your practice, your home, your community and your county and state activities. Don’t be a casual observer and let life pass you by.

If the road to success were easy, everyone would be a success. However, to gain recognition and emerge as a leader and a true participant in life is not difficult. Dare to be different and be willing to give for the sake of serving, not self-gratification. One of the best places to start is with self-discipline to Control Your Attitude. Realize that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and no one ever planted a seed and harvested the crop in the morning.

Positive Attitude

The way I try to start each day is easy. Upon awakening I simply give thanks and say, “This is God’s good day and mine.” With a start like that it will be a good day. This approach to each day lays the ground work for a Positive Attitude. The best place to get that positive attitude-building momentum is right at home. Remember, “Make a Plan, and then Work Your Plan.” This means that you have written your goals and arranged them according to priority. Put that goal plan on the bathroom mirror. You can’t help but see it, and with the attitude of the little train – “I Think I Can, I Think I Can, I Think I Can, I Know I Can, I Know I Can, I Know I Can” – you’ll start your day with enthusiasm.


With your fresh, clean face, a positive attitude of mind, and enthusiasm growing as the day begins, do something nice for a loved one. This will help their day start in a positive way and you, too, will reap the benefits. You can never give without receiving, and your gift of love will return rich rewards. When you leave the house walk with a spring in your step and a song in your heart for you know that this is God’s good day and yours. You’ll have a smile on your face and a walk with purpose. You will stand out as someone different. You will be.

Compliment with Sincerity

Greet the people you meet with enthusiasm and be complimentary with sincerity. You can always find something nice to say about a person. If you go to a restaurant and greet the waitress in this manner, the next time you go back she will remember you and your service will be good. You won’t be just another customer – you’ll be special because you made her feel good.

It won’t be long and she will know that you are Dr. Jones the Chiropractor. You will project the image of a nice doctor – after all you make her feel better by just coming in and brightening her day. Don’t be just a casual observer and join the masses – Be a Participant in Life. You can say, “I never did anything like that before, I can’t do it.” Just remove the ‘t from can’t and you’ll find that you can. Your Can attitude will make the difference. The first step is the hardest. Once over the hurdle each step becomes easier and will eventually become a part of your personality.

Positive Office Attitude

When you get to the office greet your CAs with that same attitude. Today is a great day, and we’re going to make it better. If you don’t have a full schedule you will have the time to do the things that you have been putting off through procrastination. Clean-up, paint, re-arrange, and plan. Being busy builds enthusiasm. Enthusiasm builds positive thought. Positive thoughts bring in patients. Positive, enthusiastic attitudes prompt patient enthusiasm and result in referrals. Your practice will bloom with new patients. Become a loving, caring person who always has time to be concerned with the other person.

Community Service

Join at least one service organization in your community. You will be able to meet many fine people and you will all have the same object in mind as dictated by the organization’s goals. Don’t just join the organization and attend the meetings – Get Involved. Be a Participant, not a casual observer. Volunteer to help with the various projects and then show sufficient interest to become the leader. If you show a little interest and are willing to put forth the effort, you will find becoming the leader is of little difficulty.

Many persons in these organizations are more than willing to be a causal observer; however, you can be the motivator to help them participate with enthusiasm. As you help others you help yourself. The teacher always receives more from the lesson than the student. Your enthusiastic leadership role will put you in the lime light and result in mass exposure to the community through the public relations releases necessary to help a planned project succeed. You will find it is not necessary to be the president to get the exposure. You can be the public relations director. Acting with enthusiasm will help you meet the press, radio and TV media personnel. Things good or bad do not just happen to people, they make them happen by their deeds and actions. Become a person of action.

The Brain

On TV the other evening a doctor came out with some startling information concerning patients. It is enlightening to the medical profession to learn that the brain is an organ that produces over two thousand different chemicals. The brain is an organ that we in Chiropractic have long recognized as important in the management of many patients. They discovered that negative thoughts stimulate the brain to produce chemicals that have an adverse effect on the body and positive thoughts produce chemicals that have a healing effect on the body. You as a true participant in life have long recognized the importance of a proper mental attitude. By taking the time to properly communicate with your patients you have a direct influence on the mental attitude of the individual.

Chiropractors have been instilled with the importance of caring for their patients. Your patients are real people that place their health and welfare in your hands. They are not just a case number and a body passing through your office. You take the time to listen to their problems, examine in a manner that projects the image that you care enough to find the answer to their problem, and then give them an explanation that will help them cooperate for a sufficient period of time to receive the help they came to receive.

Recognizing the importance of these acts and performing them makes you a good doctor with referrals in volume that allows you to build a practice of your design. Treating patients in this manner truly makes you a participant in life. Your personal attitude must be one of a positive, well-informed doctor. You don’t find it necessary to be a high powered salesman. You are a well-informed doctor with your patients’ welfare foremost in mind.

Make a Plan

To be a real participant in life, you must make plans and form a means of accomplishing the plans. Ask yourself, “What do I want, How am I going to accomplish it, and When am I going to attain that goal?”

What do I want? Sit down and give some very serious thought to that question. Take a pen and piece of paper so that you can write down your thoughts. Don’t try to put them in the proper order of priority initially. Just put down your thoughts as your enthusiasm builds and the ideas flow to you. After you have covered your want list, put it away for a day or two and then – without looking at the original list – make another list and compare. This is the time to begin putting down your wants in an order of priority.

You may find that some of the things on the first list should be deleted at this time and replaced with goals from the second list. The reason for the two lists is to be certain you have a clear idea of what you want for your goals. If you are going to be a true participant in life you must first know what you want to do with your own life before you can have an effective influence on the lives of others. We all have an effect on the lives of the people we come in contact with a number of times. It can be positive or negative. Make yours positive.

