In my teaching, I emphasize the important role that acupuncture clinic vision plays in career satisfaction and financial success.
This annoys many of my students, especially those who are more practically minded, or perhaps stressed out when considering their future. They think of “vision” as being too ephemeral a concept, too vague, too buzzword-y and certainly not what they need when trying to forge a path in their professional lives.
I understand the reluctance to embrace vision.
The concept is poorly defined and most Chinese medicine clinic owners learn about it by reading corporate business education materials. In these materials, vision is commonly discussed with reference to the development of a “vision statement.” These statements, when developed by the processes discussed in such materials, are generally put in the employee handbook, then on the boardroom wall, and then mostly ignored.
That’s not what I’m talking about here.
The kind of vision I’m talking about is intimate, wild, multi-valent, always evolving. This vision challenges your assumptions about what’s possible, and if used correctly, forces you to continually connect with those possibilities. This kind of acupuncture clinic vision integrates personal and professional, financial and spiritual, and has a past, present and a future. The kind of vision I’m talking about is exactly what has led me to transition my practice to herbs-only.
Yes, the vision may lead to the creation of a vision statement. But that is not the totality, or even the most important part, of what the vision can and should be for acupuncture practitioners looking to find success in their professional lives.
Acupuncture clinic vision as an inner unfurling
Vision should well up from within. It should be connected to your dreams for your profession, for your finances, for your impact on your community. A truly resonant acupuncture clinic vision is the kind of thing you develop over a long period. You focus on it for a time, and then let it go. During the letting go process, a kind of resting, your Self is working on it in the background. And then next time you come back to it, you’ll have another angle on it, and it will transmute into something new.
When I think about vision, I get an image of a fiddlehead – the youngest shoots of ferns that emerge in the PNW forests in spring. They are SO beautiful, and a thrill to find. And as they open and develop into mature fern fronds, they are no less striking. Every stage is valuable, unique and a celebration of life. Let your vision be like that.
Vision as the distant horizon
Acupuncture clinic vision should be big, deep, distant, vast, a little terrifying. We are small creatures with small concerns most of the time, but when we give life to a vision we grow far beyond ourselves. We set out for the horizon like people sailing across the oceans before maps and GPS. We have a sense of where we’re going, but the path from here to there seems perilous, unknown.
The horizon has a pull for people prone to exploring. When I look out at the Columbia River bar at the ocean from my deck, I feel a longing to go. To see what lies beyond and within that blue expanse. Your vision should feel that way too, like something pulling you along – something nearly irresistible. That helps with the vastness and the fear. You know the way may be challenging, you know you may not reach your destination, but you go anyway – it’s in the blood.
Vision as planning and goal setting
Vision is of course also about ordinary business concepts like goal setting and planning. Once we feel that upwelling from within, once we have a sense of the horizon, then we have to articulate how we’re going to manifest our vision. We need both aspects. An acupuncture clinic vision without a plan is fantasy. A plan with no vision is busy work. United, they create traction and forward momentum.
Goals, as such, naturally emerge from vision. When we take a vision down into goals, we make things more specific, measurable and actionable. The goals then become the guide for our plan. The plan sets our goals out along a timeline and speaks to the distribution of resources necessary to achieve what we’re setting out to create. It’s all interwoven.