5 Keys to Growing Your Heart-Centred Group Practice with Ashley Mielke | PoP 725

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On this therapist podcast, Ashley Mielke talks about 5 Keys to Growing Your Heart-Centred Group Practice

Do you want to create a heart-centered practice? Are you clear on your purpose? How can you tell whether a decision is the right one for your business?

In this podcast takeover episode, Ashley Mielke speaks about the 5 Keys to growing your heart-centered group practice.

Podcast Sponsor: Noble

A an image of Noble Health is captured. Noble Health is the podcast sponsor to Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

According to a scientific brief released by the World Health Organization, between 2020-2021, global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25%. As a mental health professional, you have likely seen the effects of the pandemic and events of the past few years on your clients.

With the great need for both anxiety and depression support in mind, our friends at Noble just launched Roadmaps on Anxiety and Depression that offers your clients the education and tools they need between sessions to begin to take the steps necessary to reduce their symptoms. Noble makes powerful therapy simple with their app that offers research-backed, automated, between-session support for clients, assessments, messaging, and more. Learn more and join for free at www.noble.health/Joe

Meet Ashley Mielke

A photo of Ashley Mielke is captured. She is a Registered Psychologist, Founder and CEO of a large group private practice in Alberta, Canada called The Grief and Trauma Healing Centre Inc. She is featured on the Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

Ashley Mielke is a Registered Psychologist, Founder, and CEO of a large group private practice in Alberta, Canada called The Grief and Trauma Healing Centre Inc. She is passionate about supporting heart-centered practice owners in starting, growing, and scaling their businesses.

Ashley was called to start her company after the tragic death of her father by suicide in 2010. It was the purpose she found through her healing that inspired the ‘WHY’ that drives her 7-figure company today. It brings Ashley great joy to support other heart-centered leaders in building successful practices that are aligned with both their business goals and their deepest calling.

Visit The Grief and Trauma Healing Centre and connect with them on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Connect with Ashley Mielke on Instagram and LinkedIn.


In This Podcast

  1. Get clear on your why
  2. Become comfortable with discomfort
  3. Marketing!
  4. Take small and consistent steps
  5. Prioritize your emotional and spiritual health along the way

1. Get clear on your why

What drives you every single day to wake up and work on your business, and grow your group practice? What is it? (Ashley Mielke)

The “why” and the purpose behind you doing this work is the foundation that you can lean on during the difficult phases of entrepreneurship.

There will be tough times, and there will be challenges to overcome. Your purpose will help you, your team, and your practice overcome trying times and remain resilient in the face of adversity.

2. Become comfortable with discomfort

Entrepreneurship can be difficult, lonely, and even scary at times. However, do not let yourself be dissuaded from pursuing your goals just because something is uncomfortable.

There is often a lot of growth, expansion, and success on the other side of discomfort because it requires you to extend yourself in new ways.

I’ve learned to become comfortable in that state of discomfort and letting go of the need to know the outcome [and] trusting that whatever decision I am making, so long as it is aligned with my values, our vision and mission, and we are taking calculated risks, then what have we got to lose? (Ashley Mielke)

3. Marketing!

Marketing is key to your visibility and growth. People need to know who you are, how to find you, and what makes you stand out in your field.

What is it about what your company offers that makes you unique? Why should a client work with you as opposed to the team down the street?

We have to spend money, and we have to be willing to invest resources, time, money, and effort into building our marketing strategy and into growing. (Ashley Mielke)

Many practice owners feel nervous about investing money into their marketing. But, if done well, it can have a huge return and can help to skyrocket the success of your practice.

  • Have a strong social media presence on one or two social media platforms
  • Have free live streams or webinars on either Facebook or Instagram with someone from your team
  • Host free talks in your community
  • Connect with other wellness providers to work with your practice
  • Look at different handouts you can create and give to new or prospective clients

4. Take small and consistent steps

Take small and consistent steps because they lead to stunning results.

