Practicing with Confidence in Times of Crisis

With the current unprecedented crisis that's not only affecting the U.S but the whole world, many of us are experiencing stress and anxiety related to the uncertainty. 

In this episode, I will talk about how I started and built a group practice during the 2008 recession and the three pillars of staying focused and confident in your practice despite the chaos around us.  

  • The three pillars of practicing with confidence.
  • First pillar of practicing with confidence.
  • Why emotional intelligence is important for our personal lives AND our business. 
  • Second pillar of practicing with confidence. 
  • Focused-Flexibility vs Panicked-Chaos. 
  • Third pillar of practicing with confidence. 


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In today's episode, I am talking about how I built a group practice from zero to twelve therapists in a period of nine months during the 2008 recession, and the three pillars of practicing with confidence that stay the same whether we are in an economic boom, or amid a time of crisis, like the current global pandemic. Stay tuned to hear how to apply the three pillars of practicing with confidence.

Thank you so much for joining us for today's episode. Today, we are talking about how to practice with confidence even in times of crisis. Obviously right now, this is huge. We are facing a global pandemic of a magnitude that almost none of us have witnessed in our lifetime before. In addition to that, the economic challenges that this pandemic has brought with it as a whole other layer of anxiety, of uncertainty for families, for relationships, for business owners. And so there is so much emotion right now fear, panic, anxiety, worried, uncertainty. There's so much going on for us emotionally during this pandemic. 

And obviously, if it's impacting us emotionally, it is impacting our practices and is impacting our businesses. And like so many of you, I have really been trying to reflect and work through my own anxiety and alternating between anxiety and trying to calm myself down moments where I do feel a lot of anxiety, maybe even on the verge of panic at times.

To other moments when I look around and I say, is there something that I'm not understanding? Should I feel more panicked than I feel? Everybody around me has so much anxiety and so much panic. Am I not worried enough?  And so, so many of us have these huge ranges of emotion at this point.

Interestingly, I came across something that was a big aha moment for me and allowed some positive reflection. I came across something that was asking for practice owners, specifically group practice owners who had been in business in practice in the 2008 recession and asking about their experiences with that, and how they feel like they managed their practice through the recession.

And this was specifically asking about group practice owners and I stopped for a second because I had a realization that not only was I a group practice owner during that recession, I actually started my group practice in March of 2008. I started my business during one of the biggest recessions that we have had in my life. 

And here's the interesting thing in March of 2008, when I made that decision to start my group practice, I was 25. I was a full-time law student, I had been a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for a little bit less than a year at that point. And I had so much passion and vigor about what I was going to do.

I had a big vision. I had a lot of support from my family. But the state of the economy at the time played no role, no role in my decision to start my practice. Economics has never been, you know, a huge strong suit for me. It's never been something I was particularly interested in or really passionate about.

So maybe I didn't understand the magnitude of the economic situation at the time, or maybe it was too early on in the economic crisis. Too early on in the recession to really see what that would be as far as historically looking back. But the point is, my focus wasn't on the economic conditions. My focus was on creating and building a practice that would impact lives.

And that is what I did. Despite the chaos despite the economic situation surrounding me, I did not lose focus. I didn't lose focus on what my goal was and what the values were that were leading me to that goal.

And ultimately, not only did I start that group practice in March of 2008 but by December of 2008, I had added 12 therapists to my practice from March to December, I had grown my practice from zero to 12. And that practice ultimately thrived for more than a decade.

And honestly, many of you know my story, but if I had not become burned out on the vision of what that was, and if I had not decided to go a different direction, that practice would still be going now. So not only is it possible to maintain your business through an economic downturn or a recession, it's not necessarily a reason to back off of it just because the economy isn't good, or because the circumstances around you changed.

If you maintain the focus and you maintain the vision it's absolutely possible. There may be some minor changes to the strategy on how you made that play out. And maybe some of those changes are even only temporary, but it's possible.

So I want to talk about practicing with confidence in times of crisis. I'm really practicing with confidence comes down to three main pillars. And those don't change whether we're in a pandemic, or whether our economy is booming. The three pillars of practicing with confidence don't change. Those three pillars are clarity, simplicity, and aligned growth.

So I want to start by talking about clarity. Clarity is first because everything in your business, everything in your practice in your vision is going to be based on the clarity that you have at conception. So when you create this, when you create the plan for what it's going to become, you need to have clarity, and that clarity comes from, you've heard me say it before, you'll hear me say it a million times more.

But that clarity comes from your values and your vision, what are the values and the priorities in your business and your practice that you want to be the cornerstone of everything that your brand and your business stand for?

That clarity is also going to help you to determine what you put your time and energy into. Because we all have a finite amount of time and energy. These are non-renewable resources. And so we have to choose carefully while we put our time and energy into and honestly this is one of the biggest challenges for me. I am constantly having to rein myself back in to narrow the focus of my time and energy.

But by narrowing our focus, we are able to prevent burnout. Another very important aspect of clarity is exercising emotional intelligence. And sometimes in times of crisis that becomes particularly challenging. When our environment feels so chaotic and particularly in times like this when we feel like our routine and our way of living has almost been stripped away from us, seemingly overnight, but very quickly for the majority of us things quickly shut down, things quickly changed, our daily routines, our way of life, it all changed.

