I wanted to write a letter to you to thank you for all that IM has done for us.
We have not always been thankful for that. In fact, we started out very differently. I’m embarrassed to admit it – but I thought it might be helpful for others, as I know there are many that are in my shoes.
Four years ago – my friend, Dr. Martin Parks, reached out to me about Integrity Management. We graduated chiropractic school back in 2002 from Cleveland. He had no idea how I was doing, but from my Facebook posts, everything looked great. In fact, when he asked me how practice was, I told him “Great!”
We were collecting over $40,000, Arthur and I. But we had a secret.
We weren’t making any money. Paycheck to paycheck. Floating payroll. No vacations. No frills.
We also had absolutely no intention of ever joining a management company again. We joked that we were the Elizabeth Taylors of chiropractic management companies. “This time will be different!” I would proclaim.
I would STUDY a lot. But not do. I was frozen and stuck in my ways if I tried to reach for something new.
7 different management companies experiences over 8 years. 3 times with the same company. Each time – filled with hope that THIS time – we would win.
Each time – we would hit bottom with the realization that whatever problems we had – were us.
At least that’s what they told us. We were not fixable. We needed therapy. We needed someone to reprogram us. One company even recommended that we go to someone who would brainwash us from our medical thinking. Another, when we were losing our house, told us to buy books on prosperity.
It left us feeling broken and unable to be fixed.
We thought many times of quitting. We knew we were excellent, caring doctors, but we weren’t communicating chiropractic.
I even went to the middle of nowhere to jump off poles and climb walls and do trust falls – hoping that something would switch in our heads and we could win.
We were so secretly tired and burned out. Each day, faking a smile when I saw my patients.
We resented our failure. I knew it was us and no one else. That made it even harder because no one else could help us.
In 2009, after 8 years in practice, my Dad called me to lunch. My Dad is my hero and I look up to him very much. He sat for a second – and asked me, “Bran – when are you gonna give this up?” The toll that failing in chiropractic was palpable. It was breaking my spirit. It was causing me to not be the wife and the mother that I dreamed of. Friends? I didn’t have any. Every second was spent on the business. Vacations? We couldn’t afford to go away. And if we did – my parent’s paid. In that conversation – I considered quitting. I couldn’t even talk. I didn’t know what to do. I mean if my Dad wanted me to quit – surely I should. I even swore to my Dad, who had seen the heartbreak and failure as he paid for one more vacation that we could never afford and all the dinners – that I wouldn’t “give my money” to any management company again and would consider ending my career as a chiropractor.
All this was swirling in my head as I reluctantly agreed to Martin that I would just go to a seminar – “But not to join…”
I went to that seminar in November 2010 alone. My husband refused to go. He didn’t want it anymore. My staff thought I was crazy. In fact – most of the seminar – I fought myself saying that there was no way my staff would go for this.
I sat by myself and listened quietly. I didn’t talk to anyone.
When I went into the room for the Guest meeting with Ryan – I was very cocky. I was struggling but didn’t want Ryan know. I was acting super cool and had it figured out and didn’t need help. In the room with me sat a man who was near tears. His wife at that moment was moving them out of their house because they had lost everything and he was at the seminar to decide if they would “try again.” It was hard to sit next to him – because despite what I told him that we had been there before – we were one paycheck away from that.
I signed up with Ryan – for 5 years, flippantly saying that, “What the heck – I’ve tried everything else.” Little did Ryan know – I had no idea how we would pay for this, too. And probably like the other 7 times before I had signed a contract – this would be a failure as well.
Over the next years – we dabbled in the system. Staff came and went. Studied it hard – but put little to practice because of fear. Just like Keith says – we were supposed to be baking a pecan pie – but the ours looked more like a sweet potato pie. It had the pecans in common – but not much else. I thought I could do my system and pieces of Integrity.
I constantly wanted to use my own system. I wanted to do things MY way – despite the end result of failure. And it was harder on my staff and me. “It was the right thing to do!”