You do not have to make a huge change overnight and that may not work so well either.

Whether it is in your marketing, your client relations, or creating new services, take small and consistent steps.

Trust your intuition and make choices that resonate with the highest version of yourself, and that is in alignment with your goals and aspirations.

If the decision feels forced, coerced, or manipulated, it is not for you … we should feel [at] peace about our decisions. (Ashley Mielke)

You may feel scared at not knowing the outcome, or feel uncomfortable with the new growth, but that is different from a decision feeling forced or unwise.

You will still feel a sense of peace about the right decision – even if it is scary – if it is the right one to make.

5. Prioritize your emotional and spiritual health along the way

Look at your morning routine. Can you create a habit or habitual ritual that you follow each day to help you get started feeling secure, prepared, and calm?

Care for your mental, spiritual, and physical health. The work that you do when you are feeling aligned with yourself is often the best quality.

Find a hobby or a sport that you can do outside of work that can give you some childlike fun and freedom in your life.

Useful Links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[ASHLEY MIELKE] Welcome back to the Practice of the Practice podcast, episode 725. This is Ashley Mielke, and I will be your host for today’s episode. Some of you may have listened to a few other episodes that I’ve been previously on with the Practice of the Practice, but for those of you who don’t know who I am, I’m just going to briefly introduce myself. I am a consultant with the Practice of the Practice team, and I had the privilege and honor of joining the team in February of this year. I am very excited to be a part of such a beautiful team and culture, and to share really what lights my soul on fire with all of you. Some of my biggest passion areas are helping therapists to build heart-centered group practices, as well as to leverage culture as their competitive edge. On today’s episode, I’m going to be talking about five keys to growing your heart-centered group practice. I consider myself a heart-centered group practice owner because of how I came into this work and into the business world. I really believe that this work chose me. It wasn’t something I had ever set out to do and possibly some of you listening may be able to relate to that. So my company is called The Grief and Trauma Healing Center. We are located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and I started my journey as a business owner almost nine years ago. It was following the tragic suicide of my dad after he relapsed into alcohol and cocaine addiction. Following his death, I realized how ill-equipped I was to deal with my grief and I realized how ill-equipped everyone else was around me. So I went on this personal journey of healing and I went through this really transformative program that changed my life, called the Grief Recovery Method. That’s what led me to start my company. Literally the next day, after completing this program, I started The Grief and Trauma Healing Center. Since day one, what has been absolutely key for me as a business owner and as our group has grown is that I stay true to the why, to the purpose behind why I started this company in the first place. The why for me at that time was not wanting anybody to feel the pain, isolation, and loneliness that I felt when my dad died. That is truly the inspiration that has driven the business that we have today after almost nearly a decade in practice. I consider myself a heart-centered business owner for that reason, because I’m driven by a deeper purpose, a purpose that really resonates in my heart and a desire to serve. I think that’s what we’re all here to do, is to show up and serve others, serve our clients, and also serve our teammates and truly be that example for others. Every decision I make in my business is really a reflection of our values, our mission, and our vision. It was key for me these last few years, getting really clear on what our mission is, what our vision is and what those even mean and our values. So just as a starting point, before we dig into five keys to growing your heart-centered group practice, I’ll share just a couple of definitions that were really key for me in this process. A vision is really that big picture north star, our vision is supposed to be so big and so vast that it’s nearly impossible to achieve it in our lifetime, but it’s a part of the legacy. It’s a part of the why that drives us. So our vision at The Grief and Trauma Healing Center is that everyone will have the tools to heal from loss and no one will ever grieve alone. That is the vision that drives and inspires our strategy as we continue to grow our business. Our mission, and your mission is how you build your vision. What do you actually do in your business? Our mission is we are stewards who gently guide and journey with people on the pathway to healing one broken heart at a time. Those last words in the mission are really key for me because whether we are serving one client or we’re serving a thousand clients, it doesn’t matter. The experience of being of service to every single