Rusty Herring is the Founding and Lead Chiropractor of Cornerstone Family Chiropractic located in Auburn, Alabama.
Cornerstone Family Chiropractic provides very specific care and attention through state-of-the-art technology, premier office amenities, and attentive and involved staff members. Dr. Rusty and everyone at Cornerstone truly have a heart to serve others by helping you get back to the things you enjoy most in life! Whether it’s participating in recreational sports, playing with your children, or getting back your golf game, their mission is simple: to provide chiropractic care that is affordable for the whole family.
Their goal is for every person in the Auburn/Opelika area to express their health potential! At Cornerstone Family Chiropractic, they’re here to help individuals and their families achieve better health and to equip our community with better health strategies.
Tony: Welcome to the leadership legacy podcast I’m sitting here with rusty Herring the founding chiropractor of Cornerstone Family Chiropractic located in Auburn Alabama. Rusty thank you so much for taking some time out of your day.
Rusty: Yeah man excited to be here.
Tony: Tell us a little bit about your story where did you grow up and where did the love of Alborn come from.
Rusty: Well I grew up in Opelika so I grew up an Auburn fan my whole life. I’ve always loved Auburn and I grew up watching Auburn sports and my brother went on to play football there and he and I are best friends so I went there and graduated there and then I went up to Atlanta for chiropractic school for four years.
Rusty: Catherine and I met at Auburn and she finished school year after me joined me in Atlanta and then we looked around at places that we wanted to open a practice and didn’t find any place in the country that we loved any more than Auburn so I came back here in 2011 right after I graduated and we opened our practice August 1st 2011.
Tony: What made you want to go into chiropractic care?
Rusty: So my dad’s a chiropractor, so it runs in the family. So my dad and I have two uncles that are also chiropractors and just grew up around chiropractic and worked in my dad’s office some and just the idea of being in a industry a service industry that gets to make an impact on people’s health with something that I knew that I wanted to do. And I entertained some other forms of health care but ultimately didn’t find anything that I felt led to do more than chiropractic.
Rusty: So that’s really what got me to chiropractic school. And then when I was in chiropractic school I actually faced a pretty major health challenge helped my health wasn’t really a priority when I was in grad school. I was focused on school work and coffee and staying awake and we’re doing 40 hours a week in class and studying another 40 or 60 hours and just grinding it out and get pretty sick and through chiropractic care helped me regain my health and really helped me to not only regain my health but the protests my health and realize the impact that care product can have on someone’s overall health and daily function and quality of life not just the Musculoskeletal symptoms.
Tony: When you’re looking for somebody to help you in this practice whether it’s somebody that’s answering the phones or helping you schedule appointments or other doctors what are some of the things that you look for them when when you think about hiring them?
Rusty: Yes so we look for people that are genuine and authentic people that strive for excellence. People with a willingness to grow. They’re hardworking joyful people that are fun to be around. And also selfless individuals people that are willing to help you out and do whatever needs to be done for the betterment of the whole team.
Tony: I think that’s important not only to have a surround yourself with those types of people in your business but also for the customers as well. People coming in here may not be feeling good. I mean more than likely the first first time a customer comes in here they’ve got an issue and they need some help and then hopefully over time they’ve started managing that through the services here and they are feeling better as they come in. But that first impression that person is coming in with pain maybe can’t stand up straight and having somebody here with a smile having somebody it doesn’t matter. You know what kind of day they’re having they’re all. They always have that smile. They always have a good attitude and a good personality. Or at least project that even when they’re when they’re feeling bad or down it makes a difference in the end the customer service as well.
Rusty: Absolutely. Something we talk about quite a bit is just making that choice a conscious choice to bring our best.And it’s always a choice every day.
Tony: Well tell us a little bit about Cornerstone Family Chiropractic. It’s chiropractic care but it’s kind of it’s kind of different than traditional type of chiropractic care. If people who are listening you know they go I call and I call them the bone crackers. This is a little bit different of a service here. Tell us a little bit about what kind of services you provide.
