Do you struggle with feelings of doubt and uncertainty? How do you balance seeing clients and taking care of your family when you feel unsure? How does one put a stop to imposter syndrome?
In this podcast episode, Whitney Owens speaks with Chris Swenson about how to overcome imposter syndrome.
Meet Chris Swenson
Chris Swenson is passionate about helping other practice owners optimize their mindset, mental toughness, and peak performance. He is the author of two books: Rhino Life Lessons and Private Practice Warrior. He also continues to operate his practice, Rhino Wellness Center in Colorado.
Visit Chris’ website.
Email Chris at email@example.com
In This Podcast
- How to get out of a defeatist mindset
- What is imposter syndrome?
- What every Christian counselor needs to know
How to get out of a defeatist mindset
I think stepping back and developing a plan of really knowing why you do what you do and what is your purpose for coming in becomes a major piece.
- Redirect your focus. What you are focusing on is where your energy goes into. Redirect your focus and therefore your energy into developing a different mindset.
- Shifting your focus and perspective away from what have I not done to what have I accomplished will change the narrative towards one of more self-compassion. Being compassionate with yourself, consciously, will make you empathize with your successes and congratulate yourself on things you have done well.
- This self-compassion will also displace any unrealistic expectations you have put on yourself. Try to structure a morning routine for yourself that will help you reconnect with your ‘why’ every morning. Why are you doing this? Why does this bring you joy? Remembering these answers will help to motivate you to enjoy what you are doing instead of tearing down what you have done.
Overcoming a defeatist mindset is easier once you have a growth mindset; this happens when you change the narrative from ‘I have failed’ to ‘I have learned from this experience’, or ‘what has this setback taught me?’ Viewing setbacks and obstacles as growth opportunities will in fact help you overcome them faster, and with more joy than stopping at the first wall you encounter.
What is imposter syndrome
It’s falling in love with the process as opposed to viewing the results that you’re getting, and enjoying the process because the process of doing it is fulfilling your mission.
Imposter syndrome is when you feel like a phony, or that you are not capable or good enough to achieve the goals you have. It is based on a level of self-doubt and can be incredibly hinder some when you are trying to build a business or practice.
It can also come up by comparing yourself to other people, even though you are only seeing those people from the outside and they are almost certainly also struggling too. There two main kinds of effects that impostor syndrome can have on a person:
- Turning them into a perfectionist
- Making them procrastinate
Each kind is rooted in a level of self-doubt that can be remedied with self-compassion. Look at how far you have come instead of how much farther you still want to do.
Imposter syndrome is a negative belief of yourself. You can shift it around by bringing up hard evidence against these thoughts. Show yourself how hard you have worked, look back on all the progress you have made to prove to yourself how far you have come. Looking at daily progress is too small, it is hardly visible. Looking at the last six months, there it is more visible and you can show yourself how much you have indeed grown as a person and a counselor.
What every Christian counselor needs to know
The way in which you serve will be played out through your practice. There will be moments of darkness and uncertainty but holding tight to your faith and the light of how you want to get there will keep you on the path. Hold tight to your ‘why’ to keep you going, and come to see challenges as learning experiences and opportunities for growth, both for you and your practice.
Books by Chris Swenson
- LaToya Smith on The Power of Storytelling | FP 44
- Killin’It Camp
- If you are new to Faith-Based Private Practice, click here to sign up to receive helpful emails.
- If you have and established Faith-Based Private Practice, click here to sign up to receive helpful emails
- Practice of the Practice Podcast Network
- Email Whitney: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Faith In Practice Facebook Group
- Apply to work with Whitney
- Consult With Whitney
Meet Whitney Owens
Whitney is a licensed professional counselor and owns a growing group practice in Savannah, Georgia. Along with a wealth of experience managing a practice, she also has an extensive history working in a variety of clinical and religious settings, allowing her to specialize in consulting for faith-based practices and those wanting to connect with religious organizations.
Knowing the pains and difficulties surrounding building a private practice, she started this podcast to help clinicians start, grow, and scale a faith-based practice. She has learned how to start and grow a successful practice that adheres to her own faith and values. And as a private practice consultant, she has helped many clinicians do the same.
Thanks For Listening!
Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media by clicking on one of the social media links below! Alternatively, leave a review on iTunes and subscribe!
Faith in Practice is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts that are changing the world. To hear other podcasts like Empowered and Unapologetic, Bomb Mom, Imperfect Thriving, Marketing a Practice or Beta Male Revolution, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.
