Graduation Advice Hole In Your Diploma Dennis Buckley

The Hole In Your Diploma – Post Graduation Advice

A common characteristic of successful chiropractors, struggling chiropractors, and everyone in between is that they all went to chiropractic college. If we all went to college and received a similar education, why is there such a wide difference in achievement after graduation?

I was perplexed by this question and sought out what was the difference between chiropractors who were successful and those who struggled. I have always heard that our habits make us or break us. Experts agree that the habits formed in our formative years, and in this case in our undergraduate studies and in chiropractic college, these habits are transferred to post graduate, and into practice such as internship, preceptorship, associate positions and especially clinic ownership. These habits, good or bad, can determine our success or failures.

Success leaves clues. The most successful and fulfilled people in every walk of life and business do things others do not do or are not willing to do. These clues are all around us all the time. If we are open to learning what they are, we can model them in our daily lives and use them to create success. We can discover them through studying other people, through reading books, listening to CD’s, and through life experiences. Mostly, we can discover these clues if we are aware of and look for them. By studying and modeling people who are successful, meaning the people who are doing what we want to do, living the life we want to live, serving and helping other people in a legal, ethical and moral way, we can see what the clues are for success.

In chiropractic college, we receive a formal and a clinical education. After college, graduates soon find out that there is an essential missing piece to their education and success. Therefore, “The Hole In Your Diploma.” The essential missing piece is in how to build a practice and to attract patients and actually have them seek you out for care. This part of the equation resides in the subjects of marketing, sales, networking, business and personal management.

Graduates also learn that the things they thought were the most important somehow now take a back burner to the challenge of how do I build a practice? How do I attract patients? How do I communicate? How do I network? How do I market? How do I get good public relations? And how do I close the deal? How can I get people to understand what I am offering and how it can be the solution to their problems? How can I get them to commit not only of their time but of their resources or their money so that they can in exchange receive the services that they need?

Unfortunately I believe that most students do not appreciate the need for this education while they are in school. Most doctors in practice also ignore this education and are always looking for the “next best thing.”

There must be a parallel curriculum accompanying the formal education to prepare students for success. School can prepare you to obtain your license and to give you your tools needed to be a chiropractor such as the art, science and philosophy of chiropractic. School teaches you what to do when they are in the office but no one teaches you how to get them in the front door and how to keep them slipping out the back door. The actual business of how to be a successful chiropractor or run a chiropractic business must be developed outside of the formal education.

I wrote the book SCORE, Student Chiropractors On Road to Excellence in 2012 and the HOLE IN YOUR DIPLOMA in 2013 to help students and doctors be successful.

I interviewed over 90 very successful chiropractors and asked them what they were like when they were in chiropractic college. I asked them what they did consciously or unconsciously to develop the habits of success.

Some of the most common universal answers included:

  • Visiting as many DC’s offices as possible to see different models of practice.
  • Attending as many seminars as possible to learn and network with doctors
  • Being very involved while in school in service organizations and clubs
  • Having a clear vision of what I wanted to accomplish
  • Out worked everyone.
  • Never miss a class, never miss a party. It’s about making connections

Answers from all the DC’s could be classified into 4 areas. The first area is SERVICE, which involves community service, service to the profession, doing more than asked or paid for and also seeking and recognizing opportunities. The second area is EXCELLENCE, which includes academic excellence, clinical excellence and also the ability to be a lifelong learner and being open to learning. The third area is PERSONAL STANDARDS. This includes your integrity and ethics, your personal health, your financial discipline, your energy planning or time management and your communication techniques. And the last area of development is ENTREPRENEURSHIP and that includes networking, public relations, marketing and sales and knowing the difference between these four.

The student and the doctor can fill The Hole in Their Diploma by developing these areas while in and out of school and continually during the building of the practice. The most successful chiropractors are constantly being of SERVICE, EXCELLENCE, maintaining high PERSONAL STANDARDS and having a ENTREPRENEURIAL mindset.

If your practice is not where it should be, you may want to look at these fundamentals first and develop them. By disciplining yourself in these matters you will have the skills to implement the activities that are needed to build a practice but it starts on the inside. Your attitude and vision and what are you willing to do to become successful. Success is earned and needs no explanation. Failure has all sorts of excuses. Where do you want to be? The world needs you to be successful. The CCA and chiropractic profession needs more successful chiropractors for a sick and suffering world.

Be the change you want to see and fill The Hole In Your Diploma with great habits of success and change your life and the world.

For more information of the SCORE or HOLE IN YOUR DIPLOMA program go to or contact Dr. Buckley at Performance Advantage (626) 991-8877.

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