Hello there, and welcome back to the Mountain Practice Journeys podcast!

I’m your host, Cindy Norton.

Here in Episode 2 I’m going to share with you the three characteristics that you’ll need when starting your private practice.

Let’s get started.


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See below for the episode show notes links and transcript…

Episode 2 Show Notes Links

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Episode 2 Transcript

Hello there, and welcome back to the Mountain Practice Journeys podcast! I’m your host, Cindy Norton. Here in Episode 2 I’m going to share with you the three characteristics that you’ll need when starting your private practice. Let’s get started.

Have you been wanting to start your private practice, but you can’t seem to take that first step? Maybe you’re afraid of failure or lack confidence, or maybe the idea of running your own practice is overwhelming. I’m Cindy Norton, owner of Mountain Practice Journeys and I help therapists and counselors to love the business side of private practice. I’ll share with you practical skills and advice along with a healthy dose of inspiration so that you can be on your way to the practice of your dreams. Put on your hiking boots, and let’s get going.

If you haven’t yet listened to Episode 1, I urge you to do that. In that episode I discuss the most popular question asked by new private practice therapists – “How long will it take for me to get full in my private practice?” And I’ll be giving you some real numbers and timeframes. Now let’s get on to today’s episode.

“What have I gotten myself into?”

“I should have known that I couldn’t do this.”

“This is much harder than I thought.”

“Why can’t I make this work?”

“Everyone else makes it look so easy.”

It is likely that you have said some version of these statements to yourself or someone else during your beginning journey into private practice. And I’m not talking about during the first few weeks! It’s quite possible that I am talking more in terms of months or years.

I’m well into my journey and may have uttered one of these statements just a few days ago. I’m not saying this to scare you; I’m saying it to inspire you. I want you to truly know the reality of owning a private practice – and still want to have a private practice after you come to this understanding.

There are three characteristics that I encourage all my coaching clients to cultivate. They are the three characteristics that I have cultivated on my own journey and they have really helped me to put things in perspective and have served as an important reminder about what it takes to have a successful practice.

I give you the 3 P’s: Passion, Patience, and Persistence.

Let’s get started with Passion. Why would you take such a big risk in starting your own business if you were not passionate about it? And it’s this passion that will keep you going when you feel like giving up. If you don’t love what you’re doing, it can be easy to give up when the going gets tough.

During the inevitable ups and downs in your private practice journey, remind yourself of the impactful change that you have inspired in your client’s lives. Change that they might not have experienced had it not been for you and the passion behind your desire to make a difference.

In addition to being connected to our clients, our passion can also be related to creating the life we have imagined for ourselves. By owning our own business we can have an expansive sense of control over our own lives. We can build a business around that which we value most: our families, our friends, and our interests and hobbies.

In future episodes, I’ll dig deeper into this topic of design and how to build your practice around your life. It’s important to me that your practice remains sustainable and you remain passionate about your practice.

I want to share a quote with you about passion from Oprah Winfrey: “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”

Up next is Patience. It takes some time to get going in your business – so give yourself this time. Sure, there are a few overnight success stories, but don’t compare yourself to these outliers or you will end up being disappointed. Give yourself time to get established and to become well-known and respected in your community.

It’s so easy to look to those that inspire us and to have a desire to be where they are. It’s a fine balance between looking up to someone for inspiration and participating in an unhealthy comparison.

I so often find myself looking to someone in the field who has been at this private practice thing for 10 or 20 years and wondering why I am not there yet. When you participate in unbalanced comparisons like this, you will end up disappointed in yourself every time. I have to bring myself back down to reality, and switch my view from comparison to inspiration.

Patience also comes into play with the growth of your practice. It can feel disheartening in the beginning when you are working your hardest and failing to see any results.

Becoming an established therapist in your community takes time. You may go to networking events, meet with several community members, and even do a few presentations. You may do this for months and not see any immediate return on all your hard work.

All that hard work can be likened to planting seeds in a garden. If you have grown a garden, you know how hard the work is. There’s a lot of planning and preparation that goes into it, before the seeds even reach the ground.

