From CAs to office staff to fellow DCs, mentoring and finding a peer mentor has wide-ranging benefits to the profession
The best mentoring relationships have a great balance of give and take, where both sides are offering ideas and insights that energize the relationship. Finding your purpose as a health care provider allows you to help others and the profession.
Why do they say that you only learn from your mistakes? Why not learn from the mistakes of others? A guiding hand that is transparent enough to share not just what made them successful, but what mistakes awakened them to the reality of being a business owner and not just a doctor, is one way a peer mentor is beneficial.
Getting out of your own circle
An effective peer mentor strives to help people discover what they can be, and then holds them accountable to become that person. Newly-graduated and even established doctors will continue to come face to face with life-changing decisions.
Coming right out of the academic world of college and forced to establish a means of student loan payback, let alone starting a practice and possibly supporting a family, would rattle anybody’s thought process. Even the established doctor may experience moments of doubt and even the fear of possible failure from their choices. Life dictates change like new office hours, moving to a new location, adding new services, an increase in fees, and even bringing in a new doctor. When one focuses so much on their individual actions and decisions they may unintentionally become unapproachable to a guiding interactive relationship.
Living only in our own little circle, it is easy to turn a deaf ear to those closest to us, the people who know our strengths and our weaknesses. They can see the possible dangers awaiting us — we can become blinded.
Among our loneliest moments is the time of decision and the need for guidance. The weight of our future life clamps down upon our hearts. Then quickly second thoughts materialize — and third and fourth. Did I do the good and wise thing? Is it even what I wanted? Can I live with the consequences? Will others think of me as a fool? Who will stand with me if it becomes clear that I made the wrong choice?
While we are young, desire and impulse and personal associations may carry us through choices that would paralyze us in 10 years. In the bloom of youth, we just do what we must do or whatever turns us on. How simple it seems! Often, we are not even conscious of having chosen anything.
Informal peer mentoring
Mentoring is not a one-way street. The best mentoring relationships have a great balance of give and take, where both people are offering ideas and insights that energize the relationship.
Peer mentoring can also take on different forms, both short-term and long-term. Sometimes a simple lunch conversation can be all you need to get some key ideas that launch you in the right direction. It doesn’t always have to be a formal mentoring structure and relationship. In fact, sometimes your mentors can be long-distance. A valued friend or relative is only a phone call away. If you can get ideas, encouragement and insight from the individual, they will have an influence on your life. Of course, you also need mentors in your everyday life who are close enough to direct you in areas of which you are not aware.
Engagement in thought and impulse
Hearing and seeking guidance is almost a universal human preoccupation. We see the need for accurate information because there is wisdom in counsel. We truly live at the mercy of our ideas. Those who operate on the wrong information aren’t likely to see their dreams come true. There are no tricks, mechanical formulas or gimmickry for making sure we are always right.
Obtaining guidance is but one facet many have used for success, but just doing what you are told to do is not the objective. Interacting in a partnership of acquired knowledge is priceless.
But confidence cannot totally be based on genuine understanding. When you can personally be engaged with a mentor in thought and impulse, the rhythm of your own heart will be at peace. As Rudolf Steiner said, “One can ascend to a higher development only by bringing rhythm and repetition into one’s life. Rhythm holds sway in all nature.” That rhythm drives your passion and thus your office.
Develop character, not direction
To find joy at your chosen vocation of doctor of chiropractic is something most people don’t understand. The development of character rather than direction must be the primary purpose that provides peace in the choices you must make.
Preceptorships and practice shadowing are two personal ways to be enriched when serving with a mentor. Understanding through immersion in their practice allows you to absorb their joy in serving. What valuable lessons can be learned as you observe the truth in their clinical art.
The art of individual care is chiropractic’s specialty. Some doctors’ “heart rhythm” for their practice is like a friendship or family tie that professes to teach and lead, rather than merely supply a service. As we strengthen our own confidence and understanding of our purpose as health care providers, we will naturally become a guiding hand to other health care providers, our patients, and hopefully to our profession.
GARY BORING, DC, BCOA, LCP (HON.), FICA, is a board member of the Sweat Foundation, practiced for 42 years at Boring Chiropractic, and is the author of “Driven Towards Excellence 2014.” He is also an extension faculty member at Cleveland Chiropractic College. He can be contacted at email@example.com.