Rusty: Sure. So we’re different in a lot of ways. We’re different in that we use the most advanced technology and technique available to us today. And as new technology comes out we use it so we strive to stay that way. You know just on the cutting edge of technology available because we know technology does make things more efficient more reproducible and ultimately more effective. And so we are different in several aspects. One is that as opposed to focusing more on symptoms we focus more on function and by that doesn’t mean we aren’t concerned about how someone’s feeling symptomatically we want them to feel better but we know that we need to help their body function better in order to get to feeling better. And so we use some very advanced technology. It’s called a static electromyography and that is reading neurological activity in a muscle. So it’s not measuring pain or symptoms it is measuring function. Good analogy there is you get to the dentist 30 40 years ago. They had to look in your mouth to see if they could see any cavities. And eventually x-rays came along if you x rays and now you know they can use the laser and detect the density of certain areas and if it falls within a certain density range it may be a tiny tiny microscopic cavity doesn’t even need any attention at this point but if it gets bad enough they’ll fill it in all fields of science research advances in technology advances. And with that technique advances as well and that’s where this technology allows us to measure how someone is functioning so that they don’t have to wait until they have symptoms that are glaring symptoms to start making progress.
Rusty: And then another major difference you mentioned the more older method of adjusting and a lot of people they think of chiropractic may think of that you know twisting and turning approach. Here we use an adjusting instrument. So it’s very gentle yet very effective.
Rusty: The way that adjusting instrument works is as you know but it’s it’s force forces mass times acceleration. Newton got that right. It always will be. I’m pretty sure he nailed that one so that older are probably used more mass with less acceleration human hand can only move so fast to generate that corrective force an instrument just kind of flips that equation uses more acceleration with less mass generating that corrective force and because of that acceleration component we do all of our adjustments with someone in a relaxed neutral position. So there’s never any twisting involved of their spine. Yeah.
Tony: For disclosure, I’ve been a customer here for several years and the way that you introduce customers that have been here for a while is their legacy members. Oh it’s interesting you know legacy and leadership legacy. I was thinking about that on the way over here.
Tony: I thought that was really cool but I’ve been I’ve been a customer a patient of both types. Obviously with the more traditional method and now come in here at Cornerstone. The traditional kind of worked more to maybe alleviate the symptoms maybe is what I kind of feel. It took a lot longer to get better to a better function. But it’s it’s kind of amazing. I was telling Dr. Joe I think or maybe Dr. Shane the other day I was in here and I was having a pain down my left leg a little adjustment move the nerve around to get it to where it needs to be and it’s like immediate relief.
Tony: It’s not always going to be that way for everybody. I mean there’s going to be like you said there’s there’s progress to that to that functionality, but it’s just crazy how sensitive the nervous system is and when that’s aligned. Now how much better you can feel.
Rusty: Sure. And another difference you mentioned there. Exactly. We are more focused on the function of the nervous system as opposed to the whole musculoskeletal component. You do have both components involved in all forms in chiropractic. Some focus more on the Musculoskeletal aches and pains. We focus more on the neurological function and overall function of the body.
Rusty: That applies to anyone of any age which is why we see so many children we see several hundred kids a week every week here and not that they have symptoms but preventing them from having symptoms and a lot of them used to have symptoms that are functioning better and parents want to keep them functioning well as healthy kids grow up to be healthy adults.
Tony: I have a two and a half year old and when she was really little I mean really little like maybe less than a year old. She took a tumble down the stairs she was crawling. She was fine.
Tony: Thank God she was fine. But you know we brought her in for you to check her out. And I’ve heard stories of people bringing their kids maybe you know the week after they’re born just to go ahead because they’ve had the most traumatic event in their life come in through the birthing process and so going ahead and getting them aligned and getting them functioning properly from the nervous system side.
Tony: It’s just amazing how a lot of people think well it’s when you’re old and when you’re when you’re hurting that you need a chiropractor but no you go ahead and start your health can be better long term.
Tony: So you have some really cool events here for for your patients and for the community as a whole. I see a poster here for Mudbugs and Mustaches 2018 where did the idea come about. For those community events and the dinners with the dock where they come from?
Rusty: Some of them were ideas that we had. Some of them are ideas that we get from just masterminding with other colleagues, friends from chiropractic school. Our Back to School Bash our biggest event that we have every year and as we were kind of planning that year first year that we were going to open we knew that we wanted to engage the community and keep the community engaged and have events that brought the community together. So as we were getting preparing for our Grand Opening. Well nobody wants to come to our grand opening but they might want to come to a fun festival. And so that’s kind of where that all started.
