I’m often asked: what do I do if I’ve lost motivation starting my private practice? Today I want to share a few tips to help you get back on track.
For most of us, when we begin our private practice, we are having to tap into using skills we have never had to use before. So there is a steep learning curve.
And I won’t lie. It’s a pretty long checklist of tasks you have to complete to go from not having a practice to being fully launched and running your practice.
So it makes sense. Who wouldn’t get overwhelmed? Who wouldn’t get lost in the learning curve?
Let’s make a treatment plan together to help you address your concern of wanting/needing more motivation.
7 Steps To Get Your Motivation Back
1) Tap Into Your “Why”
- Ask yourself: “Why am I starting a practice?” and “Why is this important to me?”
- Go deeper. It’s not just: I started my practice because I wanted a bit more income. But it might be: I wanted to make more money so that I could work less hours and be less burned out, or spend more time with my family.
- That’s motivating! The more specific you can be in identifying your end goal the more motivating it will be.
2) Identify Your Fears
- I find when folks are procrastinating or demotivated, there are always some underlying fears. What are those for you?
- And, just like the last tip, follow the thread a little deeper to where the fear originates.
- So for example, if your fear is that you won’t get enough clients, that’s not the end of that fear. It might sound more like: I’m afraid I won’t get enough clients, which means I won’t make enough money, and I’ll have to close my practice and start over while taking on debt to cover the bills. Or I will feel like a failure if I am forced to close my practice over too few clients.
- If this resonates with you, don’t worry, we all have that dark place that our thoughts go to if we really are honest with ourselves.
- It’s helpful to identify where the fear originates, so you can face that fear head on.
3) Identify What Is Overwhelming
- Identify which parts of the process feel most overwhelming.
- Why do those parts or steps feel overwhelming for you?
- Frequently, there are just one or two steps in the process that seem to weigh heavily over folks’ heads.
- Try to compartmentalize the future tasks that you feel overwhelmed by in order to work on the current task on hand. For example: maybe creating a website feels daunting, but today you can focus on filling out the paperwork for liability insurance.
- Circle back in a couple days to the items that feel more anxiety-producing.
4) Find A Buddy
- I talk about networking with other therapist colleagues often. But, I know that sometimes it’s not always easy to find a new person to build trust with and support you.
- So it’s more than okay to utilize your existing networks: a friend, a partner, an old colleague.
- Find a buddy who can help you dive into the next step. Because without someone to help us, we have a tendency to get stuck in a never ending loop in our minds and we never find a way to address the concerns you identified in the previous steps.
- Begin to problem-solve your fears and the areas in which you feel stuck.
- Whatever the problem, there is a solution! I promise.
- For example: Maybe your fear is that you are taking on too much risk too quickly. Consider starting out very part time on the side of your current job until your practice gets its legs.
- Another example: If you are completely stuck because you don’t know how you’ll get clients to find you, find resources about marketing to help you. There are SO many resources out there!
6) Release Perfectionism
- Sometimes I see people get so stuck on needing to have a perfect launch. Or the perfect website. Or having a full caseload in an unreasonably short period of time.
- I do believe there are steps you can take to minimize risk and fill your practice faster than others. But, there’s no use in setting a lofty goal if you’re so overwhelmed by it needing to be perfect that it prevents you from launching your practice.
- I encourage you to be okay with things being imperfect. Assume that because the learning curve is so steep, you will continue to fine-tune and adjust things over time.
7) Set The Bar Low
- Make it as easy on yourself as possible.
- I know this is contrary to typical cliche advice to have big dreams and to chase after them at all costs.
- But, we know from our clinical training that in our work with our clients, we need to help them take their big lofty goals, and break them down into super small, achievable steps.
- If their goal is to be motivated to find a job but they haven’t gotten out of bed for a week, we know not to tell them to go apply for 5 jobs tomorrow. Our goal for them might be to practice getting up from bed and making the bed at some point every day.
- Find ways to do the same with your goals. Make them smaller. Don’t worry about perfection, just look for progress. The tiniest of steps forward are far better than feeling overwhelmed and potentially getting nothing done anyway.
If you have lost motivation I hope you find these tips helpful as you continue forward in the hard, but gratifying work of launching your own private practice.
No Clients Yet? Let Me Help You!
If you are specifically feeling demotivated because you don’t have any clients, I have a video that may help encourage you.
Until next time, from one therapist to another: I wish you well!
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Photo by Brett Jordan on Pexels