It’s the end of the year and I’m feeling a little sassy, so this post is about doing what you want in the new year!
There’s so much “noise” out there when it comes to building your practice. I get the term “noise” from John Clarke, as he stresses the importance of reducing the overwhelm and making practice building easier. We can get overwhelmed with all the suggestions and advice that’s out there about starting your business.
Everyone has opinions about what you should and shouldn’t be doing. I’m guilty of this to some extent – I just said you should be doing something in the title of this blog post. And now that I think about it, I told you that you shouldn’t be charging what you’re worth. And I’m sure there’s more.
I hope that the “shoulds” that I put out there are not taken that seriously and that you continue to do what feels best for you. I want you to see them as options, not mandates.
I’ve taken the advice of those that have came before me, and I also knew when the advice didn’t fit with the vision and mission that I had for my practice. But it took a little while for me to get there.
I don’t want you to get caught up by the same mistake that I did – waiting too long to listen to what I really wanted.
I do a thing called what I want.
So, let me tell you my story and my journey to doing what I want in hopes of inspiring you to do the same.
It’s not like I knew exactly what my private practice would look like – although I had an idea of what I wanted.
My private practice has grown and morphed and changed and adapted as I learn more about what I want.
But I did have a pretty good idea of what I wanted my practice to be when I was close to finishing graduate school. I remember really wanting to work with premarital couples and help educate couples on how to have happy relationships.
However, I kept hearing that I can’t build a practice doing premarital counseling, and that couples are not seeking help until it’s too late. I guess I let this cloud my view of what I really wanted and kind of forgot about that passion and dug in with my more general couples therapy studies.
You wouldn’t believe how many people told me (in one way or another) that my niche would not be successful.
“People are not that interested in Premarital Counseling.”
“How are you going to get enough clients?”
“Couples only seek out counseling when they are on the brink. Happy couples don’t come to therapy.”
Or insinuated that I was taking the easy way out by not working with “more difficult” or “higher risk” clients.
Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.
Remember, when someone has an opinion about what you are doing, it has more to do with them than it does with you.
That’s a lot to go up against as a new therapist who just wants to help couples have better relationships. I listened to others and did not listen to myself and what I really wanted.
I began my practice based on the messages that I had received from others, and neglected to follow my true passion. I was a general couples therapist that worked with all couples. Things were going along just fine, but I wanted something more (and something more specific as well).
I finally decided to own it. “I work with happy couples!” There, I said it. Whew! That felt good.
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
I changed the wording on my website, and I began marketing myself with my new, more specific niche. And the phone began ringing more and more.
The couples that were reaching out were saying…
“We’re so glad we found you. It’s just what we are looking for.”
“We’re really not that bad off. We just need to have a tune up.”
“We were concerned about seeking couples therapy this early in our relationship, but were relieved to see that even happy couples could use some support every now and then.”
It felt so good to have the exact practice that I wanted, and to have clients that were searching for the exact thing that I offer. Now that’s a win-win!
There’s something to be said for following your truth.
It can be tough because there isn’t a road map, and no one else on the face of the earth has taken the same path as you (not exactly anyway).
There was a podcast episode on Rebel Therapist (formerly named the Therapist Club House) that really inspired me (and in a way, gave me permission) that I too could have a successful practice working with happy couples. Annie Schuessler interviews Karen Smillie about her work with phenomenal couples. Check out the episode here.
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
I share all this just to give you an example of what it really looks like to follow your true passion and give yourself permission to have the practice that you really want.
Don’t put it off any longer! Start taking action to build your practice around you, even if it’s just one small step.
And I want to leave you all with a permit to do what you want. If you’re a Parks & Recreation fan, you’ll get it 😉
Save this permit in your camera roll and pull it up when you feel as though you may be listening more to others than to yourself.
I Want You To Be Successful In Private Practice!
Starting a private practice 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