IN THIS EPISODE WE COVER:
The #1 problem that practice owners face
Leveraging your strengths to find gaps in your business
How to know if it’s time to hire a director of operations
How a director of operations supports you and your practice growth
IN THIS EPISODE WE COVER:
The Key To Overcoming The Fear Of Putting Yourself Out There
The Power Of The Subconscious Mind And How It Relates To The Actions We Take And The Actions We Avoid Taking
Overcoming Limiting Beliefs Through A Daily Mindset Practice
Simple Tools To Stay On Track With Your Goals During Difficult Seasons
How To Help Patients/Clients When Your Schedule Is Already Full
IN THIS EPISODE WE COVER:
Overcoming the fear of sales
How to balance sales and your hands-on practice
Shifting your perspective on promoting your hands-on practice
Focusing on who you serve and the solutions they need
Marketing strategies for the overwhelmed practitioner
Finding a sustainable business growth approach when the industry norms are burning you out
Eliminating marketing inconsistency with a sales funnel
IN THIS EPISODE WE COVER:
Overcoming The Fear Of Putting Yourself Out There
The Power Of Taking Action Instead Of Hoping Someone Else Will And The Work That Dr. Lindsey And The Team Are Doing To Foster Diversity & Inclusion For Women Of Color In Chiropractic
How To Protect The Number One Asset In Your Business Through Self-Care & Time Management
How To Thrive As a Wife & Mom In Chiropractic
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Creating Your Own Treatment Protocol With Dr. Cindy Howard
Hello, everyone. I’m excited to bring a new guest to this show today. I have actually sat in her classes a couple of times over the last couple of years, Dr. Cindy Howard.
Meet Dr. Cindy Howard
Dr. Cindy, I’m gonna ask you to just introduce yourself and share a bit about your family, your practice, and, um, you as an instructor as well.
It’s so great to be here and I was thrilled to receive the invitation. So thank you. My background actually goes back 22 years in chiropractic, but even beyond that, with a lot of history in sport, dance, and in the physical fitness field. Then I decided I wanted to go to school to become a chiropractor. I graduated and opened up a private practice in the Southwest suburbs of Chicago and I’ve been there ever since.
I’m afforded some other opportunities to travel around the country lecturing. I teach for post-graduate programs and I also teach at a lot of the state organizations on different topics within the internal medicine and nutrition world, because I hold diplomas in both of those categories.
Work Life Balance
I’ve been very, very fortunate to balance work within office practice as well as out of office, not only teaching, but also consulting and that’s all while handling and raising three kids. So that’s one of the challenges. I have three amazing kids, truly. My daughter is a freshman in college, she’s in the aviation program in North Dakota. So she’s gonna fly me around the country one day, which will be great. And then two boys that are still here at home, one in high school and one who’s graduating eighth grade. You know, that balance of figuring out how to do what I love, which is both parenting and working within our field.
Yeah. Well, and that was why I asked you to be on the show today because many people feel guilty when they take time off. They worry that their patients will be upset if they aren’t in the office. You mentioned to me, the other day, that you take four weeks off every year and I want people to see that you’re not only practicing in your own practice, but also like we said, traveling and teaching as well. So I’m curious to hear from you, knowing that you do take at least four weeks off a year, have you always done that or was there a certain part in your career that you started implementing that?
Yeah, I never did it in the beginning. You know that was part of the problem. You graduate with all of this debt and you’re scared. I opened my practice from scratch with zero income. My mindset truly was always, I can’t afford to take a vacation. That was my mantra, “I cannot afford it”. I’ll tell you what actually flipped the switch from me. It was very interesting. Eighteen and a half years ago my daughter was born premature at twenty-nine and a half weeks and she was in the NICU for a very long time But long story short, you know, I didn’t really know if she would come home in the beginning. Every day was a gift and I literally spent anywhere from 16 to 20 hours in the hospital holding my child and I didn’t go to work. I didn’t pay a bill. I didn’t treat a patient. And the one thing that I learned about that is that the world doesn’t shut down just because you stop going into the office. Not that there aren’t natural consequences for your choices and I definitely had some consequences showing up at all, but my priority wasn’t that at the time. I think that that event for me was really life changing to where I realized that those moments that we take for ourselves, to nurture ourselves, to recoup, to recharge, to spend with family, whatever that is, is just it’s essential.
“…those moments that we take for ourselves, to nurture ourselves, to recoup, to recharge, to spend with family, whatever that is, is just it’s essential.”