Rusty: And then we just we like to have fun. And these events give us that opportunity to have fun to build relationships and yeah and a fundamental value of ours. Here we talk about almost daily with the team is building long lasting relationships based on trust and whether it be. You mentioned a dinner crawfish boil. We have ladies night out. Back to School Bash a lot of different events. They give us an opportunity to build those relationships and spend time getting to know the practice members because day to day basis we are helping a lot of people. And to keep everybody’s time as efficient as possible we don’t just sit around and chit chat and let people wait for an hour and a half like like some health care offices. We are as efficient as as we can so that we get people in and out and on with their busy lives and those those events give us an opportunity to fellowship a little bit.
Tony: I think that’s I think that’s important from a services. You know it’s not just about the transaction between OK you have a service I’m a paid for that service. It’s all about that from a business standpoint is that you want to you want to you know develop a relationship with your customers so that you know what they need. And they feel comfortable but more the biggest part of it for me is just building that relationship. I mean because when you have customers that trust you when you have just people in the community that trust what you do they see that you’re a genuine person you’re genuinely trying to help them and do business. They’re going to they’re going to be more likely to refer you to their family members or to their friends when somebody needs help.
Tony: So you know build that long term relationship helps kind of future of future approver business and like to continue to grow and reach more people but also it really it’s all about personal relationships with people because I think in today’s society with social media and even podcasts you know a lot of people can kind of get in a solitary place where they don’t necessarily want to get out or they don’t know they don’t have opportunities to talk to people and when they have events to come to and they can bring their family and they can meet new people or get to talk to you and get to feel like they know you more personally it builds that trust.
Tony: Well what’s next for Cornerstone?
Rusty: Well we’re always asking ourselves that question what’s next then in the near future we’re going to be expanding our facility. We purchased this end of the building back last December and so we’re going to be doing a renovation to some of the office spaces here and about triple our square footage and renovate that space.
Rusty: So we’ll be doing a build out there expanding our facility so that is going to increase our capacity and then down the road once that starts to fill up. We’ll see. It’s all at the rate Auburn grow and we need to start entertaining another location before long. So we’ll see.
Tony: Auburn is kinda interesting and kind of think of it as being in a bubble. So there is there’s this bubble around Lee County where you know when things go bad and the economy. And I hope I don’t jinx Auburn and Lee County, but it seems that overall generally yeah people were still struggling in Lee County and we need to have better services to provide for them.
Tony: But it seems as a whole that Auburn is kind of like in a bubble.
Rusty: It’s kind of its own economy. Yeah yeah.
Tony: And it just continues to grow continue new neighbourhoods continue to be built and more people continue to flock here for the university and for industry. And I think that’s I think that’s an interesting aspect from another business owners just know and hey you know with the growth of Auburn hopefully the growth of the business you may look at a new location or some kind of get away from what you do professionally.
Tony: What drives you to get up in the morning?
Rusty: Yeah that’s a great question and I would say helping others is really what drives me whether those you know others as my family serve in them providing for them serve and practice members our team be in there to be a leader for them or you know being there for a friend just helping others is the driving factor for sure.
Tony: What do you think that came from?
Rusty: I think a lot of it came from our upbringing man the calling that God has put on my life. My parents have always had us very grounded and just wonderful, wonderful people who love love the Lord and loved others and have only done that through what they say but done that through their actions as well. And I think that’s where a lot of it comes.
Tony: What principles have helped you personally and and in business here as well?
Rusty: Yeah several principles that come to mind one just being simply do the right thing for the right reason.
Rusty: When you make check your motive and perspective and no matter what the choice is you can make one that’s a sound decision another Prince was the choice that we have to bring our best.
Rusty: Another principle is fact meaning principle shared with me by a guy named Ronnie Dos and you love him. You should check him out. He’s got podcast. Great leadership guy. I happened to meet him years ago right as his career was I guess you could say. And it’s really infancy. He now does leadership development and training for NASA, Tesla, and AT&T and Mars Candy Bars.
Rusty: I mean like you know I think five billion dollar companies last year. And then there’s Cornerstone. Yeah it is. So we do leadership development with him. We have some live Google Hangout calls with them every other week and he taught me this principle that has really been certainly impactful. You know life changing.