I absolutely love the Empowered and Unapologetic podcast with Veronica Cisneros. Not only is it helpful for me as I’m learning how to balance life as a mother, and working, and expectations that are placed on me, but I also recommend it to my clients often, and they find that the podcast is so helpful for them and it really allows their treatment to move forward. Veronica does an amazing job catching women at that point even before they go to counseling, where they’re really needing to get some basic skills and get some encouragement, so I want to encourage you to check her out. You can find her on iTunes or most podcast players, or you can go over to practiceofthepractice.com/network.
Welcome to the Faith in Practice podcast. I’m your host, Whitney Owens, recording live from Savannah, Georgia. I’m a licensed professional counselor, group practice owner and private practice consultant. In each week, through a personal story or amazing interviews, I will help you learn how to start, grow, and scale your private practice from a faith-based perspective. I’m going to show you how to have an awesome, faith-based practice without being cheesy or fake. You too can have a successful practice, make lots of money, and be true to yourself.
So today I’m recording this episode in mid August. I think you’ll be listening to it sometime in September. Crazy times here. My kids – I have two little ones, I have a seven and a four year old – and they both started virtual learning today. And today in the episode we’re going to talk about imposter syndrome. We can build out on so many levels, right? So I’m thinking about today that honestly I feel like an imposter trying to be a teacher to my kids, when let me tell you, I did not go to school to learn how to educate elementary school children. And I know that so many of you are in the same situation that I am, where you’re learning how to balance seeing clients, and taking care of yourself, and also being a teacher to your kids. And but then also having fun time with your kids where you’re not doing work.
Last night was just a crazy mess in my house trying to get everything ready, computer set up, a learning area prepared. And that’s not my norm. I’m usually way ahead of things. And so I kind of was winging it honestly, compared to how I usually am. And, you know, I do feel like an imposter in a lot of ways. But at the same time, also giving yourself grace and saying, you know what, life is crazy right now, and that’s okay. And the most important thing is that I’m taking care of myself so that I can be a better mother, a better wife, a better therapist.
So we all struggle with this idea of imposter syndrome. But the most important thing is that we acknowledge it and know that it’s okay. We give ourselves acceptance and we move on. And I have always loved talking with Chris Swenson. I met him at Killin’It Camp last year. And he’s so authentic and so cool to be around. And so you’re gonna learn a lot from him because he allows… he does consulting surrounding more of the mental side of what we go through as therapists, and less so on kind of the practical stuff even though he can definitely hit that. I just love that he talks about the mental part because that is so much of the challenge for us as counselors. So I think you’re going to benefit a lot from my episode today with Chris Swenson. And this is episode number 45 on how to overcome imposter syndrome.
Welcome to the Faith in Practice podcast. Today I have Chris Swenson on the episode. He is passionate about helping private practice owners optimize their mindset, mental toughness, and peak performance. He’s the author of two books, Rhino Life Lessons and Private Practice Warrior. He continues to operate his practice in Rhino Wellness Center, in Colorado. Hey Chris, how’re you doing? [CHRIS]:
I’m doing great, Whitney. How are you? [WHITNEY]:
Doing good. How are things in Colorado? [CHRIS]:
I think things are going pretty well. We’ve had a big heat wave recently, and it was pretty hot outside. Went to one of the lakes around here, it was pretty warm but then the wind came up and then it was kind of like a hurricane wind. It kept the bugs away, but at least it kind of kept the heat a little bit more down. [WHITNEY]:
So when you say hot, what is that? [CHRIS]:
Like a hundred degrees. [WHITNEY]:
Oh, gosh, that’s hot. Okay. It’s been that way here too. You know, we’re recording this in July. So down in Savannah, I think it was ninety-eight here yesterday, but that’s like normal. So I can’t imagine a hundred. I mean, in Colorado, you’re so much closer to the sun. It actually really does make a difference. [CHRIS]:
Oh, no doubt. I think one of the first times I ever moved down here – because I grew up in Minnesota – and when I moved here, I was up in the mountains where my son had a baseball tournament. And I was like, oh my gosh, it’s only like seventy, seventy-one degrees. It should be a great, easy time. And I got so sunburned so quick, it was sick, and I’m like, whoa, no kidding. [WHITNEY]:
Oh, yeah, well, I miss Colorado a lot. So I’m always really glad when I get to interview someone from Colorado and I can feel like I’m in the mountains, even when I’m down here in the coastal region. [CHRIS]:
Oh, sure, yeah, no, where I live at I’m on the northeast corner. So it’s kind of like the plains out here. So you can’t quite see the mountains, but you need to go at least a good hour and a half, two hours, and then you’ll get there. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah, awesome. Well, Chris, why don’t you share with the audience a little bit about yourself, a little bit about your practice, and then how you kind of came about the private practice warrior mentality? [CHRIS]:
Okay. Yeah. Like she said, my name is Chris Swenson. I’m actually a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. And it’s kind of interesting being a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist because people say like, wow, so you work with families? And I’m like, no, not necessarily. I really work mostly with individuals. And people always thought that was pretty crazy. But it was mainly because I wanted like, besides that individual lens of seeing people, I wanted that relational lens. That’s why I went to graduate school for all that. And then I did some agency work for a while, which was good for a little bit. And then it got to be quite a struggle, as we all kind of experience that agency setting, and eventually decided I’m gonna… I’ve always known, even before I went even undergrad, that I’m going to have my own practice at some point.
