When I first started out on this journey of becoming who I am today, I had no idea what was ahead of me. If someone would’ve told me I was going to start a business, have a baby and then buy a business all within one year, I would’ve told them “No way!” I have always been a “dream big” kind of girl who when someone tells me “no” that gives me even more motivation to prove them wrong and show them “yes I can!” I am not afraid to work hard and find it rewarding when faced with something challenging and being able to overcome it.
Some women are meant to be full-time homemakers, some women are meant to be full-time businesswomen, and some women are meant to have a balance of both worlds. I have the unique opportunity to be a mother, be a therapist and be a business owner. Finding the “balance” is something I am constantly working on but have found 6 key things that help the scale from tipping too far one way.
On Being a Mother:
First and foremost, I am a mother. I am the mother of a precious two-year-old boy. When I started my career in private practice as a solo practitioner I was pregnant with him. I always make sure my family comes first. As I sit here writing this article, I am two weeks away from giving birth to my second child. I give myself daily reminders that as much as I love my career (and as much stress as it causes me at times) I am doing it for my family.
Key Thing #1– Remind yourself of your values and why you do what you do. Daily check-ins with yourself can provide just the level of grounding you are longing for in the moment.
Key Thing #2- Be a positive role model for your children. Children are little sponges and are always taking in everything we say or do (both good and bad!) Show your children it’s okay to dream, it’s okay to fail, and it’s okay to feel overwhelmed.
On Being a Therapist:
I have always loved what I do. Being a therapist is something I find incredibly rewarding and most times find myself thinking “I can’t believe I get paid for this!” It’s true when you do what you love, you never have to work a day in your life. That’s not to say, like most human beings, I get overwhelmed with the responsibilities that come with being a therapist and the emotional burden it can take sometimes.
Key Thing #3- Know your signs of being overwhelmed and burnt out. We all have different levels of tolerance when it comes to stress and anxiety. You are the expert of yourself and must learn to recognize when balancing it all starts to become unbalanced. For me, I know it is time to take a step back and take a break when I start becoming really irritable and don’t feel like doing very much.
Key Thing #4- Engage in self-care practices daily. Be gentle with yourself. Self-care is more than bubble baths and massages. Self-care is a daily commitment of being kind to yourself. Give yourself permission to set boundaries. For me, I have committed on working on my positive self-talk on a daily basis, so I can be present in my sessions with others. If you are not well, you are doing a disservice to the people you serve.
On Being A Business Owner:
As I mentioned above, I started out as a solo practitioner in private practice. Within a year, my business expanded to three locations with a team of 12 people. When I do something, I do it big! My dreams were coming true a little sooner than expected. Running a group practice is significantly different than being a solo practitioner. I found out quickly I needed help and wouldn’t be able to do it on my own.
Key Thing #5 Ask for help. Most entrepreneurs have the mentality they can do it on their own. Successful entrepreneurs know they can’t do it alone. Set goals for the business and enlist help. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. You are likely not the first to be facing whatever challenge it is. Use resources around you to help your business grow and to learn.
Key Thing #6- Delegate. It has taken me a while to really become comfortable with delegating tasks. I have always been of the mindset “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” Unfortunately, that just won’t fly when working to run a successful business. We all have our own strengths and must recognize our weaknesses. Create a team of people who support you and your vision and are experts at what they do. When you delegate, really delegate. Let it go. If you continue to have your hand in whatever you need help with, you might have as well just done it yourself. Delegating can really help with the whole “balance” thing.
In the end, trust your gut. You are your own expert and know yourself best. Work hard and stay humble. Set goals and surround yourself with people who build you up. If it was easy, everyone would do it. You got this mama!
Alycia Burant, MA, LPC, NCC is founder, owner and therapist at Healthy Minds Therapy in bustling Alexandria, VA. Her practice has three locations in Northern Virginia providing expert support and services for people in times of need. When she is not working, she enjoys relaxing with her family, wine tasting, cooking and traveling.