5 Steps to Improving Your Pediatric Skills in One Year
Are you looking to improve your pediatric skills this year?
If you follow the five simple steps laid out in this blog post, by the end of the year, I promise you will feel great about what you’ve accomplished!
By improving your skills, you’ll be able to better serve your patients with excellence. You’ll be helping some of the millions of kids across the country who can benefit from Chinese Medicine!
STEP 1: IDENTIFY YOUR MISSION
When it comes to not just improving, but mastering a skill, the number one thing that will help you achieve your goal is to know why you are doing it. The more you can connect emotionally with your mission, the easier it will be to keep your motivation and ambition when things get hard along the way.
There’s nothing more exciting than learning a new skill: “I’m so excited to be improving my needling technique!” But that initial excitement can evaporate the moment things get hard or you feel afraid or unsure of where to start. The more you connect with the “why”, the easier it is to stay motivated and on track.
With improving your pediatric skills, ask yourself, “Why is it important for me to treat kids?” For many of us, there’s a personal story behind this question. In my case, my son had severe eczema that Western doctors weren’t able to help with, and I wasn’t satisfied with just waiting to see if he would grow out of it.
Out of that personal experience came the conviction that I never want another mom to feel like she doesn’t know what to do, or to feel like she’s alone, helpless or unsupported. And that’s what keeps me motivated to keep continually leveling up my skills so I can help more patients, help more practitioners and help more parents realize what Chinese Medicine has to offer them.
STEP TWO: FOCUS ON ONE SKILL
Now that you know why you want to improve your pediatric skills, the next step is figuring out exactly what skills you’d like to improve.
In our field, there are so many skillsets we can work on improving! Nutritional counseling, reading lab results, herbal medicine, shonishin, and needling technique are just some areas we'd all like to master. Each one of these is a major modality that could help a lot of your patients!
How do we proceed?
There are basically two ways you could approach Step Two: you could try to improve everything a just a little bit – or – you could seek mastery in one or two areas. I would suggest that if you really want to see progress in your practice, pick one area (maybe two at most) to focus on improving throughout the course of the year. By choosing to focus on one area to improve, you will be more likely to see significant growth and progress then if you try to focus on multiple areas.
It’s also important the area you focus on connects back to Step One. When you’re deciding what area you want to improve, ask yourself why you want to devote time to improving this specific skill: “How will improving this specific skill help my patients?” Remember, it’s this emotional connection to our purpose that will help us drive the action we need to take to improve our skills.
STEP 3: TAKE CONSISTENT ACTION
For Step Three, you need to develop a plan for accomplishing the skills you want to improve. We start by identifying a major step you can take to improve your skills, then following up with a weekly goal you can take daily, consistent action on. Your goal should be specific enough you can evaluate your performance each week and then improve upon it the next week.
So, for example, let’s say in Step Two you focused on improving your needling technique. A major step for you might be to attend a live class with a pediatric acupuncture specialist where you will learn new acupuncture techniques and maybe even practice on colleagues or children. When you get back from the class, it’s now time to practice what you’ve just learned, and this is where you can set a weekly goal for yourself, like treating ten patients this week with the new technique.
It’s important that you set a weekly goal that is specific and also challenging.
So instead of just setting a goal like “I will practice on ten people this week”, try to set a goal that is more specific, and also challenges you, something like: “I will needle ten people with pediatric needles in a certain way, aiming for a specific result.” At the end of the week, evaluate your performance. Look at what went well, what didn’t go well, and look at different factors that contributed to your success and failure. This will help you see where you’re already doing well, and where you need to improve.
Then, set a new goal for yourself for the next week, again keeping in mind that the goal should be challenging and specific. A new goal for you could be something like “I will needle ten people with this same technique, but with a better flow than the last week” or “I will needle ten people with this technique, focusing on sensitive points like LV2, LI4, LI20, etc”.
If you follow Step Three, you’ll be setting weekly goals for yourself, and taking action to meet those goals every day. I guarantee if you do this every week over the course of a year, you will see a significant improvement in your skills and your confidence will skyrocket!
STEP FOUR: GET HELP!
Daily consistent action is absolutely vital to improving and mastering a skill over the course of a year. But it’s just as important for you to challenge yourself, and remain accountable, and that’s much easier when you have a coach, a mentor, or somebody who can push you to stretch yourself, guide you along the way when you stumble, and keep you from falling into complacency.
So Step Four to accelerating your growth is to find a coach.
Speaking for myself, every time I’ve taken a quantum leap in my practice, or in my business, I’ve had a coach, someone who was pushing me to reach higher, do more, and get outside of my comfort zone. Whether I was launching my first course or writing my book, having a coach has been an important part of my growth, and I cannot recommend it enough!
Besides finding a coach, you can also look for an accountability buddy. An accountability buddy is somebody at the same level as yourself and looking to improve the same skills. Or it could be somebody who is slightly more advanced than you in one area while you are slightly more advanced in another. Either way, you’re both going to help each other out and improve your skills together!
STEP FIVE: TEACH!
The final step to improving your skills is to teach them to somebody else. We all know how much we learn about a subject when we’re called to teach it. I learn as much or more from my students when I’m teaching, as I do when I’m in the classroom as a student. Teaching is something that will solidify your skills in whatever it is you’re learning.
In fact, these steps I’m sharing with you are the same steps I’m taking to level up my skillset for both my pediatric practice and my business! Each year, I identify key skills I want to improve, and I follow these steps to reach my goals. And now I’m following Step Five, by teaching them to you!
You can teach other practitioners who are less advanced than you. You can also consider teaching parents how to do shonishin, or tuina, or even basic Chinese Medicine diagnosis so they can select the herbs they’ve already purchased from you. No matter who you teach, it will help you take your skills to the next level.
I hope this blog post inspires you and helps you reach your goals this year!
I love seeing people succeed and helping people accelerate their growth. If this blog post was helpful for you, or you have questions about any of the Five Steps, let us know in the comments!
Training Opportunities with Me in 2019!
For those of you looking for training opportunities, I am offering Pediatric Acupuncture Rounds at my clinic in Morgan Hill on two days this year: Saturday, May 18th and also Saturday, September 28th. The class runs from 9 AM to 5 PM and will be filled with children of all ages.
This will be an immersive, practical seminar, perfect for practitioners who are seeking more hands-on experience with pediatrics. This class will help you refine your techniques and build confidence, so you can begin treating patients as soon you get back to your clinic!
And for those who are looking for a mentor to level up their skills and grow their practices, I am starting a mentoring circle called the Pediatric Healing Arts Mentorship.
This exclusive mentorship program is limited to six acupuncturists and will feature a combination of group coaching and one on one coaching, along with twelve self-guided modules which will cover advanced topics in pediatrics. This mentorship program can take you from seeing a few pediatric patients per year to seeing six to eight pediatric patients per week!