So I eventually went into practice 2012 and I just basically jumped right in. The agency I worked at would not allow any kind of part time stuff, it would be like competition or whatever they’d say. And so then I eventually just kind of behind the scenes, if you will, I visited with some referral sources that I could trust, kind of let them know what’s going on. So you let them know what’s going to happen. So it wasn’t quite cold turkey jumping in, but I basically stopped, like, at the agency and I had about enough money for about one month is about it. And I needed to make that sucker work. And so, I mean, it didn’t just jump off right away beyond any means, but it was a good feeling. And then eventually I got that… I think I was in the first year, I was about to get to a full practice. So it was pretty good.[WHITNEY]:
That’s awesome. [CHRIS]:
Yes, I’ve maintained that pretty well now. And then I’ve always done like a just basically a solo practice. I’ve not been interested in getting into kind of the group practices, where I wanted to try to, instead of using my time to grow a group practice, I wanted to use my time to get into doing other things and that’s what brought me into the mindset stuff. But I know initially, when I first got into private practice, there were definitely different struggles, because I did get the full practice but there wasn’t quite that being fulfilled… I was feeling stressed, feeling fatigued. I mean, just the mental part of this I really struggled with, and that back then, I got into a lot of the warrior culture and began learning from a lot of them on mental toughness, and peak performance, and it just kind of blew me away. So then it became kind of this… all I could do is read everything and study all I could on mindset and basically the mental toughness part of doing business.
And then once I started doing that, that’s when a lot of stuff really started to take off. I was able to really get a practice that was fit more specific for me, the confidence was definitely there, I had better systems, my morning routines. It was just like night and day for me. And for me, growing up I was kind of brought up in more like a defeatist mindset. Because I played in this small town and we played these bigger schools in sports and we got our butt kicked all the time. In fact, I remember in high school, playing football, four years of playing varsity football, we won one game in four years.[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, so I was always brought up just kind of on a defeatist end of this. And then once I began not only just learning about the strategies, coping, of how to work your mindset, but really conditioning and training yourself to be who you are; that private practice warrior mindset came out of all that. And like my practice is called Rhino Wellness Center. So Rhino, a lot of my life purpose and all my principles, I just sum up as Rhino. And that’s just what sums it all up. And so basically that mentality, that the rhino mentality, is what is actually the private practice warrior stuff. And in the book that I wrote, Private Practice Warrior, I wrote it more like a story rather than like a businessy book, so it’s kind of enjoying, has a little twist to it. But you get exposed to the principles and nuts and bolts of what that mindset looks like. So that’s where Private Practice Warrior started to come from. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah, so let’s kind of go back and I want to hear more about how you were struggling as a therapist, and I’m guessing you see a lot of therapists now that you’re kind of, I think of it as on the other side, like, you figured out these mindsets, and you’ve really worked your life a lot better. What are some of the problems either that you had, or that you see therapists struggling with on the front end, that are problems? [CHRIS]:
Well, I think most of the time, one of the big misconceptions, I think, coming in, is that we’re therapists. And so we have this mindset stuff down, like, I know how to cope with stress, I know how to cope with doubt. And then what goes on is, I think what I’ve seen is we’re so well trained at treating depressions, anxieties, treating whatever trauma, but yet when we get into business, it’s a different kind of monster. Now, you’re dealing with a lot of fear of failure, you’re dealing with self-doubt, you’re dealing with imposter syndromes. And I see a lot of people are like, I just don’t know this. I just don’t know if I can do this. And there’s a lot of kind of holding themselves back when I think for all of us, you know, we all went through graduate school and there’s a lot of learning that we had to do, and put together, and even training just to be a therapist to begin with, that we can definitely do this.
