This message was inspired by a talk given by Eric McDonald, CEO of DocuTap during a presentation he gave at BRAINSPA 2017. If you’d like to hear his full presentation (trust us, you do) you can check it out here.

As a business leader, you dictate exactly how your team behaves. You set the standards and are responsible for holding your team to them.

How high do you set your standards? Perfection.

What happens when your team doesn’t meet them? Grace.


Setting standards that are anything less than perfection is a mistake. Standards need to be set in an “ideal world” environment. In business, the standards you set are one of the few things that you can control and remain largely unchanged.

Here’s the kicker – you’ll never reach perfection; but you have to shoot for it. The second you lower your standards you send a message to your team that it’s okay to be average. Lowering the standard and achieving it with minimal effort never creates growth or improvement.

So, you set perfect standards and your team fails to meets them. What now?


First and foremost, understand that you are working with people. Flawed, complex, unique, wonderful people. Every single person on your team is completely different. No person should ever be capable of meeting your perfect standards; but every person on your team should be in a constant pursuit of them.

What happens when they fall short?

The questions you need to ask are:

“Was the shortcoming a product of good faith done in pursuit of a perfect (unachieveable) standard?”

“Where is there room for improvement and growth?”

“What leadership does this employee need from me?”

Perfect employees don’t exist. Perfect standards must. Navigating this dichotomy is where you as a business leader need to live and thrive every day.

Press for excellence, give grace.



If you want to reach your personal business best whether that’s 100 patient visits a day or 100 patient visits a week, you need to let go of the “myths of success” that most management systems perpetuate and embrace evidence-based management.

The preponderance of psychological evidence indicates that experts are made, not born. Successful Chiropractic Entrepreneurs are experts in three key areas:

  1. Clinical expertise
  2. Leadership charisma
  3. Managerial acumen

Decades of research by University of Florida’s Andres Ericsson proves that exceptional performance doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it determined by innate talent. Here are the cliff notes:

  1. Ten year rule
    It takes approximately 10 years of daily, deliberate practice, about four hours a day, to become an expert.
  2. Training trumps talent.
    Experts train effectively and efficiently and have direct access to the best techniques through coaching, skilled peers, books and seminars. They never miss an opportunity to train.
  3. Relentless pursuit for excellence
    Once achieved, exceptional performance can’t be maintained without continued effort.
  4. More effort, not more success
    Exceptional performers do not have a higher success rate, they simply do more.
  5. Effortful study
    Challenging yourself beyond your present competencies makes room for growth. Jim Collins says, “Comfort and complacency are the enemies of greatness.”
  6. Successful people don’t have hot streaks.
    The period when they produce the most successes are also the times when they produce the most failures.
  7. A higher source of motivation
    Experts are intrinsically motivated to be the best they can be. They are not motivated by fear of failure or by greed.

I can only imagine how incredible it will be for you when the person you are today meets the person you are destined to be!

Remember, it’s not what you are born with, it’s what you have in you to become!


So how do we become familiar? 

How many times has a patient asked you for the name of another D.C., either because they were moving, traveling or wanted to refer a friend? How do you find that D.C.? If you’re like me you first check to see if you have any friends or acquaintances in that city or one close by. Referrals are personal. Chiropractic is not familiar to most people, so you, the Chiropractor, must become the familiar gateway. There are three components to becoming familiar: contactability, interpersonal skills, and image.


Contactability is how approachable you are in your community. Do you go to the gym and put a force field up around you? When you go to church do you bolt out the side door as soon as services are over? When you attend your child’s athletic or school events are you one of the untouchables? If we attached a monitoring device to you and followed your activities throughout the week what would we see? Home to office and back again? You know it’s really tough to meet people when you don’t even give yourself the chance.

Interpersonal Skills

How do you behave at a restaurant? Do you tip appropriately? Do you treat the wait staff with respect? You see; wherever you go there you are. You are your message! Are you willing to discuss subjects outside of your interests? In other words, are you boring? Are you always talking about health and healing? The number one complaint that spouses have is that the doctor (technician) never leaves the office and has cloistered his self/herself in a protective cocoon from the world of allopathy. Now I don’t want to get off on a rant or anything but get a life outside of adjusting. Learn to be interested in others and they will be interested in you and your message.


Like it or not you have 7 seconds to make an impression with a stranger. Do you look like a professional? Do you dress with pride for yourself and respect for others, or have you decided that comfort means “I don’t care what others think?” Do you realize that people respond to what you feel and think more than what you say? When you say to yourself, “I don’t care what people think about my image,” they only hear I don’t care. Remember, every one of us has an unconscious attraction or repulsion that impacts our choices. What are you sending out?

