doctor personal growth

Craftsmanship for Doctors – Part 2

Craftsmanship for doctors, again?  Yep! It’s an important and often overlooked aspect of being an excellent doctor.

You can read part 1 by clicking HERE.

It’s a vital component of the joy every doctor needs for a fulfilling career.

Craftsman style house designed by Gustav Stickley, known as "The Craftsman"

As I go around the country speaking to groups and promoting my new book Reclaim the Joy of Practice– An Advanced Guide for Advancing Doctors, I love asking credible authorities this question “What do doctors need to get and keep more joy in their practice?” One of the consistent answers I get is that doctors need to put more emphasis on their skill and art (craftsmanship).

The craftsmanship is suffering because doctors are under more pressure and have more responsibilities than ever before. My friend Ed Petty, co-owner of the country’s best practice management consulting firm called Petty, Michel and Associates (PM&A); likes to tell doctors “Give your patients your best and delegate the rest!” That’s great advice, and to give patients the best service, doctors need to continually refine and improve their skills.

Ed Petty from PM&A practice management

For years it was thought that many extraordinary experts like Tiger Woods, Einstein, Beethoven, and even Yoyo Ma were child prodigies, naturally born talented people. But investigators noticed a common thread when looking back at their histories – they spent an extraordinary amount of time practicing their skill. And they continued to refine their skills throughout their life.

So, this constant quest for improvement is one of the tools that will bring a doctor closer to being a craftsman.

Craftsmanship is the basic human impulse to do a job well for its own sake, it involves developing skills and focusing on the work rather than ourselves.  The key words are “developing” and “ourselves”. The “developing” part means repetition and perseverance. The “ourselves” part means that we don’t do it selfishly – we work towards being craftsman because it will benefit our higher purpose. For doctors the higher purpose is to help people with their health. The material rewards will follow.

Zig Ziglar, the world famous motivational speaker loves to repeat “You can get anything you want, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

One of several ways I’ve enjoyed refining my own skills is to seek out and follow true “craftsman like” doctors. I share my observations of those doctors I call “giants” in Chapter 1 of my book Reclaim the Joy of Practice. You can order the eBook securely by clicking HERE.

I taught a class called Craftsmanship for Doctors at a recent PM&A seminar in Boston recently. In the class were doctors of all experience levels. One of the docs had been practicing for nearly 50 years and he said that every doctor needs to continually strive for more skill. After all those years in practice, one might think that he would either know it all or gave up trying. But no, he went on to explain that he feels joy with the mere act of learning for the benefit of his patients. Amazingly good statement that we all need to emulate!

So doctor, are you a craftsman (or craftswoman)? I posted a short Doctor’s Self Test for Craftsmanship on the discussion page of my Facebook fan page. You can access it and evaluate yourself for free at this link.

If you’re not already a fan, just click “like” and the test will be available for you at the link.

And then get to work!

By the way, have you seen my other popular blog sites for the general public?


Categories: craftsmanship, doctor personal growth, Uncategorized


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Business Card Strategies

Business card strategies for doctors are complicated. By business card strategies I mean promotions and marketing.

Marketing is a necessity for any business including doctors. Sure, nothing beats word-of-mouth advertising, but even that is a form of marketing. And there is a method to that too! A decade or two ago it was considered questionable whether or not it was ethical for a doctor to market or advertise their services. Nowadays it’s considered unethical if a doctor does not openly share their abilities.

So yes, doctors should and must market their services, their practices, and themselves.

There was an extremely successful doctor here in Wisconsin, Dr Clarence Gonstead who often bragged that he never spent a dime on advertising.  Upon closer inspection, this doctor had built a state-of-the-art architecturally unique clinic on top of a hill, donated substantially to build a church (containing a plaque with his name), and taught seminars all over the country; excuse me, but that is a lot of advertising/marketing. LOL.

The Gonstaed Clinic in Mount Horeb, WI

And how about doctors who get extremely great results for their patients by rendering extraordinary service, is that advertising? Absolutely!

I work with many doctors. Quite often I notice them searching for the magic bullet, the business card that will miraculously attract patients, the newspaper or yellow page ad that will make their telephone ring, or the social media program that will build a large following. If that describes you, read on!

