By: Monte H. Greenawalt, DC, DABCO
It makes no difference if you are just starting in practice or have been in practice for years. The key to your success is based on a well-planned design of action and reaction. Success is not achieved by accident.
First and foremost, you can only know your goal by being honest with yourself. As a new graduate you have already invested a lot of money and time in the profession you have chosen. As the mature graduate you have already invested time and money in your education plus the cost of an office and equipment. You continue your education through post-graduate education courses in an effort to better serve your patients. Your life in Chiropractic is one continuous search for more and better ways to help your patients gain and/or retain their health.
Assuming all this to be true, Why is it that some Chiropractors are so much further ahead in their service to mankind? Why do patients seek out one doctor more than another? Why does it seem that one doctor has what might be called “charisma” and another does not? Why do some doctors find it necessary to advertise in order to get new patients while others do not? Why are some so lucky and everything seems to come their way? Why does it seem that everything you do seems to be the wrong thing? Why can’t you get lucky and have the success you wish you could attain? You can and you will, if you read on and follow the plan you will design for your success.
As a Chiropractor you are part of the greatest, fastest-growing profession in the world. We are in a position to render a health service to the people of our nation as no other health profession can. Recognition is growing and acceptance as a major health care provider is being accepted with ever-increasing enthusiasm. We must assume the leadership role. Knowing that you are in the right place at the right time should fill you with enthusiasm and a driving force to fill your rightful place in the health care community.
To help you design your formula for success, consider making enthusiasm a part of your lifestyle. Enthusiasm is infectious and attracts people to you. You will develop more friends, people will seek you out and want to be with you. Your patients will be telling their friends that they should seek your services and your practice will grow.
Make a Commitment to Be Enthusiastic
How do you become enthusiastic? Be honest with yourself when you make this important decision – I AM GOING TO BE ENTHUSIASTIC. What do I do to be enthusiastic when I don’t have anything to be enthusiastic about? You have much to be enthusiastic about when you start to count your blessings. You’re alive, you have an office, you have patients, you are a Chiropractor. Now, that’s a great foundation!
Learn to act enthusiastically by walking tall with a spring in your step. Move with a purpose like you are alive and have things to do. Put a smile on your face and speak with authority. There is no need to be overbearing, but don’t project the image of the dejected lost soul. The world is full of people who are what might be termed “down in the dumps.” You will make these people feel better when they are in your presence and you are filled with enthusiasm.
It isn’t easy to be enthusiastic all the time, but keeping and maintaining something of worth is not generally easy. You must work at it. Work at it because you want it. If you catch yourself slipping, stop the slide as soon as possible by thinking about a positive event in your life. The way I get help is to affirm “This is God’s good day and mine.”
To achieve your rightful place in this world you must have a picture in your mind of what and where that place is and then make a plan. A written plan to guide you to your destination. You may want to cut out pictures or make drawings of your plans. Impress upon your subconscious mind exactly what it is that you want. Place this map or plan where you will see it and look at it every day at least twice. SUCCESS BY DESIGN will result in fulfillment of your goals.
Plan Your Achievements
Use your imagination, because whatever the mind can conceive you can achieve. Picture in your mind just how you are going to make it happen. Once you have made the decision to make life what you want it to be, you will be on your way to achievement. Many people have difficulty in making a decision because they look at things as they are today. If your life is filled with negative thoughts the negative side of life will be in control. Making a plan and putting forth the effort to design the way to fulfillment will result in positive thoughts. As you become more and more involved in the plan your enthusiasm will grow.
With enthusiasm and a planned course of action you will move forward. Don’t let procrastination be your downfall. DO IT NOW! Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and a child can’t run before it learns to walk. In other words, design your plan to take one step at a time. For example; you want more patients, new equipment, a new clinic, a new car, money in the bank, a new house, etc. Write these things down. Put them in order of priority. What are the necessary first steps to making all these things reality?
Your attitude is important. You must realize that you can succeed. You must keep yourself enthusiastic about your project. You must work toward gaining your goal. It is like the story of the little train – I Think I Can, I Think I Can, I Think I Can. “I know I will, I know I will” becomes a part of you. Take the first step with ACTION. Do it NOW. You will find that as your mind accepts the fact that you can and you will, you project to others an image of the new, more confident, more positive you. Your patients will respond to your enthusiasm.
Show Your Patients You Care
Opportunities are all around. More and more people are turning to Chiropractic. More and more insurance companies are honoring Chiropractic claims. Our knowledge of how to help people has grown by leaps and bounds.
You want more patients? I’ll challenge you to an experiment that will result in more patients seeking your help. You can start with a new patient or an old patient, it makes no difference. When you first see the patient have a smile on your face and a sincere loving, caring desire to help that person. Take the time to get a good past history, thorough present history, physical examination, etc. When you give your report of findings, do all that’s possible to have the husband with the wife, the wife with the husband, the parent with the child. This is the time when you can create interest in two people.
Encourage the mate of the patient to become involved in helping the patient regain their health. Everyone wants to be liked, wanted, belong and recognized. Getting the family involved gives recognition to the importance of all concerned in the family unit. Gaining an understanding of the problem and how to correct it faster gives you, the doctor, a good image. You will find other family members will become patients as time goes on. Managing your patients in this manner shows them you care and it also makes them aware of the problem being cared for at this time.