Rusty: It’s called “The Fact Meaning Principle” and that is facts are facts and there are objective. There’s no emotion attached to them and there’s no meaning attached to them. The fact could be that I was about to pull in a parking spot and you whipped it in front of me and the meaning that I could place on it. Well there’s a thousand different meanings. Yeah well the meanings that we place on it are going to make a huge impact in our minds and our energy level and attitude and perspective on life.
Rusty: And so many times we place a meaning on a fact that doesn’t serve us it doesn’t uplift us and doesn’t see the best in others and so we place that meaning on it and we may not even remember the fact but we typically will remember the meaning.
Rusty: So we go through life just remembering the meaning that we place that got Tony Oravet it cut me off that day and he’s must be a jerk. And you know you just carry that the meaning that could be completely inaccurate and it has nothing to do with the fact.
Rusty: And when we can learn to do one of two things One is the simple thing would be not place meaning on it. So just how it happened is what it is. I’m just going to move on with my life and not bog myself down with negative negative self-taught.
Rusty: And then another meaning is if it’s not a positive meaning then we’re just going to let it go. So the meaning that we’re going to place on the fact it’s either got to be positive or we’re going to let it go and just leave the facts the facts.
Rusty: What it does it helps us to really extend grace to others are much easier and to not carry around negativity. Another principle or really live by as we either go through life or grow through life and get lots of folks have probably quoted this thing you’ve heard most recently about John Maxwell. He says change is inevitable. Growth is optional. And the very true are always striving to grow.
Tony: Through growing and through learning there is a word out there that a lot of people attach themselves to there’s there’s a stigma around this word and that word is failure.
Tony: As a business leader as a business owner as someone who has people under them and kind of looking up to looking up to you what does that word failure mean to you and how do you how do you deal with it?
Rusty: Yes I am a competitive person so I don’t like to lose or fail. So to speak. So certainly try to avoid it. But, when I do fail personally or professionally as a team as an organization when we don’t meet expectations we certainly try to learn from it and seek to grow from that. We look at that as an opportunity to grow. We didn’t meet expectations and so we either have to serve better or change our expectations. And that’s one way that we strive to to avoid avoid failure and serving your patients.
Tony: I’m sure that there are times when patients come in and they’re happy or they’re angry with maybe something that’s been done or maybe they got a bill wrong or they don’t feel like they were treated well or maybe it’s just something completely random.
Tony: How do you deal with with an angry patient or are with an angry customer and where some of the skills that you’ve learned to deal with?
Rusty: Yes so I saw this question and I kind of had to laugh and say you know I guess it’s either unfortunate or fortunate that bends on one side of you are on.
Rusty: I guess you could say fortunately for us the bar has been set pretty low for health care because so many people are used to waiting an hour or two and a health care office and unfortunately a lot of people that are at a health care office have to be there and health care officers know that and therefore you know we hear it all the time that you know the stories of just lack of customer service or lack of profit even professionalism is going above and beyond within a health care office. So it really doesn’t happen all that often here we typically far exceed expectations for what people were expecting. We strive every day to set the expectation and to communicate clearly so that there are not unmet expectations. So much of disappointment or failure like we talked about is derived from just the lack of communicating and setting an expectation. And so we we strive to do both and ultimately meet or exceed expectations.
Rusty: And one thing I’ve learned is when someone does act a certain way that’s me and maybe ruffle some feathers of a team member is another concept Ronnie Dos talks about as everybody is dealing with the human condition meaning that they’re acting that way for a reason doesn’t justify their behavior. But it’s just you know what. However they’re acting. There’s a reason.
Rusty: I believe that people that are acting that way or are hurting people people that are sick are going to do sick things and you know it was kind of another side of our mission not only improving the health of people but overall improve the overall well-being of the community if you can improve everyone’s health.
Rusty: But understanding everybody’s dealing with the with the human condition allows us to give them grace for how they’re acting and also very kindly if if we’re not the right place for him will tell them our office may not be the right place for him and we aren’t the right office for everybody and we’re not here to help everybody. We’re here to help those want to be helped. We do want help as many as we can but we’re not here to help everybody.
