Sometimes it is easier to just accept what your circumstances allow you to be. However, Dr. Nona Djavid – a chiropractor, ChiroCoach, best-selling author, and successful entrepreneur – says that you can make changes and elevate your life. At sixteen, Dr. Djavid moved from a third-world country to the US. From not knowing a word of English, she now speaks to large audiences about developing a growth mindset so you can achieve more in life. Currently having a part-time million-dollar cash practice, Dr. Djavid shares how chiropractic “found” her and how she inspires others to rise above the challenges they face.
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Elevate Your Life with Dr. Nona Djavid
We have Dr. Nona Djavid. She is a chiropractor, chiropractic coach, author and successful entrepreneur in the Newport Beach, California area. At the age of sixteen, she moved from her home in a third-world country to America and started her senior year of high school knowing only a handful of words in English. Her ability to adapt and rise above is a characteristic that has been engraved in her from a young age. Dr. Nona started with nothing and created $1 million part-time cash practice from the ground up. She was doing so well that other chiropractors started asking for her help on how to build up their practices. This then led to life coaching, speaking in front of large audiences, becoming a platinum partner with Tony Robbins and offering the book, eLIVate Your Life and helping people develop a growth mindset to achieve everything that they are looking for. Please welcome Dr. Nona Djavid.
Dr. Nona, how are you?
How are you, Kevin?
I’m doing well. I’m excited to have you on the podcast because not only are you a chiropractor, you are a personal development coach, chiropractic coach. Personal development is one of my favorite topics because I believe it transcends the boundaries of any line of work. It can help out anybody that applies the principles. I’m very excited to have you on.
I’m excited to be here. Thanks for having me.
I’d like to get a little bit of a background on everybody that comes on the show. Dr. Nona, where are you from originally?
I was born in Iran and then I moved here when I was sixteen. Half my life in the US, I lived in the Bay Area and then the other half, I lived in Orange County. When people ask me where I’m from, I’m like, “I don’t know where I’m from. I’ve been all over.”
How was that transition coming to America at age sixteen? Did you know English pretty well?
No, I didn’t speak a word of English. You can imagine a third-world country and then coming to the US and then I was thrown into high school. It was definitely a culture shock. I don’t think I spoke for three months straight. I was also insecure about saying something wrong or saying it the wrong way. It was sink or swim as you talk about personal development. If I wasn’t in a situation where I had to survive and I wasn’t thrown in there and somebody held my hand too closely, then I wouldn’t have picked up English as fast as I did.
What were some of the tools you used to pick up English so fast?
Truthfully, the dictionary. The biggest advantage that I had was that my parents didn’t spoil me. They were like, “You’re going to go to high school.” I arrived in the US and a week later they had the registers because of the timing worked out. A week later, I was in there and I had to communicate with my classmates. I had to communicate for my homework and this and that and the other. The next thing you know, I was speaking English and now I speak on stages and whatnot.
A little side note here, I was screening in chiropractic school one time and my booth was right next to your parents. I met your parents. They are amazing people. They are so wonderful. They had nothing but the best to say about you. It was a pleasure meeting them.
That’s so sweet. Thank you.
Dr. Nona, how did you get into the health profession, chiropractic? Was that always something you were interested in or did that come a little later in life?
My parents and a lot of family members, both close and extended, have a lot of medical doctors in the family. I would always observe and my parents at some point wanted me to go into Medicine. That was a thing that was expected. However, I would look around and I’d be like, they come into you, you give them a pill and then their symptoms go away and then they come back. You do the same thing over and over again. It didn’t sound so thrilling, at the same time I was like, “Is this getting to the root cause of the condition?” I didn’t have those words for it, but it didn’t seem aligned. When I came across chiropractic, this was when I was at Berkeley, I was studying Biology. My degree undergrad was Biology. I met a chiropractor and he’s explaining things to me. I’d never heard of chiropractic. Once I understood what it was or a sliver of what chiropractic was, then I was hooked. I was like, “This is exactly it.” This is what I’ve been looking for that’s not what I’ve been told or what I’ve been told if you would.
It makes a lot of sense too that the nervous system controls everything and how are we getting to the root cause of the problem if you’re taking a pill. It sounds like that’s masking the symptom rather than getting rid of it. You were at Berkeley, you got a little taste of chiropractic. What was next for you?
I looked it up and registered at Life West. It’s foggy, I don’t remember if I even got adjusted before. It was like, “This makes sense. I’m going to do this.” At the time, believe it or not, I took my DAT to go to dental school. I got accepted to NYU and I told my parents I’m not going. I’m going to do this other thing that I only know a little bit about, but it makes sense to me. You’ve heard people say chiropractic was a calling or I found chiropractic for me. I feel like chiropractic found me at that moment. I felt guided.
