Fear can be one of the most paralyzing emotions we can feel as human beings. It can lead to health, spiritual, relationship, and even business problems.
When it comes to our practices, fear can potentially stunt growth and leave chiropractors in a defensive mindset. This type of mindset is incongruent with the type of thinking it takes to thrive in practice.
I want to review some common fears we experience in practice and ultimately how to break through them for both personal and professional development.
Fear of rejection
I have seen this type of thinking negatively affect how we talk to our staff, patients and the public. One common example that we can all relate to would be when it comes time to making recommendations. Often, chiropractors are worried that patients may reject the frequency of care that has been recommended. This defensive mindset unfortunately leads to recommendations that may not be sufficient enough to reach the results the patient wants
These fears may also creep into the way we run our office, talk to our staff, talk to colleagues from other professions, and even communicate with
Believing one thing and saying another is incongruent behaviour and may begin to erode your practice one brick at a time.
Fear of unknown
This happens when we constantly worry about what lies ahead. Questions that circulate in our head about where the profession will be, will there still be insurance for chiropractic or will I be able to provide for my family are all examples of how we can get caught up in worrying about
With this mindset, we end up living in the future while forgetting about the present. Believe me when I say that if you are not completely present with your patients, they will pick up on it. It also paralyzes us from trying new things in our practice which brings me to my next point.
Fear of change
Comfort, or the illusion of it, is one main reason why we fear change as human beings. Comfort is defined as the easing or alleviation of a person’s feelings of grief or distress. By not changing and adapting continuously, we move toward a state of stress.
Take an office procedure, like recalls, as an example. Instead of trying to figure out why patients are not following through with care, or creating a procedure where multiple appointments are made with patients, many chiropractors continue to enforce recalls because it’s what they have always done. Looking through a different lens, this fear of change may be creating stress in the office preventing
Action cures fear
How do we then break through these fears considering how visceral they can be? The answer lies in acting on them.
Nothing cures fear more than action. Inaction conversely fuels fear and stunts growth.
Let’s say we have a fear of public speaking. This obviously affects practice growth and can affect overall professional development. Things will never change unless we make a move to act on it. I know what you’re thinking; even taking one step creates the very feelings we are trying to avoid. Get over this initial hurdle by taking extremely small steps with equally small goals
With this specific example, people often stumble because they think they need to begin speaking in front of big crowds, getting wonderful reactions, and have a line-up of people waiting to book into their office. This unrealistic expectation often puts a stop to any thought of taking initial action. Instead, we need to set lower goals with easier action steps.
Start speaking in front of two people with a goal of simply getting through it – as an initial step. Once you have done a few you will build competence then eventually confidence, which will lead to loftier goals.
Fear is a major practice killer. To move past them, we need to first recognize our fears and have the courage to act upon them. Any action, as small as it may seem, will help to conquer your fears. This will no doubt lead to you serving more people and creating a healthier community. We should need no more motivation than that.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 807-344-4606.
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