Hey there fabulous clinicians,
Ever said these words before?
— If I want it done right, I have to do it myself
— I don’t have time to train someone to do this for me
— I’ll get organised first, create the perfect system, THEN get someone to help me implement it
Yes? Well… you might be a bit of a control freak.
I am a well known control freak. I am very good at doing everything myself and making sure that I keep up the facade that I can do everything perfectly and not even break a sweat.
… Or at least I used to be. More on that below.
As we talk more and more about what it means to really master this whole Private Practice thing – we need to start talking about the uncomfortable stuff – like what it means to relinquish control and why you need to do it if you want to grow.
It’s a simple enough concept, right? You can’t do it all. And yet… why do we struggle so much to let go? Why do we keep torturing ourselves with bookkeeping and administration tasks (that we don’t even enjoy or do particularly well), technical skills we force ourselves to learn that would be better off done by someone who actually knows what they’re doing and operational bits in our business that, quite frankly, we suck at? Why?
The simple truth is that control – or even the illusion of control – feels safe. It feels comfortable. And it feels secure.
And we humans like to feel comfortable and safe. It’s a good place to be. It’s our default zone.
This is the reason why you’re STILL doing the tasks in your business that you don’t like and aren’t in your zone of genius – because even though you hate doing it, it still feels safer than making room for the discomfort and uncertainty that comes with making a commitment to growth and doing things differently.
So we make the trade off – we choose the safety that comes with the familiar, in exchange for staying in the same place – often a place of frustration. We like to tell ourselves that no one can do everything as well as we can, and that we don’t have the time to train someone, and that we need to be perfect before we ask for help (kinda like cleaning the house before the cleaner comes). This is a myth. And it is keeping you small.
There’s no judgement here – I have personally lived out every scenario I’ve described above. I’ve felt the negative effects of “do-it-all-syndrome” first-hand.
“You need to be aware that when you make the decision to do everything yourself, all the time, you are inevitably going to hit a point in your practice where you simply cannot grow any further.”
So – you have a choice. I’m not here to tell you to give up all of your responsibilities and put yourself in a position where you feel incredibly out of control all the time. But you need to be aware that when you make the decision to do everything yourself, all the time, you are inevitably going to hit a point in your practice where you simply cannot grow any further. And so you are faced with these options: 1. Keep doing what you’ve always done and accept the familiar, along with the certainty (and frustration) that comes with it or 2. Accept that you need help and make room for growth, which is uncomfortable and terrifying and really not easy.
Neither option is all sunshine and puppies and rainbows. But you need to make the decision about whether you want to accept the status quo or commit to creating a life and practice that doesn’t rely solely on you.
As for me, it’s really only been in the last year that I fully accepted the help and support I needed to give myself and my business the room is needs to grow to the next level. I hired a full time employee for the first time, and I trusted her to sort through the mess that was my organizational and filing system. I stopped waiting until I had the perfect system – instead, I brought someone into my business who could help me create that system. The same thing was true for the accounting systems in my business: 2016 was the first year that I was fully able to step outside the daily “doing” of my accounts and finances and take on a bigger picture role that allowed me to make smart decisions without getting caught in the minituae of how many dollars and cents were in my bank account on any given day.
I’ve started to see the results of letting help in, and let me tell you, it’s incredible. But also totally terrifying. It has taken me nearly 3 years, but I’ve finally been able to reduce my personal caseload down to just five clients – when in the past I’ve reached as high as 30, while trying to oversee 7 team members and run and grow my business. You’d think that I’d be happy and sipping pina coladas on a beach somewhere, but this has opened up a whole new can of worms for me.
“You’d think that I’d be happy and sipping pina coladas on a beach somewhere, but this has opened up a whole new can of worms for me.”
You see, suddenly, I have the time I need to work on bringing the vision I have for my businesses to life – I can work ON my business instead of just IN it. And I feel really guilty about that. I actually feel like I’m not doing any work at all, and a little part of me is terrified that if I’m not billing and worrying about the details, then how are we going to make any money?
These are my instinctual and emotional reactions to doing something differently, and it’s likely that you will experience the same thing too as you commit to delegating and getting the support you need. That’s OK. In times like this, I remind myself that since I’ve reduced my caseload, my business has seen some of the highest grossing months we’ve had in nearly 3 years. I have to remind myself that I need to trust in the discomfort of stepping away from the familiar – and I hope you feel ready to do the same too.
If you’re not clear on what kind of help you might need, then spend some time writing out all of the things that you wish you never had to do again, and then starting looking at how you can decide to outsource or systematize that action. Maybe that even means that you need to start consulting with someone who can help you figure out what that system might look like.
If you’ve really got massive overwhelm happening right now, and you can’t see the forest for the trees, then it’s OK to ask for help and let someone else help you sort through the mess that’s happening inside your head.
I recently opened up spaces in my schedule for 60 Minute Power Consulting Sessions – and this would be a great use of your time and energy if you know you need to make room for growth but you’re not sure where to start. I’d love to help you map out how we can help you step away from the stuff that you shouldn’t be doing in your business anymore – so that you can do more of what you love and keep building your business on your own terms.
You can learn more about Power Consulting Sessions at the bottom of this page.
I’d love to hear from you – what do you think you need to let go of in your business in 2017? Share with me in the comments below.