Twenty years ago I took part in a self-defense training class put on by the NAVY Seals. The course covered a variety of topics with the end goal of becoming highly-proficient in target shooting.

One phrase that the instructors used repeatedly has stuck with me over the years:

“Slow is smooth and smooth is fast”

You’ve got to start slow in order to get fast. It’s true in every aspect of learning. When you first start out learning something new you break it down to the mechanics. You’re not efficient because you don’t know everything there is to know. As you dedicate yourself to training and putting the time in you start to learn and become more proficient in whatever it is you’re doing.

Observing a master perform his or her trade is an amazing thing. Whether it’s a professional athlete, artist, or performer it’s easy to spot when someone has reached a level of mastery. They make it look effortless. What we don’t see is the hours of work behind the scenes that have led to that point of mastery.

If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly at first. In the instant-gratification society we live in today we’ve lost that insight. No one has ever picked something up for the first time and instantly mastered it. Appreciate the hard work that goes into reaching the elite level of mastery.

THINGS WILL BE DIFFICULT AT FIRST. It takes 10,000 hours of intentional work to achieve mastery… How many hours have you put in?

Remember when you start something new – “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.”

Dr. SeaDr. Douglas Sea, CTO, SIDECAR

What makes your office better than the other chiropractic office down the street? Does your business stand out as different from the competition?

Most chiropractors are competent in providing a great adjustment and great patient care, but lack in creating the overall experience the patient has when they come through the door. Think about the haircuts you’ve gotten in your life. Odds are, none of your haircuts have been “special” but the service around the cut is what separates the good haircut experiences from the great ones.

Creating a great chiropractic experience starts with people. You’ve got to have the best people possible in positions that allow their natural abilities to shine and be on display for your patients. You’ve also got to treat your patients as invited guests; not interruptions in your day. Remember that patients aren’t doing you a favor by coming into your office. Patients are the reason you have an office in the first place!

The best compliment I can receive as a doctor is this:

“You’ve got a great team; everyone is always so excited. How do you find these people?”

Seek out team members that are willing to go the extra mile for your patients. Send thank you cards. Always wear a smile. Be first date ready each and every time you walk through that door and focus on serving patients. Remember, a battery cannot give off that which it does not have.

We EARN the right of the patient’s business on the first visit. It’s hard to repair a broken relationship and patients vote with their feet. Get it right the first time.

For goodness sake, just treat people right!

Dr. Nathan UnruhDr. Nathan Unruh, CXO SIDECAR

Instilling the concept of “Playing Hurt vs. Playing Injured” in your company culture is crucial in your ability to lead your team effectively.

How many times have you told yourself or your employees to “Rub some dirt on it!” or “Shake it off!” in the last few months?

What I hope to illustrate in today’s blog is defining the concept of “Playing Hurt vs. Playing Injured” and how you can incorporate this lesson into your company culture.

Playing Hurt

Being hurt is challenging. When you’re feeling under the weather it’s easy to head back to bed and chalk the day up as a loss. However, as the leader of your business you must come to a quick realization. Ultimately, you set the tone for your company and are directly in charge of your company’s culture.

If you have a stuffy nose or don’t feel quite right, you can still go to work. You can go to work and you can perform to the standards you’ve set for yourself and your employees. A majority of the time it comes down to your mindset. You don’t have a choice, you have a responsibility to the people you serve. This is the mindset you need to instill in your company culture.

Playing Injured

Playing Injured is a different story. If you or your employee is in rough shape and has no capability of performing the required work duties; then it’s probably not safe to come in to work. The reality of this situation is that it is rare! Encouraging a healthy lifestyle to your team will help combat the likelihood of this occurring. If an employee is constantly “injured” you may need to step in as a leader and help resolve other situations in that employee’s life.

Teaching Your Team to Play Hurt

If you’re under these people, you’re probably injured!

The Small Business Reality

99.7% of all businesses in the United States are small businesses. Your business falls into this category. A small business is going to struggle to grow if it is consistently missing 25-50% of their workforce. Understand the magnitude of missing one employee when you consistently operate with a team of less than five people.

Set the edges with your employees and lay the guidelines for what you tolerate. You can play hurt; you can’t play injured. At the end of the day it’s not about you; it’s about the team coming together to work towards your business’s vision.

When an employee is out of the office for whatever reason. Have Plan B ready to go. If that doesn’t work try Plan C. Whatever your plan may be, just get the job done. If you need to have PRN staff, a bullpen of candidates available at a moment’s notice: your spouse, kids, uncle, neighbor… Establish a pool of individuals that know what to do and can operate in your business in a bind.