Successful Chiropractic Entrepreneurs like you have one thing in common: a single- minded dedication to their patients. They have a passionate commitment to understanding everything they can about the people they serve. They have an innate sense that patients are to be served not converted, served not needed, and served not controlled.



For most Chiropractors the completion of this “if only” sentence is quite predictable. Can you hear the strident voices shouting in unison, “If only. . . I had more new patients?” It is a striking contradiction that a profession that espouses the benefits of an inside-out approach to health is addicted to an outside –in philosophy when it comes to growing a business. We routinely take the path of least resistance looking for the quick fix event and shun the hard work of building through process.

It is a fact that all businesses need to promote their services to potential customers if they are to succeed. As small business owners we must do the same. How you promote your business determines whether or not you build a flash in the pan practice or a solid profitable self sustaining business.

While everyone can benefit form Chiropractic care, the brutal fact is that unless you are a non- profit organization (by design that is) you have a limited market. Now before you judge that statement consider what constitutes a viable Chiropractic patient. First they must be aware of their need and made aware that your services could help solve their problem. Second, they must be willing to do something about it and accept your solution. And third they must have the ability to follow through with care. The word I chose is limited, not limiting. The fact is that there is an ample supply of patients who fit these criteria.

When most Chiropractors think of marketing they think advertising. The two are quite different.


Advertising is the promotion through public announcements on Facebook, radio, television, and the internet of something in order to attract interest to it. The game of buying patients is costly, risky, and less profitable. Most importantly it requires more selling on your part. Advertising, by its nature, adds more steps in the decision making process. Purchasing a series of Chiropractic care is nothing like buying a vitamin or paying for a massage because Chiropractic is a high impact and risky venture for people. The decision process is already demanding, so more steps equals more stress. You will have to make the potential patient aware and then eager to buy. More selling is needed because you have to create urgency and attempt to convince them to buy your Chiropractic solution and your brand of Chiropractic. It’s inefficient and requires a huge personal energy expenditure that eventually leads to burnout.

“Marketing is an Attitude not a Department” – Phil Wexler


Marketing, on the other hand, is the business activity of presenting products or services to potential customers in such a way as to make them eager to buy. Marketing is everything you do to attract and retain patients. It is how your business is perceived by your staff, your patients, your bank, your accountant, your attorney, your church and, of course, your business advisors/coaches. Marketing creates referrals. Everyone agrees that a referral practice is the ultimate goal. These patients are already interested and therefore aware and eager for a solution. A recent Chiropractic survey asked the question, “Where do most of your new patients come from?” 68.4 % of those surveyed answered, “from existing patient referrals.” Why then are we so obsessed with spending most of our time, energy and money outside looking in?

Chiropractors will buy just about anything and they line up with credit cards in hand for the next “killer gimmick.” Do they work? Yes and No. Yes, a flush of new patients come in. No, because 90 days later the numbers are pretty much the same and you need the next “fix” because nothing has changed in the way you do business. Well, that’s not entirely true, your image may have been tarnished by the type of promotional event, rushed exams, rushed reports, overburdened staff, system break downs, and lengthy office visits for the “regulars.”

If the foundational work is skipped and systems are anemic the results are always the same; an influx of new patient euphoria that dulls your logic while your inside voice screams “Finally, I am on my way,” sadly followed by the cold gray reality of a practice plateau. Foundational work is so critical. The Chiropractor who is a skilled entrepreneur never abdicates the responsibility for growing his/her business to others. He/She embraces the leadership challenge of marketing without resentment or hesitation.

Join us next week as we continue this conversation and dive further into how you can improve your marketing ability!



Things will go wrong, they always do. Can you handle distractions or setbacks without folding like a lawn chair? To get to the next level you will need exceptional mental agility and decisiveness.

Decisiveness is the ability to make decisions quickly, firmly and clearly.

I watched another ‘aha’ interview with the great Tiger Woods. He told the journalist that his father taught him how to discipline his mind and stay focused on the next shot regardless the circumstance. Apparently his dad would harass him while preparing and making his swing. He made loud noises, dropped clubs, and got in his face, anything to knock him out of the zone. Tiger’s living legacy is proof that mental training pays off.

Flat out Wrong!

Many of your decisions will be flat out wrong. So what! Successful people are faith driven, they know that eventually they will hit on the things that work. Accuracy comes with practice. Extraordinary performances in your career demand rigorous training and a Zen –like resolve. The discipline to separate what you want now, from what you want to have eventually keeps your mind’s eye in the moment where you can have the greatest impact.