And that can be very chaotic. It can feel very unsettling and anxiety-provoking, and sometimes that can kind of cause emotional intelligence to go out the window for us. But if we are able to maintain our emotional intelligence, our self-awareness, our relational awareness, we are going to make much better decisions in our personal lives and in our business lives.

And so going back to the basics for our emotional intelligence is going to be so important in a time of crisis, even though it's not innate. And when we use emotional intelligence in our daily lives, we are able to create so much more clarity. We're able to keep that focus.

Our rational thought doesn't become hijacked by our limbic system in our emotions, right? We are able to have more clarity and more rational thought when we're able to exercise emotional intelligence.

So we need to stay so focused and hyper-aware of that in ourselves. But clarity is going to be key and that's whether you're just starting out or whether you're at the point where you're looking how to scale your brand, or whether you're looking Just how to help your practice make it through this difficult economic time.

The second pillar is simplicity. Now, if you're anything like me, I have a tendency sometimes that I can make things so unnecessarily complicated. And I don't know why I do this. But I do know that to an extent it's human nature because I am not the only one that struggles with it.

But if we can focus on breaking it down to its most simple form, think about elementary math when you are learning to reduce fractions to their simplest form. And that's the approach you want to take with your practice and with your business right now.

How can you create the smoothest, most effortless processes in your business that just keep things super simple? And this, once again, is true whether we are in an economic boom, or whether we are in a very challenging economic time like a recession. It doesn't change.

These pillars don't change. They're steadfast. And when we looked at simplicity in our practice, it allows us to have some focused flexibility. And I say focused flexibility while I think the opposite of that is panicked chaos, and we want to avoid the chaotic panic, right?

Nobody wants to be there. But sometimes, in challenging economic times or other challenges, we are going to have some flexibility. We're going to have to adapt. One example of that is everybody quickly having to move to telehealth within one to two weeks, the majority of therapists were practicing primarily on telehealth.

That is focused on flexibility. That is adapting to the circumstances. That is adapting to the need. It's keeping it simple. On the other hand, panic chaos looks something like going out there and trying to apply for every insurance panel, even though you've been private pay only for the last five years because the economy's tanking, everybody's going to lose their job and nobody's going to be able to afford your services so you need to go get on 10 new insurance panels like yesterday. That is panic chaos, right? It's not simple. It's not focused flexibility. And that's not adopting, that's coming from a place of fear.

And so when we're looking at simplifying, we don't want to be inflexible, we do need to have the capability to adapt. And we want to make sure that it's staying focused and simple. So if you feel that big need, if you feel some anxiety about your business model that's been this way for the long term, you know, there are other options.

It's not you're going to apply for 10 insurance panels, or maintain you're all private pay. What if you applied for one or two insurance panels? Maybe those are the highest paying maybe those are the ones that would bring you the most clients. But what if you took more focused action, still giving flexibility and adaptability to your practice because that is necessary, but it needs to be focused and it needs to keep it simple as much as possible.

And finally, the third pillar is aligned growth. If you are already to the point in your practice of looking at your next steps for aligned growth and how you wanted to build your brand and increase your impact, keep doing that. Look at this as an opportunity.

Many therapists are feeling like they've had some additional time freed up for them. Capitalize on that time to create that program or look into really diving into what those next steps are for scaling your practice, or building your brand. And take the time to re-evaluate if the work you're doing is the work that you do best. Are you serving yourself and your clients the best that you can?

And if some areas of your practice or your business the answer is no to that question, then make those adjustments. Now is a great time to hit reset on some pieces of your practice or your brand. And make adjustments to ensure that your growth is aligned with the values and vision that you had in the beginning.

So even though there is a lot of anxiety, there is a lot of uncertainty around the things that are going on in the world and going on around us right now. If the work you are doing is still aligned with your values and your vision, keep doing it. Keep on keeping on.

You don't need to make any changes. But if it's not aligned, go ahead and take this opportunity and let yourself see it as an opportunity to make the changes you need to make. But really walk back through these three pillars of practicing with confidence and ensure that you have clarity in your values and your vision that you have simplicity in your workflows and your processes and your practice and that you are preparing yourself and your brands for aligned growth and take care from someone who started a group practice during a recession and took it from nothing to twelve therapists within a nine-month period.

And one of the biggest reasons I was probably able to do that is because I was oblivious to the economic crisis that was going on around me. I was focused on the impact I wanted to have and on the values-based practice I wanted to build and I was focused on going to law school full time. I didn't have time to worry about the economic crisis, and what impacts that may or may not have on my values and my vision for my practice.

I would love to hear what you guys have to say about the impact that this pandemic is having on us both emotionally as business owners, as well as economically. And I invite you all to join us and join the conversation in our Facebook group. You can find the link in the show notes. And I would love to hear what you have to say, as well as your experiences with this whole situation that we're all trying to navigate through together. Thank you guys so much for listening and I look forward to hearing from you and connecting with you. Bye, all.



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