individual we meet is absolutely key and ensuring that they have a wonderful experience from the first time they interact with us to when they complete their work with their therapist. Then your values are what are the most important values that underlie your company, that drive your culture, that you want to see infused in the behaviors in your company that are emulated by your teammates and that your clients can really connect to without even knowing what they are? We have several important values, our most important being choose love. We believe that love is truly at the foundation of what we do and we define that by our compassion, kindness, respect, trust, safety, and nonjudgment. That is truly how we lead as a team with our teammates and with our clients. The other values are nurture growth, serve humbly, give generously, inspire belonging, and honor wholeness. We took the next step of really defining what those values are and how we actually introduce those into our behaviors. What did these values actually look like? So having that as an understanding to drive your business, I think is so incredibly important, if that isn’t something you’ve already done in your business. [ASHLEY MIELKE] This leads me into our first point, which is to get clear on your why and your purpose. What drives you every single day to wake up and work on your business and grow your group practice? What is it? We know that if we make our why or our purpose about money, it will never be enough to sustain us and push us to that next level, especially through the darker seasons. As you know entrepreneurship and business ownership is hard. There’s a lot of ups and downs and unpredictability and a lot of things that are not within our control. I think that can be so challenging for us if we don’t have a why, a foundation that really drives us through those tougher times. I know about five years ago, I went through some really hard stuff in the business and there were times when I wanted to quit and give up. What I held onto as an anchor during those moments was my why. I am a Christian and a faith-based person and business owner and so for me, it was not only the vision of wanting to help people and equip people with the tools to heal from loss. It was really, I believe a calling in my heart to serve after my dad died. I went through that horrific experience of his suicide. I really, truly felt like God had called me to now take this horrible experience and turn it for good and be of service to others. So even on in those dark moments, I just reminded myself of the calling in my heart to serve and to give. That is what has carried me through all of these years and has allowed us to grow our practice to the point that we’re at. I believe our team is about 24 people. We have about 20 clinicians on our team. We are opening our second location right now so there’s been significant growth these last couple of years and I honestly don’t think that if I had a why and a strong purpose that carried me through that we would be where we are. So I encourage you to think about the purpose that drives you, that deeper purpose in your heart to show up and serve. What is it? What is your story? What is the thing about you and your business that’s going to connect to others, that’s going to resonate with your clients, with future clients, that’s going to resonate with therapists when they see that you’re hiring and they are interested in joining your team? What is it about your company that stands out? That’s going to allow for you to continue to grow and flourish? [ASHLEY MIELKE] The second point in growing your heart-centered group practice is getting comfortable with the discomfort. This one’s really tough to talk about and I know everyone listening can appreciate this in your own unique way, how tough entrepreneurship can be, how lonely it can be, how scary it can be. That every step we take often involves discomfort because it’s important because it matters because it’s often stepping into the unknown territory. I know in every single step of growth that we’ve had since the conception of the business has always felt uncomfortable for me. Even now with the growth that we’ve had, the consistency that we’ve had over the last almost nine years, every new phase of growth feels both, I would say equally exhilarating and terrifying because it’s unpredictable and I can’t necessarily control the outcome. But I’ve learned to become comfortable in that state of discomfort and letting go of the need to know the outcome, but trusting that whatever decision I’m making so long as it is aligned with my values, our vision, our mission, and we are taking calculated risks, then what have we got to lose? I don’t think any person who has grown a successful business has ever done so with an exact roadmap with full certainty. If you talk to the most successful entrepreneurs out there, they all have a story of taking risks, of experiencing failures, of experiencing setbacks, of willingness to try new things, to see what works and what doesn’t work to get to the level of success that they’ve had to create the lifestyle that they’ve desired. I’m currently opening a second location right now. This has been something that I’ve known we were ready to do for about a year, but with COVID and some