Fear driven behavior leads to panic and paralysis. Choices made in this emotional climate are short-term fixes that attract long-term suffering. And even more devastating is the emotional lockdown, indecision. Indecisiveness builds plaques of self doubt and eventually clogs the arteries of creativity.

Thoughts alone do not move the universe but your thoughts move you to speak, to act and to be attracted to resources and opportunities that will get you to the next step in your career. While it is clear that we do not have control over the thoughts that pop into our head; we can take charge once we are aware of them. We choose to feed or starve them. That’s power.

Simple Questions

When deciding on a course of action whether it is hiring a staff, a coach, or attending a seminar. Ask yourself the following profoundly simple questions and then act:

  • Is my dream worth the effort?
  • Does it really make a difference one way or another with the people in my life? (My spouse, my family, my staff and our patients)
  • Is this a part of my problem or a piece of the solution?
  • Will doing this move me closer or further away from my longer term goal?

Now hear this. Evidence from every success story I know about can be summarized by the following statement.

If you are not willing to put your personal savings and time into your dream, you really don’t want what you say you do.


“Your arrows do not carry,” observed the Master, “because they do not reach far enough spiritually”
Eugene Herrigel – Zen and the Art of Archery

We all get frustrated when we fail to hit our personal targets. As an example, let’s suppose that last January you set a goal of earning $100,000 more this year. And now after spending the last 9 months climbing and striving to reach that goal you find yourself only achieving half that goal. What follows is a loss of momentum. A few self-limiting beliefs got reinforced. The result is a drop in energy and vigor. Thus, when you reinstate the goal for the next year you are already operating at a personal energy deficit.

You can imagine what will happen the next year, and the year after that if you continually fail to hit your targets. Perhaps right here, right now, you are feeling the effects of the frustration of falling short of those goal year after year. As we strive to obtain known personal objectives we get caught up in the ‘target event’ (obtaining) and may miss the ‘attainment process’ altogether.

Two Categories of Goals

Let me explain. There are two categories of goals, the known goals and the unknown goals. Known goals are the ones you have targeted as worth achieving. They are known to you and to people in your life who are committed to helping you achieve them. Unknown goals are deeper qualities and values that surface as a result of your efforts toward your known goals. They are the deeply satisfying needs that you have temporarily forgotten. Once you become aware of them, life has even greater purpose and meaning.

Here’s how it works. As you strive to achieve your known goals your deep down unknown goals get satisfied. If you fail to recognize these and assimilate them into your consciousness two things occur:

  1. Your wins feel hollow.
  2. Your failures begin to drain more and more of your energy.

The reality is that some goal is always being achieved in the attainment process. However, it isn’t always the one you had consciously set (Known). As an example, on your quest to earn more this year you might have attained recognition, better health, and parental approval, spousal “buy in”, inner strength, stronger relationships, and more time to enjoy your world. These are all examples of unknown goals.

We are not describing a ‘rationalization event, making excuses or denying failed attempts. We are describing a new way to look at this journey of success. Learning this process will change your perspective and behavior. It will liberate your beliefs and extinguish your self imposed limitations. Acknowledging your unknown wins will give you a self liberating perspective and energize your reinstated goals.

Reach for your star!

Practice Building Tip

“If you knew that one of your coaches or a classmate where coming to visit your office next week what would you do?”

Once you get past the performance anxiety make a list of the items that would need attention. We suggest you look in three categories.

  1. The physical appearance of your business. Do the carpets need cleaned? Do the walls or ceilings need painted? Do your tables need recovered?
  2. The practice systems. Are your systems flawlessly executed throughout the day? Does your team reflect the image you want?
  3. Your attitude. What leadership essentials will you need to master? What behavior and attitudes do you need to highlight and what ones need to be changed?






We speak with a lot of business owners who have a lot of complaints:

  • The economy stinks
  • Their work environment isn’t great
  • Their community doesn’t support them
  • It’s all the President’s fault!
  • Taxes

We encounter a lot of bitterness.

If you want to be successful, if you want to chase affluence and live the life you desire and deserve… You need to let go of the bitter.

Get better not bitter.

Remember, nothing gets better until you get better.

Surround yourself with good people, train like your life depends on it, and live each day with an attitude of gratitude.

Remove the bitter and enjoy the sweet fruits of your labor.


You bring who you are into your business. Typically you behave in business as you behave everywhere else in your life.  Wherever you go, there you are. Your practice is a mirror that reflects your behavioral patterns. These habits determine what you have, right here, right now.

The three relationships that shape your personal and professional life are:

  • The relationship you have with yourself
  • The relationships you have with others
  • And the relationship you have with your business.

