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Get motivated! 2 key components to creating a successful practice, and a fulfilling life

“Just when you think you understand a situation, what you don’t understand is that the situation just changed”


February 7, 2022
By Dr. Keith Thomson (DC, ND) and Dr. DOUG Pooley, DC

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Photo: © BullRun / Adobe Stock

Who would have thought a couple of years or so ago that this world of today would be the new norm.  The mass hysteria surrounding the purchase of toilet paper for a respiratory pandemic is fascinating.

In March of 2020 (in the space of less than a month) the world changed, and in many ways the practice of health care did as well. Before COVID, telephone consultations with a medical practitioner were rare and the conveying of a diagnosis without actually seeing a patient would be considered quasi-ethical. Now it is us, the chiropractors and naturopaths (considered by many in established health care to be the outliers) who are front-line seeing patients live daily. Ironic is it not, that we must somehow be considered more expendable or is it that perhaps we are the ones who have some better answers to the questions on how to rebuild and maintain health in these most fractured times. 

Traditionally throughout history, most change of this magnitude comes on the heels of tragedy. The same is true of our current crisis. The status-quo has certainly been disrupted, but, within the resultant catastrophe inevitably comes the potential for magnificent opportunity. The caveat here is the certainty that opportunity can only be capitalized on by those who are confidently prepared, see through the chaos and ultimately uncover the proverbial silver lining. This in turn requires a motivating game plan, confidence in your ability and the need for proper execution. John Wooden  said: confidence comes from being properly prepared. 

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The following quotes in many ways capture the nature of the world we now live in. First… the opening quote from Eric Shackle…”Just when you think you understand the situation, what you don’t understand is that the situation just changed.”  The second is this from W. Edwards Deming: “In this world of chaotic circumstance, you do not have to change, survival is not mandatory.” The path to success today is just not predictable. You cannot look at life today with the same eyes as you would have two years ago. It is in many ways a fearful new world with new demands and unique challenges. With that also come opportunities. You may have to think in new ways and approach your patient’s needs from different perspectives, but the potential for success is there for the taking. Public confidence in current approaches to health provision is in turmoil, and the system that administers it needs change. People are desperately looking for avenues to get and stay healthy, and both chiropractic and naturopathy are in many ways perfectly positioned to provide direction to this end.

In our new article series, we will address the following nine key components to creating a successful practice, and even more importantly, a fulfilling life. Let’s address:

  1. Being on purpose – loving what you do.
  2. Success principles that work: “Definitely not the same s— different day.”
  3. How to stop the “negative you” from sabotaging your success.
  4. Nothing can limit your growth, only small ideas.
  5. Goals to success: If you want to thrive, you need them.
  6. Persistence and determination: How “small” people do big things.
  7. If a man is right his world will be right..you are your own best investment.
  8. Being magnanimous…the more you give the more you get. It is a universal principle of success.
  9. The evolution of a truth…never let the bastards get you down. 

Key Component #1: Being on purpose and loving what you do
Benjamin Disraeli, a politician of the 19th century, was quoted as saying that “success is just an ordinary man with an extraordinary attitude.”

The single most important thing that you can do to ensure your potential for  success in both career and life is to identify and then focus on your life’s purpose. 

Tolstoy’s “The death of Ivan Ilyich, ” reveals how living a life devoid of purpose is the same as existing in a world without meaning. Tolstoy’s story forces us to consider how painful it is to be at the end of the road, only to reflect on a life lived devoid of benchmarks for achievement, and how the finality of death seals any possibility of creating future meaning. If, when we approach the end of our lives, we find that there are no purpose-related  outcomes— the pain experienced is found in the realization that it is too late to rectify the situation. It was as if  the famous Danish philosopher Kierkegaard had Ilyich in mind when he wrote: “This is what is sad when one contemplates human life, that so many live out their lives in quiet lostness … they live, as it were, away from themselves and vanish like shadows. Their immortal souls are blown away, and they are not disquieted by the question of its immortality, because they are already disintegrated before they die.”

Bitterly, most people have been so conditioned to be afraid to fail in life that  they never take the chance to grow to their full potential. You see, you can fail just as easily at doing what you don’t want to do, so you might as well fail at something that you love. If you are genuinely serious about being successful, then you must answer these questions first. Ask yourself: 

What does the world need that my talents can provide? 

What is it about my life, abilities and talents that can create the most positive impact in my world? 