unpredictability about where our teammates were at in terms of working back in the office full-time and what our clients were really desiring, I was patiently waiting for the right time. So the last couple of months we’ve been in conversation with our leadership team, talking about, looking at everything, looking at the numbers, looking at availability in the office, looking at what are the key decisions, what are the key things we need to look at in order to make that decision? So, for me, even though it’s completely terrifying, I knew that it was the right decision to make, because we had outgrown our office space. We needed more space. We could no longer take on and grow our team. Our teammates were no longer able to add hours because there was no space available. With the continued success and growth that we’ve had, I knew that logically this was the next step to take if we wanted to continue to grow. So I was in prayer for weeks about this really praying for God’s peace in the decision. So me integrating my faith has been really key in my decisions, praying for God to purify and bless the decision and to put peace in my heart about it and I felt like I found that peace. So when I went to sign the lease for this office space, I really, even though logically, there’s all these doubts and questions and fears it felt right. I sort of just surrendered it at that point that whatever’s going to happen is going to happen and we’re setting ourselves up as best as we can for success as we continue to grow and learn how to now navigate opening another location, which in the big picture, the big vision of wanting to equip people with the tools so that no one ever grieves alone, this was the next step. My hope is that through this process, trial and error, and making note of every decision we make through building the second location, that we will know how to open a third location and a fourth location, and really expand and grow across the country, like we desire to do. This was the next step to take. This point around, getting comfortable with the discomfort isn’t meant to discourage at all. It’s really meant to empower you and prepare you for the normal conflicting feelings that come with any stage of growth. If you’ve been in practice for some time now you will know how it feels to take that next step, no matter how small or big it is and how scary it can feel and that in order to grow, we must be willing to step out of our comfort zone. I think we’ve all heard the quote, “There’s no growth in comfort and no comfort in growth.” Another favorite quote of mine that really resonates with a lot of people, i’s by Dr. Brené Brown, she says, “Fly the plane while you’re building it.” We must be willing to take the steps and figure it out as we go. I honestly don’t think there’s any other way because my process and my business is going to be different from yours. Urge you no matter where you’re at in growing your group practice, to sit with those uncomfortable feelings, share them with someone you trust. Remember your why. Remember the purpose behind why you started your company in the first place. [JOE SANOK] According to a scientific brief released by the world health organization between 2020 and 2021 global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25%. As a mental health professional, you’ve likely seen the effects of the pandemic and events over the past few years on your clients. With the great need for both anxiety and depression support in mind, our friends at Noble just launched roadmaps on anxiety and depression that offers your clients the education and tools they need between sessions to begin to take the steps necessary to reduce their symptoms. Noble makes powerful therapy simple with their app that offers research backed, automated between session support for clients, assessments, messaging, and more. Learn more and join for free at www.noble.health/joe. Again, that’s www.noble.health/joe. [ASHLEY MIELKE] The third key to growing your heart center group practice is marketing. Marketing is absolutely key to your visibility and your growth. People need to know who you are and how to find you and what makes you stand out from the other practices? What is it about what your company offers that makes you special and unique? Why should a client work with your team and not the team down the street? These are really important questions to ask yourself. Of course, having a really strong marketing strategy to grow your business is really important. I think this goes with the other, the second step or the second key around tolerating discomfort for growth, is we have to spend money. We have to be willing to invest resources, time, money, effort into building our marketing strategy and into growing. I hired a third party company. They are fabulous. We have worked with them for several years, I’m thinking about six years now in the business. I knew that there was some big investments that I had to make as a part of that next level of growth. When I started my group practice, which was about a year into business, we didn’t have any marketing strategy really in the early days. When my group practice began to grow really two, three years, four years into the business, I knew it was really important that we had to invest in some