“What Am I Doing That They’re Not?
Nearly a year ago I made a very difficult decision to invest in a mastermind group with Joe Sanok with Practice of the Practice. At this time I had a good practice, a lot of passion and a ton of purpose, but what I didn’t have was a community of like-minded supporters.
Fast forward ten months... I was given such an amazing opportunity to come face to face with that group of supporters that I desperately needed nearly a year ago. That group of private practice owners all came together in Traverse City Michigan, at a little place called Slow Down School. This is where my view of life began to shift and my perspective on work/life balance changed.
From left [Joe Sanok, Kasey Compton, John Clarke, Alison Pidgeon]
While we were “slowing down” I would often get caught up in listening to conversations about families, hobbies, goals, and dreams. Most people were there to work on their business, but I had a different idea. Part of me secretly wanted a break from my business. While I witnessed some of the most focused work I’d ever seen from fellow group owners, I was staring at a blank computer screen. Stuck on the small stuff, trying to get the words just right, making sure everything embodied my message and my purpose.
I wanted to use my SDS time to line out my consulting business and set the framework for the next year. I struggled to find the words to express “why” I was consulting and how I was different from others. My website was being built and the designer was waiting for my copy. What was copy? I had never even heard that term used in that way before! How was it even possible to get my personality, my message, my brand and my services across in just a few short sentences?
I struggled the entire week but eventually decided to accept my stuckness and go back to slowing down. I decided not to force myself into creating something that wasn’t ready to be formed. I did everything I could to embrace my time at SDS. I listened and learned about everything from EFT to highly complicated religious theories. I woke up early and went to bed late. I tried foods I may have otherwise never eaten, formed friendships with my polar opposites and took risks that ultimately made me a more confident person.
As SDS came to an end I was thankful that I tried yen yoga because I now know a deep sense of relaxation and peace is possible for me. I was thankful for the ability to exist for six days without having to make a single decision. My mind was clear and energized. I compared it to a typical week at home; balancing the crack of dawn journey to elementary school to helping staff with everything from being out of toilet paper to treating a client in crisis. By mid day, every day, I am exhausted. But not at Slow Down School. It was at that moment I realized how exhausting thinking can be.
From left [Joe Sanok, John Clarke, Kasey Compton,Alison Pidgeon]
By the time I had made it back home and began reflecting on my time in Michigan. Then it hit me! All of my fellow private practice owners were so connected to their emotions, practiced self care, and showed so much balance and restraint. What was I doing that they weren’t? Why do I carry such mental weight, wrapped up in my practices dilemmas, changes, needs, etc? What was I doing (which was draining me mentally and emotionally) that they weren’t?
At some point, early on in building my practice, I had told myself (and I believed it) that I must take care of every problem, fix everything that breaks, make everyone happy to the best of my ability, and anything less was not an option. Any little event could “make or break” me. I could take a serious hit if something went wrong. These irrational and negative thoughts go on and on.
I was wrong; and if you have any of these thoughts, so are you.
If you build a strong business with systems and processes, you are building something that will work FOR you, not against you. Where I went wrong was that my fear of failure was beginning to impact everything I had spent the last three years building. At that moment I decided to finally practice what I preach and set boundaries for myself, like it or not.
What was I doing that they weren’t? Everything.
Think about that for a moment. What are you doing that is not absolutely necessary? What are you giving attention to, or what is taking your mental and emotional energy, that you’re no longer willing to give away? What is sucking the life out of you and how can you hand over those tasks for someone else to handle? Believe it or not, sometimes the things that we dislike the most are the things that others thrive on.
For me, SDS gave me my perspective back. It helped me see how I don’t need to give everything to still be impactful. I can give the best of me on my own terms. I can and design my practice in a way that works for me and basically runs itself. Even though I’ve become known as the systems and process person, I too can get bogged down in the weight of my own practice. In this field, we need to work together and help remind each other that you can’t and shouldn’t try and do everything. Relinquish some of that control and hand it over to the people who find joy in it.