I went from this mindset of, “I can’t afford to take a vacation” to “ I can’t afford not to take a vacation.” It isn’t so much about the financial price, because it doesn’t have to be Europe, where you drop twenty-grand and go on vacation. It could literally be visiting a friend and staying at their house for a very long weekend. It could be a staycation. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it’s important for time with the people you care about and even myself. So, I think that was really my shift. And if I would not have had that life changing event, I’m not so sure I would’ve even realized how important it was, you know?
Yeah! That’s one of my beefs about the whole situation though. You and I are both chiropractors. When we’re talking to our patients about wellness and preventative care, preventative health in general, and then we’re not giving ourselves time to rest. We’re not really practicing what we’re preaching to our people. And if you wait until there’s a crisis, it’s just the same as when your patients come in to get adjusted because they can’t stand up straight. It takes a lot of effort and a lot of energy from their care provider and also them as the patient, who’s doing the healing to get better and to really heal.
“When we’re talking to our patients about wellness and preventative care, preventative health in general, and then we’re not giving ourselves time to rest. We’re not really practicing what we’re preaching to our people.”
And you know what, I think women are probably even more guilty of this, right? We take care of everybody else first and we’re last on the list. You know, children/spouses come first and we don’t really look at what we need in order to be the best us we can be. I think that’s the dichotomy of, of where we get stuck. It’s this, I wanna be present in my practice on whatever level that is to my max capability, but I can’t do that if I’m tired or burned out or, or worn out. Exhausted. None of those things help me take better care of those that trust me to help them get to that same place. So we really have to take a step back, I think, to realize that if I’m gonna bring my a game, that actually means sometimes I’m putting myself first. I don’t look at that as a selfish act. I look at it as an important act for my self care, just as I would ask my patients to participate in as well.
Yeah, absolutely! It’s just being congruent with what we’re prescribing for everyone else and doing that in our own lives.
It’s just being congruent with what we’re prescribing for everyone else and doing that in our own lives.
What Does Work/Life Balance Look Like?
So talk to me a bit about what your schedule looks like in regard to how you set your office hours so you’re able to take time off, make sure that you’re present with your kids, but also to be able to be present in your office with your patients and then be away when you’re away teaching.
There are a lot of components to go into that. After I had my first daughter I actually made a very conscious decision that I didn’t want somebody else to raise my daughter five, six days a week. Now, I was also fortunate at the time I was married to another chiropractor. So we wound up actually splitting hours. You know, he did Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I did Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, which was beautiful because one of us was always home taking care of the kids. So we were very fortunate in that regard. Fast forward and we’re now divorced and now I’m in solo practice. But I didn’t change my hours that drastically in terms of that practice. I figured out how to be more efficient within the hours that I was there. It wasn’t about 40, 60, 78 hours a week in the practice and wondering what my kids were up to with a sitter or at home. It was really, how do I maximize my time so that financially I can afford to be away and emotionally I can afford to separate when I’m not there and then really truly be present. So my office schedule has actually gotten a little bit busier, by choice. I’ve always seen patients Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays routinely because of what’s transpired in the world. I see patients through telehealth from all over the world. So I actually dedicate one day a week now just to telehealth. So that’s how I schedule the office hours and my speaking is typically on the weekends and my consulting is done whenever I have time. Some morning, some evenings, some weekends. It’s based on availability, but what’s great is I try to balance time that I really need to be present for other people while my kids are in school. I don’t have to be concerned, so to speak or pay attention to them. And then when they’re home, I definitely schedule time where I don’t allow other appointments or other commitments to creep in, so that I’m present for them too. It’s not just that they’re in the house and mommy’s on a call all day long, but it’s really good quality time whether it’s sitting down for a meal or how was your day or, what are our plans for the weekends. It’s about giving them that quality so that it isn’t about quantity. I have very dedicated time to my kids as well and then they’re actually okay, when I’m on a consulting call or at the office. It’s very challenging. There’s no doubt about it, but I think it’s about being present in the moments that you choose to be present in versus kind of walking through those moments halfway there, just to get to the next appointment or the next patient or the next sporting event for the kids.