You are amongst the very few people that take the leap right out of chiropractic school right into business. That can be very overwhelming. It can be very satisfying. It’s a lot of hard work. It’s a roller coaster of emotions. What was that process like for you coming out of school, opening up a new business and treating patients?
I’d moved here when I was sixteen. Maybe around seventeen, I said I wanted extra money and they said, “You’ve got to get a job.” I worked at Carl’s Jr. for a minute. I was a cashier and it was the worst experience in my life, working for somebody else, someone telling me what to do. It was also the best thing that I ever did because it was in those few months I ended up working there that I decided I was never going to work for another person. This was before even chiropractic. That was the last job I had for a long period of time. When I was in chiropractic school at Berkeley, I tutored privately. I had my side business. Once I graduated chiropractic school, I worked for a chiropractor in the Bay Area and I learned everything what not to do.
It’s just as important.
Sometimes more important. I learned what not to do. I worked there for another eight months and then after that, it was like, “I’m ready to start my own thing.” I moved down to Orange County, I started my own practice. A decade and a half later, here we are now.
A lot of people have similar situations as you where they realize, “This isn’t for me,” but they stay in that situation and they don’t leave for many years. What do you think that made you make the jump and make the life change? There are people that do it and there are people that don’t. They complain about it and they stick with it. What do you think that was that made you said, “I had enough. I’m going to be my own boss and take things into my own hands?”
It’s exactly what you said, “I’ve had enough.” It depends on your tolerance. I say this when I work with my clients too, “How much do you dislike the situation that you’re in?” We all have a certain amount of capacity and I suggest you lower that capacity or you lower your patience for crappy situations. Fill it up and then you get to a level where you raise your standards, “I need not be dealing with this. I’ve learned enough. I’m going to take what I’ve learned and I’m going to practice on my own.” Do you need tools, skills, advice, guidance, mentorship and things like that? Absolutely, 100%. We know that anybody who has any amount of success has had a coach, a mentor, somebody that they look up to or that they have a role model. You can be resourceful and use the resources that are available to you. In order to make any change, you have to make sure that you lower your tolerance for crap and raise your standards so that you get to a small level. Don’t deal with crap for a long time. I have a little bit of crap and it’s done. I don’t have to be in this situation. I can have a life that is fulfilling. I can’t have a business that is fulfilling.
One of the things on your website that I love the most is everybody needs mentors, coaches and do their own research. It also says on your site that everybody already has the answer inside them and is capable of becoming anything they want. If you could dive into that a little bit deeper.
I truly believe that you have all the tools inside of you. Unfortunately, in our profession and I don’t know if you’ll agree with me, but a lot of the coaches that are out there, they’ve figured out one system and the systems get passed on from one coach to another. They’re using practically the same thing. They’re just repackaging it and selling it to chiropractors. I’ve done a lot of that and it’s brought me a lot of success. I’m not saying anything against it. The only thing I am saying that it doesn’t work for people is you do not fit into a box. I am different. My practice is different. How I practice is different than you, than somebody else down the street.
We don’t fit into a box. What I was told as I hired these traditional chiropractic coaches, was that I need to fit into this box and that I need to do this and do that in order to be successful. What I put on my website is you don’t need to do what someone else has done to be successful in order to be successful. You can find it within yourself. It takes a little bit of digging to find that power, that strength, the motivation, the decision-making, the commitment. You have it all in you. Maybe you don’t need somebody, but you need to find it and tap into it. From there, you take all of those skills and advice and all of that. You create whatever it is that you want to create. The systems in your office have to be based on your core values, not some dude down the street who thinks that’s the only way to do things.
You see a lot of these programs and mentorship companies, they like to grab a lot of kids fresh out of school and promise them the world. There is no magic pill. You’ve got to put in the hard work first and foremost. How do you feel about some of those programs and is it necessary for some students right out of school? Do they need to grab the mentorship and run with it? How do you feel about that?
The only experience I have with it is some of my clients who have gone that route has been unsuccessful. Unfortunately, I come from a place of I’ve only seen the ones that haven’t worked. I don’t have personal experience with the situations where that has been successful or that it’s been a good value exchange. I know it’s not cheap to do that. I don’t know, it’s hard for me to comment on that. However, is it necessary to go that route? No. Is it the right thing for you? Maybe. It depends on who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish. If you see the value in something like that versus starting your own practice, versus associating with somebody and then starting a practice, versus being independent. There are so many different ways that you can do that. No one can tell you there’s only one way to be successful. I do know that if I were to sell some programs like that, “Here, buy this business,” or whatever, it’s going to look a certain way to the student who’s coming out of school, has barely any business experience. It seems a little bit of an unfair relationship.
