Monday, May 3, 2010

Building a Successful Wellness Practice, part 1

I have traveled the highways and biways of the Midwest for going on 17 years as a consultant to wellness practices. I have met all kinds of practitioners, some successful at what they do, and some still hoping to be. By virtue of my nature, I'm an observer of people, and in these 17 years I have observed some commonalities of practitioners who are the most successful at what they do. So beginning with this and the next few posts, I will discuss some of those common denominators.

I was inspired to address this topic because as I was listening to the monthly audio CD from Success Magazine (good investment for any business person, by the way), I was struck by one point that was brought out, that difficult economic times often birth some of the most successful business endeavors. In fact, several Fortune 500 companies were birthed during the Great Depression, and are still going strong today. So while the mainstream media and talk at the workplace breakroom may focus on the doom-and-gloom of challenging economic times, the fact is, the movers and shakers actually tend to do BETTER when times are tough for everyone else. I guess it's all a mindset.

Also, along those same lines, and specific to caregivers, economic prognosticator Paul Zane Pilzer's book, The Wellness Revolution, predicts that the next TRILLION dollar industry will be in the field of wellness. SO YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME, but knowing how to cash in on that trend is a different story altogether.

So for my first post on Building a Successful Wellness Practice, I want to focus on the importance of Practicing What You Preach.

I've called on more "wellness" practitioners who I care to count who are not living the very principles they preach to their patients. So let me ask you a question. Would you go to a marriage counselor who has been divorced three times? Would you go to a financial advisor who is currently in bankruptcy? You get my point. Ghandi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." If you are carrying a few extra pounds that you know is related to poor eating habits and lack of exercise, then only you can do something about that. And it's important that you be the picture of health if you are to be the kind of practitioner who inspires and motivates others to get healthier themselves.

Do you prod people to take their supplements but you are not consistent in taking them yourself? Do you try to coach people on eating healthier but you make poor daily choices? Do you attempt to motivate people to exercise but haven't seen a gym in months or years? As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. As a Christian missionary once told a young understudy, "Preach the gospel everywhere you go, and if necessary, use words." In other words, mere talking will have little impact if people cannot see the reality of your message being lived out in your own life.

For the most part with very few exceptions, I have observed that the most successful wellness practitioners are themselves pictures of health. They tend to be fit. They eat right all the time, not just some of the time. They take the time to be well-groomed and care about their appearance. I didn't say that they are necessarily magazine cover material, but they take the time to make the best of what God has given them to work with. In other words, they aren't sloppy-looking. They also have a working knowledge of good lifestyle habits including effective exercise, food choices, and supplement regimes, and practice those principles in their own lives and the lives of their family members. In a nutshell, it's a LIFESTYLE that they themselves practice.

And it shows. You can tell a wellness practitioner who is living the lifestyle just by looking around in the waiting room. You can tell that he or she is passionate about wellness, because the magazines reflect that passion, the waiting room displays reflect it, and sometimes even the staff reflects it.

So in closing this post, one way you might consider getting inspired, equipped, and educated to not only bone up on implementing health and wellness in your clinic, but also in your personal life, is with the First Line Therapy certification course. This is a 4-day course designed to equip you to manage patients with body composition, cardiovascular, and blood sugar issues, which make up probably 80% or more of your patient base. Most practitioners who attend the First Line Therapy course come away newly inspired and energized about the importance of health and wellness in their practices, but also in their personal lives. And it's not just a motivational course, but one that equips doctors to help patients make the necessary changes to be all that they can be, and assists them in the implementation process and business side of a wellness clinic as well. You can find out more about First Line Therapy here: click here

Stay tuned for more common denominators of successful wellness practices in more posts to come.