It’s also about having boundaries. So that when you are with your kids, you’re with your kids, you’re not maybe checking your cell phone, answering emails, and that is a discipline. It’s sort of also an art. You have to practice the skillset of setting those boundaries. There are not a lot of great examples for us in the world right now of those kinds of boundaries, because most people are attached to their cell phone and looking at it all the time. Well, I don’t know about you, but I go to family events and hopefully none of my family is listening to this podcast, but uh, I’m like put down your cell phones we’re here with you. We live at least an hour away in multiple directions and then we get together and everyone’s on their phones and they don’t really realize that’s what’s happening. It’s almost like setting an appointment to be present. Right. You know and I know that we tend to eat out a lot, but even if we sit down at the dinner table at home there are no phones. At the end of the day, the only people that are really that important that I need to be able to reach out to in case something happens are my kids. So if I’m already with them, then the phone can go away, it can be turned off. I know that you know, I am old enough that we grew up without phones. You know, somehow we went to school and our parents couldn’t reach us all day. If we were at a friend’s house they had no idea what was going on and we all survived. I think consciously setting an appointment to get away from electronics may help some people too. There’s the time I check emails and here’s the time that the emails can absolutely wait until tomorrow.
“I think consciously setting an appointment to get away from electronics may help some people too. There’s the time I check emails and here’s the time that the emails can absolutely wait until tomorrow.”
Yeah. Yeah. We have a no cell phone rule in our family that when we’re at the dinner table, whether it’s at home or in a restaurant, if we’re at dinner, the cell phones have to be put away. There are very, very few exceptions to that rule and my kids are actually usually the ones that are like, um, hello, dad, or mom put your cell phone away, we’re at dinner at a table. I’m like, thank you.
Isn’t that interesting? It’s almost like the kids, they need that attention from us. They want that attention and when they don’t get it they don’t have as much of a filter as we do to call us out on that which is great.
Do you really have more time when your kids are older?
Your kids are a bit older than the majority of our listeners to this podcast. I think that there’s this notion that, well, when my kids go to school, then I’ll have plenty of time or when my kids aren’t little I’ll have all this time. What are your thoughts about that?
No, not true! You’ve probably heard the saying “little kids, little problems; big kids, bigger problems.” I like the word challenges a little bit better, but you know, I think it’s just different. I make this joke that when my kids were little, I of course had to be there. They needed help getting dressed. I needed to make them lunches. Now that I have teenage kids and they can actually do everything on their own I realize that’s when they get into trouble. So now I have to be present because otherwise then the parties start.. I don’t probably have to go into any details for anybody who does have teenage kids, but there are so many challenges socially when they get into that stage that really, you know, we may not be playing with blocks on the floor anymore or doing puzzles together, but I need to be in the house and I need to hear what’s going on. I need to be available to check on them and jump in. So I think time doesn’t really shift that way. It’s just different, you know? It’s still about prioritizing when you can get the things done that you need. And really, again, that’s efficiency, right? I can fill 24 hours of a day and not sleep and still not have enough time. My to-do list has to-do lists. My to-do list always is gonna have to-do lists, but it’s really about figuring out what the things are that are essential to accomplish today in balance, and then allowing everything else to be okay.
Creating your own treatment protocol
Do you have specific routines that you’ve implemented that help you to feel clear about what it is that you need to do right now when your to-do list is so long?
Yeah. You know, I think it’s interesting. I actually schedule blocks of time. So I’m not the most perfect routine person. I joke with some friends that you know exactly what they’re doing at the exact moment of the day. I do this at eight and this at nine, and this is 10. I’m not quite that regimented. That makes me a smidge uncomfortable. But, what I do like to do for the week is actually schedule those things thatI know I wanna accomplish. For example, I’m finishing up a book. I schedule blocks of time, 2, 3, 4 hours in my calendar where I won’t take an appointment. I won’t see a patient so I know that’s completely dedicated and the phone even goes away because I’m not gonna answer the phone in the middle of that chunk either.I’m really big on setting my own appointments. Same thing with exercise, I will literally write my calendar. I’m gonna workout at 8:00 AM today or I’m gonna workout with my son in the basement at nine o’clock tonight so that nothing else gets in the way of that schedule. So for me, I think that’s been the most successful versus having the two do-lists that just sit there and now it’s Sunday and I went shoot, you know, didn’t get those things done.
Going back to talk about having bigger kids and bigger challenges. I like to make this point very clear for people, because if you are in this phase of life where your kids are little, and you’re thinking like this is all gonna get easier, I’ll figure this all out later. I think it’s actually an avoidance strategy. When people say, when my kids are older, then I’ll make better systems and procedures in my practice because I’ll have more time. So I don’t say that to scare anyone, but to also help you see that you might just be delaying what you’re gonna have to do at some point. And why not just go ahead and do it now.
