1 Weird Trick To Help YOU Not Quit Chiropractic
53% of Americans are unhappy at work. That is a shocking statistic as found out by the conference board. That means that over 50% of the people you interact with in the work environment (yours or theirs) are unhappy.
More research shows us that recognition and appreciation from our managers contribute significantly to our happiness at work. If you have associates, then you can give them more recognition/appreciation. If you are an associate, then you can ask for more. But most Chiropractic clinics in the world are not like that. We don’t have a manager or an associate. If you do have an associate, that makes you the manger, but there is no manager above you to give you recognition/appreciation. It’s only the biggest of clinics that have managers above the principle Chiropractor. In most instances the Principle Chiropractor is the manger to the rest of the clinic or the Chiropractor is a sole practitioner.
So what happens to these sole practitioner Chiropractors, or these Principle Chiropractors that have associates, but don’t have a manger above them to give them praise? It is my experience from the clinics I coach that the patient becomes that manager from which we seek recognition and appreciation. And we don’t always get it. If you had a manager walk into your office every 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes and give you positive or negative feedback, then your days would be fraught if the negative started to outweigh the positive. Yet this is what happens because a lot of people, even if you have educated them properly, still expect to be better in one visit. This is one reason why I always try and do a visual WOW adjustment on the first visit to give them a visual change.
So how can we be happy if a lot of what we hear could be construed as being negative? If we think that patients, as a whole, get better gradually and forget what they were like when they started coming we can see the problem that faces the majority of our profession. People are giving us more negative feedback than positive. I don’t mean that they are saying we are bad Chiropractors, just that they aren’t better yet or that they are still in pain. They are usually just giving us the feedback we asked for, but we still take it as a negative criticism, internally, sometimes. This is usually not their intention at all, but because we are a caring profession and we want people to like us (and people liking us makes them want to come more and leave good reviews), even at the initial stages of treatment, we can take their not getting better as negative feedback.
So is it the patient we need to educate more? or ourselves? I’ve entered “the funk” a few times as a Chiropractor where we don’t feel like we are doing well and people aren’t getting better, but one thing has helped me and a lot of the Chiropractors at my coaching clinics feel better and that is educating our own brains. When I say educating our own brains, I don’t mean educating ourselves, I mean educating the voices that go on in our heads. We need to remember that people take X amount of time to get better and then translate that to a message the brain can understand and allow it to reframe our experiences.
It sounds complicated but is actually very easy to do. If we analyze a typical day, say, with 50 patients attending the clinic and break down where they are in the healing process it may look like this:
33% in first 2 months of care
33 % maintenance no flare ups
33% maintenance but undergoing a flare up
So that means that 66% of the feedback our brains receive when we are in “The Funk” could be seen as negative (i.e. “I’m hurting” being translated in our brains to “YOU haven’t got me better yet!”). When we are in “the funk” this would reinforce our perception that we are getting negative feedback.
Many times a Chiropractor will come to me in desperation. Usually they are either a Principle Chiropractor without a manager above them or a sole practitioner (in line with the research earlier about appreciation and recognition) and I’m their last chance before they quit the profession. They are that far into “The Funk” that the only way they see to be happy again is to leave Chiropractic. I’m always very happy to see these people because I know we can do great things together and reignite their love for Chiropractic. And some of the changes are so easy to do and a complete change can be had in days or even hours.
We don’t have the time or space to show you the full system that we use to get the Chiropractor back on his or her game and conquering the world, but reframing the experience has started the process to happiness in so many Chiropractors and has been the only thing necessary for some.
How do we reframe the experience?
Most of the time when we are experiencing “The Funk” we automatically put patients into 2 categories: “Good” or “Bad” in relation to how the treatment is going. But that is not really the case because some people are in the initial phases of treatment where fluctuations in pain levels are very common and expected. Some people are having major structural changes (scoliosis etc) and so they will develop all sorts of new pains in different areas (as they assimilate the new postures etc) and some people are going to do something stupid and flare up again. That covers a lot of the patients you see that your brain will classify as “bad” (negative feedback). But they aren’t “bad” they are just in the phase where things hurt more and that’s to be expected. In fact, you could say that they are “on track” for full recovery as they are exhibiting the correct presentation for someone at that stage of the treatment.
Some people will be at the next phase of treatment where they are feeling better and their body is healed enough for the stupid things they will do (O.K just one round of golf).
And then some will take longer than others because unknown to you they sit wrong or still play golf or don’t get enough sleep etc, the list is endless. These people could be classed as behind schedule.
So we need our brains to look past the very wrong categories of “good” and “bad” and move to these new categories so we can get a good appreciation of where WE are. So let’s look how we do this.
The pen is mightier than the sword.
- Step 1: Get a piece of paper that fits in your pocket (If multiroom practitioner e.g. 3 room system) or one on the desk (If single room practitioner)
- Step 2: Each patient that comes in, you will listen to their subjective findings and objective tests and then decide if they are :
A: Getting Better
B: On track for where they should be at this point in their care
C: Behind schedule
- Step 3: Write on your paper the patient number (eg 5th patient today) and the abbreviation G (getting better), O (On track) or B (Behind Schedule)
- Step 4: Repeat this for every patient you see for the whole day
- Step 5: End of day review how many of each (the positives are G and O)
- Step 6: Go back though the notes of some of the B’s (behind schedule patients) and see why you think they are behind (not following advice, re-injured or something else and make a plan to address it with them or change your treatment)
- Step 7: Realize that the vast majority of your patients are right where they should be and that you have a plan for those that aren’t
- Step 8: Feel better and send me an email or a Ferrari (Someone may one day)
This easy system will reframe your experience at the clinic and allow you to see the great work you are doing. It will also address your anxiety because the only thing that cures anxiety is action and now you have a plan for that tiny percent that are behind schedule.
Let me know how it goes and I think you’ll be surprised by its power. Not in “the funk” yet? Then feel free to give yourself a confidence boost by doing this anyway.
I hope you all have productive happy days going forward.
Paul Lindsey DC
“Even before I graduated I have been consulting Paul for his opinion. So much of what we have done has-been modelled after Paul's clinic and advice. He has been such an enthusiastic and helpful coach. I would recommend him to anyone who is thinking of using his services.”