How Private Practice is Like Playing Golf (Part 2)

In the last post we looked at how Mindset affects attitude and your sustainable success in private practice.  We identified two of the most commonly seen categories of mindset traps that I see when coaching mental health professionals in private practice; mindset traps that hold clinicians back from getting what they want in their businesses.  In this post, we’ll take a closer look at category #1:

“I’m Not Enough”

The core of the “I’m Not Enough” category of mindset traps is a lack of confidence that undermines your ability to own your value and recognize your worth. “I’m not enough” can show up in a variety of ways in your private practice, your work, and even in your life.

“Imposter Syndrome” Mindset Trap

Many high achievers secretly doubt their accomplishments and feel like frauds.  Do you cringe when someone calls you an expert?  Are you afraid your clients or colleagues will somehow “find out” that you’re not who or what you say you are?  If so, you may be struggling with Imposter Syndrome.  It can cause unnecessary inner turmoil and bruise your self-esteem.  It can also hold you back from achieving the success you’ve hoped, dreamed, planned, and worked hard for!

Here’s what you can do: 

  • Notice when you’re doubting yourself (your abilities, your credibility, your skills) and take the time to write down those doubts – in detail
  • Write about all the things you’ve done and sacrificed to get where you are today
  • List the benefits and results clients get when they work with you
  • Identify your values and the commitment you have to your work and your clients; write these out in a mission statement for you to read whenever you are doubting yourself 

The more you challenge those twinges of Imposter Syndrome, the more likely you’ll talk about who you are and what you do with confidence.   Your self-confidence will spark confidence, respect, and trust from potential clients and referrers as well.  Remember:  We teach people who we are, and how to treat us.  

“Competition” Mindset Trap

Many of my coaching clients are hyper-focused on the number of therapists that exist in their communities.  Are you reluctant to share information or get too close to other clinicians because you fear losing business to them?  Do you often look over your shoulder and think about how successful other local therapists might be?  Your lack of confidence can really hold you back from collegial relationships that could be of mutual benefit.  Competition Mindset is almost always a dead end; Collaboration Mindset can open doors you’d never have access to on your own.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Do some networking (or some homework) and identify 4-5 professionals whose areas of expertise are similar to or complement your work
  • Invite them to a meet and greet and start a conversation about how you might work together to achieve a mutual goal (to educate the community or to get more clients)
  • Come up with a plan to meet again to choose and plan a collaborative effort (a health fair, a training, a community awareness event)
  • Follow through on your collaborative effort and use the experience to determine what you might do next, and determine which other professionals might be added to your next endeavor

Collaboration creates a synergy that can spark loads of ideas and might inspire and excite you in your work.  In the process, you’ll benefit from a cooperative effort to achieve your mutual goals

“Not Recognizing Your Value” Mindset Trap

Lack of confidence is often fueled by not recognizing your value.  Do you feel guilt or shame collecting for no-shows or late cancellations?  Do you hesitate to raise your fees over time? Are you resistant to dropping off insurance panels even when you’re being treated unfairly?  Not recognizing your value can certainly affect your pocketbook, but worse, it negatively affects your positioning with your clients, your referrers, and your community.

Here’s what you can do:

  • List the ways you make a difference in your clients’ lives: saved relationships; healthy parenting; symptom management/return to work; resolved grief; positive transitions; etc.
  • Do “the numbers”. Consider the investment of time and money you’ve made to help others; know how much you need to make to satisfy your needs and achieve your financial goals
  • Acknowledge that when someone late cancels or no shows (especially if you’ve got folks on a waiting list) it’s not fair to you or the many people who need your help. There are exceptions to every rule, but collecting money due you and holding clients financially responsible is not a punishment – it’s a good business decision that allows you to keep your doors open, and keeps you from feeling resentful
  • Set your fees with intention. You don’t need to “discount” yourself or your services.  You may choose to slide a fee or do pro bono work but do it from the goodness of your heart – not because you’re worried about what the client will think of your fees 

When you hold back from reaching out or you cheat yourself out of money owed to you, you’re not positioning yourself as a credible professional.  What you do matters!  What you do has great value to your clients’ lives.  You are an invaluable resource to your referrers and your community. Remember:  You don’t need to justify your fees – your client does. 

The “I’m not enough” mindset waxes and wanes.   Learn to notice when it’s causing problems in your business or when it’s negatively affecting your self-worth.  Go back to these steps and feel good about who you are, what you do, and how you are desperately needed.

(We guide you, step-by-step through this process in our Private Pay Practice Program!)

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