This week I want to talk about two things that I think is critical to the growth of our private practice (and our sanity in general :)) and they are connection and collaboration. I talk to many therapists in private practice and a common theme is loneliness and isolation. Building a thriving practice can be tough and since we put so much of ourselves into it, it’s easy to pull back in other areas of our lives in order to accommodate our various responsibilities.
This actually happened to me recently. It was a few months ago and my practice had been super busy, I have an 18 month year old at home and a marriage to contribute to, so I started pulling back on my personal commitments with friends and colleagues. I thought that pulling back would help me feel better and give me more time.
What I noticed was that I got super irritated with my husband and it was because I realized I was talking to him about the things that I talk to my friends and colleagues about, but wasn’t getting the reinforcement that I need and love from them. Expecting him to pick up that load and contribute like they do wasn’t fair. Don’t get me wrong, my husband is amazing, but he doesn’t really get pumped up about building a thriving therapy business or hearing about things that he doesn’t really have experience with.
There is such an overlap of our personal and professional lives in our business and we need to make sure that we’re getting what we need to stay energized, refreshed and inspired!
How Do You Like to Connect?
For me, I love one-on-one connections. Growing up I didn’t really care for group projects and things like that. I have gone to some group get togethers over the years and while they are nice and I definitely received value from them, I prefer one-on-one connection any day of the week! Give me a cup of tea and long conversation :)
What fulfills you the most? Is it group get togethers? One-on-one? Online communities and courses? Whatever it is, it needs to be a priority. We need to foster those relationships in order to keep growing.
We all have limited energy so we need to focus it on what fills us up to live our best lives. Take some time to think about it, get clear on it and then go do that!
Tip: Plan it in advance! I like to plan one connection a week. I know that may be a lot for some, so do what works for you, but plan it ahead of time. It’s so easy to schedule a client instead of blocking out time to meet friends or colleagues one evening.
Who Are You Hanging Out With?
There is a saying, if you’re the smartest in the room- you’re in the wrong room. One of the greatest things about connecting with people is to learn from them. If you’re spending time with people that don’t have much figured out and they’re looking at you for advice, you might want to keep looking for your tribe. (While this is always a great situation for our ego, it doesn’t really help us grow!)
Similar to my dislike of group projects, I don’t like to share a lot of what I am doing. I’ve always tended to keep things to myself. But, over time I’ve realized how important it is to collaborate with others.
There is another awesome saying that goes like this: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” It is so true! When we open ourselves up to work with others, we get accountability, strength and discipline! Collaborating with others allows us to reach different audiences, experiment with different avenues and finish projects that we may not have normally started.
When I was practicing in Connecticut, I collaborated with my friend who was an acupuncturist for an event. I was able to get in front of her clients and she was able offer services to her customers that she normally wouldn’t be able to - it was a win-win!
It also helps take some of the fear out of trying new things. It’s hard to get out of our comfort zones and try new things, having someone supporting you provides strength and comfort. Not to mention it helps us gain clarity! Getting another set of eyes on a project or idea is invaluable growth, happiness and success!
Where Are You Now?
If you have been feeling discouraged, overwhelmed or anxious about slow periods in your practice, this might be the perfect time to about connecting and collaborating with others!
What would be fun?
What would be exciting to try?
How can you break into a new niche?
What would take your practice to the next level?
If you’re feeling irritable, burnt out or tired, it may be a sign that you need to connect more with meaningful people in your life. Figure out which avenue works best for you to do it, schedule it and get started!
If you’re wanting to branch out, grow or get support, you might want to start brainstorming how you can collaborate with people. Take some time to think on the questions above and write out a plan!
Speaking of connection, do you have a colleague who would love this article? Pass it along! And while you are at it, set up a lunch date with them.