Samantha March-Howard, D.C.
From Student Leader to Entrepreneur
From Student Leader to Entrepreneur
What it Takes to be 100% Chiropractic
Samantha March-Howard, D.C.
Successful chiropractors typically are those who’ve understood two critical components about their education as students. They understood, going in, the primary curriculum of study is both difficult and grueling enough. Second, while going through, they understood there’s also a “parallel curriculum” of engagement that is just as important to their success in practice and in life. All chiropractors know how precious little time is left in their lives outside of class and assignments. Those who make the most of the additional opportunities that present themselves, from living Lasting Purpose, to meeting with as many visiting docs as possible, finding (and making) leadership roles that can more fully
TCL is pleased to honor one of our profession’s newest colleagues, Dr. Samantha March-Howard, as the near-perfect embodiment of the understanding that successful chiropractors must take the lead in their own education and success. She made the commitment to express her own abilities at their natural optimal potential, while weaving that commitment together with her deep desire to be of service in helping others finding and expressing theirs.
TCL: As a 100% Chiropractic practitioner, still in the beginning of applying everything you learned and experienced in school, which academic (and/or personal) achievements would you say best prepared you for the early success you’re seeing?
March-Howard: I’d have to say it was the time spent serving in leadership roles in several organizations while a student of Life University. While there, I was a Student Ambassador (Co-Coordinator for a year). I was a Supplemental Instruction Leader in the Student Success Center, essentially tutoring my classmates, for three years. I also served on the Conduct Review Board as a student liaison for much of my time in school and, for my last year of school, I founded and served as president of the Elevation Health Student Club.
Additionally, throughout all four years of chiropractic school, I would travel every quarter for seminars based around leadership, marketing, and chiropractic techniques for spinal correction (including CBP) and pregnancy/pediatrics (from the ICPA). I completed all fourteen modules of the ICPA course in my last year of school, and I am a few months from being a certified prenatal and pediatric chiropractor.
In December 2014, I graduated magna cum laude, was already seeing patients two weeks and haven’t stopped since. I believe it was being an active and contributing member of these organizations, even though I was also a full-time student, that prepared me so well for entrepreneurship.
TCL: What projects are you working on now (or have worked on recently) that you are most excited about and would like more people to know about?
March-Howard: Now, a year after graduation, I am heavily planning for the opening of my own office: 100% Chiropractic in Dunwoody, Georgia. The 100% Chiropractic franchise opportunity was a no-brainer. It allows me the opportunity of building a beautiful, state-of-the art office without coming up with the initial investment. The best part is that I will be a member of an amazing network of doctors who support each other’s efforts nationwide. We are transparent with each other about our growth, and encourage our offices’ reach within our own communities. Every three months, we meet for our quarterly meetings to celebrate our successes and teach each other the lessons of our challenges. After thinking about several options, I found this model to be the best option for my family and have absolutely no regrets! My office will be open for the public by March 2016 and, as it is fast approaching, I am busy planning and building within that community. My student leadership experiences have definitely helped me to build intentionally, with confidence and principle as a chiropractor.
TCL: Is there anything else you’d like to share with TCL readers?
March-Howard: There were countless lessons learned during my four years of chiropractic school that now serve immeasurably as a practicing doctor. Here are a few:
- Motive matters. People sense very quickly whether or not you care and they often make decisions based on how much you care about them. Oftentimes, leadership opportunities found me because I love to serve. With that as my underlying motive, I chose the right opportunities to live my passion and live with abandon like no other. Now, within the community surrounding my new Dunwoody office, I am excited about the people I have met so far and the opportunities I have to serve this community with excellent care for their families. My sole motive is to keep their families healthy! I love when others can sense that, and understand why I am so passionate.
- Build others. I wanted to serve as a Student Ambassador because of my personal experience as a prospective student at a Life Leadership Weekend event. There, I met some amazing students who are now DCs and they helped my transition to chiropractic school be one that was rooted in hope when I started to realize the population’s distrust for chiropractic for the very first time. Their mentorship gave me fuel to share chiropractic and its principles with every student, family, and prospective patient I still come across when their misinformation needs a new direction. If not me, then who? Serving as a student leader gave me courage to speak up and address the dogma, and convert the skeptic into a happy, healthier patient. It’s not up to me to change everyone’s minds; it’s just my duty to try and hopefully they will follow.
- Making hard decisions. I learned how to be honest with myself and how to leave opportunities that were not the right fit for my family’s priorities and goals. But it wasn’t always easy to say no or leave. Often times, as a student leader I would have to cast a vote that led to difficult outcomes for my colleagues and friends. However, the decisions had to be made no matter how challenging. During my hardest quarters, a total of four family members died. The hardest decision was to forgo attending the funerals because of the financial burden, and help the family pay for it instead. It is equally difficult when referring a patient, dismissing a staff member, or choosing marketing opportunities that are not the right fit. The need to make hard decisions does not lessen with time, but vetting opportunities against your core values makes it much easier to make a decision.
- There is no balance, just priorities. I dedicated a lot of time to the organizations I served as a student while also carrying 25 or more credits per quarter so taking boards, clinic quarters, and seeing patients only added to the already full load. Oftentimes, I felt stretched way too thin and some things suffered. Through those experiences, I learned to say no, ask for help, and manage my time better. Balance does not exist as the mathematical equation proposes. As an entrepreneur, time is a commodity that is best spent on priorities, and the lines can blur very easily. The book that taught me the most about prioritizing my time in business is “The E-Myth” by Michael Gerber. I highly recommend it.
- Managing emotions. Everyone just wants his or her expectations met. No one wants to feel misunderstood or lied to, and if that happens emotions will flare. This applies to patients, co-workers, and staff members alike. I learnt a lot of “what not to do” to build my “do” list by learning from student experiences, observing others “handling it” better and now creating better methods to set the expectations upfront and managing them through leading by example. With the building of my office, there have many setbacks with construction. However, the lessons strengthened through student leadership have allowed me to form a strong resolve and patiently build in the meantime.
- Growth is necessary. Sometimes you have to encourage yourself. The Entrepreneurial Rollercoaster is real! Surrounding yourself with positive vibes is necessary. This includes music, podcasts, books, and oh yea, people. I realized in school that most of our stress was emotional or financial, and that only increased when you had to plan an event, figure out last minute details, or manage a club’s budget. Nevertheless, it’s important to bounce back from disappointments because growth comes from getting up… death only comes when you permanently wilt. It’s our decision: stagnate or grow?
FOR ADDITIONAL INFO:
See Dr. March-Howard’s feature as one of the Faces of LIFE at http://www.life.edu/faces-of-life-dr-samantha-march-howard/