Once you have organized what you want, you must make a plan to guide you to How Am I Going to Accomplish My Wants? Once again, take out your pen and paper so that you can write down the solutions. Take your priorities one at a time and write down all the ways to accomplish your wants. It is not necessary for you to have the absolute answer while you are writing these solutions. Simply write down every way that you can conceive of obtaining your wants. Wait another day and repeat the same procedure.

Go over your lists and once again put them in order of priority. If you were the president or chairman of the board of a large company you would do these very things to assure the growth and success of the company. Large companies and even small ones have a research and development department. Some are very formal and some are quite informal, but if the company is to grow, new products and new ways of doing old things must emerge. Your life is more important than any company, and the quality of your life is more important than any new products a company might develop.

It takes effort and work to make things happen. We tend to procrastinate when we must do things we do not like to do. Why let life pass you by when you can be a contributor, a real participant in life? Remember, if you have never done this before, that does not mean that you shouldn’t do it now. If the road to success were easy, everybody would be successful. Make an investment in yourself; it will pay big dividends.

When Am I Going to Attain My Goals? You make that decision. Go over your lists carefully. Look at the solution as to how they can be attained. Write down the date of attainment. When you write down the time for attainment you will make it more difficult to procrastinate. Don’t try to fool yourself; make the time of attainment realistic and believable to you. If you believe it can be done, it will be done.

Positive Results

Once you start your program you will find that you have enthusiasm and an interest in life that was not present before. You will reap many new benefits that come unexpectedly because you will be a new you. You will find more patient referrals coming to the office. Your family life will take on a new meaning as the family members get swept up in your enthusiasm.

As an enthusiastic participant in life you should be involved in three very key areas:

  1. 1. Maintain a good understanding between both your patients and your employees.
  2. 2. Don’t mishandle personal relationships or fail in the one-to-one encounter.
  3. 3. Be the motivator for all you deal with.

When dealing with your CA or an associate do you ever say to yourself, “I can’t figure him or her out. We don’t seem to be communicating”? Chances are that it is not communication, but a lack of understanding. If you find antagonism or rebellion confronting you, there is something wrong with your approach in the personal relationship. You go to great pains to explain the reasons for the one you are dealing with to take action, but fail to get through. The well-disciplined Doctor of Chiropractic must learn to recognize at an early stage when he or she is getting through and when he or she is not. The motivation skills must be enhanced under this condition.


Let’s take these three important points under consideration one at a time. Understanding or lack of understanding is first. Many people think that lack of understanding is a communications problem and communication through a skillful positive manner is enough. Psychologist Carl Rogers states: “The biggest block to personal communication is one man’s inability to listen intelligently, understandingly, and skillfully to another person.”

Communicating is a two-way process. When dealing with another person, continuous feedback is important. You should constantly monitor its effect on the other person. You can recognize your failure to get through if the other person fails to ask questions. Nervous movements and lack of eye contact are other signals. Vagueness in their understanding of your message should be cleared by questions that prompt the person to give you their understanding of what has been said. You cannot get feedback unless you listen not only to the words, but also read their body language. Failure of the person you are talking to to listen properly can be recognized when he is unable to repeat important points to you in his own words, or he cannot think of any questions to ask, or he does not know what is important in order of priority. Listening therefore, becomes a very important part of your communications to assure the right understanding.

Be certain that your patient understands what you have said and understands the importance of your comments. If you investigate you will find that patients who fail to follow through with your recommendations have failed to listen to your explanation of the need to cooperate for their best interest. You know why you recommend the care; your patient must have a clear understanding if they are to follow through. Therefore, you will find it helpful to ask the patient questions that will reveal their comprehension of the problem and what is needed to correct it.

When dealing with your CA have her repeat what you want done, to be certain there is no misunderstanding of the request. It is also a good idea to have the important requests written, so that they can be referred to at another time. You will find that by writing down important points you will accumulate information that will be helpful in training additional personnel. There should be documentation of the duties to be performed in the office, so that new personnel can read the information and familiarize themselves with their duties. Checklists are helpful in forming habit patterns for best performance.

One-To-One Relationships

Next in order of priority is your one-to-one relationship with both patients and personnel. Controlled management of your office should be executed with love, understanding and discipline. Caring for both your patients and your personnel yields big dividends; however, without discipline you fail to have control and your growth is inhibited.

Take the time to develop the insight to understand the best way to deal with the personal relationship that develops in the doctor’s office. A close personal relationship that is controlled in a professional manner should involve both patients and personnel. If you find tension or friction building, get it out in the open and resolve the problem before it develops into an irreversible situation. In other words, you can’t stick your head in the sand and expect it to go away. Talk it out and correct whatever the problem may be that is confronting you. A harmonious atmosphere will prevail in your office as you nip any negative influences that may appear.

Motivate Personnel and Patients

Motivation of office personnel and patients is a prime objective. Let’s deal with your personnel first. It is my belief that most people don’t like to work for someone. They much prefer to work with someone. Therefore, create the feeling that the office is a unit project and we are all working together. Write down your goals for the office with input from all concerned. Work out a share program. Give your personnel motivation to help the practice grow. You will find that good help is economical and cheap help is expensive. A good share program – or you might call it an incentive program – will cost you nothing. Your growth that results will more than offset any additional cost. Remember, everyone wants to be liked, be wanted, belong, and be recognized. Make certain each and every one of these four wants are part of your patient and office management procedures. People are motivated to help and perform when they know that they are liked, are wanted, belong, and are recognized. Your personnel will do more to help the practice grow, and your patients will make more referrals.