It was an interesting experience when twice in a 12 hour period I was instructed to “lower the bar.” Those exact words. The first was Nikki Elledge Brown’s new venture Naptime Empires. When I heard those words, tears sprang to my eyes and a sense of being seen and known in combination with a strong “I don’t wanna!!!!” pounded in my chest. It’s something I’d been needing to hear. Then at 5:30 the next morning, my meditation app, Muse, instructed the same thing. “Lower the bar.” Fuck!
In case you’re just now meeting me, my bars are high for myself. Stupid crazy high sometimes and I actually do a pretty good job of meeting them. Even as I’ve downshifted out of hustle-zone, I still manage to meet my goals. I don’t want to limbo; I want to pole vault. And of course, like anyone who struggles with perfectionism and workaholic tendencies, there’s some mucky stuff underneath that I don’t have to deal if I keep setting and reaching goals ad nauseum.
Some of you are like, “Ugh, I WISH I could get motivated to work!” I’ve got some blogs coming for you guys, no worries. And you can check out this in the meantime.
Some of you are probably right here with me. You feel guilty if your to do list isn’t done and you’re watching t.v. You have a lot of ideas you want to implement right this second! You can handle a lot and feel like because you can, you should. You manage a lot with the many many hats you wear.
I’m not going to pretend I’ve worked through all this. I’d love to be your shining example of having balance figured out, but at this moment in time I don’t. If you’re on this journey with me, I invite you to lower the bar. You do not have to have a six figure practice in six months. You don’t have be perfectly consistent with blogging or networking. You don’t have to be the most well-read therapist your clients have ever seen. Your first and most important commitment is to yourself and your priorities.
Building your practice is likely a priority. Good! But don’t let it overshadow the other very important things in your life.
One of the questions I ask in the very first Abundance Practice-Building Group is “What are your top 3 priorities, even if your time and energy don’t reflect that?” Ask yourself that question. Write it down. Then look at how you spend that time and energy. How can you get 10% closer to your time/energy/priority alignment this month? (I didn’t leave a zero out. Just 10%, Captain Overachiever.) For me the answer is lowering the bar on my expectations of myself in each of my roles.
Look at the roles you play in your life and write down the following: “I don’t have to be the most ______ (ways you feel you “should be”) _____ (role you play)” Seriously. Write it down.
I don’t have to be the perfect therapist with perfect insight and perfect boundaries and perfect empathy. I don’t have to be the most intelligent consultant with the best ideas and the most amazing branding and people beating down my door. I don’t have to be the most fun, thoughtful, interesting, sexy partner. I don’t have to be the most patient, engaging, creative, peaceful mom. I don’t have to be the most responsive, helpful, protective, needs-anticipating daughter/daughter-in-law. I don’t have to be the most communicative, fun, attentive friend.
Damn that felt good. Seriously, if you didn’t do it, do it. Write it down.
I’m going to lower the bar. I vow to let my priorities be my priorities, which is why I started on the private practice road to begin with. You probably know my opinion on hustling at this point. I invite you to join me. Stop trying to outshine the you of last year. You were great then. You’re great now. Proceed as if you’ve already proven yourself to yourself.
How are you going to lower the bar? Let us know in the comments.
Allison Puryear is an LCSW with a nearly diagnosable obsession with business development. She has started practices in three different states and wants you to know that building a private practice is shockingly doable when you have a plan and support. After retiring her individual consultation services, she opened the Abundance Party, where you can get practice-building help for the cost of a copay. You can download a free private practice checklist to make sure you have your ducks in a row, get weekly private practice tips, listen to the podcast, hop into the free Facebook Group. Allison is all about helping you gain the confidence and tools you need to succeed.