Tony: I think it’s important for businesses to understand as as you grow and you know make sure that you know that you’re honest with yourself into what kind of customers that you want. You didn’t also like you said helping those customers find another service provider. Because this isn’t the right fit for them. There’s still hope for them. You know I kind of get down that next path line. I think that’s important especially in the service industry and in the medical industry as well.
Tony: Yeah but what’s the hardest thing that you’ve faced so far and in running your own business?
Rusty: Juggling the tasks and roles so that balance between working in the office as opposed to working only office you know different seasons call you two different roles and tasks.
Rusty: And when I’m covered up working in the office it doesn’t allow me to work on the office. It’s hard to plan for the future and think ahead and do other things that are working on the practice when I’m covered up working in it. So finding that balance between the two is certainly the biggest challenge faced.
Tony: We talk a lot about leadership and about you know mastermind’s and just getting inspired from other leaders and learning from them and learning from their mistakes and from their successes to better yourself and your practice. Maybe one of the best books you’ve read recently to help with?
Rusty: Strong Fathers Strong Daughters. Here’s a book that I’ve read recently that that’s just awesome that just helps and be a better dad. And of all male roles in life. I heard it said if you win in the marketplace but fail at home you failed.
Rusty: So it’s something that no matter how busy we get or how big or the office grows, is it’s always a priority. I’m always I am reading other books about leadership, business, and finances. But I’m always wanting to always have a book on my spiritual walk or growth my relationship with my wife or my relationship and my kids and that one really has affected me quite a bit and and just the next level of being intentional with my daughter. It’s really helping me see things from her perspective much more and having daughters you get a down.
Tony: Yeah no that’s that’s to read this right now do you have it on it.
Rusty: No I’ve told tons, I can’t believe him guilty about it. I’ve told tons of dad about it and I can’t wait to read that.
Tony: Yeah because that’s I mean we’re in a transition period with all three of our girls. We’ve got a two and a half almost three or all of them we’ve got a nine year old who’s you know go into fourth grade and then we’ve got one that’s just now finished elementary school going to middle school and so they’re all in very nice seasons of life and so trying to wrap myself around that has been my ultimate test.
Tony: Well if you write a book about your journey so far in life you know business does growing up everything. What would that be?
Rusty: This is a great question and a tough one. I came up with something. It may be a little cheesy because they’re all start the same letter it’s “Passion, Purpose, and Perspective”. Believe it would be that because our passions oftentimes reveal our purpose.
Rusty: Certainly was the case for me with that if we can have perspective as we go through life that is going to I believe is going to help us to make the greatest impact on society and make a positive influence on those around us.
Tony: What’s the advice to someone wanting to get into your industry? Any resources you can share. I know that here we see a lot of the guys that are maybe even going to start working in this facility. Interns Yeah yeah. Interns that or were doctors that are you know really were going through a school to get their degree. And they are you know interning here or just learning what’s what’s in the box to somebody that’s wanting to get into industry is it. Is it internships. What is it?
Rusty: So chiropractic specifically, there’s an organization called Ampe that it’s a professional development organization. That’s to be a leader in the organization. It’s an awesome organization great people great resources and really helps to help grow and develop people. A lot of our interns that come through have been plugged into that organization as a student. They come here and learn kind of the final details hands on a room running a practice and then they go out and open. And that’s ultimately a big part of our goal is building others up and send them out because yeah there’s our whole country is in dire need of improvement in their health outcomes. We can certainly make an impact on that.
Tony: We’ll get one last question that I ask everybody when you’re looking back on your family and your friends and your community and the patients here. And just just society in general as you’re getting ready to step out of this world go out and meet your father in heaven. What do you want them to remember, what do you want to people that you’ve been surrounded with your memory. What do you want it to be?
Rusty: Man this is a super deep question.
Tony: Save the best for last.
Rusty: Yeah I thought long and hard about it.
Rusty: I would want I want people to remember me as a man that loved God loved his family and loved people. I don’t particularly want my legacy to be about me but rather leave my family with kids and grandkids that are making a positive difference in the world. Leaving a practice that is making a positive impact in the community leave friends and family members feel more empowered to make the most out of life because of our relationship and time together. If I can do that I think you feel like I will have fulfilled my purpose to what I was called to.
Tony: Rusty, Man I appreciate it. Thank you so much for sitting down with me this afternoon and talking about leadership and legacy. Yeah man appreciate it.