 

Dr. Nathan Unruh Dr. Nathan Unruh, CXO, SIDECAR

In your business, you can choose to be a spectator or a player. Which one are you?

I talk with a lot of doctors and business people who have elaborate plans for their future. They tell me about their great ideas and the things that they want to do. Most of the time, these plans remain just that, plans! At SIDECAR we refer to this stage as “getting ready to get ready”.

The common theme when I talk with these types of people is that they always have something to say about those in their field that are out doing things. They remind me of spectators watching an event take place. These people are riddled with opinions including things like: “Why didn’t he do this?” or “Why didn’t she see that?” They tend to think that they understand the game quite well from there vantage point.

Spectators Everywhere

I tend to find that there are a lot more spectators than there are players on the field these days. The reality of the situation is this: the players, people partaking in the event, are the ones making the difference. These people are training to win and are willing to take a position in front of the spectators, put on their best performance, take any criticism they receive, and build on it.

There are always going to be spectators. Not all spectators are bad, they are a necessity for the game to take place. However, if you find yourself thinking like a player but acting like a spectator, that’s when problems arise.

Spectators vs Players

There’s always going to be more spectators.

Which one are you?

Are you a player or are you a spectator? Are you willing to put your best foot forward and take action even though you may not have all the details worked out? Players are constantly training and improving so when it comes time to hit the field they are ready. Players understand that regardless of how well trained they are, during the performance unforeseeable things can take place and require adaptation. The more the player trains the better he or she will be at handling the unforeseeable circumstances.

The spectator has a pretty cushy job. He gets to sit in a spot way up high where he can see it all, snack on some popcorn, and proclaim his opinion to all those around him.

If you desire to be a player, lose the mindset and work ethic of a spectator.

A coach once told me, “Players make plays, players win games.”

Dr. Nathan UnruhDr. Nathan Unruh, CXO SIDECAR

 

Learn how to prevent and combat burnout in your life.

Burn out is becoming a well-chronicled psychological issue for many in the business world. If you feel you may be experiencing serious chronic burnout, we encourage you to seek professional care. However, if you experience the more common occasional feelings of burnout, let’s examine this together a little more closely.

What is Burnout?

The scientific definition of burnout is “the reduction of a fuel or substance to nothing through use or combustion.” A fire burns out when it has completely run out of fuel. We as humans are no different. From a biological standpoint, our bodies will burnout if not given ample fuel to power us through the day.

In our working lives, it’s important that we combat burnout by consuming the proper fuel. As doctors, we are given the sacred trust of caring for patients. While possessing this sacred trust is an awesome responsibility, if not handled correctly it can quickly become a negative drain. To meet the needs of others we must make sure we take care of our needs first. A battery cannot give off that which it does not have!

How to Combat Burnout 

There are several steps you can take to combat burnout. First, increase your fuel intake. The SIDECAR Rejuvenation System exists to serve this very purpose. It’s important to schedule trips and vacations before you feel you need one. We’ve found that if you’re in the office thinking you need a vacation, it’s too late! Secondly, decrease the negativity. Any negative sources of energy in your life will contribute to the feeling of burnout. The surroundings and energy you expose yourself to outside of work need to be positive. Taking in negative energy is the same as eating empty calories, you won’t end up satisfying your hunger and over the long run it’s going to have severe detrimental effects on your health.

If you are taking in the proper amount of good, healthy fuel it’s going to be impossible for you to experience burnout.

Dr. Nathan UnruhDr. Nathan Unruh, CXO SIDECAR  

Over the years I’ve developed a routine that allows me to be my best every day. 

What is the most important time of your day?

The most important time in my day is the first 30 minutes. Why? The first half hour of my day gives me the opportunity to check my attitude and determine where my perspective is. I sit quietly and reflect in a state of gratitude. I think about everything that I am thankful for. Gratitude is crucial for achieving success.

You can’t be blessed with more if you aren’t grateful for what you currently have.

My Morning Routine

From a tactical standpoint here is a list of what I accomplish in the first 30 minutes of my day:

  1. Read a daily devotional. This is my time to be alone with God. This devotional always helps set my perspective for the day and allows me to start my day off thinking.
  2. Review my SIDECAR Throttle. I go through all my 90 day commitments and track my progress.
  3. Plan out my day and write everything down. From 6 A.M. until I go to bed, I plan every minute and every hour. I write down what I’m going to do each hour of that day, what my tweener time activities are, the people I want to contact, thank you’s I want to write, and activities I want to get done.
  4. Find a quote that I want to think about and write that down.
  5. Write down my goals.