The best marketing, the kind of marketing that never fails and has the highest return on investment is an improved you, your passion, and your skills. If people like you, what you stand for and what you can do for them, you’ll always have a full practice.

Sure, a marketing strategy should be in place, including a year-long marketing calendar, a staff member delegated to overseeing it, and a budget. But more importantly, a doctor needs to continually work on one’s self. They need to improve their communication abilities, their craftsmanship, their physical fitness, and their knowledge. They need to get ample rest and recreation. And most importantly, they need to get focused on finding and refining their higher purpose.

Dr G O Schmiedel (left) and myself (Dr Tom Potisk), 2 joy-filled doctors.

What do I mean by higher purpose? Quite simply, it’s what you want written about you on your tombstone. LOL! Yep, it’s your legacy.

When you get your life’s mission, your higher purpose clearly defined, then all the other aspects of being a doctor seem to line up, the burdens seem to lessen, and you can really discover joy as a doctor.

My new book, Reclaim the Joy of Practice – An Advanced Guide for Advancing Doctors, contains over 50 ways to get that joy, the joy that patients want their doctor to have, the joy that people can subconsciously sense and want to be around, the joy that makes a doctor’s success complete. You can order my book by clicking HERE.

Hey doctor, do you have that joy? Don’t practice another day without it!

PS  Have you seen my popular blog/web sites?

For the general public:, and

Categories: doctor personal growth, marketing/advertising


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How Doctors Can Prosper by Automating Their Practices

How can doctors prosper by automating their practices?

This was the subject of a recent teleseminar I hosted for a practice management company called PM&A (Petty, Michel and Associates). You can access a recording of my presentation on their website.

Meet Dave Michel ( left) from PM&A

PM&A is the world’s best consulting service for doctors that I subscribed  to for 24 years of my 25 year old practice. They helped me automate my practice. Why did I stick with them so long? Because I always felt that I received more than I paid for. That’s a good lesson for anyone in business, yes even us doctors! LOL.

In my teleseminar presentation I talked about the following topics:

Financial independence

Practice independence

Legacies of friendships with patients, staff, associates and colleagues




So, by automation of a practice, I don’t mean having metal/plastic electrical machines taking care of patients. LOL. No, automation in a practice means having reproducible, repetitive  systems and procedures in place that help a practice run smoothly, efficiently, and calmly.

When a patient called my office, I was always certain that they were being taken care of properly. I had  systems and procedures in place about how to answer the phone, how to schedule their appointment, how to greet the patient at the front desk, what initial paperwork was needed, how to verify their insurance coverage, how to examine the patient, etc.

This level of organization enabled me to focus my attention on what every doctor should focus their attention on – the patient in front of them. If I was a patient that’s what I would want, my doctor’s total attention. And if I got that, perhaps with a warm smile, a gentle touch, expertise/skill, and love, then I would have a feeling I was getting more than I paid for. Sound like something to strive for?

Amazingly, in the doctor realm, the patient can remain sick or even die, yet still, the satisfaction of the customer (or the deceased family) remainsb Because we’ve done our best. Astounding isn’t it?

How does a doctor improve on this automation leading to an improved doctor’s focus/skill, and then to satisfied patients? In 2 ways. First a doctor needs competent guidance with a skilled consultant that can analyze the practice’s strengths and shortcomings, then making changes to facilitate the automation. Secondly, a doctor needs continual training and practice to perfect their skills, thus becoming a craftsman or craftswoman.

That second part, becoming a craftsman, is the “art” of doctoring and unfortunately it is increasingly becoming lost in health care. But it doesn’t have to be for you.

Early in my career, I recognized my lack of skill and expertise. I then began to look for doctors who exhibited tremendous talent and pursued them by calling them and eventually visiting them to observe their craftsmanship in action. I call these type doctors “giants”.

I believe I learned more about the art of being a doctor by watching these giants than I have from all my schooling and formal training. It may surprise you that what I observed and learned was much more than just technical, scientific treatment technique. The more obvious characteristics that I saw enabling  most of these giants to excel were their communication abilities, mannerisms, body language, and overall contentment with what they were doing and why. They all exhibited profound sincerity and confidence in their higher purpose/overall mission, and patients could sense that just being in the doctors presence – it was spiritual and it was beautiful and it’s what I want for all doctors; the greatest benefit going to patients in the form of optimum care.

