What Does It Take to Be the Best?
By Perry Nickelston, DC, FMS, SFMA
The first lesson of real-world practice is that being a successful chiropractor has little to do with the techniques you use, the latest fancy equipment or slick marketing campaigns. The secret to climbing the ladder of success and becoming the best is to put your heart into your work and dedicate yourself to your beliefs. The subtle difference between success and failure lies in your attitude and actions. Here are 10 qualities and characteristics with action steps to help get you started on the path to becoming the doctor of chiropractic (and person) you deserve to be.
1. A contagious positive attitude. You become what you think about all day long. At the beginning of any task, your attitude will affect its successful outcome more than anything else. Positive attitude has nothing to do with what happens to you. It's what you do with, and how you react to, what happens to you. Expect good things to happen. Expect each patient to say "yes" to your treatment plan and recommendations, expect new patients, expect to surpass your monthly goals, etc.
Action Step: Read positive affirmations. Make it part of your daily routine.
2. Enthusiasm and sincerity. People can sense when you truly want to help them or if you are trying to sell them something. When you communicate with patients, don't follow a script. Do it from the heart, believing you can truly help improve the quality of their life. Remember, the majority of people don't care at all how much you know until they know how much you care.
Action Step: Learn to talk less and listen more. It shows that you care.
3. Self-assured presence. Project confidence, not arrogance. Know that you can achieve whatever you decide to and are willing to work hard for. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Believe in chiropractic. Believe in the Law of Abundance - that there is more than enough to go around. Your personal motto should be: "They can who believe they can. I believe I can."
Action Step: Try to ask more questions during conversation. You will have more opportunity to determine your patients' state of mind.
4. Having fun. If you are not having fun, you are doing something wrong. There is an energy - a vibe, if you will - present in your office, and patients can sense it from the moment they walk in. Is it negative? Is it positive? Is your office a fun place? The biggest determining factor in practice energy is your leadership. Staff will follow your cue. Have fun and find joy in absolutely everything you do, and your staff and your patients will feed off that energy.
Action Step: Have morning staff meetings that set the tone for a fun day. Show comedy movie clips to make your staff laugh and feel good.
5. Doing everything full force. Make 110 percent effort and commitment the minimum acceptable standard. If something is worthwhile, give it everything you have. The key to this strategy is focusing your efforts in a single direction. Don't start 20 projects and dabble in each one. Choose one and give it everything you have until completed.
Action Step: Zero in with intensity and focus on just one marketing niche (a patient base, demographic or condition).
6. Unspoken integrity, clear honesty. Be honest and ethical in everything you do. Being trustworthy and honorable is a strong statement of character. Always keep your promises and commitments. Your word means something to others, and it should mean everything to you. When you tell someone you will get back to them, do it. If you tell a patient a procedure will be done on a particular visit, do it. Are you getting the big idea? People will remember if you don't.
Action Step: Always underpromise and overdeliver your patient care plan.
7. Going the extra mile. Give people more than they expect. It amazes me that some doctors think they should get referrals for getting people out of pain. Why don't you get referrals? Because you gave the patient what they expected and no more. Your job is to get them out of pain; that's why they pay you. They are not going to reward you for simply doing your job. The question is, did you wow them with an experience beyond what they anticipated? It's all about the experience. Take Starbucks, for example. Is their coffee that much better than all the others? No. People flock to Starbucks for the atmosphere and experience. Take a lesson from that and make your office a special place to visit.
Action Step: Call patients personally after the first treatment and send a handwritten thank-you note.
8. Taking more risks. "No risk, no reward," is a cliché you have heard a zillion times, and it's wrong. I say: "No risk, no nothing." Taking chances is a common trait among successful people. If you want to succeed, you'd better be willing to risk whatever it takes to get there. People who are unwilling to take a risk usually lose to those who do. Take more chances than you dare and you will be more successful. That's the simple formula. Everything in life that you desire lies just outside of your comfort zone. If it makes you nervous and scared, then you should do it.
Action Step: Practice and learn about public speaking. Take a course and/or join Toastmasters.
9. Planning for the day. Since you don't know on which day success will occur, you'd better be ready every day. Prepare with education and continuous learning. Plan with goals and the details for their achievement. How can you expect to arrive at a destination without a road map for getting there? Learning and setting goals are the surest methods to prepare for success. Goals will allow you to "see" what you want, as compared to where you are right now, and allow you to determine the steps necessary for completion of your final goal. It's not what you do once in a while that shapes your life, but what you do consistently.
Action Step: Keep a success journal and remember to write in it daily.
10. Taking action: just do it! Actions are the only way to merge plans and goals with accomplishments. Nothing happens until you do something to make it happen every day. Choosing to do nothing is still an action with consequences. Do not let the fear of rejection and failure prevent you from taking action. Make it a point to implement your ideas. Successful people do what others don't. Make that call. Schedule a lecture. Ask for the referral. Go to that networking meeting. Put yourself out there. Take small action steps every day and you will create a pathway to success.
Action Step: This is the easiest one of them all: Take action.
Success goes to the best-prepared, self-believing, self-taught, responsible person who sees opportunity and is willing to take risks to seize it. Is that you? There are very few people willing to put forth the effort to get from where they are to where they want to be. Most make excuses and blame others for their own poor choices and lack of action. The biggest secret and the biggest obstacle to success is you. Take the formula above and achieve the level of success you set for yourself.
Click here for more information about Perry Nickelston, DC, FMS, SFMA.