At the end of my day I reflect and review on what went well, what I didn’t get done, and re-write my goals.

Develop Your Routine

I’ve found over the years that I am at my best when I start my day in the following fashion. Zig Ziglar famously said, “We all need a check up from the neck up.” I utilize the first 30 minutes in my day to do exactly that! I’m not writing this blog post to say that you need to adapt my routine. Develop your own routine! Find out what you need to do in the first thirty minutes of your day to allow you to be at your best.

Dr. Nathan Unruh

Dr. Nathan Unruh, CXO SIDECAR

hustle

You can recapture the joy in your business and life by learning the difference between “working” and “hustling”. 

I love basketball. I started playing when I was a child and continued through college. The game has always been a passion of mine. Even though my playing days are over I still hold a tremendous appreciation for the nuances of the game. Extraordinary games of basketball always showcase great coaching, teamwork, and talent. To this day, it’s hard for me to turn away from a collegiate matchup between two historic powerhouses.

One of the things you’ll notice about the big-time games is the amount of hustle that each team displays. Whether it’s sprinting down the court or diving on the floor for loose balls, the amount of hustle displayed is unbelievable. Watching an entire team execute on their goals with high levels of hustle is a beautiful thing.

The Meaning of Hustle

“Hustle” has been a buzzword in the entrepreneurial business world for a while now. What exactly does it mean? What is “hustle”? How does it differ from “work”? The basketball players are all “working” to achieve a common goal, but are they all “hustling”, too?

In basketball, the word “hustle” is most commonly used to describe a play of extraordinary effort. If a player goes the extra mile they are commended for great “hustle”. However, ask any great player about “hustle” and they rarely even acknowledge it. Usually, the response will be along the lines of “I’m just doing my job”. You see, the player doesn’t view the extra effort as extraordinary at all. To the outside world, it appears as an obvious case of exceptional effort; something that can be pointed to and labeled as “hustle”. To the player, it’s merely a by-product of the love of the game.

The Difference Between Work and Hustle

At some point in our lives, all of us have had to “work”. It may have been doing chores as a child, or studying for a class you weren’t particularly interested in during your schooling. You might have not developed and possessed your vision, yet. If you did, the acts of work you were performing may not have been aligned with your vision. Ultimately, your vision dictates the difference between working and hustling. You know when you’re “working”. Whatever it is you are doing isn’t aligned with your vision and odds are it’s taxing you! When you’re “working” you are busy with tasks, but never actually getting anything done. When you’re “hustling” you are executing and able to accomplish things that matter and contribute to your success. You are energized and every time you execute on something it gives you a boost to continue to pursue your vision.

So, are you “working” or are you “hustling”? If all your effort and time is devoted to an ultimate goal and aligned with your vision, then you’re “hustling”. If people are starting to take notice of your extraordinary effort and results, you’re “hustling”. If you’re not focused and are simply completing task after task, you’re “working”.

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” 

– Abraham Lincoln 

Understand the nuances of this concept. The basketball player doesn’t have to think about giving extra effort before he or she jumps into the stands for the ball. In their mind, anyone in that same position would do the exact same thing. You can’t continue to waste your time “working” and just start calling it “hustling”. Everything you do day in and day out has to be aligned with your vision. You’re wasting your life if you don’t.

Stop working. Start hustling.

Dr. Nathan UnruhDr. Nathan Unruh, CXO SIDECAR

From time to time we all get tempted by the slick fix program or seduced by the teachers who claim to have the ‘secret’ to success. It’s not their fault. They are simply scratching that itch we have, the itch to be successful . . . NOW!

We all want the fast track to the next level and that means skipping steps. Skipping ahead to the next level would be like missing those awkward years of junior high school. Imagine if it were possible to skip the pressure of school work and the whole body changing ordeal, dating and fitting in thing.

Deep down you and I both know that it’s not possible to grow to the next level without growing through adversity. My point is this: You can’t just think positive thoughts and expect the world to come to you. You must act more than you think. Even if you could surround yourself with only positive people, and invest hours a day reading inspirational books and listening to audiobooks, it would not change your life.

The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. Keep that in your mind as your brain is attracted to a fluffier promise of success. There is no secret to weight loss. I don’t care how many thin people you look at. If you feed your pie hole with sugar and fat you will attract fat!

If you sit more than you move, you will attract fat! The same is true of success. I don’t care how many positive, shiny, happy people you look at, if all you do is get ready to get ready, you will attract a fatty practice. If you think more than you act you will attract practice fat.