And so there’s a lot of hang ups, I think, that we get in our mind about that, I don’t know if I can do this, I just don’t know enough about this. And then when people start finding about it, as you know, with any kind of topic, there’s more to the topic. And so sometimes people start thinking like, I just don’t know when to start, so they may end up just kind of like holding themselves back and waiting for so long, and never getting in the game. At other times, they might jump right in the game, they’re not quite prepared. And I think that’s the biggest part is they’re so stuck on strategy. And what I’ve seen from a mindset perspective is that’s twenty percent of the game. Twenty percent is like the strategies and the ‘How to’ of what we need to do. And the other eighty percent, like, basically the underwater part of the iceberg, is the mindset piece. And so it’s easy for us to go, like on a weekend and find about, okay, how do I market? How do I set up my practice? What systems do I need to use? Do I do insurance, do I not? And we get that set up. But we’re totally underestimating the mindset piece where now all of a sudden, I start to feel overwhelmed. I start to feel like I’m just not good enough. Self-doubt kind of creeps in a little bit. Or they end up kind of designing a practice out of the scarcity of, oh my gosh, I got to get clients. And then they start taking on just about any kind of client, just to start filling the practice and before they know it, they’ve got a practice that they kind of feel like a slave to the practice, that is they’re not that fulfilled. It’s not quite been what they really wanted as far as feeling a joy and a freedom from it.
I think sometimes stepping back and really developing a plan, and knowing why you do what you do, what is your purpose for coming in, becomes a major piece to that. And for me, I know when I first got in, there was a lot of that struggle about, I know I can do this, I came from the business world before I got into doing therapy stuff. So I was fairly confident with that. That’s what I thought. And then as I start getting into it, it’s like a different thing where, you know, you’re dealing with kind of the service industry of this. And how do I, you know, with referral sources seem to have kind of their little pet person they would send things to. How am I going to get there? And then all of a sudden, I find out that they referred so and so and not to me, and then there’s some discouragement and disappointment, and then off the frustration I try different marketing tactics and it wasn’t working. So you get just caught up in this frustration, this disappointment, discouragement about when is this going to happen? Then you’d see everybody else with all their great successes and what’s going on, why can’t I do this? So I see a lot of that with a lot of the practice owners.[WHITNEY]:
I love the way you describe this, like, I’m sitting here going, yeah, that’s exactly what it’s like. I remember feeling all those things. I was just talking to someone yesterday about, you get that call, and you’re thinking, oh, are they going to want to work with me? Are they not? It’s almost like, it’s so stressful. It makes me think of dating. Counseling is a lot like dating. Is this client gonna want to come see me? We take it so personally. And then they schedule with you and you’re like, yay, I got a new client, and then they don’t and you’re like, dang, this stinks. What’s wrong with me? I just resonate with everything you’re sharing. And I will also say, in the consulting work that we do, we see this all the time. I mean, all those questions you’re bringing up, people are always saying, I can’t do this. I don’t know how to do this. And it does relate so much to that mindset. I love how you gave that percentage. I had never heard of it that way, that eighty percent, that’s really great. And so how do we get from that mindset where we’re really struggling, or feeling defeated, how do you help people get out of that? [CHRIS]:
Well, a lot of it becomes I look at… coming from me, I’m a very spiritual person. And so I see things from like a spiritual end and I look at, like, darkness is what I’ll call it, if there’s like a darkness spiritual force out there that kind of gets in the way of a lot of our clients as well, really messes with them and creates problems for them. I think for us as people trying to help others out, it does the same thing. If they can’t get to us from like a depression or anxiety or whatever, it’s going to try to mess with us on how we can provide services. And so I look at darkness as something that impacts ourselves. It gets us to see things in a different way.
So I always go back to focus. I mean, one of the things is it’s always trying to get you to focus on something negative, like, what are you focused on? It’ll direct that focus to where you begin to focus, think about, I’m not good enough, I don’t know if I could do this, there’s just so much to learn, things aren’t working out for me. When we stay focused on that, then we’re not focused on our own abilities, our purpose, our ‘why’. And if it can get from there going into a lot of the story, which is the perception piece, the meaning, so now we start to… if it can get us convinced that it’s because we are not good enough, that you’re right, we’re just never going to be successful like this, then we start taking on that identity and beginning to operate from it. And it doesn’t matter what strategy that you’re going to use from a marketing standpoint, or any of that stuff when you’re coming from that perspective. You may get some short term success, but not the long term side.
