You already know that you’re a great therapist, or you wouldn’t be here. You value your clients and gain deep satisfaction from watching their lives transform for the better. In short, you already trust yourself as a counselor. Now it’s time to trust yourself as a business owner. Your training as a clinician didn’t cover the ins and outs of entrepreneurship. Sometimes you feel overwhelmed or just plain discouraged by your private practice. I get it. But here’s the thing - you deserve to feel confident in all areas of your business. And you don’t have to have an MBA to get there. All you need is courage and the right set of tools. In this month’s blog, I want to share with you another one of the most powerful tools in business planning (that is often overlooked): INTENTION.  The simple but powerful tool of intention can transform extra-stressed into extraordinary.  Here’s how:

  • Small things often. This motto of Drs. John and Julie Gottman reminds us that small, meaningful moments (and not grand gestures) make strong marriages. Sound familiar, couples therapists? In the same way, you’d advise clients struggling in a relationship to be attentive to their spouse, as a business owner you must be attentive to your business. Here, attentiveness doesn't mean revamping your entire business plan in one day or spending hundreds of dollars decorating your office. Instead, it means adding one or two names to your email list, responding to a comment on your business Instagram profile, or making a meaningful connection with a potential referral source. Over time, these small things add up to measurable successes.
  • Have a roadmap. Antoine De Saint-Exupéry, author of the wonderful and inspiring The Little Prince, once said that “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” In other words, you have to know where you want to go in order to get there. A roadmap for your business can be as involved as a strategic, five-year business plan, or it can be as simple as maintaining a planner and writing down one or two small goals each month. As you begin to achieve small goals, you’ll gain the confidence to set loftier, long-term goals. Little by little, your roadmap will begin to take shape.
  • Break it down. While you might be a pro at helping your clients consider their long-term vision for life, doing that for yourself can be a whole lot harder. So, be easy on yourself and break that planning into pieces. Start with quarterly planning instead of yearly. Aim for two new connections per month instead of per week. Slow down, take a breath, and empower yourself to work at a pace that makes sense for you. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a flourishing private practice!
  • Celebrate your milestones. When your clients reach an important milestone, you encourage them to pat themselves on the back - own their hard work and claim theresult. But how are you celebrating your own milestones? If you met your quarterly goal of landing two new clients, treat yourself to a meaningful reward! Met your revenue goals for the year? Plan a weekend away to celebrate! Most importantly, be sure to schedule some celebratory self-care. It may seem silly to put “bubble bath” or “walk in the woods” on your calendar, but if those things keep you feeling good, they’re every bit as important as client meetings. Don’t pencil them in - INK them in (better yet, use a fun sticker)! When you feel strong and healthy, you will see that well-being reflected in your business.
  • Be curious. How is curiosity helpful in intentional business planning? Mostly as a replacement for judgment. As a business owner, setbacks are inevitable. You’re going to make mistakes. When you do, try to reserve your judgment and simply observe the situation. Consider: What was at the root of this setback? What did I learn from it? What do I wish I’d done differently? What result do I want? The more curious you are about your own learning process, the more positive growth you’ll see in your business.

Ready to get intentional about planning? Open up that planner and get started. Use your passion to fuel yourself (after all, you didn’t become a therapist because you couldn’t think of anything else to do) have a deep passion. Remember, your passion + plans = PROFIT$!