This is a great question – one of two things is going to occur
1. There is going to be a horrible train wreck, leaving the health professional limited, fearful and risk averse
2. There will be incredible liberation leaving the health professional secure, peaceful and inspired by their capacity to make change happen
Health professionals by training and practice, and because if the incredible importance of the work we do with people are by nature risk averse and process oriented. We have many checks, balances and compliances to ensure we maintain standards of patient care.
Entrepreneurs are risk takers. In order to be successful in business there must be a level of risk taking and entrepreneurism.
Health professionals and entrepreneurs appear to be on two different ends of the spectrum. Being both an entrepreneur and a clinician at the same time is really difficult. The health professional who is a business owner has to bring these two conflicting paradigms together.
In mentoring entrepreneurial health professionals over the past 4 years I’ve been struck by those who seem to have an innate ability to grab hold of the entrepreneur within them and those who don’t. I’ve reflected on this somewhat in the past months as I step up my mentoring practice to serve the numbers of health professionals who really want to make a business success of their practices. I’ve noticed something quite unique to health professionals and why I think the transition from health professional to entrepreneur is more difficult for some than others.
You see, as health professionals we are always following a technique. We practice a modality. When we are dealing with a tricky client or pathology we rely on the process. We go back into the evidence; we review best practice in clinical care; we review literature and research; we seek clinical supervision; we practice our craft until it becomes almost innate. We know we have to be on the ball clinically because if we aren’t the effects of poor clinical decisions can be really disastrous for our clients. Just as we have the ability to do tremendous good we also have the capacity to do a lot of bad.
To manage the risk of being a health professional we maintain our credentials, we participate in clinical supervision; we have mandatory PD points or hours we need to achieve in a given timeframe. In short, we continue to prove ourselves worthy of our profession. We are often however, motivated by the stick rather than the carrot; motivated by NOT making a mistake. Our focus is, “I can’t let this client down”;” I can’t let my profession down”, “I can’t let myself down by making a mistake”. We don’t want a malpractice suit!
This fear of the stick is so ingrained in us – think about how betrayed we feel when we hear of someone who gets it wrong, we all judge thinking, “How did that happen?” “They mustn’t have been supervised well enough, or kept their credentials up to date; or maintained their professional standards”.
We work to manage risk; all health care (as opposed to wellness promotion) is about mitigating risk, mitigating loss. We are always helping our clients to manage the risks associated with making progress or moving forward.
As health professionals we tend to be cautious; risk averse; conservative. We often call this ethical or professional – which it is. No argument here.
However, risk averse, cautious and conservative are not the ingrained attitudes of successful entrepreneurs. We know successful entrepreneurs and business owners are all risk takers; often throwing caution to the wind and making decisions and taking opportunities really quickly. Successful entrepreneurs have the ability to change in a split second, and turn on a dime when new information is presented to them. Further, successful entrepreneurs make decisions with maybe 65% of needed information and just work the rest out along the way.
What happens when the health professional (the clinician) and the entrepreneur collide? This appears to be at the core of why some health professionals can become successful entrepreneurs and business owners and others get so stuck in the process of trying to build a business. How do we manage the internal conflict between:
- Risk averse and risk taker?
- Caution and courage to make change quickly and often?
- Being conservative and being radical?
This is where I see many health professionals give up and get it wrong – they apply their clinical decision making model to their business, to entrepreneurship. It simply can’t work for long. It will get them so far, but it’s terribly limited. They will be limited to selling time for money or training sessions for a fee. They will be stuck in transactional service delivery. I don’t want this for you, because you have more in you than that!
How do you learn to be an entrepreneur? To get good at this you need to practice. You need to hang out with people who think differently, who don’t make clinical decisions all day long. You need to place yourself in an environment where you can learn to take risks in your business; where problems can be solved as they arise, because problems will come. It’s just what you do to solve them is the different between success and failure. You need to learn to take risks and learn that risk taking is not bad. However, you need to know what you can risk and what you shouldn’t risk. This is where having the right supports around you is imperative.
Myself, and many of my clients are examples of how health professionals can become successful entrepreneurs and business owners. Now, I will admit not all of my clients have made it. There have been a couple who have become stuck in the need to be safe – and that’s OK. Being a business owner or in private practice isn’t for everyone. But there are a lot more of us who could be successful in business.
Can you identify with this struggle? Is this something you have experienced yourself? I’d love to know if you have noticed this conflict in yourself. And, if so, how have you resolved it? Please leave your responses in the comments below. This will be incredibly valuable for people who are new to private practice.
Here’s the thing though – what if I told you that getting to that next level in your private practice has nothing to do with ANOTHER MODALITY or getting ANOTHER QUALIFICATION or even getting a HIGHER QUALIFICATION.
Here’s to your success
PS Did you hear the exciting news? I am running a special training event here in Sydney exclusively for Privtate Practice owners who want to take their business to the next level. Wanna find out more? Click here to visit the event website