What were the first couple of years of practice like for you? What were the major takeaways that you took from it to take you to the next level and succeed?
The first couple of years were tough. I started the practice in 2007, 2008, that was when the economy crashed. A lot of chiropractors were going out of business. A lot of businesses were closing around the area where my practice was. Businesses were closing their doors. People would come to the office and start crying and say, “I lost my house. I lost all my stocks.” Two things that I learned. One thing was that I wasn’t going to believe that the economy was bad. I know it sounds crazy and cuckoo. People are like, “What do you mean the economy was bad? You were in a crappy situation.” I refuse to believe and I refuse to have any impact on what I do, what I say and how I react to things. I didn’t listen to it. If people were talking about it, I either walked away or zoned out or I created a bubble around me, hypothetical bubble and didn’t take it in.
The other thing was that I learned how to change my perspective. Instead of thinking that the economy is bad and that I’m not going to be successful, I’m going to think, “If I can be successful in a crappy economy, you better believe, I’m going to rock it when the economy picks back up in a few years.” One of the more important things that I have always kept in mind is this growth mindset or self-improvement has to be a part of you no matter what you do. I learned that self-improvement or growth mindset is not something I should be doing every once in a while like I watch a video and I get inspired, I go to seminars and get inspired, read them. Growth mindset is a lifestyle. What is it you do on your rituals? What is it that you do on a day-to-day basis? What is it that you do weekly, weekends, Mondays, whatever? It needs to be incorporated into your entire lifestyle in order for you to have continuous and massive success. Here and there, a growth mindset will get you some success but not massive, not easy and effortless, not to the level that you deserve.
There’s that great quote, “How you do anything is how you do everything.” It’s definitely very important. Even the little things that people don’t even think about like what you’re listening to, the television commercials can fill your head with a lot of stuff, the people you surround yourself with. How do you get your clients to transform all areas of their life like that or even get through to them that that’s very important?
The biggest thing that I do that’s different than any other chiropractic coach out there is that I get to know my clients personally. I’ve figured out what it is that makes them tick, what it is that gives them purpose. Why is it that they want to do certain things? We figure out what their core values are for themselves individually, what their core values are for their business, and what they want to accomplish. I also help them figure out what life they want to have so that they can create the business around their life, not the other way around. I’m a mom of two. I want to work part-time. I want to do this. It’s all based on what they want to accomplish like how you answer the phone in your office or whether you’re cash or insurance. Whether how many patients do you want to see and you want to do three days, two days. All of those things have to be based on you and what your core values are. When there’s that self-motivation and you’ve figured out your core value, it’s your goal, it’s your decision, then it’s much easier to move forward and taking any action step, even if it seems like a simple task.
That’s very important that you keep saying core values. We are in the healthcare profession. We’re caring for people. We’re trying to get them better. It’s very easy to be caught up in this because you graduated from chiropractic school. You could have a lot of debt and you want to start making money right away. The focus is more on the money rather than the person, which it’s still very important. You’ve got to make money, you’ve got to pay the bills, but we also do need to take care of our patients the best. That will bring great results if you take care of the person in front of you. How do you shift people’s mindset? Money is very important, but we’re also in the healthcare field.
A lot of the chiropractors, not only the ones that are right out of school, unfortunately the chiropractors that have been in practice for ten to twenty years, have the same scarcity mentality. People smell that scarcity, number one. Number two, I always tell the clients to come from a neutral place when you are talking to patients. I did a video where we talked about not judging our patients. It relates to what you’re saying like focusing on the patient instead of focusing on “closing” them. In the past, this has happened to me too. I’ve judged my patients for years.
Let’s say you have somebody that comes in and they are students. I had a student who couldn’t afford the care I provide in my office. She was in debt already with student loans. She was probably low income. There was no way she could afford the services in the office. By the time she came to my office, I had learned that I’m not going to judge patients based on how they come in. We subconsciously always do that. Someone comes in and they’re like, “Where do I sign? I’ll pay and I’ll get started. I’m ready to go.” When that person comes in, you’re less likely to pay attention. You’re less likely to educate them on chiropractic. You’re less likely to try because it’s already a done deal. This person is going to sign up and give you their credit card, versus someone who comes in who’s a student.
I learned I’m going to treat every single person that comes into my office the same exact way. I’m going to be completely neutral, nonjudgmental, it doesn’t matter who they are, whether they can afford it or they cannot afford it. Everybody, if they called my office and they walked into my office, they are my chiropractic patient. I’m going to take care of them that way. This person comes in and I treat her exactly the same as I would anybody else. She ends up grabbing up additional financial aid in order to pay for the care that she was going to get. She had scoliosis. It was important for her to get that. Once she got the concept, she got resourceful. She was able to find the money and she was able to sign up for it.