So there’s a lot of understanding that awareness, of shifting the perspective, I mean, shifting your focus, and being able to kind of story in that, hey, I am a confident person. I’m somebody that’s… having like self-compassion would probably be a good word. Bringing that in so that you can see that, look, I’m just learning this, you know, being able to celebrate the little victories, know that I’m not going to do this overnight, instead of anticipating that it’s just gonna take off. So there’s a bit of fighting those things off. So a lot of times from a skill set standpoint I look at that as, where’s your focus at, what are you focused on? How is that story? So you take a look at some of the stories that they have and trying to rewrite those, if you will. But in order to do that from a standpoint, you know, there’s like morning routines that you get into where you want to identify why you do what you do. Go through your ‘why’, go through your purpose, go through those principles you live by every single day. That helps to kind of solidify against some of that because you start to lose focus about why you’re doing this. And pretty soon it seems so overwhelming that you can’t do this, but when you get there big enough ‘why’ you can go back to that every day and feel that as far as, this is why I do this, this is why I’m putting myself through a lot of these things. And for me, as part of my purpose, it also comes back for being a better person. I understand that building a business is great, being able to help a lot of people is definitely something that motivates me. However, it’s about how do we become a better person, how do we become a better parent, a better community person? And I do that through the challenges of facing, in the business, how do we overcome those challenges and grow as a person? And so when we kind of shift our perspective, see things from a different viewpoint.
And that’s where I look at like Private Practice Warrior. It’s just a different way of looking at your practice and coming at it from that perspective, and beginning each and every day to ingrain in yourself, this identity that that’s… or at least whether or not you take it on as a complete identity, or something that there’s a part of me that I can tap into when I need to. So there’s a lot of different things besides the skill set piece, which I refer to as kind of a horizontal growth, learning more skills as a horizontal growth. But really getting that vertical growth is where you become that bigger, better person. You begin to grow as an individual which, once your practice grows, if you grow with it, you’ll be okay; if your practice is growing, but you’re not, then you’re gonna have some troubles.[WHITNEY]:
All that is so true. I think about at the beginning of the practice, or to my new clients, it was like, I would focus on the person who chose not to work with me instead of the fifteen people that were. [CHRIS]:
Correct. Yeah. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah, I encourage people when they’re at the… especially at the beginning of building their practice, I love how you’re speaking to the ‘why’ and the meaning behind it because yeah, we get lost in all these details of growing a business, like the marketing, and we forget so easily all that. And so I always encourage people, write about it, like write about why you’re doing what you’re doing, why you started your practice, why you branded it the way you did. Because when times get tough, you’re going to need to go back to that, because that is your foundation, your rock. And when we’re talking to… it’s a Christian podcast, I mean, we’re talking about faith – that is so much a big part of what we’re doing, like, why is this practice an important part of your faith? Or what’s the mission behind what you’re doing? How does that relate to your faith? And so I think people should be writing that down and going back to it, and I love that you’re encouraging that. [CHRIS]:
Yeah, absolutely. And to me, one of the principles of my mentality is faith. That’s one of the pillars that I have of my ten pillars that I read through every day. And that’s faith, you know, for me personally, is faith like in a higher power. For other people it doesn’t necessarily have to be, but it’s a little bit more larger than that too. It’s also faith in my abilities, faith in my team, faith in the community. But there’s a lot of stuff to me where I always talk about, it’s kind of like God’s will be done. It’s my duty to carry out the mission that he’s put forth for me. And whether I like it or not, that’s what I need to do, and if it doesn’t work out, it’s maybe… it’s not necessarily because, well, I guess he didn’t want that for me. A lot of times, it’s not. It can easily be that no, there was a growth experience that I needed to have, that is now going to prepare me for something coming down the road. And so it’s so critical we have, I think, from a faith-based standpoint, for me it’s nice to be able to have that so that I can go back to that as a nice little scaffold, if you will, that I don’t fall down so much from. And there’s many times I’ll even do that before sessions or even during sessions. I’m like, okay, God, just please give me the words to help these people because I’m not quite sure. And I’m not kidding, there is sometimes stuff just kind of comes out, and I don’t know where it’s coming from. [WHITNEY]:
Oh, yeah, totally, totally. And when you make yourself available like that God will do some good stuff. [CHRIS]:
Yeah, no doubt. And that’s the best part because we were talking earlier too about how like, you’re focused on the one person who didn’t come see you, and not the fifteen other people that contacted you, or whatever. Sometimes it might even turn reverse, like there’s fifteen people that didn’t come but you did get that one, you know, and it’s all fine. It’s just gonna be what are you gonna focus on? And I know that’s a lot of times where like imposter syndrome stuff can really mess with us. Because it does, it’s going to get you to focus on the negative parts of you, and then try to get you to take ownership of that, as if it’s definitely who you are. And you’re no good. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah, so for our audience, we kind of all know what imposter syndrome is, in a way, but could you just define it so that we’re kind of all on the same page? [CHRIS]:
Yeah, I look at imposter syndrome as something that is where you just feel like an imposter, you feel phony, you start to feel like you’re not good enough, like you’re not capable, that people are going to find out that you really don’t know as much as you know. And for me, it gets really based in a level of not feeling good enough, self-doubt, a lot of that. And so for me, that’s when I see imposter stuff. And it’s not something… when I look at like a syndrome, I see that as something that occurs kind of on an ongoing basis. So for me, I think with imposter syndrome is I don’t really see it as like a syndrome because it’s not always showing itself. It may show itself in certain situations, or different circumstances. And there might be a time that once we’ve kind of overcome something, it’s not quite there but then once we start pushing yourself again, then it becomes there.