Correct. And taking action now builds better habits. So by establishing that early on you’ll then do whatever that routine is, that’s comfortable for you. So it becomes second nature instead of always the, I want, I wish I hope and then it doesn’t happen. Or even if it does, then there’s those of us that look back and go, why didn’t we do this 10 years ago? This actually, isn’t that complicated. I think it’s the commitment to do it. That’s scary. There’s a lot of fear, especially for women out there of that failure because you know, we wanna do it all. We wanna be excellent moms. We wanna be excellent practitioners. We wanna Excel. We wanna be financially successful. And what if we screw it up …what if, we do something and it goes horribly wrong. I actually sort of love the failures because I always joke that if you read some of the books from some of the most successful people out there in any category whether it’s finance, business or healthcare, most of them failed on some level pretty dramatically. They learned these amazing lessons to turn it around and that’s why they’re writing the books. They get to teach all of those people that it’s okay to fail. I would challenge everybody to pick something, do something, take that vacation, set a schedule and if you screwed it up, okay. Then use that as an opportunity to evaluate why it didn’t work and then you’ll know what doesn’t work and you try something different until you get it right. No system is perfect, but it’s those challenges that allow me to tweak it, to make it even better and find the confidence in that and slowing down long enough to actually acknowledge and learn from the mistakes. To really implement those lessons. To integrate them so that you can do things differently.
No system is perfect, but it’s those challenges that allow me to tweak it, to make it even better and find the confidence in that and slowing down long enough to actually acknowledge and learn from the mistakes. To really implement those lessons. To integrate them so that you can do things differently.
That’s also challenging for a lot of people because our culture is moving at such a fast pace all the time. And you know, last year, a year ago at this time, everyone was talking about how they were enjoying and embracing the slowdown. And now here we are a year later and I don’t think we learned any lessons. It feels like everyone is just back to being busy.
Yeah. I always appreciate the slowdown, but I also love the chaos. I actually thrive on the chaos and I love the busy, but I know for me it cycles. So, a great example, I’ll go away for a weekend and I’ll definitely overcommit myself and speak a bunch of times and have this meeting and that meeting. But then I’ll tack on an extra day at the end where I’ll go sit by the water and do nothing. I’ll go read a book or just sit in a hotel room by myself for an extra half a day or a day to decompress. I actually love both and I do thrive on both. But there is a burnout point that I think you get to, if you don’t appreciate the quiet and the stillness. That quiet and stillness could be moments for people but it could be days for others. I think we’re all wired a little bit differently, but I do agree with you. I think there was so much to learn from the shutdown that some of us got and some of us probably just complained about and went right back to the routine that we have without learning the lesson.
“But there is a burnout point that I think you get to, if you don’t appreciate the quiet and the stillness.”
Yeah, for sure. On the notes of cycles, um, this is getting into Kate Northrop’s work. She writes a lot about cycles and seasons and it also correlates to what you teach in continuing education in regard to physiology and normal human physiology. It’s normal for us to have those cycles. It’s normal for us to just look at nature. Like there’s a winter, there’s a spring, there’s a summer and, and there’s a fall. And yet many of us try to be a summer all the time. We forget that we actually are humans and we have cycles too. As females, we have an even more intricate and delicate cycle to consider and potentially embrace in our work lives. I think listening to that is important and learning about the cycles. I mean really intuitively listening to our bodies and our mental health to understand where it’s okay to maybe operate in the busy and the chaos and where we really need to learn to say, no. I’m not sure that we’re really good at that, as mom’s especially. We’re only good at the word “No” when the kids are climbing on the stove. But, I think that the word “no” is really important from a commitment standpoint and we need to practice that. It’s that internal ear that we need to turn on to say, “no, you know, it’s time to turn down that opportunity or change the path a little bit.”
“It’s normal for us to have those cycles. It’s normal for us to just look at nature. Like there’s a winter, there’s a spring, there’s a summer and, and there’s a fall. And yet many of us try to be a summer all the time.”
How I self-diagnosed the Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
I wanted to ask more about the book that you’re writing. Are you open to talking about that? So what is the book about?
