Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

Keys to Your Practice: June 2012

Angelo Santin   

Features Business Management

How many of you have experienced fatigue, burnout or a feeling that you have lost your path or do not have clarity about your direction in practice?

How many of you have experienced fatigue, burnout or a feeling that you have lost your path or do not have clarity about your direction in practice? How has this affected you and your business? If there was a simple way you could gain clarity, increase energy, and move your practice in the right direction, would you want to know about it? 

limbic brains  
Figure 1: Being clear about our ‘why’ can help turn us in the right direction in practice.



I recently read a great book by Simon Sinek called Start With Why. Sinek believes there is a fundamental flaw in the way most people and companies do business. After reading the book, I agree wholeheartedly. The flaw is that most people are unclear about their “why”; that is, why they are in business. I believe this idea alone can help turn us in the right direction in practice.

Let’s look at this in more detail.
Sinek invented the golden circle (See Figure 1) to demonstrate why starting with “why” is so powerful.  This circle finds order and predictability in human behaviour and can help us understand why our patients make the decisions they do.

If you look to the diagram on page 21, you will see three circles. The outside circle represents “what” you do. Everyone knows what they do!  

The middle circle represents “how” you do what you do. Some people know this and some don’t. The “how” is what makes you different or better than your competitors. It is your unique selling proposition. In our case, this is what makes chiropractic different from every other health discipline. The “how” is also your systems and procedures, for instance, your office setup/decor, and even your adjusting technique. 

The inner circle represents “why” you do what you do. This is your purpose in practice, your beliefs, your cause, or why you get out of bed every morning to go to the office.  Very few people know this and not knowing it can be detrimental to your practice. 

When most of us think, act, or communicate chiropractic, we do it from the outside part of the circle to the inside or from the clearest to fuzziest. 

For example, when someone asks what you do, the answer is always, “I am a chiropractor.” (This is your “what.”) This answer usually does not garner much excitement and sometimes can have a negative effect due to unfortunate preconceived notions about chiropractors. 

The next thing we do is describe how we do chiropractic. For example, you might say, “I adjust the spine to restore health.” Very few continue on to describe why they are a chiropractor. 

Let’s run through it from the inside out, though, that is “why” to “what” instead of the other way around. 
“I believe in increasing a person’s health potential with the service and skills I have” (why). The way I do this is by using the safest, most research-proven and time-tested treatment methods to reduce disability and improve the nervous system” (how). I am a chiropractor (what).”

Which one did you prefer? More than likely, the one that you connected with more. 

This is how people make decisions. Our patients don’t buy what we do, they buy why we do it! 

Don’t believe me? Sinek explains that this is not opinion, but biology. The diagram on page 21 also demonstrates a cross section of our brain. The neocortex is the part of the brain that allows us to be rational, think through and analyze information (i.e., the “what”). The limbic brain (how and why) is the part of the brain where we produce feelings, trust and loyalty, and where decisions are generated. When we communicate from our “why,” we therefore go to the part of the brain that controls decision making.

A vision is just a vision unless it is put into action. We must therefore know how to put our vision into action. This is the “how” part, which includes things like learning new techniques, getting more proficient in current technique, acquiring systems and procedures that will guide us and our staff through the day, and refining our communication through training. It is important that when we do these things, we hold everyone accountable to high standards, including ourselves!

But, the other way we can make this work is to figure out our “why” and start telling people about it. Why not start with our staff? When speaking with patients in our practice, is it not more important to have a connection and create emotion while interacting rather than just filling them up with facts and research?

Think about this, particularly in the report of findings, where, instead of giving them tons of information we can, in fact, connect and let them know we can help, we care, and we will get them back to the things they love to do as quickly as possible. 

Lastly, the Golden Circle tool can be used when communicating with people in our community who have not experienced chiropractic care. What will inspire them to get under care? Facts (what) or emotion (your why)? 

I hope this will inspire you to explore using your “why” and, in turn, reset your course and energize you in practice.

Remember, when it comes to your practice, work from the inside out!

Key to Gaining Clarity in Your Practice
Key: Work from “why” to “how” to make your “what” successful.

Action Step 1: Figure out your “why.”

Action Step 2: Refine your communication systems procedures and techniques (your “how”) so they align and begin, with
your “why.”

Dr. Angelo Santin is a 2006 graduate of the CMCC. He operates a busy subluxation-based family practice in Thunder Bay, Ont., and is currently serving his second year as president of the Thunder Bay Chiropractic Society. Dr. Santin is one of a small number of international proficiency-rated chiropractic coaches, and draws on his success, along with the experience of the most renowned experts in this field, to provide time-tested, effective and patient-centred ideas for every chiropractor. He can be reached at or 807-344-4606.

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