Five things to focus on this New Year

These practice insights are worth reflecting on
Angelo Santin
February 06, 2017
Written by
Have you ever been given advice that you either didn’t understand, or worse, chose to ignore? Have you ever taken longer than usual to grasp certain concepts more than others? Our lives and our practices can be full of these situations, and if we listen and take some good advice, it could lead to much more efficiency in delivering our care.
I would like to share my top five practice insights, that if mastered would make a powerful impact on your practices for this New Year.

1 - The patient’s initial complaint is not really the problem.
I must admit that it took some time for this concept to sink in. Often, a patient’s complaint on their initial forms is not the reason why they seek you out. They are in your practice not because of pain, but because they are concerned about how their pain will affect their life. Take for example a person that has low back pain. They are most likely addressing the problem because it affects them at work, at play, or they are worried about how it affects their future in some way. The quicker you can get down to this and link this with chiropractic, the more likely they are going to stay under your care.

2 - You need to make it safe for patients to fail.
I heard this from Bill Esteb early on in my practice and, honestly, I thought he was crazy. He proposed that we should talk to patients about stopping care right at the report of findings. When I was struggling and in a defensive mindset, this was something I couldn’t wrap my head around. How could I build a practice and at the same time encourage people to tell me when they have had enough? I finally began to understand what he meant. Not every patient will get chiropractic the first time around. If we want them to return, we need to talk about if and when they decide to stop care and support their decisions in a nurturing manner. I now know how much better I am at this because in our office we have a near perfect record of patients telling us they are taking a break from care.    

3 - It’s not what you don’t know that’s the problem; it’s what you think you know.
Chiropractors often feel they need new information or techniques to be excelling in practice. Worse yet, they often move on to other things because they believe that they’ve mastered what they already know. I’ve felt this way before many times only to realize that practice will humble you over and over. I finally realized that the key is not always an adding process but a shedding process. Shedding the things that are not important and mastering the simple yet important things are invaluable.  

4 - Your practice is a reflection of you.
For many years I thought that there needed to be a separation between myself and chiropractic. As time went on I realized that this separation is impossible and detrimental. If you are full of energy and creativity then your practice will follow suit. If you are tired and distracted then you can bet your practice will suffer accordingly. In a nutshell, if you want your practice to grow you need to first start with yourself. Organize the life you want to have and the practice you want will come.  

5 - Start with why.
I read Simon Sinek’s book on this topic a few years ago and ever since then it has changed the way I approach things in my life. His message was that every decision you make personally and professionally should be guided by your purpose. Whether you are aware of it or not, being off purpose is energy draining and inefficient in all aspects of your practice. Being on purpose is energizing and allows you to conquer life’s biggest goals and challenges. Finding your purpose and crystallizing it is therefore of utmost importance.

Practice will be full of learning possibilities. Making mistakes is the way we learn the best. If you can apply a few things that could help you avoid some of the big potholes that will arise, however, it will lead to more accelerated growth both personally and professionally. My advice to you in this upcoming year is twofold: number 1 is to listen more to yourself and others around you; number 2 is to be open to applying this advice and making the necessary changes. After all, growth in life and practice comes from the inside out.

Dr. Angelo Santin, DC, operates a busy subluxation-based family practice in Thunder Bay, Ont., and is president of the Thunder Bay Chiropractic Society. Santin is also a Carter Universal proficiency-rated chiropractic coach. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 807-344-4606.

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