Blog Post: Why You Can Do It: And Why Going to a CANference/POCAfest and/or getting a Treatment at one of the HUGE clinics may be the BEST thing you've ever done for yourself
*disclaimer sometimes my humor can be a bit strange. Take it with a grain of salt*
Sometimes it's just about seeing it in action or hearing a million stories together at CANference.
I really really really thought about it today. What is it about POCA that is so incredible? What is the difference between a clinic that's doing well and a clinic that is struggling?
I think it's about saying ” I CAN!” or maybe just “I maybe CAN.” Or even learning about what is possible.
I keep on saying this again and again. I am not anything special really. I am kind of a big cry baby. I freak out like it's the end of the world over very small things and then is very surprised that I made it another day. I have enough phelgm rolling around in me I am basically like a big pile of pudding. My days off are like. “Wow it's sunny and beautiful outside. I can put on clothes and real shoes to go outside. Or I can just roll about and do nothing but have my brains ooze out of my ears from reading too much books/or internet (I avoid TV that's too addictive for me.).”
So how is it that I can sometimes see 140 patients a week? Or that my clinic does well enough?
I really didn't think my clinic would do okay in Winona. I really didn't know if I'd have what it takes to run a clinic. (I mean my acupuncturists parents agreed at a certain point that I should really go teach at the local acupuncture school because they didn't think I had what it takes to run a clinic. And they were right, I think my MVP volunteer receptionist could tell you tales of what I used to say to patients when I first started (it's like embarrassing baby photos, she ENJOYS telling you these stories) “Um…yes…um..yes I think you should come back….if you can…because you know….sometimes…it takes….some more…if you feel like it).
So what is it? Why is it that sometimes I see more than a hundred patients a week and sometimes other clinics seem to hit a hard plateau at 40?
I was discussing this with another CA acupunk owner. Sometimes people seems to get victimized by their circumstances “Oh I can't see 100 patients a week. I just don't think it's physically possible for me.” “Oh I can't schedule six patients an hour that's just too much.” “Oh Free Days just don't work for me. Neither does talks, or flyers, or postcards.” “Oh I just can't get a volunteer or a receptionist, that's too much and I am doing fine on my own.” “Oh I can't move to a better location, I can't afford to move.”
Well, you know what. I am no disney princess. If you had asked me in July 2007 if I can see 140 patients a week. I would have said no.
If you think all the Free Days/flyers/postcards/talks all bring me lots of patients, you must be dreaming because that's NOT my life. If you think all the volunteers I have are stellar you have not obviously had volunteer receptionist that don't speak English or are mostly deaf, can't be bothered to say “hi” when a person walks in, or can't use a computer.
Like Lisa and Skip have said before at their workshops, there was no option for failure. They HAD to find some way of making a living. It is the same with me and this other acupunk. It's not like we had extra energy to do promos every month. Or just some extra time on our hands that we couldn't fill with some REAL leisure activities but had to spend it making flyers or talking to people about acupuncture since we have “NO LIFE”. We do promos all the time, some with better results than other because we HAVE TO. We see more than six an hour when it's busy because we HAVE to. We just DO it.
How do you get to this point where you'll put yourself on the line and spend tons of energy and time doing stuff that may not bring a lot of results?
You have to see what is POSSIBLE.
**** intermission/flashback/moral tale/feel free to ignore***** (Standard fog/music/glitter used for flashbacks)
During College, I went to an awesome Tae Kwon Do school. It was run by a big family and there were lots of students. It was a great place, but there weren't a lot of women black belts there. Well…most of the time it seemed like there was only me. My parents had forced me to go to Tae Kwon Do in middle school because I was getting quite big doing nothing but reading and watching TV all day and not going outside.
**random bad attempt at humor**
My mom also worked very far away. And I was raised by my grandparents till 6 years old. So suddenly my inexperienced father had to figure out how to feed a child. “Daddy I am huuuugry” Dad (goes to forge for food at supermarket) “Jade check this out! there was a package of 25 to be expired tomorrow hot dogs for sale for $4 let's have this for lunch!” “Yay Daddy can we have it with ketchup and mustard like American people do?!”
A few years in, my mother ask “Father what are you feeding this child. She's getting rather big and it would be hard to marry her off.” “Oh mother do not worry, for breakfast I fed her a box of spagetti, for lunch 15 hot dogs, and for dinner 7 bowls of rice and two quarts of hot and sour soup!”
So over the years, I was lucky enough to join a competition team and learn how to kick really really really HARD (I don't have any other talents in martial arts besides kicking hard…).
So basically I was going to class with a bunch of guys who kicked really really really hard and a bunch of moms that brought their kids and did classes to stay fit. And the moms were all dedicated and good, but none of them kicked really hard, because I guess they've never seen a female kick really hard.
So they had some really nice standing punching bags. “Standing punching bags are filled with water or sand – water being preferably because of the wave-motion created – and weigh about 270lbs. when filled.” And the guys would have fun kicking them over when their turn came up. And none of the women ever kicked it over because it seemed like you had to be a 6'2″+ dude that weighed over 200lbs to kick a 270lb bag over.
Well…I kicked it over….Obviously I was a geeky asian college freshmen who didn't really have much of a “LIFE” beyond Tae Kwon Do and studying. And I thought it would be fun to kick it over.
And suddenly it all changed. I mean I was just a geeky still a kind of chubby college kid. I wasn't thinking of really doing anything. I just wanted to kick the bag over like all the BIG people.
The moms varying in age and height and weight ( from 5' to like 5'6″ from like 100lbs to like 140lb) started kicking the 270lb bag over which I tell you really really impressed on their children that they MUST listen to their mothers.
***fog and effects and music to flashback to reality***
So that's how you expand your realm of possibility. You go see people that do it. You go get a treatment at WCA or Manchester or PCA or BAP or Circle or Tuscon or etc.etc.etc. You go to a CANference/POCAfest whatever we call it.
And suddenly your I can't change to “well maybe I can.”
Because REALLY we just normal people, and we also made mistakes and we still make mistakes. We have good promos and bad promos, good volunteers and bad volunteers. In essence, we are JUST LIKE you.
And when REAL people share their REAL stories about the horrors of HR or etc.etc.etc. you will start to be able to see.
You know what I learned at CANference 2. I learned that my clinic as long I believe in it and believe in myself could survive more things then I could ever think. (stories by other acupunks: bad hires, bad reception, maternity leave, etc.etc.) Because I am HUGE chicken little about things. “OH NO if I go on vacation for a week, my clinic will DIE.” “Oh no it snowed today, CLINIC will DIE and I won't be able to afford rice and will STARVE TO DEATH.” “Oh NO the toilet broke and the patients can't go to the bathroom and they were all NEVER COME BACK and I will STARVE TO DEATH.” (Obviously I am quite a glutton. My mom said a monk said in my past life I was a scholar who starved to death. Consequently my childhood dharma name is a homophone for “Fang of many meals”).
And you know what?
I think Skip and Lisa and Andy and Cris and Nora, Demetra, etc.etc. are CRAZY
If someone asked me to start a multistakeholder coop or an affordable acupuncture school, I'd say, “I CAN'T do THAT.”
And obviously I am wrong :).