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March, 2011

Put Focus on Your Patients and Lead Your Practice Forward

By Steven Visentin

When doctors help high numbers of patients consistently for years with excellent results, other doctors want to know their secret.

What is the one factor high-achieving doctors have in common? After three decades of interviewing the best and the brightest, I've found one commonality in this group of ultra-high achievers: focus.

I once grilled a doctor about his huge following, asking, "How do you help so many people?" He paused, then replied, "One at a time."

He explained he worked on each patient at the exclusion of everything and everyone else around him, until he was done. Working this way was essential to his success.

I've watched leaders in our profession practice and have received care from them as well. The level of concentration they bring to their art has always impressed me.

B.J. Palmer, in particular, had this quality. Old films from the 1920s, showing him adjusting patients, reveal a man who was absolutely centered. One gets the feeling that if the entire world fell around him while working, he would have continued serving his patient.

Why Is Focus So Important?

Where is your mind when you adjust? The old-timers called extreme focus "being one with the bone." Isn't this the kind of care you would want to provide and receive?

Patients need focused care. They often come to you after experiencing little success with other doctors; they deserve your absolute attention. If you can put everything aside and lend your full attention to them, this may allow them to heal. This amount of caring can be profound and restorative in and of itself.

In remembering the best adjustments I've received, the intense focus, the level of concern, and the precise delivery was life-changing. Our patients will recall the same about us. A few moments of laser beam focus can create a memorable event in patients' lives.

When patients are cared for this way, they will repeat their story and chiropractic will keep growing. Isn't this what you want for your practice and profession?

Let Your Life's Work Become a Work of Art

Something magical happens when we are totally involved in our work. It's often been described as "being in the flow" and is one of the aims of the truly successful. Extraordinary people lose themselves in their work. Like great artists, they are in a meditative trance while working, yet they are fully present.

The greats in every field love to experience this state; in a chaotic world, they enjoy moments of absolute clarity through focus.

How to Get There

Often, growth in practice is counterintuitive. A close friend urged me to cut back my hours, saying that if I did, my practice would grow. Although I was convinced he was wrong, I finally reduced my hours. Suddenly, my practice grew. It grew so much that I did it (cut hours) repeatedly. This worked because shorter hours demanded more focus and higher energy. Allowing too much time to get things done decreases the quality of care by letting distractions into the workplace. If you must focus to get the job done, you get organized and do it.

Another counterintuitive way to develop practice focus is through rest. People who don't relax can't muster the intense focus necessary to build a great practice.

These same doctors will protest about the high cost of having someone help them around the house and do it all themselves. By not resting adequately, they lose their clinical edge and it costs them - and their patients, dearly. Intense focus demands a recovery period to recharge and perform at higher levels.

B.J. Palmer often napped in the afternoon. During the remainder of the day, he ran a college, sanitarium, cafeteria, two radio stations and one television station, wrote many books, and developed our great profession. Rest allowed him to be this productive.

Are you well-rested? Discipline yourself to nap, meditate, take breaks and play. Regenerate with regular vacations, seeing friends, and having fun.

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