Ever feel like it could all fall apart? That your private practice one day could just shut down and you have to return to agency work?
Now, I know this thought is ridiculous, logically. But as my daughter's 3rd birthday approaches, I am reminded that I have been completely on my own without my county paycheck for 3 years. And before those 3 years and after I have had the fear of not being able to make it on my own.
Tell me I am not alone. I don't think I am. After 100's of consultations with therapists, I get the feeling we are riddled with fear at times. And that fear has led us to charging less, having poor boundaries, taking whoever walks through the door, and making other decisions that don't allow us to progress happily and healthily in our businesses.
So what do you do when fear starts to take a hold?
- Give thanks. I am humbled and grateful that I have been able to work the way I want. It hasn't been perfect and there have been many frustrations, but through it all - I am still standing. Gratitude can neutralize fear faster than air freshener in a public restroom (ok, well those things don't work at all, but I can't think of another neutralizing example at the moment.)
- Get a reality check. Turn to a mentor or a less fearful friend and really talk about how you are doing. It may not be as bad as you think. Fear can crack the whip on our worrying mind and force it to run like a hamster in its' wheel. (I am full of metaphors today, sorry) And to add to this, I don't always think talking to other therapists is always a great idea, unless you have a lot of positive ones in your life. There can be some fear mongering in our community, so just be aware.
- Carry on. Think about it, fear is meant to protect us. But when it is in hyperdrive, we can miss out on opportunity. I tell my clients to hold the fear and move forward. Acknowledge it, have awareness of it but don't let it dictate your choices. Resisting it or running from it will usually make it worse. When you are reactive, you are responding to fear. When you take a moment, step back, think and respond, you are balanced in your decision making.
- Get creative. Fear will squelch your creativity and then you feel stuck. Get outside, do some art, talk with an outsider from our profession, listen to music, do something to get inspired and spark the creative part of yourself. You have options. So many options in fact that it could take a lifetime to try them all. This is the beauty of owning your private practice. You never stop creating. It shines the light on your soul so fear doesn't creep in.
Join me and fight fear. It won't be perfect but I bet if we all support each other and hold ourselves to our dreams, the world will be better for it. Don't you agree?