Letter to a Student
Last week, a student in her first year in university emailed me if I could give her any advice as she prepares herself for the next 4 years.
As I started to write a reply back to her…typing words onto the computer, it started to flow… I just couldn’t stop.
I felt like I was writing to my former self. I felt like I was writing to my 23 year old self the things I wish someone told me entering in my first year of Chiropractic College.
These lessons didn’t come easy. Most came at a cost over the last 19 years. But somethings you just can’t be told… it must be experienced.
But for what is worth… here was my reply:
“Congratulations on your journey to becoming a chiropractor. So exciting to hear. Please reach out or say hi when we cross paths in the future.
There are plenty of advice I can give you as a first-year student and happy to share more if this help to get you started: (in no particular order)
BE OPEN MINDED
This profession is divided by closed mind thinking on both sides. We often take a stand without considering the other person’s worldview and automatically fight to preserve our worldview (while trying to convince ours is better). I made this mistake many times in my life… probably still do to some extent.
Being open-minded doesn’t mean you believe in everything. It just means you need to be open to the possibility that you could be wrong. It allows you to absorb the information/data given and then use your critical thinking to form your worldview without the pressure of someone else’s worldview. The “real” world is filled with people (your future clients) with various worldviews.
Don’t get stuck with “Group Think”. Remember that you are residing in a “closed” environment. “Closed” because it is isolated by a common bond – in your case – chiropractic. They are all there to become chiropractors; therefore you all share similar worldviews, this will benefit you in some respects, but it can also hinder you when you leave.
1. allows you to be more tolerant of others and less judgmental.
2. allows you to create your destiny, your path and your own opinion. You have a better chance to follow your own dreams rather than chasing someone else’s (which I have done for many years).
3. will help you be empathic. You will learn to appreciate other human being’s point of view. How they see the world. And that worldview might be different than your’s but doesn’t make it wrong. This helps you better relate to your future clients. When you can get to the point of understanding THEIR worldview, you have a chance to start a conversation that leads them to reinforce, modify or change their view.
EMBRACE OPPORTUNITY AND TAKE RISKS
Remember that you are young (we all are).Learn everything (every technique, philosophy, research). Join every club you can. Attend every seminar you can (way cheaper as a student!).
When you are young, you have fewer obligations, fewer responsibilities – so leverage the greatest asset you have: TIME.
Ambition is also on your side. You are craving to learn. Leverage it. As people get older, they perceive that time and responsibility stops them from taking up opportunities (and risks). Most people wish they can go back to the care free days of university life (just not the exams!).
Just remember, no one (not even your future clients) is going to ask or care whether you got an A+ or C- in Histology or Embryology. They will care about how you relate to them. They will care whether you can help them.
Do the best you can (and pass of course!), but don’t stress about a poor mark you got on one of your tests. In the big scheme of things – it doesn’t define you as a chiropractor or a person in the future.
You are living in a world that has given you all the tools and technology to start creating YOU as a brand. (I didn’t have that but have that now!)
You have a device called a smartphone that has dozens of apps that allow you to build, design and create a personal brand right at your fingertips 24/7.
Will you get it right the first time? No.
But you would have started. You can blog your learnings on your website, vlog your ideas on YouTube, or design your inspiration on Instagram… Either way, you are one step ahead of your competition.
Who says you have to graduate to have your opinion or idea?
After 5 years, you might have changed your brand, ideas, or opinions 100 times…. but after 5 years, you would have learned 100 ways not to do it or 100 ways you don’t want to be.
You will be more than 100 iterations further along than of your classmates who are just starting their FIRST attempt on their original idea.
Accept that you won’t get it right the first time, or the 100th time. It is the PURSUIT that will define you not the destination. (And you never stop moving). I am on that journey now…
Hell, I have been on this journey for 42 years… and plan to continue for another 80 years. #thepursuitofme ( Laurence Tham – The Pursuit of Me)
BE THE DUMBEST PERSON IN THE ROOM
My friend Jayson Gaignard (Founder of Mastermind Talks) says “if you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room.”
Find people that are smarter than you in various areas of your life and find ways to hang out with them. Learn from them. Give them value in return. Grow from circles of people you hang around with and detach yourself from people that no longer serve you.
Life is NOT a solo act. Find your tribe and pour your energy into developing those relationships. This will take time. It’s the long game. (I wish I started earlier…)
None of these insights live in any program or a course. And some of it is common sense.
But these are the lessons I have had to learn the hard way. It’s easy to say, but hard to execute and live by consistently.
And there lies the secret… there is NO magic bullet. There is NO magic course/program. The only secret of life is that we LIVE and we DIE… it is up to you to do what with it between those points.
I hope this finds you well and points you in the right direction.”