I started out 2016 with a blog post called 2016: The Year of Not Hustling. At the time I wrote that I was in therapy and working really hard to divorce my self-worth from my “achievements”. Like my clients with Anorexia, every time I hit a goal I set another, more intense one. And because I was hitting my mark I was getting positively reinforced for it. Workaholism is real. Obsessive drive is about more than wanting to do what I love, provide for my family, fear of failure. Like most addictive behaviors it’s rooted in avoidance of life-stuff.
Can you relate?
Here’s what I learned in the late part of 2015 and this year: Being with grief sucks. Being with anxiety sucks. Feeling like you fucked up sucks. I have tons of tools but feeling inclined to use them is another thing altogether. I feel competent and confident in my work. Parenting, not so much. Though I joke around a ton, I don’t often feel fun. The worker bee in me doesn’t want to turn that work trip into a work trip + vacation; it wants to get in, get out, and get back to daily life.
These parts can all coexist. They all have a place at the table but I’m the CEO, damnit. And I have the final say.
So did I reach my goal of not hustling? Kinda. I found safeguards like keeping Facebook and my work emails off my phone. I had a baby so that helped re-prioritize. I stopped listening to so many business podcasts and listened to fun ones instead. I shut down my computer at 5:00 most of the time. We have adventured a little bit thanks to my honey.
Did my business fall apart with my more moderate pace (plus months off for maternity leave)? NO! It thrived! I reached more people, created two new products, made a lot more money, recorded a ton of podcast episodes (launching in January), hired 3 new contracted positions, was a part of a live event, and had a ton of pride in what I did. If you had told me in 2015 that 2016 would work like this (less HARD WORK, more success) I honestly wouldn’t have believed you. I would have challenged the notion that every single minute I worked wasn’t important for reaching my goals. I was very intensely attached to “HARD WORK pays off.”
I see many of my practice-building clients rush in, ready to take on the world. They want the tools and plan to use most of them as soon as humanly possible. Without pacing, they get overwhelmed or in information overload or their blocks come screaming up in their faces. For those that can trudge through, burn out or workaholism awaits. For those that freeze up, feeling like a failure and FOMO hit hard. This doesn’t have to happen. We can build our practices without working ourselves to the bone. Our practices thrive when we come to them with intention, calm, excitement, and openness. How? The answer isn’t sexy. Planning. Planning and reviewing what’s working and what’s not.
Have you created a plan for 2017 yet? Do you know how you plan to market your practice in the new year? Do you know what worked this year and where you wasted time or money? If not, don’t beat yourself up. This kind of business planning is something you learn as you go and here you are learning as you’re going. I’ll provide a structure for it in my first post of 2017.
But here’s something you can do this week (if you’re working). Write down everything you do all workday. It may look like “email, facebook, session, notes, session, notes”, etc. Get really clear about where you’re spending your time whether you feel harried and like you’re working too hard or like you’re hardly working and feel untethered.
Let us know in the comments what your most exciting goal for 2017 is. We’d love to cheer you on!
P.S. One of the things I’m most excited about is some planning I’m in the midst of with another practice-builder. West Coast, I’m coming to you! If you’re looking for some next-level in-person work, are ready to seriously invest in your practice both financially and energetically, AND want monthly follow through to finish out 2017, shoot me an email. This is going to be very intimate, invite-only with lots of personal attention. We’re out to change some lives.
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.