The cure for obesity is to take long walks and keep your mouth shut. The cure for practice obesity is to take huge steps and keep your eyes wide open.

To be a great chiropractor you will need to ACT in spite of uncertainty. The only thing that is certain is that failure to act will result in more of the same. Each letter of the word ACTION contains a memory stick.

A – Attention
C – Commitment, consistency
T – Target, goal
I – Intensity
O – Observable movement, not in your head, others should be able to see the action
N – No excuses

Your SIDECAR Team

Imagine how simple it would be to report your findings if all of your new patients came with a USB port. Then all you would have to do is stick in a flash drive and transfer your findings along with the appropriate studies validating your recommendations. Well that day may come but not fast enough to make a difference in your practice right now. If you want more new patients you must take your good patient communication skills and make them great.

The Problem

The problem with most Report of Findings is that they don’t work. They fail to get results for the patient. Allow me to repeat that statement, They fail to get results for the patient. Most reports do not cultivate trust, deliver meaning or move the patient to follow through. Reports too often leave the patient dazed and confused and a confused mind always says no. This has real consequences for both you and your patients. The patient misses the opportunity to get the care they want and you lose the opportunity to serve!

You probably think (hope) that getting a patient to accept your recommendations is pretty straight forward. You gather the history, do the appropriate exams, formulate a plan and boom they start care. And of course the most famous bromide of them all, “They stay, pay and refer.” Too often reports are heavy on facts and light on human touch. Data-dumping does not get the results the patient needs. A doctor-centered report of findings focuses on what the doctor needs to say. A patient-centered approach focuses on what the patient needs to hear, it “relates” to the patient.

Stop reporting your findings and start “Relating Your Findings” using the following three steps.

  1. Personalize the report
  2. Give the patient your best recommendation
  3. Make the decision process easy
Personalize every report.

Begin your presentation with, “As I understand it, the most important thing for you right now is to be able to_____.” Never use dogmatic platitudes like “You need to come for the rest of your life,” or weak avoidance tactics like “If you’re not better after five adjustments then chiropractic won’t work for you.” Both are cookie cutter one size fits all positions.

Make your best recommendation your only recommendation.

Interpret the examination findings then stand firmly upon your clinical opinion, best available evidence and experience to date. This is your point of view; you are the expert. Is it always right? Of course not, but it is the best you can do with what you know right now. Changing your recommendation during the report when you sense resistance is not patient-centered. It is, in fact, doctor-centered and fear driven behavior. Too often the fear of being criticized, or the need to make everyone happy makes us people pleasers not patient leaders.

Make the decision process easy

You must make the decision process easy. Address the patient’s problem in the context of how it is limiting their life. Make the cause of their symptoms tangible. Instead of saying misalignments are caused by toxins, thoughts and trauma, tell them exactly what you think. As an example you could say, “Spinal misalignments can occur as a result of accumulated stress and injuries. In your case I suspect ____.”        And make the care plan simple. As an example, “In order to get the results we are both looking for you will need a concentrated course of care over the next ____”

The reality is that patient non-compliance is a source of frustration for all health care providers. Yet chiropractors need to be better because our margin for error is a whole lot less. People always pay for services they value and value the services they pay for. And in today’s stingy economy, chiropractic care needs to be affordable and valued. You can take charge of your practice but only if you take responsibility for your role in patient non-compliance.

Your SIDECAR Team

Death is a fact of life. None of us will ever get out of this world unscathed.

What a positive way to start off this blog post! The point I want to elaborate on today is living a regretless life. Now, it’s truly impossible to live a regretless life but, when you break it down into its components, you can see it is possible to live a regret-less life.

Live your life regretting less.

Have you left things undone or words unsaid? Have you done everything you set out to do in life? A concept that gets thrown around a lot is the idea of having a “bucket list”. This is a noble concept. A list of things that you want to see/do/experience before you die. Unfortunately, most people spend more time filling up their bucket list and never taking the time to empty it out. This leads to living a regretful life. You spend time wishing that you would have done this or said that.

If “I wish I would have worked less” is a regret you’re going to have at the end of your life than you aren’t living with the right mentality. As chiropractors, we are called to care and nurture. I want to get to my end worn out, depleted, and complete, knowing that I accomplished everything I could to help change my corner of the world.

Take some time to self-examine. Say you’re sorry where you need to. Forgive others and move on. Tidy up your circles and don’t leave room for regrets.

Now to end where we started… Life is finite and limited. We never know when it’s going to end.

Live to regret less every day.

Dr. SeaDr. Douglas Sea