I wanted to title this blog post “5 Reasons Why Your Practice isn’t Growing.” But that sounded too negative and too “markety.” By markety I mean something that sales people say to tap into their target buyer’s fears and sense of inadequacy. That’s not my intent or my goal. Instead, I want to speak to my common observations of practice building barriers so that if any of this applies to you or yours…this might help.
Success and Failure
#1 – Stop making your practice development about success or failure. The development of your practice has no bearing on your worth as a human being. Instead, consider that your practice development involves much more practical matters. Those matters have everything to do with your habits. Pay attention to your actions. Do your actions support practice development? Are you spending time related to growing your case load or are you simply hoping people will show up?
#2 – You’re hiding. Some people know that they are hiding and others do not. If you want to grow your practice, you have to consistently share about your practice. You can’t hide. This does not mean you have to literally speak to everyone about your practice. It does mean you have to show up in the world unafraid to engage with people. It is very common for people to ask me what I do. They ask me because I show up interested and engaged. That’s all. In order to grow your practice, at least initially, you have to show up.
#3 – You’re not focused on the client. When people are trying to grow their practice they can make the common mistake of trying to hold on to clients or accepting cases that they should let go. In these circumstances the therapist is focused on their own needs, instead of those of their clients. Some therapists are overrun with their own anxiety and therefore struggle to be fully present with their clients. Instead, they are monitoring themselves in ways that are almost self indulgent. Self awareness is critical for effective therapy. However, it should not be self centered on the therapist’s part. Focus on the client. It’s not about you. Making your practice about the people you serve means you will always have people to serve.
#4 – You want someone else to do it. Maybe you thought it was going to be easy. Maybe you’re tired, scared or overwhelmed. The reality is no one can drive your practice for you or represent you better than you. You have to learn how to do things that you don’t know how to do. This doesn’t mean you can’t employ help. It simply means you have to understand the purpose of every strategy you employ. Maybe not at the outset but you have to develop an understanding along the way to get the maximum benefit.
What do you want?
#5 – Last but not least, your practice isn’t growing because you don’t want it too. It’s quite possible that you think you want something when in fact you do not want it. Maybe you used to but you don’t anymore. Maybe you never did but you thought that you were supposed to want it. Either way, you have to be honest with yourself about what you want. Being afraid of something is not the same as not wanting it. Your fear doesn’t mean that this is not for you. If you do want it, work toward it. If you don’t want it, let it go and go do and be in the type of practice setting that you want.
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