Dr Tom Potisk examining a patient

The first chapter of my new book Reclaim the Joy of Practice – An Advanced Guide for Advancing Doctors is called Following Giants. In this chapter, I describe several of my encounters with these craftsman, and even reveal my procedure for identifying these exceptional doctors, and then how you can find your own, and then approach them for a visit to their office. You can buy the book by clicking HERE.

So, this automation of a doctors practice is important for the primary reason that it then allows a doctor to focus on real doctoring and pursuit of one’s higher purpose/life mission.

Hey doc, don’t spend another moment practicing without automation, craftsmanship and joy. What can you change that will make that happen?

By the way,  have you seen my other  popular blog/web sites?

For the general public:,

Categories: automation, craftsmanship, doctor personal growth, practicegrowth



Doctors Need to be Craftsmen

Doctors need to be craftsmen, and I mean that in a gender neutral kind of way.

I equate craftsmanship with art. Closely watch any craftsman or artist. See the way they focus, concentrate, and are consumed by the project in front of them. Watch how they carefully and deliberately select their tools and equipment. Watch how they hold them. Notice how their creation takes shape, and makes you wonder “How do they do that?” Notice how, if they’re seasoned, they seem to create amazing things with effortless ease.

Here is a recent comment I received form someone when I asked about craftsmanship in doctors:

“A craftsman, because he is able to see what is actually going on and because he has an actual sense of the exact pressures and pressure vectors this body calls out for, can apply the necessary effort just so.  Sometimes it is gentle, sometimes it is quite forceful – but always with that unlying sense of observation, sensitivity, and iterative correction as needed.  I think chiropractic and other alternative medicine may be working traditionally with a craft model.  I think mainstream medicine works largely with an industry model.  Comparing the two approaches is difficult, because of this difference.  I think much of the misunderstanding between the two have to do with this difference.  A craft model is by its nature based in the individual practitioner’s experience, sensitivity, and “uncanny skill”.  An industry model is by its nature based on broad research which renders broad proceedures that may work statistically.  Mainstream medicine even requires the idea of “blind” and “doubleblind” testing – and I’m not sure you can even apply that kind of test to a craft.  Even though there is an enlarged sense of risk in craftsmanship, there is also a correspondingly more nuanced sense of precision – the craftsman is able to offer something more than industry is able to offer.  But neither does the craftsman begrudge industry it’s particular kind of blind repeatability for certain things – tools for instance.” – David Orth, Marengo IL

That’s what I want in a doctor, craftsmanship and artistry,and is what most of the public is expecting in doctors. Unfortunately, it’s been getting harder to find.

Recently I posted an open question to doctors about satisfaction. Here is one of the many troubling answers I received:

“The gulf between the joy working as an MD and the pain just keeps getting
more extreme. On the ‘joy’ side, we can do more and better for my babies
with heart disease so I see more and more healthy normal children in
follow-up. This is great, great joy especially as I know the things we did
not do well in the past. Even as the joy “of the work content” escalates, the pain of the “work
environment & conditions” also escalates. Nurses and doctors get paid
less, have less to work with (to help people) and the system obstructs
rather than aids us in caring for others. The disparity between the joy of work content and the pain of work
environment [aka the healthcare system] is becoming intolerable.
THAT is why care providers are leaving and new ones are not entering
healthcare.” – J. Deane Waldman, MD MBA
Professor of Pediatrics & Pathology, UNM-HSC
Professor of Decision Science, Anderson Schools

So, what can a doctor do? Plenty!

There still are doctors practicing successfully with great joy. They’re not easy to find in the growing sea of discontent, but they are out there. In fact, I have personally found dozens of them – I call them “giants”. I personally visited these “giants” and observed all the characteristics of the craftsmanship and artistry I describe at the beginning of this article. I’m convinced that any doctor can grow those characteristics.