marketing. The big things were having a beautiful website, a modern website, easy to navigate. We have video on the website so people could really connect to our story and our why right away, they could connect now with our leadership team. We invested in a brand board, really understanding what are the colors, what is the vibe, what is the experience that we want our therapists and our clients to have when they interact with us? So having a strong website is so important, and if you have the resources to invest in SEO, Search Engine Optimization on the back end of your website, that’s what we hired our marketing company to do. It was quite a big investment up upfront, but that was really key for us to be listed organically on Google. So if you were to Google grief counseling, Edmonton, we would be first to pop up. We have discovered what the key words are in the area of grief and trauma and ways to really sort of dominate the market, so to speak, in our specialty area so that if someone is searching on Google, they’re going to find us. Our Google listing is going to pop up right away and hopefully that’s going to convert into a phone call or an email and into a client. Another really key marketing strategy for us is Google Ads, having really strong keywords associated to what people are searching for in our market as well, so that we are getting those leads right away and having a strong conversion with those individuals who are searching for grief or trauma counseling in our community. We also have a newsletter that people can sign up for through our website, which has been really key in building our following and building our audience and getting people really, again, connected to our mission and our vision, and hopefully wanting to work with our team, or if they don’t need our services, they can refer other people in their life. So building out a strategy where you are, you have followers where you have advocates for your business is really key. We also started a monthly blog, right from the start of the business. We have years of blogs. It’s a volunteer system. So we have our clinical team sign up to write a blog. Maybe they pick one a year or one every couple of years to write and they get to talk about their specialty. They get to talk about a specific area of grief or trauma that the community may really resonate with. Thus, they may attract clients to work with them. Some other keys to marketing would include having strong social media presence. It’s amazing. The conversion for our company on Instagram, especially I would say up to a third of our new intakes come from Instagram. So we hired a third party company to do our social media, because it was no longer something I had the time to do anymore. So we post five days a week, we engage in stories, we do giveaways with other companies and we do a lot of reels, a lot of videos because that is what people are looking for. That’s what people are engaged by, is video. So again, it’s that willingness to step out of our comfort zone to really be seen in a new way. I have to admit, I was absolutely terrified when I first began doing videos because it felt really vulnerable. What if I screwed up or what if I made a mistake or what if people don’t like what I have to say? I eventually just became comfortable being myself. Honestly, that’s all people want. They want to see that you’re a human being, they want to see your vulnerability and they want to connect to you as a person. So I love doing stories on Instagram. I love doing Instagram lives with our teammates. So for example, once a month, if we can, we like to schedule an Instagram live with someone on the team, talking about their expertise, talking about their passion behind grief and trauma counseling and who their ideal clients are so that we can engage our followers to reach out for support or let someone else in their life know that we are here and we’re available. We’ve also just tapped into the TikTok market. So we’re trying to figure out how TikTok works and how we can really leverage that platform to build our social media presence. Of course, Facebook, we use Facebook as well. That’s associated with our Instagram posts so that we can capture both audiences. That is definitely something to consider for yourself since that is the way that many individuals are engaging with companies now is through social media. Some other ideas for growing your practice and really getting your name out there is to host free community talks. For many years, we held quarterly talks. They were once in-person and then when we became introduced the online world, thanks to COVID, we’ve now move them to Zoom because it’s really convenient. Anyone can join from around the world. We host free 60-minute online talks and then we do a Q&A, so they end up being 90 minutes and it’s an awesome way to engage potentially new clients, new communities, and also for people to see you. So maybe they invite you to come speak to their group, their company, their nonprofit organization. They might invite you to speak at their conference. This has been a huge way to build visibility for myself as the CEO of my company and thus being able to go out and speak to different groups and also for the clinical team to establish their name and their reputation and to