TCM: You = Practice
Sometimes the best advice isn't something technical, or strategic; sometimes the best advice changes the way you think.
I once met Dicky Eklund - boxing trainer to Micky Ward and who's life was portrayed by Christian Bale alongside Mark Whalberg in the biopic The Fighter. He was in the boxing gym when I was going through my workout. He came over to me and watched as I punched the heavy bag. "Relax," he said. "Relax when you punch." I nodded.
I also got to go to a seminar with Tom DeBlass - one of the most decorated grappling competitors to come out of New Jersey. "So many people when they get their guard passed, and they are getting smashed, give up," he spoke to us attendants. "Don't give up! You didn't get submitted! It's not over yet!"
Just before graduation, Colton Oswald, BA, TCMD, R.Ac offered a 2-day practice management seminar. It was chock-full of advice on how to run a practice, different practice models, and what working with other professionals could look like. I don't remember too much from that seminar almost 11 years ago except for the first slide: YOU = PRACTICE.
The best practice management advice that I ever received was that I *AM* my practice.
When my practice is up, I'll feel up! When my practice is down, I'll feel down. To ride the highs and lows of an acupuncture practice would be ludicrous - not to mention very unhealthy due to the continual dumps of stress on my body.
Later on, I feel I discovered the most important lesson from that first slide - the fact that an equation is, well, an equation. Math equations always equal out on both sides no matter how you read them, and being a big fan of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), I figured out that:
If my practice is up, I am up. / Therefore, if I am up, then my practice is up.
If my practice is down, then I am down. / Therefore, if I am down, my practice is down.
I decided, after a couple years of practicing TCM, that anytime my practice took a dip I would own it: it's my fault; I'm not putting in enough energy; I'm not putting in enough creativity; I'm not up. ...and I did this from a healthy place, not from a place where I was self-hating. Instead, I was self-loving, self-motivating, and self-respecting.
I started to picture in my mind's eye what I felt patients would want to see before I walked out to reception to get them, or called them back to make an appointment, or wrote an email. Would they want to see the "just got cut off by three jerks on the way to work, had a fight with a loved one, and Starbucks ran out of my favourite muffin-Kenton"? Or would my patient rather see a "bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, smile-from-the-eyes-like-you're-the-first-patient-of-the-day-even-though-it's-7pm-Kenton"?
You. Are. Your. Practice.
Your. Practice. Is. You.