Dr Clarence Gonstead was a real craftsman/doctor

Here are a few comments from doctors with advice about having joy:

“In a physician, a patient sees someone who will listen without judgment, and will often express concerns and feelings he or she may not disclose to others. But it is the willing physician who stands to benefit the most, for each interaction with a patient is an opportunity to heal, not just the body, but also the soul of his fellow man. Not a single day passes in which I have not experienced the thrill of knowing that either my words–or just my concern–have made a positive difference in the life of a stranger.” – Mark E. Klein, MD Washington, DC

“The single most liberating epiphany of mine was accepting that there were many things I couldn’t fix, no matter how much patients wanted it. I can’t solve psychosocial problems. I can give advice, but I can’t make you do anything you don’t want. Sometimes there are no explanations for your pains. Sometimes your choices are “bad” and “worse” and the option you want isn’t available. I’ll do my best for you, but some of the responsibility falls on you, the patient.” -David A.Rivera, MD, FACOG Lombard, IL

“I’ve reclaimed joy in my medical practice because I practice medicine in a way that is harmonoius with my perspective on life– to ‘do not harm,’ to serve others in a ‘patient-centric’ environment, and to use the more natural approach when possible. During my teen years I underwent two thyroid surgeries and was placed on daily medicine. While doing my residency in Los Angeles , I consulted with a holistic practitioner and was able to discontinue my thyroid medication altogether. The results astounded me, and led me on a path of discovery in the field of holistic healing and homeopathy for myself and my patients. Helping them the way I was helped has brought me joy.” -Lauren Feder, M.D Los Angeles CA

“Joy in practice comes from inspiration. I love people and am driven to help them. With inspiration, all mundane daily tasks and seriouschallenges are transcended because I have a spiritual mission–I am onthis planet to help people overcome their physical (and often associated mental) ailments. Inspiration is the secret to success in all professions. Health care providershealers–have it easy, because most of us have this underlying mission to help people, which ultimately drives us. If you feel uninspired by your work, reconnect with your spiritual mission–joy will soon follow.”- Dr. Nick Campos DC West Hollywood CA

Doctors, don’t spend another minute practicing without joy! It’s available for the taking. The good news is that, if you’ve been struggling, it’s not entirely your fault. No, it’s likely you just have not been taught all that you need to know. The “joy” training is not a part of the regular curriculum. LOL.

That’s why I wrote the book called Reclaim the Joy of Practice – An Advanced Guide for Advancing Doctors. This new 140 page book contains over 50 easy to implement tips to bring you joy in practice. I’ve even included details about my visits to those “giants”  I mentioned earlier. You can buy the book by clicking here.

And you can read Part 2 of this Craftsmanship article by clicking HERE.

Hey doc, what are you waiting for?

By the way, have you seen my other blog/web sites?

For the general public:,

Categories: craftsmanship, doctor personal growth, practicegrowth



Doctors need personal growth

Doctors need personal growth. LOL! Who ever said we were perfect?


Look for giants

Have you ever heard the expression “Fake it till you make it” or, how about “Act as if?” Well, inventing yourself to become a successful doctor and having a strong identity is best done that way beyond the typical book work – that is by copying and pretending. I’m not contradicting my belief that we are all born with a purpose. No, not at all! That’s why you’re a doctor. You felt or sensed a calling to better the lives of others by tending to their health needs; and that’s very honorable. But once you’ve got that figured out, and jumped through all the hoops to get the degrees and licenses to be a doctor, then you need polish. You need to get the details, the tricks-of-the-trade, the ins and outs of a successful career, the ‘what- to- dos and what- not- to- dos’, and this is best done by finding somebody who has already done it – I call them “giants”, watching them, and then copying at least some of what they do.

This is known as inventing one’s self. One of the necessities of having a fulfilling, rewarding, exciting life is to never stop inventing yourself, in fact, be constantly reinventing yourself! The reality of being a doctor, whether you like it or not, is that it is some what of a performance for patients; and they are increasingly demanding fresh material.

Just one of many demands that come with being a doc. LOL.

My book, Recaim the Joy of Practice– An Advanced guide for Advancing Doctors, makes your transformation easier. You can order it by clicking here.