Yes! This August 27th will be seven years of my last treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. During that six months of treatment I kept a really detailed journal of my experience. I’m gonna anger a lot of people when I say this out loud, but I actually made it fun. It was really fascinating to me because I self-diagnosed. So it’s my story of how I actually self-diagnosed the Hodgkin’s lymphoma and how to this day, I will tell you I never had cancer. I experienced cancer and how I walked through that journey. It was a speed bump and I tried to find as many gifts in it as I could. Now, as much as I’ll tell you, I made it fun, yes, there were miserable moments and pity parties and all that stuff that goes along with that scary diagnosis. But when I got done, I found a couple of purposes for the book. One was that I really wanna show people that just because you get diagnosed with a scary word, doesn’t really mean it has to be scary. We really can walk through some of these things with a much better attitude instead of that sort of like, we feel sorry for you and we hope you make it attitude that I think goes along with a lot of serious diseases. So I wanted to share that, with full transparency, my bigger goal outside of our lovely world and I do really, really enjoy our profession, but I really would love to be on a stage. I always joke that I wanna be the funny Tony Robbins of healthcare, and I really don’t wanna be Tony Robbins, I still wanna be Cindy Howard, but I wanna stand up on a stage where there’s 50,000 people and share my story and really inspire and motivate, but also share about natural healthcare and the fact that there are alternatives out there in different ways.
We can walk through different health challenges and it doesn’t have to be just the way one doctor says to do it. You really do have a choice in your body and your health. So, the book is really my journey through that.There’s a lot of funny and a little bit of healthcare and hopefully a lot of inspiration. If this book touches one person in a way that just helps ’em walk through cancer or diabetes or whatever, in a way that is a little bit better, then it was worth publishing the story. So I’m in the final stages. I actually have a ghostwriter who is helping me clean it up, because I am not a writer. I love to tell the story and love to speak, but he’s just helping me clean up the book a little bit so that it’s publishable versus, you know, journal entry level. then I just wanna bring it to the masses and let people enjoy it.
Was there something that happened that sparked the idea for, or the book? Was it something you had been thinking about doing for a while?
Yeah, I’ve always wanted to write a book. You know, it was one of those, I hate to say bucket list because I don’t really live that way, but you know, there’s a couple things you just hope to accomplish. I wrote a children’s book years ago about how eating carrots is really cool. It’s really weird, I can’t find it, I don’t know what I did with it. I never published it. It was one of those things that I just thought, “oh, that would be great to check the item off the list”. I wrote a book. I just sort of felt compelled to share my story. A lot of people contributed to this book in a way of different messages and different insights and ways to look at things that I just think can be so valuable. So it’s part of that inner teacher in me that would love to run around the country and teach. I also think I could teach through the written word of the book and probably get to more people than I do currently through programs.
Connect With Dr. Cindy
Well, Dr. Cindy, thank you so much for everything that you have shared. This is a really valuable, inspiring conversation. So if people that are listening to this episode want to learn more about you and what you do, where’s the best place for them to go?
My business website is just innovativehwc.com but I’m happy to give out my personal information. My personal email is Dr.CindyHoward@msn.com my cell phone is fine. (708) 646-6561. If anybody out there has any questions or I can help them with anything the best way is to text me. You’ll get the fastest answer from me that way. I can’t stand email. I will answer eventually, but it’ll take me longer, but really just reach out because my end goal is to help whoever I can and teach about what we do and how to improve our lives.Read More
Have you ever wanted to teach other practitioners what you do? Have you ever dreamed of sharing your work with other doctors so they can learn how to help their patients the same way? These might seem like big–REALLY BIG–goals. But I want you to know that if you can dream it, you can do it. It all starts with having the dream! In this episode, you’ll hear from Dr. Jennifer Mercier, the creator of Mercier Therapy. Jennifer took her experience as a midwife and research and combined it with her personal experience with bodywork, after she had had a life-changing experience…. Working on herself! Eventually, Jennifer started teaching her bodywork methods to other practitioners all over the world and now she’s sharing the story of how she did it with you.Read More
The risk of burnout is very high for those of us who work in helping professions. The risk is even higher if you work in a healthcare setting. Most of the research available in Pubmed is limited to people who work in medicine as the subjects of the studies. But we know through lived experience that burnout can effect, educators, parents, and more. So basically, it’s up to US to find ways to recover from burnout. Better yet, let’s pass on what we learn to others so that they can hopefully build more sustainable lives and practices and PREVENT burnout. In this episode, Leslie Cornwell returns to the show to discuss what people like you and I can do to prevent burnout.Read More