Here's a trick to discovering the changes you should make to your therapy practice.
Is there something you regret that did or didn’t do in your business?
Is there a mistake you think about and wince a little bit?
Did you pass up on an office space you thought was too expensive, only to discover that it would have been a good investment compared to every office you found later?
Did you choose to go to a training or conference last year and then you heard about a training you would have liked better?
Did you hold off on creating or updating your website and now you think of all the clients you would have had if you’d gotten started earlier?
Whatever your regret is, don’t let it fester. Shift your actions where you can and let it go.
When you focus on business regrets, you train your mind to look at your business through a negative lens. You learn to think of yourself as a poor decision maker.
Examine that regret, or list of regrets, and see where you can still pivot in a better direction. The beauty of running your own small business is that you can make shifts very quickly. You don’t need to run your decisions past a committee or explain your decisions to a big team. You can quickly learn from your mistakes and do something better.
If you’ve made too few investments in your business and find yourself thinking it’s too late now, shift by making smart investments now.
If your regrets have come from jumping a bit too quickly out of panick, allow a moment of thought and talk big choices through with a trusted colleague or coach.
Here’s my own example:
When I became a business coach for therapists, I was shy about it at first. I was afraid of what therapists would think about my new calling. I feared that some of my colleagues would not approve of me talking about things like profit and marketing. I avoided talking about it when I met therapists.
It took me a while to own my mission. I regretted that time when I was hiding and could have been reaching out and letting therapists everywhere know that I’m here to help.
So I am practicing what I preach here. I have let go of that regret, and I’ve shifted. Now I take every opportunity to talk to groups of therapists and get my message out there.
What’s your business regret? How can you shift your choices now and let it go?
Is it time to change your business in a big way? Apply for a free phone consultation with me now. We’ll talk about the overall strategy of your business, and you’ll probably be surprised by what we come up with.
When I talk to therapists about marketing and running their practices, they often tell me they know they should do certain things they don’t like doing. If this sounds like you, it probably means you’re not fully embracing your strengths. When you don’t embrace your strengths, it’s very hard work to market and run your business, and all that hard work does less than you want it to. You may have heard some of this before, on a surface level. I have said many times that if you’re an introvert, you can focus on one on one networking with a smaller number of colleagues to develop deep relationships rather than spending times at large events. If you love to write, you can build your online presence using articles. If you’ve got a big personality, you can do public speaking.
Let's take this thinking to a deeper level.
How can you play to your strengths in every activity you do?
Here's an exercise to learn more about your strengths and find out you could be using them more.
Start by listing the business activities that are easy for you and that bring you energy. Include anything from balancing your checkbook to clinical work with clients.
What strengths do you lean on in these activities? Here are some possible answers:
- Ability to listen deeply
- Analytical skills
- Attention to detail
- Energy for scholarly research
- Ability to engage with large groups
- Energy for clinical training
- Interest in trying new things
- Ability to come up with insights
- Ability to connect quickly with new people
- Ability to stick to a routine or predictable process over time
- Long attention span
- Story telling
Now list the business activities that you enjoy the least, and that drain you the most. Again, include any activity you do (or think you should do) for your business.
Look at the second list and see which of those activities you could do differently. How could you do these activities while using your strengths?
For example, a therapist might feel drained by public speaking because she tries to be charismatic and connect quickly with her audience. Those aren’t her strengths, so she does a decent job, but then collapses at the end. The strengths she uses for one on one networking and in her clinical work are deep listening and consistency. I would help her use those strengths in public speaking and let go of trying to be different that she is. She might create a presentation for smaller groups that uses written exercises in which participants answer questions independently. She might direct them to examine a deeper question in pairs. She might lean on her consistency by giving this presentation several times to different small groups.
Look at those activities you like the least and see how you could do them differently, in a way that leans on your strengths.
Some activities just can’t use your strengths. For example, if your strengths are creativity and an interest in trying new things, you probably can’t use those in your practice record keeping. Look for ways to minimize those tasks or delegate them as soon as you can. That will free you up to lean even more on your strengths.
Is it time to build your practice in a whole new way? Apply for a consultation with me.
I just talked to a therapist who does wonderful work with her clients, and she’s got a lot of impressive training and experience. She’s been putting herself out there more recently, increasing her visibility and investing more in her business.
She’s was motivated, steadily increasing her marketing, and then suddenly, CRASH, she says, “I don’t feel like a very good therapist. ”
We could have seen this coming. Your inner critic is likely to show up when and where you’re doing something brave or new.
When you first started out as a therapist, your inner critic was probably around a lot in the therapy room. I know mine was. Part of me was in the room with my client, and another part was thinking, “My supervisor would know what to say right now. That wasn’t a good intervention. I’m never sharing this part of my tape.” (This was back when we used tape recorders).
After being a therapist for a while, that inner critic quieted down in the therapy room. You started to feel more confident about your clinical skills a lot of the time. Thank god for that.
If you’re doing something new, like marketing in a new way, making yourself more visible, or claiming your expert status, your inner critic starts talking more loudly again. As my business coach often says “your ego has a new chew toy.” That voice may just be there to protect you. your inner critic is trying to protect you from disappointment. If you don't put herself out there, you can’t possibly get rejected. It might be there because it is an echo of what a parent used to say. Whatever it's purpose or reason for being, it doesn't help you in your business.
Acknowledge that inner critic and don't take it's message too seriously. It isn’t very smart. When we respond to that inner critic and say: “yes, I was expecting you,” it has less power. You can’t necessarily root out the inner critic, but don’t let it make any business decisions. When your inner critic acts up, make a note of it. Write down what it has to say. If you get this stuff on paper, you will begin to notice how little new information it holds. Your inner critic is saying the same thing as it always does. It's probably saying the same things most people's inner critics say.
“Someone else could do this better.”
“People will think you’re stupid (or cheesy or boring or…)”
“You're a fraud”
“That was a dumb thing you said.”
“You’re a failure”
Therapists tend to be really good at prioritizing personal growth and not great at prioritizing self-promotion or business building. I am taking a stand for you bringing those two things together. Use your process of growing your practice to be a vehicle for personal growth.
Is it time to build your practice to the next level? Apply for a free consultation now to talk about how I can help.