Stay The Course

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Stay The Course

You decided to start your own practice. Easier said than done. Creating a practice is a journey. It’s life changing and it can be scary. Most of us are used to working for someone else and receiving a consistent paycheck. You could just continue to maintain your job and fulfill your other adult responsibilities without receiving criticism for doing so. At some point that wasn’t enough. You wanted something more; you wanted to build your own practice. Have you ever thought about how you will be maintaining the motivation when starting your practice?

Establishing a practice can be stressful. You’ll most likely continue to work your current job while building the practice you dreamed and hoped to own. Creating something is hard. It takes dedication, time, and energy. It’s easy to lose sight of your goal because opening your own practice isn’t something you have to do. You’ll have to allocate time from other activities and devote that to building your practice. You will feel uncomfortable and maybe even stressed. It happens. It’s ok to lose motivation during this process. We all need a boost or encouragement sometimes.  Below are four ways I try to remain motivated during my practice building process.

Remember Why You Wanted To Run Your Own Practice In The First Place

Think and reflect as you read this article.

  • When was the moment you decided to open your own practice?
  • Why open your own practice in the first place?
  • Was it to make more money?
  • Work less hours?
  • Dictate your own schedule?
  • Work with your ideal client?

Identify those reasons and reflect on them when you lack the motivation.

My Story

I wanted to open my own practice to maximize my potential earnings, work less hours, and increase my opportunities. My main reason was to stop working in non-productive work environments or for dysfunctional organizations. I don’t like working for places that aren’t actively working to fulfill their mission statement or vision. My ideal quality of life cannot be attained from working 40 hours a week for someone else.  

One of my accountability partners in Next Level Practice shared a meme which stated A job is “How to wake up every morning and spend valuable time building somebody else’s dream”. How does that make you feel? I’d rather work on my own dreams than someone else’s.

Reaffirm Your Personal And Clinical Values And Principles.

  • Identify who you are as clinician.
  • What are the values, vision, and mission of your practice?
  • What population(s) do you want to serve?
  • Who are your ideal clients?

Let’s focus on the ideal client question. I’ve constantly heard it in Next Level Practice through Q&A’s, group meetings, and exercises. I always said I knew who my ideal client was in my head and never completed the exercise. I was asked that question on the hot seat and froze. It took me a second to answer. I wasn’t satisfied with the answer I gave either. I thought I evaluated all the details in my head. Clearly, I did not. I highly recommended completing that ideal client checklist/exercise along with the other questions I proposed. After you’ve answered them, determine if your business decisions are made with those thoughts in mind.

Communicate And Network With Others Who Are Where You Want To Be Or Higher

  • Find people in your area and/or online who are where you want to be.
  • Research them and evaluate their paths.
  • Speak with presenters at workshops or conferences and make connections with them.
  • See if you can find any areas to improve in professionally such as training’s, certifications, or skills that will help your niche and serve your ideal client.

I can only speak for myself, but I get motivated from being around others who are achieving their goals. The goal seems closer and attainable when you can connect with someone who has done it.  Never have I lost sight of my goal, but the dream seemed to distance itself as time passed.

I found Practice of the Practice around February 2017 and was hooked. I listened to numerous podcast episodes and read almost every article on the site. It was empowering and showed me that I could make my own private practice profitable. I typically have the belief that if he/she can do something so can I. Joe’s story resonated with me and reaffirmed that my goals are reasonable and attainable.

Have fun

  • Don’t forget to have fun and make time for yourself – schedule it if you must. We know the reasons and benefits of self-care, yet many clinicians seldom practice it.
  • Breaks are necessary – you need that time to refresh and recharge.

I’ve had a lot of great thoughts and ideas when I stepped away from what I was working on. Breaks allow me to return and be more productive. I definitely did not write this article in one sitting! We take time away from other activities so do the same for your practice. There needs to be a good balance of quality and quantity of work. Everyone is different. Evaluate yourself and determine your most productive work to fun ratio.

Creating something is rarely easy. Otherwise everyone would do it. We all will spend extra time and dedication towards growing our practice and making it our own. There will be frustrating moments. You’ll likely question if this is the right decision. We are greatest variable in determining the success of our practices. You do not have to embark on this journey alone.

Practice of the Practice has great resources to assist clinicians with jump starting their private practice aspirations. An economical choice would be the one year practice plan; a guided walk through to guide clinicians from the initial phases through the first year of private practice. It includes weekly emails, action steps, and additional bonuses. Next Level Practice focuses on training, accountability and feedback. These services are provided through e-courses, small group meetings, Q&A sessions, webinars, and interacting with others in a private Facebook group. You don’t have to create your practice alone. Resources are available if you seek it.

Remember to stay the course, maintain motivation, and continue working towards building the practice you conjured in your mind.

Michael Gilliard was born and raised in Charleston, SC. He a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) in Georgia. He is in the final stages of planning his private practice named Ujima Counseling, Coaching, and Consulting. It is based off the Kwanzaa principle of Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) which means “to build and maintain our community together and to make our brother’s and sister’s problems, our problems and to solve them together.” He can be reached via LinkedIn.