You Can’t Do ALL The Things
There are virtual reams and reams of advice for new therapists. Start a blog! Do videos! You MUST have a newsletter!! You need THREE DOZEN pages ready to go before you launch your website. You should get a business card before you even consider going out networking. You don’t need business cards that’s so old school. You have to join your professional association. You should do on-line advertising.
It is overwhelming and confusing. There are different reactions each of us will have (or have had) to this inundation of well-meaning advice. We can start madly doing 27 things at once. We can endlessly consult with our friends and colleagues about what they are doing. We can do nothing.
None of these works. Obviously.
SO – I’m going to tell you something that I wish I knew starting out: YOU CAN’T DO ALL THE THINGS.
And you shouldn’t.
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Phew. That’s covered.
Now, I can hear you asking – what SHOULD I do then, Katie?!?!
The answer, fellow therapists, is one I’m sure you’re already ready to mouth with me: “It depends.“
It depends on your own specific goals and your own unique strengths. It depends on where you are in your practice-building journey and where you are planning to take your career. It depends on so many little things, so I hate to say this… but I can’t tell you what to do.
Ugh. Still overwhelmed over here, Katie!
So, how do you decide what to do? Make decisions like a BOSS.
My clever little acronym, I hope, will help you make decisions with your own unique long-term picture in mind:
When you first started out to be a therapist, you had some calling or mission that you were pursuing. Whether you had decided you were working with trauma survivors or just knew that you wanted to help “people,” you sought out therapy as your career for a reason. It’s important to recognize, throughout your career, what will serve this mission and what will take you away from what you set out to do.
I call this your big bold vision and I want to make sure that you are clear on what it is. Even if you’re just starting out. Know why you are doing what you are doing, so you can evaluate each opportunity and each task to see if it supports what you are aiming to put out in the world.
It doesn’t matter if you’re moving forward if you’re running full tilt in the wrong direction. Know your bigger picture (or however much of it you can) before you sink too much money, energy, and time into the wrong things.
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Once you’re clear on who you are striving to help and what you want to put out into the world, you should be very honest about your resources. I’m talking about an objective evaluation of whether you have enough time, energy, money, and skills to do what you’re setting out to do. I’m also talking about whether this is the right time and if it will provide you with the return on investment (that’s ROI for us who love talking business stuff) that you would like.
For example, starting a blog can be a low-cost investment in your business. It can increase the SEO for your website, it can be a free resource for people who need your services, and it can help people get to know who you are, based on your writing style. That being said, it does take time, it requires some interest and skill in writing, and will need additional resources (read: marketing) to be able to get eyes on it. Some people are able to get clients from blog posts, some are not. If you were to start blogging, you would want to make sure it makes sense for YOU.
Once you’ve identified your mission and your resources (and evaluated your opportunities to see if they do indeed match both of these), you have to actually choose what you’re going to do. Like I have said already, you can’t do all the things. Sort out what will be most fun for you AND provide you with a great ROI. Look at what you have to do to be in alignment with laws, ethics, and clinical efficacy. And then decide.
That means saying BOTH yes and no to cool opportunities. Many people I talk to have either said yes to way too much OR they have not decided, and the opportunity has passed them by. Both of these are problematic in that you’re likely to end up with substandard results on the things you’re setting out to do. Only put stuff in the yes category if they make sense for your big bold vision AND you can objectively accomplish them.
For example, you could determine that both a blog and a video series would get some of the important information out to the people you want to serve (while increasing your visibility and improving your SEO). You have the time, energy, and resources to complete both of them. However, you realize that you are less likely to get regular videos out yet, as you are still working on your “on camera” presence and you don’t feel quite ready. SO, you decide to start a blog now and will revisit the idea of video in 6 months.
Okay. The hard part has been done. You’ve decided what you’re going to do. It can be easy to add it to your to do list and leave it there. Nope. Not sufficient. You need to create a plan to get that stuff done. I find that putting it on my calendar (with specific tasks and deadlines) is much more effective for me than to just add it to the ever-growing list of things I am going to make time for… someday. Create concrete, small, specific steps with deadlines and put them on your calendar, so you can accomplish what you’ve decided to do.
When you can make decisions like a BOSS, you’re able to take things at a sustainable pace, with your larger strategy in mind. You will actually accomplish each little step, rather than feel frozen, staring at the gigantic staircase you’re trying to climb. This journey isn’t always easy, but learning to make these decisions should get simpler and simpler as you get clearer on what you’re setting out to do.
So – are you ready to be Bold, Objective, Selective, and Strategic? Making decisions like a BOSS is not easy. It can be hard to step outside of your own perspective and determine what is best to do. If you’re seeking out support in making these decisions, don’t hesitate to reach out.
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