To those of you who re-opened your clinic doors in April, well done for sticking it out. Like in my own clinic, I’m sure it’s been wonderful to catch up with those familiar patients and have your team together again. It has been a very long waiting game and I know many of you have made exceptional strides with your online presence and with additional revenue streams such as subscription services and virtual consultations while we’ve been locked down. The focus now is to take that motivation back into clinic and build discipline.
Motivation and discipline are all too often grouped together as one and the same thing. Motivation is the key to creating and starting anything, but we must recognise that it is a limited source; it will only take us so far. Think about the motivation it takes to join a gym and get fit, for example. How many of those gym memberships are actually regularly used and stand the test of time? It is paramount that you have a clear vision and goals on both personal and professional levels, as the end vision will be the one that keeps you on track and focused.
This is where discipline comes in and helps us actually create those long-term results. It’s what will provide you with the consistency to continue with those great changes you have already created within your clinic moving forward. Take an Olympic athlete as an example. They arrive at a point –a visionary moment, perhaps – where they decide to pursue the dream of competing in the Olympics. This in turn creates motivation to find the best coach or trainer to work with to push themselves out of the comfort zone of winning against their peers and competing at the next level. Yet, it is the discipline that gets them up in the morning day after day in wind, rain and snow to train while everyone else is asleep, and it is discipline that keeps them coming back after a poor result or difficult training session.
We know that consistency is key in many practical areas of business – marketing algorithms thrive on it, for example, and your patients come back to you as they want the same great care and results time and again. Everywhere you look, consistency is ingrained into success, and now is the time to become really conscious of this. You very rarely hear a great story of success where someone simply turned up and got lucky. Rather, success is enshrined in hard work, focus, dedication and battling through the tough times. Even lottery winners’ stories often have an unhappy ending, if they don’t have the discipline to invest long-term and instead seek instant gratification.
Right now, the most important part is the transition. We have all been eagerly waiting to re-open our doors – we clearly have the motivation to get back to the clinic and start serving our patients again. If, like staff at my clinic, you are now working longer hours to fit all those patients in, it could be easy to forget all the great progress you have made in other areas of the business while you couldn’t treat patients and let those things fall by the wayside. On average a habit takes 14 days to create, so despite your new time constraints, try to maintain those other things you had all that motivation for until they become habits as part of your business focuses.
Keep driving forward with your online presence; why not keep up virtual consultations, for example? Continue to take part in virtual learning even when we return to face-to-face events, as the initial patient surge will pass, and things will settle back to a steadier pace. When this happens, it will be those that have carried through the motivation from re-opening and used discipline to create and continue with the positive habits who will see continued growth and results long-term.
Here are a few key points to help with discipline through this transition process:
1. Become increasingly self-conscious of your own behaviour. What language do you use internally when you describe an intention or task to yourself? Turn “I have to” into “I will do”.
2. Own your mistakes and take immediate action. If you are reading this and something has slipped or you know is starting to, take responsibility for that, even if the problem that needs addressing is to do with a member of staff. It might seem harsh, but you hired them.
3. Schedule uninterrupted time for these tasks you want to turn into habits, because what get scheduled gets done. Back to the Olympic athlete example, if they simply plan to train once a day some of those sessions will inevitably be missed, whereas if the training is properly scheduled in, they are far more likely to show up, train and ultimately, achieve.
4. Keep compounding in mind. Even a simple increase of just 1% time spent per day on whatever it is you want to do will add up.
5. Stick with your habits by feeding them. Habits take time to form and are also easily lost, so they need your attention.
It is great to see that so many clinics and practitioners have survived the pandemic, so let’s embrace the motivation to form habits through discipline and grow. As always, if you have any questions feel free to reach out to me via any of my social media channels or email me directly at email@example.com. Remember to tune in to my monthly webinars with AM, where we build upon the ideas discussed in monthly articles.
Phil Elder is a multiple business owner. His portfolio includes Neos Clinic, an aesthetic clinic in Ipswich, accountancy practice RSZ Accountancy and a finance company. Blogs, videos and other resources on business efficiency, structuring a company, tax savings and more can be found on Phil’s website: philipelder.uk