attract potential clients. Some other areas to consider would be some more businessy platforms if you’re into that. So joining business association groups in your community, going on LinkedIn, joining networking groups. Like we have a group here that I’ve joined called on EO, Entrepreneurs Organization, where you meet with other like-minded business owners, where you can learn from them and network and have mentorship as you continue to grow. Some other platforms might be Psychology Today to list a profile or getting involved in Facebook referral groups. Here in Edmonton, we have a group that’s specifically for psychologists working in Edmonton. It’s a great opportunity to let people know who you are and what you’re offering. Other ideas for marketing would be attending community events, like networking events and luncheons, going to conferences and talks and connecting with other again, like-minded business people or heart-centered business owners where you can establish a referral relationship on that topic. I think establishing partnerships is really key as well. This last few years, we have partnered with a nonprofit organization in Edmonton and that has been really wonderful. Not only to give back one of our values is to give generously, not only to give back and offer a discounted rate to individuals within this nonprofit organization, this charity, but also as a way to leverage the work that we’re doing. So it’s a win-win. It’s an opportunity to give back to a beautiful charity and also for people to learn about who we are and how we serve in the community. We also have established some referral relationships with other for-profit businesses, so other wellness businesses out there who are looking for a group practice of psychologists who specialize in grief and trauma and then on our end, looking for wellness companies that can serve and support in ways that we can’t, whether that’s massage or Reiki or acupuncture, those kinds of things. Another great way to get your name out there that has been key for me is speaking. Any request that I’ve had to speak I have said yes to if I have the availability, whether they were paid speaking opportunities or not, because it’s an opportunity to get in front of an audience, especially if it’s really aligned with your business, for people to see you and hear you and connect to your story and connect to your business and potentially they can become a client or they can refer people to you. I have spoken at so many different conferences, professional associations, community events, golf tournaments, The Rotary Club and small businesses. Other places to, I guess it all depends also on what you specialize in, so maybe you work with children, so maybe you can go and speak at a school as an example. Or maybe you speak in a prison setting to a mental health team. There’s all sorts of places that you can speak. It’s just getting, again, really clear on who your audience is and where you really desire to get those referrals. Lastly, on this topic, looking at different handouts you can create. Last year, we created a beautiful, welcome package. You can download it right off our website. We send it out to potential new clients and anyone who’s inquiring saying, hey, I’ve got some questions for you, what we’ve established is this beautiful package that they can download that includes all the FAQs and everything they need to know about the business, including our story, including our vision and including one of my favorite aspects of the company, which is our annual hope campaign. That’s an annual fundraiser that we do in honor of my dad’s anniversary of his death as a way to give back to the community. So it’s a great way to introduce your business, the community, who you are, what you do, who you serve, what your fees are and all that good stuff. You can also create things like an eBook, or maybe you create postcard style bookmarks that people can take from your office. We have those as well, which are really great little tools that clients can take away and that you can continue to be top of mind. [ASHLEY MIELKE] Moving on to the fourth key to growing your heart center group practice. The fourth point is small and consistent steps lead to stunning results, small and consistent steps lead to stunning results. We don’t get there overnight. I heard a quote from my sister-in-law who owns a large jewelry company here in Canada called Bergen Burke Jewelry. She said Ashley, it takes 10 years to be an overnight success and that resonated with me. What that communicated to me is often we see group practice owners and other successful entrepreneurs, they just seem to pop out of nowhere. They seem to pop up like it was an overnight success, but then when you sit and have a conversation with them, or you hear their story, you realize, wow, most of them have been in business for a decade or longer. They were consistently and slowly working at their business all of these years. Most of the work that they’ve done is the work that you’ll never see, that you’ll never hear about because all you see now is the success that they’ve had. It’s really humbling for me to reflect on the almost nine years of business that I’ve been in. Firstly I can’t even believe it’s been nine years in October, but all the ups and downs that