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Course Correction

Posted: Jun 25, 2014  By: Dr. Staci Fogarty

I was sailing along in practice for 4 years. While I was not without struggles, things were really going well - patient numbers and collections were growing, and more people were getting adjusted. I had no vantage point to realize at that time, I was headed in the wrong direction. I knew I was headed somewhere and I knew that it was in a positive direction so it must be my PROPER direction, right?

I did not realize that to ensure an accurate course, it was important to not just be moving forward, but in the right direction toward MY established, pre-conceived destination. Not novel ideas, I know. Even though I understood and applied the concept of goal-setting, attaining objectives and having a vision somehow it didnot fully extend to what I wanted from my practice or for my practice members. My vision was too short-sighted, until the day I saw The Lighthouse and appreciated MY destination

The Lighthouse was a wake-up call. My eyes were opened to the possibility that I hadn't used every piece of information at my disposal to ensure proper course for my business. The moment I realized this fact, several emotions seemed to flood over me at once

  1. Defending the choices I had made up until that moment, not wanting to admit having made mistakes (emotional attachment), and;
  2. A combination of panic, confusion and nausea, knowing I must quickly and accurately make changes to my current course that would turn things in the right direction quickly (fear of change). I am thankful that the culmination of those feelings melded together and turned into determination and decisiveness.

The contradictions I recognized in those initial, gut-wrenching moments:

  1. I claimed to be a chiropractor, yet I didn't value that which is most important: the specific, scientific chiropractic adjustment. I was adding extra "stuff" to my care, hoping practice members would notice more improvement than what my adjustments could impart on their nervous system.
  2. Because I didn't value the adjustment enough, my practice members couldn't either. They relied on insurance contributions for care, because "full price" wasn't worth it. When insurance stopped paying, they came in a lot less - it wasn't worth it until they had pain bad enough that it was affecting their golf game or ability to wear 4" heels.
  3. Not only was my confidence, clarity and certainty lacking, but it was resulting in a disservice to the families I was serving - because they weren't regularly getting their children checked. It was my fault, because I hadn't communicated the vital importance of this for their optimal health and healing.
  4. Quite honestly, it took minutes for all of these realizations to set in. It took days to identify, establish, and engage in the systems, procedures and headspace deficiencies that needed to be addressed. And then it took a few months to claim that confidence, clarity and certainty that I needed to change course, and be a better steward for chiropractic.

    Once I recognized TheLighthouse as my destination, I knew that I would do whatever it took to arrive there. I've been stubborn my whole life, a characteristic that would prove beneficial as I began to course correct.

    Map to lighthouse #1:

    1. My understanding and appreciation for the chiropractic adjustment was realized when I began to dive back into the philosophy and art of this beautiful profession. I had become, or perhaps remained, too mechanistic in my understanding of the power unleashed in the nervous system when delivering the adjustment. Through diligent study of the philosophy, and getting my headspace right, I went through a transformation of understanding the adjustment to be a mechanistic tool (unfortunately, what was taught to me in school) to an emotional state of awe, amazement and appreciation for the gift we've been given as chiropractors. I became confident, and took ownership of the value I could deliver. I used to think the notion of chiropractic "saving lives" was silly. Anytime I heard that phrase, I rolled my eyes a little. Even thinking back to a time where I felt that way brings tears to my eyes. But I'm so grateful to have surrounded myself with so many amazing chiropractors that I now realize the potential of a single adjustment and how it truly can have a profound effect.
    2. I became adamant in transitioning my practice members off of insurance and onto long-term chiropractic plans - where YES, they pay cash. I became unafraid of losing practice members, knowing that I only wanted to keep the ones that valued my services in the first place. If they weren't willing to reach into their pockets to pay for my service, then they weren't my ideal practice members anyway. I became crystal clear on how and when we would make these transitions - and due to my past inadequacy in this area - a great majority of those transitions occurred immediately. I was ruthless in making these changes, as I was confident it was not only the legal thing to do, but also moral and ethical.
    3. I implemented a more structured way of communicating the chiropractic message. Our office trains weekly on proper communication of the same message, from the moment a new practice member phones our office, to how we address concerns or questions from the practice member who has been with the practice for ten years. We have become clear, concise and unified in delivering this message, and it's serving our practice members well. They are getting better and more consistent care than ever before - and they understand why. And because they understand why - they bring in their children. Families are healthier in my community, because I could own my shortcomings, and correct them before it was too late.

    Here's how those changes have put our chiropractic office back on course:

    1. I deliver an adjustment more specifically, with more focus and intent than I ever knew possible. Practice members are getting better results because I am no longer a mechanical technician of a joint manipulation, but purposeful, intent chiropractor delivering an impulse into the nervous system that is incapable of doing anything short of changing their physiology and unleashing a higher level of health than previously experienced. And it makes me laugh inside and a smile come across my face every time I think about making that change not just within my headspace, but on my business cards. I went from a "Chiropractic Physician" to a "Chiropractor." It was a purposeful change that reminds me every day when I look at those cards, where I came from
    2. Our office went from 80% collections from 3rd party payors to 84% cash. And yes, I'm collecting more money - 3x as much in fact - but more importantly, it's from my amazing practice members who actually value what I do. They're happy to pay, knowing that there is an equal exchange of value.
    3. Along with 3x the collections, we're seeing nearly 3x the number of people as well. We have families who come in to get checked regularly, simply because they understand the adjustment allows them to live a healthier life. To me, those statistics mean we're making a bigger impact on our community. It just doesn't get much better than that.

    My purpose in sharing my journey - I want to challenge you. It is simple, yet gut wrenching simultaneously.Accept that right now - you are exactly where you're supposed to be. Wrong directions are only a problem ifyou don't course-correct once you discover your lighthouse is not within your current path. The "wrong direction" is more like taking the scenic route. The culmination of all your past decisions and choices have brought you to this moment, right here, right now. But as you use new resources to evaluate your current position and perhaps re-define your destination - make the course corrections necessary to get there. Use your reality check to guide you. Even if you see your lighthouse far off in the distance, or perhaps it is 180 degrees the opposite direction, be honest with yourself and begin implementing the changes necessary to arrive at yourcreated by design, well thought out, preconceived destination.

    Course-correction can take you places you've only imagined. Let it.

    Dr. Staci Fogarty

    CornerStone Chiropractic:
    A Creating Wellness Center

    1350 20th Ave SW
    Minot, ND 58701

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