“Even if you’re on the right track, if you don’t keep moving, you’ll get run over.” -Mark Twain

If you’re a veteran doc and find yourself saying here, “I am one of the giants.” You need this chapter; because true giants don’t recognize themselves as such, that’s one of the criteria – humility.

Some will ask, “Isn’t following giants the same as getting a mentor?” The answer is no because mentoring involves finding someone to personally look over and guide us. That may work well in some instances but usually isn’t practical with doctors because, let’s face it, most of us are egomaniacs – we want to make our own decisions. Sure, you probably can figure it all out yourself, find your own way, and perhaps even learn from all the mistakes you’ll make. But gee whiz, why do you want to make it so hard on yourself. Not only that but, the public, the patients you serve, are deserving and expecting you to learn from those before you. I wouldn’t want to go to a doctor and be an experiment, someone to learn on, would you? And this reinforces your responsibility to be a partner in your patient’s health – they deserve and demand that you have as much experience as possible, and learning from giants in your profession is one of the best ways for you to get that experience.

Now, some of you reading this are probably already raising your walls of resistance and muttering ‘Nobody is going to tell me what to do!’ or ‘I already know what my practice will be like, how I’ll talk to patients, treat them, etc.”  Well, congratulations on your confidence, but let me ask you, ‘Don’t you think that maybe you’d pick up a little something useful? Maybe even clarifying for yourself what you don’t want to do?’

So you see, watching, observing, listening, and learning from somebody who has already been successful is an action that can’t fail. Of course, I’m referring only to ethical actions, done for the good of a patient.

We doctors need nuturing! LOL.

Hey doc, take a look around. Who could you learn from?

By the way, have you seen my other blogs – and

Categories: doctor personal growth, practicegrowth


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Doctors and Money

Doctors and money; the two words have become almost synonymous. And that is sad.

Dr Potisk with a patient in Belize

Doctoring is not about money, never was, never will be, and never should be.

This doctor-money issue is a struggle for several reasons. Our society tends to judge success by the amount of money the success produces. And because it costs a lot of money to become a doctor and set up a practice, the assumption is that doctors deserve a lot of money. If a doctor fails to make a lot of money, he/she feels inadequate. If a doctor does make a lot of money, society notices and then the cost of becoming a doctor goes up. It’s a cycle doomed to failure. Some say that day of doom is here. Money has gotten control.

On more than one occasion when my staff and I began to get too focused on making money, my long time business consultant Dave Michel from PM&A Practice management would pipe up sarcastically “Why don’t you just sell illegal drugs? You can make a lot of money that way!” We’d then scratch our heads and kick the ground, quickly coming to our senses. Thanks Dave!

At my office desk, I have posted several of my favorite quotes. One of them reads “Count the opportunity to use your special talents and abilities as the largest part of your reward.” I need to be reminded of that. How about you?

A few days ago I noticed an article in my local paper, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, that was titled Chicago Area Commuter Rail Boss Steps in Front of Train. The article told about a guy who was the executive director of the large Metra train system in Chicago for 20 years and committed suicide by stepping in front of one his own trains. A real tragedy. May God bless and comfort his family (he had a wife and a daughter). The additional stunning part of the article was that his salary was $269,000.00/year. All that money, success, prosperity, fame, and fortune, yet he took his own life.  No he was not a doctor, but there is a lesson here that every doctor can learn from: money does not buy happiness.

Having both had lots of money and no money, I can verify from personal experience that yes, money will not make you happy.

I’ve traveled the world visiting over 20 countries and the happiest people I saw were the ones with little or nothing. Those destitute people were generous too, offering me what they could when I was on voluntary medical mission trips with the Christian Chiropractors Association.

A typical house in Belize

Now I’m not recommending you give up all that you have, or that making money is bad, but I am demanding a perception change. Money itself  is not the problem. The Bible says “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” – 1st Timothy 6:10. It’s the love of money, that’s the problem.

So doc, where is your focus? What rewards are you expecting for the work you do?

I’ve heard several successful people say “The less I try to make money, the more money I make.” What they mean is that they focus on service. Zig Ziglar the great motivational speaker frequently says “You can get whatever you want, if you help enough other people get what they want.” Profound don’t you think? People want good service.

