I’m sitting down to write this blog piece with a slice of chocolate brownie for company.
Although there’s nothing wrong with chocolate brownie per se, I’m admonishing myself for breaking the “rule” I created just yesterday, when I made the decision to start eating better again because I wasn’t feeling so great. I’ve eaten well for breakfast, I’ve had nearly 2 litres of water by lunchtime (*pats self on back*), so why am I wanting this brownie so much? I know this chocolate brownie is full of calories and refined sugar and dairy and wheat and things that make my poor tummy hurt – yet I also know that before this blog post is posted that I will have eaten it and I will have sucked up the negative consequences (and all the crumbs, too).
So, what is it that drives me to eat the brownie and suck up the consequences… more than what would drive me to not eat the brownie and actually experience greater wellness?
WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME – I’M A TOTAL FAILURE
Thank you for that helpful thought, brain.
And furthermore, what on earth does this have to do with being successful in private practice?
Well – everything.
Have you ever noticed that you will do the same things again and again despite knowing…
· It isn’t necessary or good for your business
· It isn’t productive
· It isn’t wise
· It isn’t smart
· You have invested money in learning how to do something differently… YET YOU KEEP DOING THE SAME THINGS OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
Take for example writing case notes – you know that your life would be a whole lot easier if you had 10-20 minutes at the end of every session to simply write up your notes before you saw your next client. You may have even started scheduling that time into your day, so that after each client you have a specific break to write up the notes. However, come 6.30 PM after you’ve seen your last client for the day, you work out that you have not written any of the notes for the 6 clients today, and none got done yesterday, either.
What did get done instead?
· Hung out on FB where all the cool people are
· Reviewed your website analytics
· Called your Mum (or Mom depending on where you live)
· Returned phone calls
· Went to the toilet
· Drank water, tea, coffee
But your notes didn’t get done. Well quite clearly that tactic of having time dedicated to writing notes doesn’t work?!?!
And what about creating your spending plan for your business (AKA your budget)?
You carve out the time, you do online tutorials for how to use excel, you spend money investing in some bookkeeping software and start watching the online tutorials for this software, clearly you are invested. You are prepared and you are ready to start entering your data.
Numbers? I ain’t afraid of you…
Vigorously you start entering in your categories, they are nice and everything makes sense. Yay! Now it’s time to start entering your expenses.
And so it begins…
The first receipt you pick up, you can’t remember what it’s for, so that goes in the “to be done later pile, the next one: “hmmmm that was for a stationery right I know where to put that, the next one for an online assessment tool, yep I know where to put that, then a payment subscription for your Electronic Health Record, hmmmm where does that go? Where should that go, I wonder what the people over at Abundance Practice Building Group say to put it…..what about those over at the Blissful Facebook group or the Selling the Couch group… how do they think I should categorize my online EHR subscription because if I get a lot of people answering me then surely I can work out the right answer just by how many people tell me to do the same thing…”
Then you stop working on your spending plan and get sucked into the vortex of Facebook. Some 199 comments later, you have opened a massive debate that might just break the Facebook platform as people start asking about what the best EHR is to you; when to outsource and who to outsource to, then some people put it in an IT category, others put it in a software category and wait there are 6 other category titles… HUH????
Jo was wrong, budgeting is so hard and I never want to do this again, I’m so confused.
No surprises there, because:
Whether it’s eating the brownie when you promised yourself you wouldn’t, or needing the responses of hundreds of people to help you make a decision, there is something going on here that’s not serving you.
And until you know why you are making these decisions then you will continue to do so and more than likely continue to beat yourself up and describe yourself as stupid, undisciplined, a failure and a whole host of other mean names that I won’t go in to.
Once you know what’s going on for you – again you have some choices as to what to do with this information. Like I said last week:
– You might choose to do nothing
– You might choose to learn more
– You might ask a trusted person in your world how they would deal with what you have found
Anthony Robbins speaks a lot about the concept of the 6 Core Needs, rooted in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Understanding how these needs drive us, how they layer against our personality and how our brain works can help us understand why we behave the way we do – even when we logically know that it’s not in our best interest.
Here are the six core needs:
1. Certainty: assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure
2. Uncertainty/Variety: the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli
3. Significance: feeling unique, important, special or needed
4. Connection/Love: a strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something
5. Growth: an expansion of capacity, capability or understanding
6. Contribution: a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others
Everyone puts these needs in their unique order of importance – but it’s often said that the first four needs are about our personality, while the last two (growth and contribution) shape our spiritual needs.
But here’s the thing: if, like many people who are drawn to being a clinician, you highly value significance or certainty, you’re in for a rough time.
In order to have certainty as number one, life has to stay the same — something that it does not do. So, in order to keep your life the same, you have to artificially control your environment, control the people and control yourself. The only way to achieve that is to lower your expectations or just be stressed out all the time, neither of which are a good option.
If significance is one of your top two needs, you always have to be competing with someone else. More than likely, you have to lie to yourself about your real abilities or surround yourself with people that are less skilled.
All dysfunctional behaviours arise from the inability to consistently meet these six needs. But, if you are able to reach them, in a healthy order — meaning significance and certainty are not at the top — you will have fulfillment.
Understanding these needs, and which ones you are trying to meet in any given moment, can help you create new patterns that lead to lasting fulfillment and put a stop to self-sabotage.
After all, everyone wants the secret hack or tool that will stop them from engaging in self sabotage or other behaviours that we know aren’t useful or helpful (such as eating the brownie or avoiding the spending plan. But here’s the thing…
The real hack, the real tool that will make a difference is learning what makes you you, learn about what’s really driving you, and to find ways to get your core needs met in more useful and resourceful ways. It also means acknowledging your fears and insecurities, and finding ways to work from a place of strength rather than focusing on your weaknesses.
This is a difficult journey to do alone. But it is powerful and worthwhile and will lead to success.
So what was really going on for me when I ate that brownie? I was looking for certainty. I wanted something to feel certain and familiar as I went into the uncomfortable place of writing a blog (because I find writing blogs challenging. I fear that no one will read my blogs, that I will look like a fool and that people will laugh at me). I was looking for that feeling of certainty that the comfort of eating a sugary, chocolate something brings me. The pull towards this sense of certainty and comfort was much more powerful than the push away for the sense of wellbeing.
The person who tried to complete their spending plan was desperately seeking certainty, too! They went looking for the certainty that they were doing their bookkeeping correctly, and ended up overwhelmed, frustrated and quite problably afraid of anything to do with finances in their business.
What about the person who carved out the time in their day to create their clinical notes, but didn’t use the time for the writing of said notes – what was the core need that this person was looking to fulfill?
I would love to know what you think is driving this person to not write their notes? I wonder if anyone will be brave enough to leave their answer or thoughts in the comments below?
Be assured that this isn’t doom and gloom, there is nothing wrong with you. You can’t pretend to have a mindset for success – you must build one.
Understanding YOU is the first module of the Success Mindset Masterclass happening September 14-17 2017 (early bird seats are now on sale, and you can save $300 on the price of your seat). Next week, I’m going to talk more into understanding our personality and how this forms a foundation for a mindset of success.