I think you see it a lot more when people are starting to kind of level up, or they’ve created something, and then they’re going to think how am I going to sustain this? How am I going to continue this? If people really knew how I live my life, for whatever that is, that they won’t see that I’m as great as people perceive myself to be. Another part of it comes from when we compare ourselves to others, that we see these people as being just confident, they see them as being, wow, they can kick butt, they could do all these things, I mean, they’re just such successful… they don’t have any fear at all. And then here we sit with like, I got all these anxieties, and these fears, and I just doubt myself, and so there must be something wrong with me. And I think that’s where, a lot of times, what I see imposter syndrome as being.[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, I love that point you made, that often imposter syndrome comes up as we get to new levels. And I do feel that way for myself, and for the people that I work with, I see that all the time. And it’s just kind of funny because you’re actually becoming more successful and then imposter syndrome comes on you even stronger. It’s interesting. [CHRIS]:
Yeah. Absolutely. And I think that, like I said, is the idea of imposter syndrome is definitely to get control of your focus, to focus on the insecurities, the doubt, this other thing; if it can get you to do those things, but then also take ownership of it, in other words, the perception – how you see yourself. Because other people will look at you and go, oh my gosh, like, you’re a major success, I can’t believe that you’re able to do this. Or you’re even doing this, or even trying, that’s something. But yet it won’t let us see that; it wants us to see how doubtful we are, how we know this isn’t going to be there, you know you’re incapable. And when we buy into that, imposter syndrome doesn’t have to do too much after we start to believe that about ourselves, because then we just do it to ourselves.
And so definitely, there’s kind of like two different… when it shows up, you get two different kinds of pathways that people can take. You know, one of it becomes when you start to feel that, that you go on more of a perfectionism kinda plan, and that’s where you strive for greatness, you try to be perfect, you’re trying to get everything to be basically perfect. And so you see there, you’re going to get success, after success, after success. But what goes on is that perfection is an illusion, is kind of like a mirage, that you see it, and you chase it. And once you get over there, you find like, there’s another there, and so then all of a sudden you don’t feel very confident because you’re not quite as capable. Or when you’ve reached a level and you start to find that there’s another level. So now you start to feel inferior, you start to feel incapable, and it continues to drive you to do more and more and more and more and more, which is fine. However, the balance of it is not losing yourself in the process. And making sure that you’re taking care of yourself, making sure you have a life outside of your business as well. Otherwise, it’ll become all consuming on that.
The other path that people will do is they’ll start to hold themselves back. It’s more of an avoidance one where procrastination comes into play, where they’re like, I don’t quite know enough of this, I’d better hold myself back, I’d better learn more about it. Or at least start down a thing like, hey, I want to create some courses, I want to do some programs. So they start learning about it, and they see oh my gosh, there’s so much to know, I’m just… there’s no way I can do this one, I’m just going to appear like I don’t know what I’m doing. And they begin to avoid, they begin to hold themselves back and be imprisoned by this. Rather than kind of the answer is to have that self-compassion for yourself to realize that you’re human, that all these other people that appear so confident and with it are just like you; they also have doubts, they also have fears.