Most postural deficits have their onset by the beginning of puberty, and this is the best time to make your corrections during the growth phase. Once the growth phase is complete the patient may not be symptomatic. The first sign of a problem may not come until about the age of thirty-five. However, the patient must be made aware of when the problem really had its beginning. This will make the patient aware of the reasons all problems cannot be resolved in only a few visits.
In a few weeks or a month or whatever period you have your patient scheduled for re-examination to determine the progress that has been made, it is important for the mate or parents to be kept present for your report of findings. Keep the family unit involved. Maintain the image of the doctor who cares.
You’ve made a commitment to SUCCESS BY DESIGN. You will find road blocks or obstacles will appear in your path. Don’t let them side track you from your goal. You must be adaptable and adjust to variables without losing sight of your goal. If the road to success were easy everyone would be successful. Hang on and keep hanging on and your goals will become reality. You will find that your big picture of your goals requires many intermediate steps to reach fulfillment.
Plan a Day at a Time
You can help yourself by planning the next day in advance. Write down your projects for the next day. Arrange them to enable you to perform the most undesirable projects first. In that way you won’t have to spend the day worrying about doing them. Once the undesirable projects are out of the way you have clear sailing.
Do not allow procrastination to rule you. Get at it and get it done. If you don’t like completing insurance forms, make sure they are completed on a current basis. Letting them pile up gets to be a giant chore that can rob you of your day off. It can actually drive patients away from your office because of your dislike for completing the forms.
The Doctor Executive
In your DESIGN FOR SUCCESS you must be ready to wear two hats. One, you must first and foremost be the doctor. Two, and very important, you must assume the role of an executive. We won’t go over the doctor role as you know what that entails. We shall address the role of the doctor executive. Here is where practices are made into powerful service organizations. Once you have established the image of the doctor who cares and patients are seeking your help in ever-increasing numbers, practice management will make the difference between continued growth or a roller coaster practice.
You can’t hire a receptionist and then tell her to “start receptioning.” You must lay down the rules and guide her in the manner in which she is to perform the duties you lay out. You must make a plan. Write it down so that she can follow it. Maybe you don’t know all that you want her to do. She should have a smile on her face and a song in her voice when she answers the telephone. She should have good posture and walk with a spring in her step and be bubbling with enthusiasm. Your choice of the girl at the front desk should be one that projects the “we care and love you” attitude. Each and every patient should be a special person.
Appointments that are three weeks or more apart should be handled in the following manner. Have the patient address an envelope to themselves and write on an appointment card the time and date of the appointment. This envelope should be stamped and placed into a file that is divided into weeks and months. The envelope should be filed so that it can be mailed one week before the appointment date. Obtain another appointment book and write the patient’s name and telephone number two days before the designated appointment time. Each patient should be called to confirm their appointment. When the patient receives the appointment card that they completed, it will have more impact on their response to keep the appointment. They said they wanted the appointment when they completed the card. This type of patient reminder and recall method will prove more effective than other methods.
Recalls for re-examination, X-rays, spinal check-up, laboratory work, functional orthotics evaluations, Pillo-Pedic® evaluation and any other reason should be handled in this manner. The best time to set up re-examination and re-evaluation schedules is at the time they are new in the office. This is the time when the patient has the greatest interest and enthusiasm for what is being done for him/her. A proper explanation for these future dates shows the patient you care.
Evaluate Office Procedures
As your practice grows and you become more and more busy, additional help will be required. You cannot serve your patients properly when you are taking time to perform tasks that can be performed as well or better by ancillary personnel. If you fail to have sufficient help you will neglect your patients and your referrals will drop. Your practice will suffer. If you are not the doctor executive you will find you have a practice that fluctuates and becomes cyclical. It is not the lack of patients that makes this happen – it is a lack of patients receiving the service you really have to offer. Take time to evaluate your needs. Make a plan covering what is required to best meet those needs. You will become enthusiastic about changing your practice management procedures as you evaluate your present procedures. Your enthusiasm will become infectious and your practice will grow.
Do It Now
Are you a “sooner?” Sooner put it off than do it? The excuses are abundant: “I don’t have the time.” “I’ll do it just as soon as I get the time.” There is a fact in life that you must face – You won’t go anywhere if you don’t take the first step. Making the decision to take that first step is probably the most difficult step you’ll ever make. Procrastination is so much a part of life, it seems it has been there forever. But your attitude, your enthusiasm can make a difference. It has been said: THE SECRET OF SUCCESS IS DO IT NOW! Yes, do it now. Make a determined effort to start your new life and set practice in motion. Once you get off dead-center, momentum comes into play and you can soon be rolling.
SUCCESS BY DESIGN AND NOT BY ACCIDENT is the key to a successful Chiropractic practice. Make a self evaluation and an analysis of your present practice. Next, make a written plan of what you want to achieve. Be determined to see it through. Enthusiastically enter the project with a good positive attitude. Become the best Doctor of Chiropractic and the best Chiropractic Executive good planning and lots of work can achieve. Don’t forget to take into consideration all the opportunities that surround you. Dare to believe and you will achieve, Seek and you will find, Ask and it will be given unto you. Now, take a step at a time and make it happen!