Answer these questions with honest sincerity, and you have the nucleus of what should evolve into a dynamic and enthusiastic life purpose. It is our experience that this newly empowered you usually comes to the table with a couple of friends, called “personal satisfaction” and “unbridled success.” It is a certainty that you must do this to step out from the collective restriction of the herd where most people spend their lives in a constant state of morose reaction to work, kids, finances, the idiot next door and any other number of potential irritants. There are no dress rehearsals in life. 

“What is it about my life, abilities and talents that can create the most positive impact in the world?”
Photo: © Jacob Lund / Adobe Stock

We challenge you to see the greatness within you. You did not choose your path for only the money or prestige. You did it out of passion and commitment to change lives for the better. Choose to be great.

Determining your purpose:

  1. Write down as many of your positive character traits as you can think of. 
  2. Write down all of the things that give your life meaning and pleasure. Things that when you are doing them, you forget to eat or drink.
  3. Now, taking into consideration the above, write down as many potential opportunities to make a difference as you can conceive. What in life gets you both fired up and pissed off when you think about them?
  4. Prioritize each of the above three lists noting the top three that resonates the most from each.
  5. Results could look like this: Top three traits may be: I am hardworking, intelligent, and empathetic. Top three things that give your life meaning are family, your patients and your career. Top three opportunities might be: to take care of my family and help them thrive, to work with patients to help them reach their full health potential and the third opportunity may be to be my own boss, financially secure and in control of my destiny.
  6. Your preliminary purpose may unfold as: “ To work to provide a wonderful life for my family by helping as many patients as possible reach their full  health potential while living my life without limits and independent of the opinions of others.”
  7. Once you are comfortable with your end product, post it where you will see it regularly and start creating your life plan using your purpose statement as the center of the wheel from which the spokes of your life extend out.
  8. Understand that a purpose statement  and resultant life plan is a living document and depending upon circumstances and opportunities is constantly open to amendment and revision.

To be great, first, you need a great vision and then you need a plan. First let’s take a minute to examine the core principles for success from which to create that strategy.

Key component #2: Success principles that work: “Definitely not the same s— different day.”
Although the principles of success are basically the same now as they were 100 years ago, the players and the circumstances are not. It is a folly of human nature that people keep trying to complicate things. It seems that inevitably everything which was once easy eventually becomes complicated. But, experience in life and practice has convinced us why we still like simplicity. Here are some tips to help you create a virtually limitless life and success.

  • Invest in yourself and commit to being the best version of you possible. Don’t ever settle just because it is convenient or feels like enough.
  • Dare to dream big. Most people “dumb-down” their lives by being afraid or just too lazy to dream a magnificent future for themselves
  • Live your life independent of the good opinion of other people. 
  • Be a first principles person in all of your dealings. This is much easier than having to say that you are sorry.
  • Be inquisitive and never be afraid to fail. Remember that you are only stupid if you make the same mistake more than once. 
  • Plan for the future but live in the now. Although it is scientifically impossible to live anywhere but “in the now,” many in life spend their creative thoughts consumed with the past, or in planning for the future. Take time to smell the roses every day. 
  • No blame and even fewer excuses – your boat, your oars. Do the novel thing and be accountable. It is positively liberating.  
  • Adopt an attitude of gratitude. In doing so you welcome more prosperity into your life. Remember, on the socio-economic totem pole you are already at the top compared to most of the world.
  • Be a life-long learner. This is what we believe to be the greatest gift of being a human, the capacity to continue to grow.
  • Given the choice between right and being kind, always choose kind.

As mentioned in the title, it is all about motivation and this in turn is born out of knowing who you are, your role in the world and adopting an unwavering belief in the universal principle of “the more you give the more you get.”

 You will notice that we did not refer  to hard work anywhere. Hard work is for digging ditches, smart work is for being successful. This is all a headgame and the biggest part of this battle is in stopping the negative you from sabotaging your success.

Join us in the next edition where we will explore more key components to building a successful practice. 


Dr. Keith Thomson is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College and the Ontario College of Naturopathic Medicine. He ran a busy, rewarding and successful multi-disciplinary facility for over four decades in Peterborough, Ontario. Dr. Thomson has also served his professions in both provincial & national organizations.

Dr. Doug Pooley is a graduate of both Wilfred Laurier University and the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. He has enjoyed over 42 years of active practice and has served his profession in various capacities.