PM&A Practice Management has a wonderful workshop called 3 Goals. The 3rd goal involves focusing and spending more time on pursuit and fulfillment of one’s higher purpose. I teach my signature program called Reclaim the Joy of Practice, at those workshops. The next one is held in Milwaukee 0n June 20, 2010. Come on down! My book of the same title is available for purchase on this website if you care to take yourself further on the path to having a deeper satisfaction for doctoring.

Even Jesus, undoubtedly the world’s greatest healer ever known, said “You cannot serve both God and money.” – Luke 16:13.

Hey doc, who are you serving?

By the way, have you seen my other popular blog sites? and

Categories: doctor personal growth, money, Uncategorized


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Chiropractors who Struggle with Marketing and Management

Doctors, in general are struggling, but not all of them. I know many who are prospering.

I just finished presenting my signature program called Reclaim the Joy of Practice, at a fantastic practice management seminar in Minneapolis put on by the company PM&A (Petty Michel & Associates). Ed Petty and Dave Michel started the chiropractic consulting firm about 25 years ago, and I’m grateful for their help with my practice over the years.

The seminar was top notch, and I would expect nothing less from PM&A. Their integrity and reputation for “all steak but little sizzle” are some of the reasons I was their client for 24 years, and am now working with them. By “little sizzle” I mean there’s no hype and no hidden agendas.

Ed and Dave and now their newest associate consultant Phyllis Fraize, are not chiropractors, but they have as much if not more passion and commitment for the profession than many chiropractors. We are blessed to have them on our side. Thanks gang, I love you for that! Thanks especially for putting up with us bunch of misfits and knuckleheads, some of whom whine way too much.

The whining is at an all time high for some docs, but as I wrote earlier, not for all – and that’s what’s most interesting. Why the contrast? How come some docs are thriving yet some are struggling and even closing up shop? Well, I have some answers.

One of the answers involves identity. The doctors who are thriving, almost universally have a strong chiropractic identity. By identity I mean that they have a concrete solid understanding of what they stand for and what they do. Don’t ever take that for granted. Some of you would benefit from some Chiropractic coaching and counseling on this matter.

And if you try to question them on it like “But what if…?” or “What about ….?” Or “Yeah but have you considered that….?” You’ll find that they’re not offended or annoyed by your skepticism, but they are unshakable. In other words, their faith confidence and belief in what they are doing runs deep. That is definitely a quality to take note of and emulate.

But like most good things, getting and having a strong identity, especially if it runs counter to the norm, or the “worldly way” of doing things, does not come easy or fast. It must be worked at and then maintained. And the chiropractic principle of health, that health is already within, but that it gets hampered by interference in the nervous system by spinal misalignment (subluxation), is definitely a misunderstood concept that runs counter to the “worldly way” of health care.

You can learn more about this health care conflict, and the “worldly way” versus the right, better way to health, in my chiropractic book Whole Health Healing – The Budget Friendly Natural Wellness Bible for All Ages. Getting a thorough understanding of that difference or conflict, and how a doctor must be clear about their role, is a good place to start for doctors who want more  joy and success. Some authorities claim that having and keeping that clear identity, is the key or at least the foundation to it all. In my observations from working in the field of doctoring for 25 years, I agree.

So doctor, if you are wondering why you’re struggling, why it seems that the chiropractic marketing you do and the procedures you follow do not produce the results you want, don’t blame your struggle on the external things around you like the economy or the health care reform changes. No, look inward, deep to your core beliefs, and get that all important identity figured out and secured to a point whereby it’s unshakable. This concept is no different than building a house that can better withstand hurricanes and earthquakes – it needs a great foundation. You do too!

I’ve worked hard on my own identity and benefited significantly as a result. Now I’m reaching out on a grander scale with my newly expanded identity -the “down to earth” doctor. You can take a look at the fun I’m having with that at my other blog site –

This missing link for doctors, strong unshakable identity, is one of several “fixes” I teach in my class. In fact I wrote the book on the subject and it’s called Reclaim the Joy of PracticeAn Advanced Guide For Advancing Doctors. The book contains about 75 “fixes” in addition to that identity issue.

