Not everything is going to go as planned. You can follow every worksheet and training and life just won’t always conform to those efforts. Progress will be made and surprises will happen. If there was only one way of doing things, we would all be doing it. If there was a guarantee, we would all be in our private practices without fear or worry.
Truth is, marketing and building a practice takes guts.
You put yourself out there, building connections. You share your message from the heart. You trust what others tell you about their successes and that they too can be your own.
But then there is a slump in calls. Several clients terminate therapy all in the same week for reasons that make no sense to you. The calls you take turn into referrals to other places. You wrote articles, did podcasts and you aren’t sure why you bothered.
This is an opportunity.
You can stop and stare in the rearview mirror and see loss or you can reflect and then look forward, planning your next steps, learning from what you have done so far.
Let go and look ahead.
1. Be honest with yourself. Look at what worked and what didn’t. Own your part in it all and focus less on who else is to blame. This is your business and moving forward you will own it, wholeheartedly. Look at what you have accomplished. Even the small stuff matters. You were able to learn new things and build new relationships. You gained clarity in your focus perhaps. You took an amazing training that inspired you. All is not lost. Those that are able to start over are able to see what is.
2. Give yourself permission. Just because you put an idea out into the world, it’s ok to let it go if it isn’t working. Allow yourself to let go of the tasks that drain you and hire help when you need. You can change your niche, your business focus, the services you offer – you are never stuck. You may decide that owning your own business isn't a good fit or you might decide that you want to structure it differently. What would happen if you did what you really wanted to do? Some of you might discover you have been playing it safe. Write down - what do you really want.
3. Go back to the basics. Is your message clear everywhere, on your website, profiles, and other marketing? Do you have a budget, a business plan, and a marketing plan? These things help you focus on what matters most, especially if you have felt like you have been winging it.
4. Get support. Often others can see opportunity when we can’t and a community of supportive people can be a source of encouragement and perspective. Finding other like minded therapists could be through a mastermind group, online support, a coaching group or a local association.
Even with all the plans you have for this next year – honesty and compassion are very relevant to your success.
There comes a time to stop beating yourself up and learn to be with whatever is so you can move forward. Too often I hear of therapists stuck in their negativity and feel utterly disappointed. It is frustrating when you need to start over. But every step along the way has a purpose. This isn’t about perfection because that path is utterly endless and quite frankly lonely.