I’m not saying this to say I convinced somebody who doesn’t have money to do this. I’m saying this because this person ended up attending one of the dinners with the doctor talk, as a patient I think. She was gung-ho, she was like a toddler. She kept saying, “I want to be a dentist.” Even when I met her, she was like, “I want to go to dental school. If I’m going to be hunched over people, I need my back to be straightened up.” The next thing you know, she decides, “I’m going to go to chiropractic school.” She’s in chiropractic school. She’s at Life West and she’s about to graduate. If I had treated her differently like I had done in the past, someone coming in and I’m like, “They can’t afford. They don’t qualify.” We hear that from coaches or thought leaders in our community. They don’t qualify as a patient. She technically didn’t qualify as that patient. However, if I didn’t take the time to do everything that I would do with her, she wouldn’t be getting the results that she got, both personally and professionally.
You started your own practice. You had great success with your own practice. When did speaking on stage and everything happened for you?
I started a few years into practice. I started to get asked by chiropractors that were around the area. They wanted to come and check out what I was doing in the office. I do CBP, so I had some influence in the CBP community. I had some of the chiropractors from the CBP community would come to me and be like, “How are you doing things? How are you successful?” I ran a part-time practice that was making over $1 million a year. I did it part-time and I specifically designed it that way. It was all cash. I said, “This is the life I want to live. Therefore, this is the business that is going to feed this life or create this life for me.”
It started with chiropractors coming to the office and then it started with me coaching them on the side. This was maybe three or four years into practice. After that, it evolved into, “I’m seeing all these patients, I’m getting great results, but I do want to do something different. I want to have a bigger impact on the world.” I tapped into coaching a little bit more. I love it because if I’m coaching you, Kevin, or if I’m coaching another chiropractor, you are seeing however many patients you’re seeing. I feel the impact that I have on all of those patients.
That’s pretty amazing how it’s not like you set out to be a speaker on stage. It blossomed into something because you were doing great work already. It created another avenue for you that you didn’t even see coming, which is beautiful.
It evolved and took a life of its own.
How did you get crystal clear about what you wanted in practice? Did you write a lot of things down? Did you journal? Did you do a lot of visualization? That’s one of the most important things, getting very clear about what you want so you could bring it into fruition.
The answer is yes, all of the above. I did all of that, the visualization and the getting clarity. I’ve had coaches inside and outside of chiropractic that has helped me with that, things that I learned that I didn’t want to follow through, things that I learned that were helpful for me. Most importantly, the growth mindset of consistently and constantly growing. I did some work with Tony Robbins. I’m constantly reading. I have habits that are in place that are subconscious almost like waking up, writing my goals, figuring out what I want to do for the day, for the month, for the year. I think those are huge.
It’s not a one-time thing where you read a book and you’re like, “I get it. I’m good.” You’ve got to keep reading and keep listening. It’s a lifestyle change. Dr. Nona, where can people find your coaching, practice online? Do they have to be in the California area or do you do Skype sessions and all that too?
They can go to my website, NonaDjavid.com. I work with chiropractors all across the board. Some people ask me, “Do you only work with CBP doctors?” The answer is no. I have network clients. I have even an acupuncturist that I’m working with. The business concepts are the same, growth mindset is the same, figuring out the practice is the same. I’ve had not just my chiropractic business, I’ve had a couple of other businesses that I have grown in the past few years. I have a lot of business experience.
Do you do any clients outside of chiropractic? Do you have any non-chiropractors who want to grow their business or you try to focus on chiropractic?
Healthcare providers like acupuncturists and naturopaths. The bulk of my practice, being a chiropractor and being so passionate and like living it, are chiropractors. I do have a couple of acupuncturists and naturopaths that I work with. I would not take anybody outside of healthcare.
Dr. Nona, you have such an amazing life story. That was the first time I’ve heard your story from front to back. It’s amazing what you’ve been able to accomplish since you came to America when you were sixteen, not knowing the language and to where you’re at now. At the end of every show, I like to ask my guests, what is one piece of advice that has resonated with you over the years that you would like to gift the audience? It could be absolutely anything.
Finding the strength, the skills, the commitments and the passion. Finding it inside of yourself and finding it over and over again. Not giving up on it, just because you didn’t find the skill now, because you failed now, because you did something wrong or whatever. It’s not giving up on that.
Keep knocking on doors and one will open for you. Dr. Nona, thank you so much for coming on the show. I loved this episode and I would love to have you back on anytime.
Thank you so much for having me.
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