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Admittedly, we all have goals. Whether you are in the habit of writing goals down, reviewing them frequently or even carrying them in your wallet, blogger James Clear provides an interesting perspective that can easily apply to chiropractors.

Stop focusing on goals – and start focusing on the systems that will enable you to reach those goals. To get to the heart of the matter, Clear asks one very poignant question:

“If you completely ignored your goals and focused only on systems, would you still get results?”

Systems and Progress

From my experience coaching chiropractors, I can absolutely affirm that a focus on systems will produce results. In fact, the vast majority of chiropractors have goals. But only a small minority of chiropractors can boast that they have the solid systems in place that help them consistently progress towards those goals.

Additionally, in my opinion, it’s the PROGRESS that is more important than the actual goal itself. For example, you could set an unrealistic goal that will only serve to frustrate you. Setting a goal to collect $10,000,000 when you haven’t even collected $1,000,000 is pointless and will only result in a feeling of defeat when you don’t hit $10M.

On the other hand, if you are currently producing $300K per year and hit $450k, you still haven’t even scratched the $1M mark. But I would maintain that you should be very happy with your progress.

The Ceiling of Complexity

I will go one step further to encourage you to focus on systems as your primary tool to reach your goals based on the “progression” that many fail to understand.  In other words, at every level of business, there are walls that you will hit and obstacles that you will face that are unique to that level of performance.

For example, when you are in the Survival phase, the primary obstacle you must overcome is to be able to generate enough revenue to keep the doors open and pay yourself. Yet, at the next phase (Sustainability), you’re not so much worried about paying the bills. But you know you haven’t hit your revenue goals and you feel like you are working really hard as it is.

To get to the next level of business success (regardless of where you are at) you must conquer this “ceiling of complexity.” The good news is that it is a “glass ceiling” – it’s not impassable, but it won’t be exceeded with the current toolset you are using.

That’s exactly where systems come in.

What Got You Here…

In that way, the same systems you use to grow your chiropractic practice from 0-$100,000 will begin to break down when you try to go from $100k-$300k. And for that matter, when you attempt to go to $500k, you will need to adopt new systems again. And so on, all the way up the ladder.  This is where the old Einstein quote comes true: “We can’t solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”  Or my paraphrase that I often remind my coaching clients:  “The systems that got you here, won’t get you there.”

This is why James Clear’s advice makes so much sense. Without systems, your goals are essentially wishes with no fuel to make them come true.

What to Do Next

1. Consider the level that you are at in chiropractic right now and where you want to go.

2.  Identify systems that are “clunky” right now. They definitely won’t help you advance.

3.  Now consider the missing tools you need to get to the next level

4.  Focus on building those systems. That is where to work.

Need Help and Clarity? 

I realize that the above suggestions are definitely an over-simplification. Part of the challenge of developing systems that will truly work for you (as opposed to cookie cutter advice) is that you must factor in your unique situation and begin to work from there.

If you are interested in learning strategies to examine and maximize the opportunities within your practice, check out our FREE online workshop, Smarter Chiropractic in 2015 where I will be teaching a framework to do just that. Hope to see you there!