4 years later – how much has changed. It is as if we have turned the Titanic around. Quite literally – it was a miracle we lasted as long as we did. Out of fear – if there was a way to do it wrong – we were doing it.
Slowly – we replaced new habits but never fully jumped in. Part of us rebelled thinking that this would fail as well.
The coaches we worked with consistently had the same message. Each coach would work on a piece to turn us around. Follow the system and you will win. We were such a mess that we couldn’t follow a single direction. We wanted to talk about our hurts and how hard it was, instead of trying something consistently.
Our coach, Dr. Erica, inspired us.
Our coach, Gloria, honed our knowledge of the system – unrelenting to our excuses of why that couldn’t be.
Over time – we became less skeptical. Keith started making sense to us in a way that he never did because we were listening with clear thinking. He was real. He wasn’t sugar coating things. We stopped apologizing to our staff for implementing more of the system and shielding them from things that might make THEM upset.
In February 2014 – we almost went out of business. We were backed up against the wall and couldn’t make payroll. I remember being so scared and didn’t know what to do. Arthur and I sat in a conference room at our bank with our children playing on their phones and decided at that moment – we had nothing to lose. We were either going to shut down – or do the system.
That next month. We DOUBLED. What was our secret? Just like letting go of a monkey bar behind us – we had to move forward by letting go of our fears and trust in the system. We committed to following the system. Whatever we did – the system was the answer.
The system never told us how to practice – but provided a framework to see patients and educate them about how awesome chiropractic is.
Today – less than a year later – we sit at almost triple what last year brought. We just hired an associate and are excited about the prospect of an amazing future with our 5 year plan. Our goal is to hit Year 5 on the 5 year.
How long does a 5 year plan take to hit? For us – 5 years.
And that’s ok. Because that’s how long a 5 year plan takes to hit.
For us – it wasn’t an incremental growth – it was a spike. It was a spark. It was being broken and built back up to realize this is what we needed. We had been too scared to do it – thinking our patients and staff would hate it. They love it. Everything is clear.
The biggest present that we got was in June – we got to go to our first Top Flight conference. The information that you have access to when you join Top Flight is insane. I study and read a book a week – and the information I get is nothing compared to that. It opens your eyes to all that there is. Being in a room and proud of what you accomplished and hearing someone that sees triple what you do – and is happy and pumped to do it – is inspiring. It’s priceless.
When I first did my 5 year plan – I wanted to work two days a week and see a minimum of patients. I was so burnt out because I was making it 10 times harder on myself. And I didn’t know what I was doing.
Now I’m excited to go to work because the system is clear. Integrity has taught me to be a leader. A boss. A businesswoman. An honorable person who makes no excuses.
Our new coach, Dr. Doug is helping us learn to have an associate and be awesome business owners.
Each brings a new level of what to attain. I am grateful to them all.
We are so thankful to Integrity that they always stayed constant for us. They never reacted to our overreactions and gently lead us back to the system. Like a teenager that doesn’t get that a parent has the best intentions for them – we are glad that we saw the light.
Since hitting Top Flight and having success – we have brought two chiropractors into IM and want more.
If anyone can help – it’s Integrity. They helped us after SEVEN management experiences.
We have made incredible friends at ID and Elite. We’ve had super amazing vacations to share with our kids and the future is so bright.
I wrote the above in 2015 and so much has changed. Now our vision is even bigger! We have an office with 5000 square feet and have FOUR doctors. We change more rapidly. We have expanded my vision to include having Super Clinics.
Our office just this year went from 1200 to 1450 to 1700 and this month we are on track for 2000. (Wow!)
We have let go of FEAR and rebranded our office to do so. I’ve let go of managers and restructured my office. Getting rid of orthotics and massages. I run my business smart instead of being out of control.
We can’t wait to see what the future holds!
Drs. Brandie and Arthur Nemchenko