Hey doc, why do you think you’re struggling?

Practice on,

Dr Tom Potisk

PS When you order my book Reclaim the Joy of Practice off of this website , I include some great bonuses! Just click ORDER CHIROPRACTIC BOOK NOW.

Categories: chiropractic marketing, doctor personal growth, identity, marketing/advertising


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Doctor’s Joy: the missing link of practice success

Doctor‘s joy can mean many things, but without joy a doctor’s practice struggles almost mysteriously.

All doctors need joy

A doctor called me just recently with a common request – help! His was the story I’m all too familiar with; one that is repeated frequently throughout the doctoring world.

“I’ve attended most of the popular practice management seminars, read the books, feel confident in my technical skills, and work hard, but why am I not prospering?” he asked with a downward stare.

“How do you define ‘prosper’?“  I replied, going straight for the heart.

“I’ve been practicing for 16 years and still have nothing to show for it. I’m mired in debt, the patients don’t follow my instructions, I have trouble holding staff, and I don’t understand why all the practice production seems like a burden.” His eyes held tears.

“So your definition of success or prospering involves money and control?” I asked, setting my trap.

“Doesn’t everyone’s?

My job in helping was already in play. You see, the person with the problem has to question their former approach, realizing there is another path, and they have to be led to the realization.

“Listen doc, there’s a whole lot more to having success and prosperity than those things you’ve been pursuing. Why did you become a doctor?” I asked, leading him a bit deeper.

“Well, I always felt a calling to help people. And I like science, so I considered several fields and found I wanted to be a doctor” he recalled.

“And how did you feel when you made the decision?”

“Relieved and excited. It seemed like a huge challenge with the cost and time and all and ….”

“But why did you then proceed? You were aware of the challenge in time and money, yet you went forward, why?”

Hesitating nervously, he scratched his head and then said the magic words “I had a passion for it.”

Bingo-bango, he was now all mine. Bringing a doctor back to the original passion is the foundation of the ultimate fix for doctors who are struggling, frustrated, unfulfilled, and questioning their choice of career. For almost every doctor, the beginning had passion to some degree. They had to have it to overcome all the challenge looming ahead like mountains of student loans, years of studies, lost sleep, boring professors, and caffeine withdrawals.

This particular doctor was one of the easier repairs. Most docs show up asking for help with the thick skull that comes with the doctor diploma. The tougher ones get stuck on the myths like believing joy comes from a more expensive car, bigger house, thinner blonder wife, more marble lining their offices, or a staggering bank account. Even Jesus, the greatest healer ever known said that it’s harder for a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to pass thru the eye of a needle.

Being blessed with material possessions is not a crime nor a sin if acquired ethically, and I don’t recommend giving up your monetary prosperity, but realize that neither it nor more of it will bring you joy.

So with this doc, we spent some time working on recalling and building upon that original passion he had for being a doctor. We then worked on injecting that passion into his day to day practice. That’s my specialty in helping doctors; I developed the process and wrote the book on it – Reclaim the Joy of Practice – An Advanced Guide for Advancing Doctors.

Funny thing happens when I help a doctor that way, finding and working with them on that missing link called joy, they prosper more than ever. All the challenges, frustrations, disappointments, and energy draining junk that comes with a practice seem to fade.  They also find connected passions and gain more identity for themselves. They seem to look and act younger. It happened to me, that’s why I’m now known as “The down-to-earth” doctor. Take the time to watch small children and you’ll see what I mean about the joy we should aim for.

Recently, I interviewed a friend who has been consulting with doctors for nearly 30 years, helping them with the nuts and bolts of their practices. I asked him “What is the one thing doctors need to do to have more joy in their practices?”. Listen to what Ed Petty, from PM&A Practice Management had to say in this 2 minute interview below.

Hey doc, I did it – you’re next !

Click here for Ed’s video interview –  Doctor\’s success

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Practice production gaper’s block

Practice production can be influenced by odd behavior.

My friend, Ed Petty, from PM&A practice management, and I were driving down the highway looking forward to a hike up in the San Bernardino mountains of southern California, looking for relief of our aching butts after sitting thru a seminar called CalJam. These kinds of adventures are right up my alley. That’s why I’m known as the down to earth doctor.