You can assuage the pain of self-limiting beliefs through self-deception and you can even ignore many of your relationship problems. Yet, your business is a measurable, palpable accounting of your inner journey, your leadership competence and your work ethic.

Too many doctors fail to achieve the goal of Chiropractic Affluence because they never form the Character of Courage. They boldly push forward in some areas and push back in others. Because this kind of courage is situational, the consequence is mediocrity. Being a Chiropractic Entrepreneur is risky business and is not for the faint of heart. Risk taking is part of the terrain.

As you boldly face practice challenges, align your INTENTION with the things you are attentive to and the actions you take will work. You have two intentional choices, you can problem solve or create.

Problem solving is taking action to have something go away.

Creating is taking action to have something come into being.

Strive for healthy behavior in all your relationships: the one you have with your self, with others and with your business. Take the time you need to tackle the deeper, inner work. Embrace this process and learn to embody the following principles.

The Principle of Transformation

The process of transforming your practice into a business will also transform you personally.  Professional development leads to personal development as a by product of internalizing the essential principles. You will be transformed though your successes and your failures, your victories and your defeats.

The Principle of Excellence

When you begin to really work on the Business of Chiropractic, your awareness levels are sensitized to both your strengths and weaknesses as a leader. You will be confronted by your willingness to reach beyond your comfort and complacency.  And with the appropriate actions you will develop the ability to lead yourself, lead others and lead your business. This skill set will serve you the rest of your life.

“Excellence is the result of caring more than others think wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible.” 


What does it mean to be in “flow”? 

The concept of the “Flow Channel” was developed by a Czech researcher, Mihaly Csikszentmihaly. It’s a simple visual of a graph with the X-axis representing your skill level and the Y-axis representing the challenges you face. I will illustrate this concept with the following example.

I am a novice tennis player. If I were to take on Serena Williams in a tennis match I would be over challenged. Serena Williams would be under challenged. The match would be very unfulfilling for the both of us. She would tend to become complacent and bored. I would become frustrated and apathetic. Neither of us would be operating in our respective flow channel.

"Flow" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

In terms of your practice, to understand your flow channel you must appreciate your current skill level. Whether your skill level allows for 30 patient visits per week or 30 patient visits per hour, you must come to realize exactly where your skill level is.  In order to grow and gain new challenges you have to elevate your skill set. This can be accomplished by learning more, reading more, training more, being coached more, etc.

A tree wants to grow to be as big as it can. It doesn’t place any artificial limitations on itself. It simply grows as much as it’s environment allows. You can be the same way. Your skills must be parallel with your challenge. If you want to increase the number of patients you see, you have to grow your skills.

Dr. SeaDr. Douglas Sea, CTO SIDECAR

One day I walked out into the reception room and saw my patient Nicole with one of her foster children, an old man in a 12 year old body. His body was hung loosely like a robe over the back of a chair. I went over to him and as I did he lifted his head but could not look me in the eye or stand completely upright. He reached out, grabbed my tie and said, “Hi my name is Aaron.”

I was blown away. At that moment I felt as if my only purpose in life was to help this boy. I asked Nicole for permission to examine him and because she trusted me; she agreed. His story was disturbing. You can’t imagine what I found during my case history and chiropractic exam. You see, Aaron had spent the past two years locked in a dark, damp closet. It was the way his birth parents chose to teach him a lesson. He could not carry on a conversation and had severe learning challenges.

His back was rigid and riddled with misalignments. He had adapted to this physical and emotional drama by assuming a standing fetal position. As chiropractors we are probably the only health care providers who truly understand that this was innate’s way of protecting him from the physical and emotional pain of abandonment. Nicole told me that her previous chiropractor had said it would be a waste of money to treat Aaron because he had no real symptoms.

Holding my rage inside I said, “I understand,” but I lied. I asked her if she would like to hear my opinion.  I told her what you would have told her, “Aaron may not have the typical symptoms, but he has signs and plenty of indicators of what we call a subluxation. And there is a chance I might be able to ease his suffering, would you like me to try?”

To Aaron and his foster family the spinal adjustments were more than treatments. I don’t fully understand how, yet his foster parents and I witnessed firsthand his release from an emotional prison. As a matter of fact the adjustments kicked the door wide open. Six months later he was mainstreamed into school. No, he wasn’t the top of his class and yes he still has challenges, but he no longer suffers.

No one profession has all the answers yet what we do as chiropractors matters to our patients. There are hundreds of thousands of people that suffer needlessly and will continue a life of drudgery and hopelessness unless you stand up and shout.

You are Chiropractic. You have it in you to be great!