Recently, a friend recommended that I read The Storyteller’s Secret by Carmine Gallo, partially because of my fondness for TED talks. The book explains how storytelling, and its power to build emotional connections, have become increasingly valued in business today. It made me think about the story of chiropractic, or more specifically, the stories of the chiropractors I have come to know and love.
The book starts by asking its reader, “What makes your heart sing?” Chiropractic is a profession that you don’t choose unless it makes your heart sing. In fact, part of what makes chiropractic unique is the stories of why people became chiropractors. Many stories started in tragedy and ended in triumph. Others start on a journey to find a profession that would allow them to work in healthcare on a more holistic level. Still others tell how chiropractic found THEM. I have always been fascinated by the stories of individual chiropractors, and if you speak with me for even five minutes, I will ask you, “Why did you become a chiropractor?”
Interestingly enough, when most people share their story of chiropractic, they lean toward a textbook description of chiropractic or a checklist of facts on the benefits of chiropractic care, usually with words that the average patient doesn’t even understand. They leave out the heartfelt, personal and powerful stories of why they chose chiropractic as a profession. People make connections with emotional stories. Ones that evoke an emotional response are more likely to move a person to consider chiropractic care.
For years, I have shared chiropractic with everyone, especially my friends whose children play sports. I was not successful in convincing many parents to invest in chiropractic care for their children until my son broke his leg. Interestingly enough, he did not break his leg playing a sport, but by being a rambunctious little boy who had nothing better to do than jump from a tire swing an hour before his favorite aunt said, “I do.” He would spend the next 13 weeks in a cast that ran from his foot to his mid-thigh. Five of those weeks were spent in a wheelchair, and he didn’t finish his last month of 3rd grade at school, but at home.
When he finally had the cast removed the week before school started, he could barely walk. In fact, his left foot was at a 90-degree angle, and he drug it behind him. His orthopedic specialist (a legend in our area) felt that physical therapy was unnecessary, and that as he regained strength in his leg, the awkward angle of his foot would heal on its own. I knew better. I immediately took him to his chiropractor who treated him for the next 12 weeks. It has been a year since the cast came off. He does not limp. He does not drag his foot. In fact, he recently won a silver medal in a regional taekwondo competition for breaking a board with a front kick using the very leg that had once been broken.
My son has seen a chiropractor since he was four years old. At ten years old, he is a walking, talking testimonial for chiropractic. In the past year, many of his friends have started seeing chiropractors on a regular basis. His story inspired our small community to bring their children to chiropractors.
Every chiropractor has a story, and your success as a licensed chiropractor will hinge on your ability to tell your story and the stories of the miracles you will experience for the entirety of your career. Only 10-15% of our communities have seen a chiropractor. Our ability to grow that number, and professional success, are dependent on our ability to tell the story of chiropractic in ways that touch the hearts of everyone we know.
Kristi Hudson is the Director of Special Projects and Administrator of the ChiroHealthUSA Foxworth Family Scholarship. Since 2010, she has worked with state associations, COCSA, F4CP, and the CCGPP to provide educational awareness on changes within the profession. As of September 2016, ChiroHealthUSA has donated over $886,000 to support the chiropractic profession. To apply for the scholarship, go to chusascholar.com.