Dr Tom Potisk (left) Ed Petty (right)

It was a gorgeous mid morning, the sun was shining, the traffic was moving along well considering we were only ½ an hour out from LA, and the banter between us was jovial.

Suddenly, we see a few brake lights up ahead, then a few more, then a sea of red dots as every car in front of us is braking. Ed, the driver, slows us to a stop with a cuss; “Welcome to LA!” he grumbles.

“Yeah but we were moving along fine, and the weather is good, and…..”

“Welcome to LA” he says again, this time in a drone.

“Yeah but according to the map, there’s nothing up ahead but desert, there shouldn’t be any congestion.” I whine.

“LA,” he repeats, “maybe construction ahead”.

“Yeah but there’s 6 lanes for traffic, surely the traffic on one side or another should be……….”

He gives me a frustrated stare as we sit idling in the sea of cars.

We both sit quietly looking straight ahead. I fidget with the radio.

We move ahead a few feet, then stop. We move a few more feet, then stop.

Ed squeezes in to the next lane because it’s moving a bit faster. Then we stop. Then the lane we were in starts going faster than the new one we’re now in.

“Son of a ………” says Ed.

After a half hour moving at a snail’s pace in the middle of six lanes of traffic, we crest a hill and see what’s the hold-up – nothing, basically nothing. A car is parked on the shoulder with a Sheriff’s squad car behind, red lights flashing like there’s no tomorrow – so what!

Ed pounds the steering wheel with his two fists. I sit back and let out a long sigh.

10 minutes later, we make it past the pseudo obstruction and Ed stomps on the accelerator making the four cylinders whine. Our anticipated 1 hour drive time has now become 2 hours.

A few miles down the road, the story along with our frustration repeats – it’s another gaper’s block! As we sit mired in the seemingly endless lines of cars, our hopes of getting to the mountain trail for our hike fades with the setting sun. This time the slow down is resulting from a car on the shoulder with a flat tire – arrgh!

“I wonder if practice production is affected by a sort of gaper’s block?” I blurt out.

Ed straightens up in his seat, inhales deeply, then pounds the steering wheel with both fists again, but this time it’s because of my insightful pondering. “That’s it, that’s it! Practice production gaper’s block!” he exclaims, “I see it happen to doctors all the time! They slow down or even get stuck just like we are right now simply because of what’s going on around them! It’s an irrational emotion that negatively affects their practice production significantly.”

“You’ve been coaching and consulting docs for 30 years. What kinds of things get doctors slowing down?” I ask.

“Tons of things like the news about the current healthcare system reform, or proposed regulation changes, or because they heard about another DC who got a nasty letter from a disgruntled patient. That kind of stuff gets doctors thinking irrationally, that they ought to slow down and see what’s happening – just in case.”

“Just in case of what?” I tease.

“In case of nothing, usually it’s absolutely nothing!”

“I remember once, after reading one of the newsletters from my malpractice insurance carrier, I was afraid to adjust my patients that day,” I recall.

“Exactly!   And what did you do about that?”

“Well that messed up my head for awhile as I remember, until I came to the realization that chiropractic has the best safety record in healthcare, that DCs have significantly lower malpractice insurance rates because of the lower risk, and that yeah, I need to be cautious, alert, and thorough as a doctor should be, but not irrationally fearful to a point where it affects my production.”

“Very good! Yes, good reasoning is the way out of that block. You chiropractors need to remind and support each other because the gaper’s block happens far too often, and can be a hidden source of struggle in a practice. Also, for prevention, just being aware that yes, some docs get lawsuits, and some docs get slapped by the licensing board, and there will always be a few disgruntled patients and employees, but these occurrences are all quite rare as a percentage of the profession, not significant enough to warrant any kind of slow down in practice production. Make sure you write about this and post it on your website,

Just then, as if God smiled on us, the traffic picked up, the sun seemed to shine brighter, the 4 cylinders whined again, and we were on our way with time to make the hike to the mountain top.

Hey doc, what gaper’s blocks are you in?

Dr Tom Potisk hiking in the San Bernadino Mtns of CA

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