I went through to get where we are today to establish the business we have, to be in the position to continue to scale and have the resources to do that. It’s incredibly humbling and it was certainly not an overnight thing. It was a lot of trial and error. It was a lot of setbacks. It was failures. It was redirection and a number of successes along the way. But every day we must work at our businesses and hopefully find some balance and some fun and play and have that in the mix as well. But we know to get where we want to go, there’s going to be an element of sweat equity. I remember the first time I heard that concept, I was like, yes, that’s exactly what it is. The sweat equity of the business owner that most people don’t see. That might mean working every day, seven days a week for an hour on your business. That might be time blocking and carving out that you work four days intensively on your business. I think everybody is different. I prefer to work every day. It’s a part of my routine so that I stay on top of things while also integrating play and fun and prioritizing my family and my self-care in there. That’s a whole other conversation to have about how we balance it all and how we do it all. I’m still trying to figure it out all these years later, but I’m finally in a place where I’m not perpetually burnt out where I have a lot of fun and play in my life. I have a ton of flexibility, which really is a dream to finally establish that in the business. There’s a lot of books written about taking these steps and about the grit that it involves to grow a successful business. I love that word grit because I think it captures exactly what is required of us as we continue to grow. Grit is that passion and perseverance to attain your long-term goals. It’s that ability to persist when you feel like giving up, when you face obstacles, when it feels like it’s too hard to keep going. Let me tell you, I’ve been there more times than I would like, that is in those moments where you’re called to say, okay, I’m showing up and I’m going to do whatever it takes to get through this and I remember my why. I remember the purpose in this moment that’s going to carry me through and I’m not going to give up, even though every part of me wants to. If you’ve been there or maybe you’re there now, you’re in a dark season, I want you to know that you are not alone. We all go through dark seasons and I honestly think it’s those seasons that really shape our character, they refine our character and they deepen our capacities for resilience to be able to show up and make those decisions to grow our companies and to be able to tolerate the discomfort and pain that comes in those processes. I think it’s those moments where we truly learn the most about ourselves and our businesses and what drives us at the end of the day. [ASHLEY MIELKE] Number four, the fourth key to growing your heart-centered group practice. If the decision feels, feels forced, coerced or manipulated, it is not for you. We should never feel that any decision we make should feel forced, coerced or manipulated. We should feel peace about our decisions. We might feel scared, we might not know the outcome, but we must feel a sense of peace about the decision, or it’s not right. Take it from me all of the times I have ignored my intuition I have tried to force something in the business, it has never turned out the way I had hoped. There are always stop signs along the way, trust your gut, trust your intuition. You may not know why, it may not make sense, but trust the feeling. We really should feel a sense of peace in the decisions that we make. It might be that the decision itself isn’t the wrong decision or is the wrong decision. It might be that it’s the decision that we’re not making yet. So it may not be no, it may be not yet. So to slow down, take some time to reflect. If you have a higher power, maybe it’s God or some other spiritual connection to really connect to that part of you when you’re making decisions. If it feels forced, be mindful of that. [ASHLEY MIELKE] Lastly, number five, the fifth key to growing your heart-centered group practice prioritize your emotional and spiritual health along the way. This is so important. I have experienced burnout as a business owner. Maybe you have as well because of the competing priorities and expectations and pressures that when we’re in those early phases of growth, everything falls on us. Maybe we don’t have the capacity to hire extra support, a third party support or build a leadership team because we just don’t have the financial resources to do that. I’ve been there. It can be really hard to prioritize our emotional and spiritual health and our relationships. So one really good habit to start to build on that, if you’re not already doing this is to look at what your morning routine is as a starting place. I have a morning routine that I consistently follow every day, seven days a week, whether it’s a day off, whether I’m on vacation, whether I’m in a different country. It doesn’t matter. It has been so second nature for me and so key to my emotional, spiritual, and physical health that it feels worse when I miss it. Everybody needs to figure out what their routine should look like for you. So my routine is I get up in the morning, it’s