And I remember that was one thing in my story, too, and I learned a lot from the warrior culture was that, man, these people look like they could just take on bullets and have no fear, you know, fearless. And they would be like, oh, heck, no, I’m scared, totally scared. It’s just a different response to fear that they’ve not only learned how to do, but trained themselves to respond in, so that they appear as that. But inside, you know… so I always tell people it’s kind of like on the outside they might appear James Bond, you know, all cool, calm and collected. But on the inside, they’re very shaken and stirred, no different than we are. And that’s where the imposter syndrome comes, we’re all shaken and stirred inside. But it doesn’t have to be because we are inadequate, we are incapable, because that’s what it’s trying to convince ourselves of, and to focus on our feeling and what we’re feeling and then make a judgement based on ourselves off of a feeling rather than evidence. And so sometimes it’s important to go back throughout your life, look at your accomplishments, and look what you’ve done, and kind of put it on the table like a court case. You know, like, am I really inferior? Am I really not good enough? And let’s take this to court. Let’s find out, where’s the hard evidence of this? Or is this just mere feelings that have come on, that imposter syndrome has stirred something in a negative way towards ourselves? And it’s something that people can kind of take a look at.[WHITNEY]:
Yeah. And it’s something we do with our clients all the time. I mean, you’re talking a little CBT here. It’s looking at your emotions. What are the thoughts behind it? Where did that come from? But it’s so hard for us as therapists to actually do the things that we tell our clients to do, that we need to do them as well. [CHRIS]:
Oh, absolutely. And it goes back to that same thing I talked earlier about when, we got this, I understand myself, I know my weaknesses, I know where I come from, and I know I’m gonna do okay. And I think that that belief sometimes is where we can get sidetracked because it’s a little bit of a different arena. So I think anytime we get outside of our comfort zone, that’s when we’re going to experience a lot of these things. And instead of just to see like, yeah, I’m outside my comfort zone. This is how I’m gonna feel, you’re right. It’s gonna feel kind of crazy for a while. But not taking on the belief that this is who I really am, and I’m not capable, and I can’t do this – it’s not to take on that identity of it. So being aware of it is a big piece.
So there’s definitely, like you said, very CBT-ish type skills that will go around it. But it’s also looking on that vertical end, when you really want to ingrain in what kind of story are you putting yourself to, when you see yourself and take note of those accomplishments that you’ve made. Sometimes people will set a goal, and a goal is a goal, you put it out there, you shoot after it. You may or may not attain that goal. And sometimes you might have had a lofty goal. Sometimes we might have… other circumstances might have gone on. But take a look at how far you probably have come, or at least note where this is at, because progress is so small that sometimes you’re not aware of it. But yet when we do backtrack, it’s pretty much there. We’ll notice it, see it. And so instead of focusing on all that, we try to focus on our successes. But it’s also not trying to be like, oh, I’m going to get very narcissistic, take a look at all my accomplishments. It isn’t just that. It’s feeling the sense of that purpose. You go back to that ‘why’, and then you’re serving a purpose every day.
So it’s falling in love with the process of what you’re doing, as opposed to the results of what you’re getting. And enjoy doing that process, because the process of doing it is your way in which you’re fulfilling your mission. You’re fulfilling… and for me, it’s like, you’re fulfilling what God has willed for you to do, and you need to do these. And it’s up to me to not only learn how to do it, but also to go through the challenges to be able to become that person, to be successful in that endeavor. And that’s why it will have some challenges.[WHITNEY]:
That is so true. I was actually on a podcast the other day or talking to some friends – they were interviewing me, so it was just like chatting – and we were talking about this very idea of what it was like when we met each other. They kind of shared their experience of how they viewed me and I shared my experience of how I viewed them. And both of us said, we felt the other person was more successful than us. And it’s just so funny to like, hear them, especially for me. It’s like, I remember sitting with them and feeling really anxious on the inside. I was thinking, gosh, they have such great practices. I’ll never be that great. Who am I to be a consultant? And all this kind of stuff. But in their mind, they were like, how does she have it all together? How does she do all this? She’s so successful. But then when we sat down on the podcast, and we like chatted that out, it was so freeing. It just brought so much comfort in one another, and understanding that we support one another, and it’s not competitive, and the way that… I don’t know, it was just really great. And so exactly what you’re talking about. And when we do feel that imposter syndrome, being able to just call it out and say it to someone that we trust, can bring a lot of freedom from that. [CHRIS]:
