article archive

April 2006

Being the best

by Dr. Ogi Ressel

Being the best is a very difficult topic to write about. It's associated with much emotion, self‑validation, normal every‑day excuses, denial, bristling prejudices, and a plethora of other emotions associated with being a chiropractor. Yet, it's on everyone's mind.

Let me give you an example.

Picture two downhill skiers: Both practice eight hours/day, seven days a week for years just so they can compete in the Olympics. Talk about dedication, commitment and passion!

On the day of the "Big Event," one makes the run down the Giant Slalom course to the finish line in 3 min and 58.4 seconds. The other makes it down in 3 min, and 57.8 seconds ‑‑ to the average earthling, hardly a difference. Or is it? But the inescapable truth of the matter is that the second skier came in First and got the Gold medal and the first skier came in second for the Silver.

"But there was hardly a difference between the two, they're just as good," you say. You're absolutely correct. They're probably both excellent. Amazing! Perhaps the first skier got a bit of a slower start, or took a wider turn, or didn't have his "wheaties" for breakfast that day, or was a bit too nervous, or didn't get adjusted, or lost his focus for a moment. The list of excuses, realizations, and rationalizations can be infinite. But, the fact that stands in the face of all of these excuses is that the skier number one came second. Period. Anyway you slice and dice it, that's the result.

The other side of the coin is that the second skier came in first, got the Gold, and is now proclaimed to the world as the best. No excuses for this one. None are needed!

Like it or not, the second skier is now showered with scholarships, bursaries, gifts. He now represents Nike, is a spokesperson for Head, or Rossignol, etc. He can open his own racing school, model next to a Porsche, be a spokesperson for BMW, etc. Doors are open everywhere.

Two weeks after the event, if you asked anyone who came in second for the Silver, here's what you may hear: "I can't remember" or, "I just can't think of his name" or "Was there a second?"

The brutal reality is that, as a population, we're concerned only about the best. Numero uno. Number one. Those who are second‑best are thrown by the wayside.

Nowhere is this more evident than in health care ‑‑ especially when it concerns children.

Consider this from a different perspective, your view as a parent. Place yourself in the shoes of a parent who has two little munchkins.

When looking for a doctor ‑‑ a chiropractor ‑‑ who would you like to see? What kind of a doctor would you entrust with the health of your children? Or your wife? Or yourself? Or your relatives? Or your neighbors?

Would your chosen doctor be the type you would trust implicitly? Would he be dedicated to his art?

Would she be committed to you and your loved ones? Would you like to see passion in her eyes?

Would he be a really good person? Would he be understanding? Empathetic? Honorable? Honest? (there's a concept!). Would he be able to relate to your munchkins? And how would you feel about him?

Would you expound her virtues to your friends? Would she hold that esteemed place in your heart because she was able to get you out of pain in one‑two visits? No?

Would you consider him or her to be the very best you have ever encountered?

Some cutting questions!

Here's the flip side.

Would you, instead, feel that he or she is only "good enough" for the acute episode, reserving your family's wellness care for the person who's the best and who you trust?

Would you feel uneasy bringing your children to see her? Would you make some lame excuse why this isn't possible (blame it on your wife who isn't a patient or your sudden lack of money)?

Would you feel uncomfortable with his tacky marketing campaign? Or her telemarketing? Or his garish yellow pages ad ‑‑ yes, the one where he and his staff look like they sell used cars when things are slow?

Would you tend to see him or her as a bit of a hustler, someone who's "okay" but not really good enough for your family and friends?

Would you feel comfortable referring others to this doctor?

Some important points to think about.

These are some of the things your patients look for in a doctor ‑‑ or not.

I speak with so many chiropractors on a daily basis who wonder why they're not ...busy ...seeing the children of their patients ...getting their patients to refer ...getting paid! Why patients leave them as soon as their insurance runs out. Why they aren't building their brand new office while the guy or gal down the street IS.

It really is a matter of perception ‑‑ what your patients perceive, i.e.., what they think of you and the service you provide.

Do they see a first‑class doctor, or do they see someone who's second best and doesn't quite measure up? Think about it. Would you entrust your health to a person you consider to be second best?

Would you?

No? There's a shock!

Your patients and community are no different. They want the best, and they'll pay extra to get it.

I realize that these are some unsettling thoughts, but they're real.

Take heart though. There is a solution. You need to become the best. Period. End of story. Will it be easy? Probably not. Will it require effort. Absolutely! Will it be worth it? A resounding YES!

And the effects will last a lifetime!

Being the best...there's no substitute.

(Dr. Ogi Ressel, author, researcher, and an x‑ray and pediatric specialist, teaches The Practice Evolution Program, the "fastest‑growing coaching program on the planet." Visit online at and take the Practice Health Mini‑Checkup. Dr. Ressel may be contacted by e‑mail at or by calling 800‑353‑3082. Interested in receiving his weekly THOTS "on seeing tons of children and families in your practice?" Send him an e‑mail and asked to be added to the list.)