usually between five and six. I used to be a 5A.Mer, the 5:00 AM club, if any of you are familiar but then my son who’s five years old, started going to bed a little bit later. So my bedtime used to be nine o’clock and I would get up at five, but his bedtime, if you have children, I know you can appreciate this, he’s a little bit more challenging to get to sleep at night. He’s usually asleep by nine o’clock and so for me to have some time to wind down, it’s 10 o’clock for me now. So I’m generally up about six o’clock and my routine is I get up head to the kitchen, first thing, I make my coffee because how can I start my day without coffee? I have some spiritual time. So for me, that spiritual time is sitting with Jesus. There’s a day to day book that I read where there’s scripture, there’s prayer, and then there’s a two minute silent reflection. It ends up taking about 10 minutes. Sometimes I will write a letter to Jesus as well, where I talk about the things I’m grateful for, where I really need support and help, where I’m really surrendering difficult things happening and just setting a tone for the day. That is how I like to start my day coffee, some time with Jesus and then if I’ve got some time to tackle emails, that’s usually where I’ll go next, is what have I missed I need to catch up from the day before? I usually spend about an hour doing some admin work, emails, because I find that I’m the most productive and work the fastest in the morning. Then my son usually wakes up. We have some snuggle time. I usually give him about 10 minutes of snuggles and then I turn to exercise. That’s when I’ll usually go for a run. If it’s the nice seasons here in Edmonton, Alberta, I will definitely take advantage of that, head outside, or I will head to the basement and do a Peloton exercise. That routine is so important for my mental health, my emotional health, my spiritual health setting, the tone for the day, I feel alive. I feel rejuvenated. I’ve poured into myself and then I’m ready to hit the ground running at that point. So whether that is again, getting back to work on the computer having meetings, I usually don’t start meetings till 11 o’clock in the morning for that reason exactly, so that I can have that time for myself and my family before I jump into the day. That really works for me. So definitely consider what your morning routine looks like right now for you and what you can integrate to improve, to prioritize and carve time out for your emotional, mental, and spiritual health. This not only is beneficial to us. It’s beneficial to our families. It’s beneficial to our team. It’s beneficial to our clients. You are setting an example for others to follow. They are watching you. How do you show up in your life? What are you doing to take care of yourself, to prioritize yourself so that others can feel comfortable and inspired to do the same. I also encourage you to find a hobby or a sport or something that you really have wanted to pursue, but you just haven’t. Maybe it’s a childhood dream of playing a sport, something that can give you that childlike, fun and freedom in your life. I started playing hockey as a beginner hockey player in December, and it has changed my life. This was a childhood dream of mine, but my mom was a single mom raising me and she just couldn’t afford to put me in. So as an adult, I feel like God had sort of planted this seed last year to look up adult beginner, hockey programs. So when I found one locally, I signed up that day and have been playing since. So it’s been about four or five months and I am hooked. I’m playing on a few different hockey teams and absolutely loving my life. There’s been a fun and a freedom and an aliveness that I haven’t found doing anything else because it’s not business related. It’s not therapy related. It’s truly just about being present and having fun without any expectation or without needing some outcome. I think all of us deserve to feel that and have that to be a part of our life. [ASHLEY MIELKE] So I would absolutely love for you to take some time for yourself now and reflect on the things that I shared in this episode. Take some notes, maybe there’s a few nuggets or take-aways that really resonated with you and think about what are one to five things that you can integrate into your practice that can help you to take that next step in your growth? If you’re looking for any support and you want to work with me as your consultant, I would feel absolutely honored and privileged to hear from you and to work with you. You can reach out directly to me, [email protected] and we can connect on some of your goals that you have for growing your heart-centered group practice and how I may be of service to you. Thank you so much for joining us today and take care. [JOE] Woo, we could not do this show without our sponsors and Noble has some really exciting news to share where they’re adding over 50,000 mental health professionals to their platform. Right now you can sign up totally for free over at www.noble.health/joe. Again, that’s noble.health/joe. Thank you so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an amazing day. I’ll talk to you soon. Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, the producers, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.