Oh, absolutely. I think that’s the biggest thing is… I always say it’s the lie of imposter syndrome. I mean, it’s a complete ruse. It’s an illusion. It’s not real. And once you begin to call it out, and see it, and get that other evidence, and have those experiences like that, then you’re like, oh, my gosh, I’ve been played like a fool for how long? And that’s, where I get at, like, the mental side of going into practice is there’s so many partners of imposter syndrome that always try to affect us – affect our productivity or whatever it might be – until we’re like, oh, my gosh, this is what I was doing. And a lot of times to me is – like in the book I wrote, once there’s two sides to the path to success, which is service and mastery – as long as you’re doing those two things, you’ll stay on the path. It’s all these other things seek to get your focus, and for you to do other things, and then you end up some crazy place in the jungle, and you don’t know how you got there and like, how do I get back? Yeah, totally. [WHITNEY]:
That is so true. Now you have a freebie for us today. Can you talk a little bit about your Private Practice Warrior eBook? [CHRIS]:
Yes. The Private Practice Warrior eBook becomes kind of the mindset for success for private practice. What I did is I initially looked at what is it that makes practices successful, or even businesses. And so I went back and took a look where you see like, how many businesses fail after five years and ten years, and I’ve pulled these statistics out. And then I see that this has been so similar even over the last decade or two decades; it hasn’t changed. But yet, we have so much more information. There is so much more information on how to do this. You know that you could spend like a weekend gathering all this stuff about how to set up your practice, what you need to do, how to market, put a marketing plan together. And with all this information from courses, programs that are out there, we still see the same failure rate. And I’m like, why is that? You’d think that we can adjust that. And so the hidden variable, what I looked at, was the mindset piece. And so in the book, I go through and kind of describe, give people an introduction to what that mindset looks like, that kind of sets up a way for them to feel more… like, I guess, kind of get a good foundation for themselves as they go out there.
But I didn’t write it like a traditional business business book where you have like, hey, this is principle one, these people do this, they do that. I wrote it like a story. And so you’ve got characters in the book. And so the main character, you follow the main character through some struggles that the character had. And then there’s this meeting that the character has with this individual. And through this meeting with him, he begins to learn about why his practice struggled. And so as you read the book, as the character learns about some of this stuff, so does the reader. And as you go through with it, it outlines a lot of the mindset pieces that I refer to as a private practice warrior. But it also has a really cool story to it. So it’s got some great twists on it that are kind of unexpected and like, whoa, I never saw that coming. So I wanted it to be a little more enjoyable. And it’s a fairly short read.[WHITNEY]:
Nice. I like how you made it a little different kind of business book. I think we need that as therapists, for sure. Yeah, and so you’ve also got a Facebook group. And so we’ll put that in the show notes, for The Private Practice Warrior, if y’all want to look at that. And then we’ll have everything on how to get in touch with Chris. But if somebody wants to just get in touch with you, what’s the best way to do that? [CHRIS]:
The best way probably just to get in touch with me, I mean, Facebook is an easy way to do that. They can definitely email me, easy email, just email@example.com. [WHITNEY]:
Wonderful. Wonderful. Well, I appreciate you coming on the podcast today. And I want to throw out the last question that I ask all the guests. What do you believe that every Christian counselor needs to know? [CHRIS]:
I mean, I always go back to everyone needs to never ever forget about the inner game. And I think from a Christian counselor standpoint, is knowing that the way in which you serve is going to be played out through your practice. And what I mean by that is, is there is a definite darkness as I refer to it, that’s out there. And it’s always affecting us to pull us out of the light, and to either cut corners in our business or cut corners in life, that’s creating problems for ourselves, or to pull us in to do sinful things, if you will. So I think in the business aspect it’s very similar. And so it’s to hold tight to how you serve, hold tight to your faith, and that can become a big part of your ‘why’. A big part of why you do what you do. And be careful not to let it slip like, oh, see, maybe God doesn’t intend this for me. No, maybe it was actually a learning experience, preparing you for something for next year, the year after that. So I think I just look at it that way, is what I put out there. [WHITNEY]:
Well, thank you, Chris. You’ve provided so much good information today, and I love that… you know, we do episodes about tactful information and stuff like that. But this is so important, the mind game. It’s crucial to the work that we do, so I appreciate you coming on the podcast and providing information for the audience today. [CHRIS]:
Yeah, no problem. Like I said, is that eighty percent of this, where you want to sustain your business. I mean, you can build it, but you want to sustain it for the long haul, and then it comes down to the mindset piece. Yes, I had a great time. I really enjoyed being on and I hope that a lot of the listeners out there have definitely gotten some value from this. And that’s the important piece. [WHITNEY]:
I’m sure they have. Well, thank you.
Thank you for listening to the Faith in Practice podcast. If you love this podcast, please rate and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast player. If you liked this episode and want to know more, check out the Practice of the Practice website. Also, there you can learn more about me, options for working together such as individual and group consulting, or just shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.
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 Practice of the Practice, or the guests, are providing legal, mental health, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.