Building a successful practice is very similar. You will more than likely get a referral from that presentation that you did – but no one tells you that it may be 5 months down the road. You will also get a referral from that therapist you met with for coffee last year – but it’s took them a while to identify a good fit client for you.

I know that you want a full practice NOW, but it’s not realistic. It would be like buying tomato seeds and expecting a beautiful, plump tomato when you open the package. Plan for your garden, till the ground, fertilize the soil, water your seeds, and eventually you will have grown the best damn tomato that anyone has ever seen!

Take some advice from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”

Now on to Persistence. Opening a business is not for the faint of heart. You need to keep going, even when it gets tough. Don’t give up on yourself the moment before you succeed.

This word is best represented by the name of my business, Mountain Practice Journeys, and its reference to climbing a mountain. It takes hard work, persistence, and determination to climb any mountain.

When you reach the summit it’s always worth it and the views are amazing! I also want to point out that it’s not just about the destination, but the journey as well (which also relates back to Patience).

There have been so many times during this journey that I have wanted to give up, but I’m still here. I invite you to be here with me – in both the uncertainty and the triumph. Have faith in yourself. And surround yourself with a strong community that will hold that faith for you when you don’t have it.

Your journey will get easier, but it will always be a journey.

To round off this section on persistence, I’m going to leave you with a quote from Rachel Van Dyken: “How often do you think we write our own ending before the story is even finished? How often do we give up on ourselves when our lives are just starting? Things get hard and we immediately back away and assume that means we’re going in the wrong direction, doing the wrong thing. If anything, when the waters get thick, that’s our sign to keep going.”

I’m now extending a sincere invitation to you to join the Mountain Practice Journeys community. Are you in? Subscribe to this podcast and we’ll hike the mountains and valleys together.

During each episode I’ll be giving you one small take away, action step, or mindset shift. I call these acorns. Listen to episode 0 to get the scoop on what the acorns are all about.

The acorn from this episode is a message of perseverance. We live in a world of instant gratification and we can get spoiled with the immediacy of most things in our life. This doesn’t translate well to the creation of a sustainable private practice. Put in the time, effort, and hard work, all while taking care of yourself along the way.

If you’re looking for a good read on this topic, I highly suggest that you read the book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. I’ll have a link in the show notes.

As I outlined in episode 0, I’ll be alternating between a fun fact and ‘what I’m digging’ segment with each new episode.

The fun fact for this episode is that Skyrim is one of my favorite video games. And I have a confession: when we were in the midst of quarantine in the Spring of 2020 I lost a large portion of my caseload and wasn’t feeling that motivated to do other work projects so I would play Skyrim like it was a full-time job (with overtime). It was really nice to escape to another world full of adventure – even if you were being attacked by vampires and saber tooth tigers.

Thank you so much for joining me today on your private practice journey. For episode 3 I’ll be digging into the specifics of what it takes to create your cancellation policy. I’ll be introducing you to some common elements that are included in cancellation policies and I’ll help you to design an agreement that you will have the confidence to uphold.

Don’t miss the next episode, or any others for that matter, and hit the subscribe button now.

And a special shout out to Crystal Nero for her generous support of the podcast. Crystal is a private practice therapist in Asheville, North Carolina. She is the owner of Mending Roots Counseling and she helps individuals, couples, and families to move from disconnection to connection – with self and others. She also facilitates experiential intensives, for a deeper experience. Find out more about Crystal and the amazing work she is doing at mendingrootscounseling.com.

There’s no way you can know how much it means to me that you choose to join me here as I share all things related to private practice. Please subscribe so you don’t miss a step. For more information about this episode, please visit the show notes page at mountainpracticejourneys.com/podcast I truly appreciate you Trailblazers. Your mountain is within reach. Journey on.

I Want You To Be Successful In Business & In Life!

Starting, growing, and maintaining a business is a big deal. It's super-exciting and super-scary all at the same time. I created Mountain Practice Journeys to support you through the difficult and muddy terrain, and to celebrate with you when you have reached each summit of the many mountains you will conquer on your journey.

Happy Climbing, Cindy

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