Revitalize Your Practice, Nurture Your Passions
The desire to revitalize your practice is often preceded by a powerful and at times unsettling realization that your work is no longer fulfilling. It may be triggered by a life-changing event. Perhaps your business is stalling and you don’t know why. Or maybe you’ve outgrown your current form of healing. The truth is that between 55% and 80% of physicians experience burnout at some point in their practice.
This can be an unnerving and frustrating experience. The first impulse is to fix it, change it, make it right today. As much as we’d like to snap our fingers and be in the next phase, it takes time and patience to reconnect with your passions, redefine your direction, and grow the next phase of your business.
As you begin to nurture your own dreams, here are a few things to consider.
Acknowledge Your Burnout
Acknowledging burnout is so vital, and yet it can be accompanied by a fair amount of fear, shame, and anxiety. The temptation is to try harder to overcome the burnout. My invitation—take the time to give your body and spirit self-care. Go to yoga, visit a hot springs, take long walks or afternoon naps, get a massage, or meditate.
By naming how you feel and taking time to renew your body, your tension will relax and your imagination will start to open. Don’t even try and figure it out. This stage is simply about restoring balance in your body and spirit. One client said to me, “I can’t even begin to think about my practice, my own life is so out of balance.” For a month we focused on her, providing extreme self-care. Once she had renewed her spirit, she was excited about focusing on her business.
Dare to Dream
Embedded deep within the feelings of being overwhelmed are gems of desire. Sometimes this desire is hidden under a pile of outdated beliefs, untapped dreams, and broken promises. Other times it’s shouting to be heard, but silenced by internal judgments. This is a great time to journal, draw, or create a collage. Browse magazines, Google topics of interest, imagine what you’d like to be known for. Amazingly this can be done in as little as 15 minutes a day.
As you journal, you write without censoring your thoughts. Ask yourself,
- What do I long for…personally and professionally?
- How is that reflected in my practice?
- In my life?
- What might I add, or delete, from my practice?
- What inspires me?
- What bores me?
Share this with trusted colleagues who can provide support and offer new perspectives. Exposing your dreams to others can help you sort out what’s really important.
You might be amazed at how many people have gone through similar experiences.
Create a Daring “Short List”
As you create your list, notice which items make you gulp and which ones make you sigh. Notice when you want to stray back to what feels safe. Create a “short list” of what keeps coming up again and again in your journaling and your conversations. Ask your friends and colleagues what they hear you continually talk about.
Once you’ve listed your dreams, hang them where you can see them—especially the ones you have judgments about.
Investigate the Essentials
You’ve allowed yourself to dream. You’ve narrowed your list. Now it’s time to investigate what it will really take to accomplish your vision. Talk to others doing this work. Notice trends in stores and magazines. Go to places your prospective clients frequent—not to promote your work but to get a sense of what’s important to them. Keep asking yourself, am I still interested in pursuing this idea? Is it worth my effort?
If the answer is yes, identify the critical factors that will be essential to your new venture’s success. Be tough about it. If you want to succeed, don’t underestimate the importance of the key elements—the “‘who, how, and finances.”
- How will this venture make a difference? To whom? How will they be better off as a result?
- How does your clientele make health care decisions? How will you connect with them?
- Add up costs for rent, overhead, payroll, advertising, and so on, then figure out how much money you’ll make, after its specific costs, and calculate the financial viability.
Now think about it. Is your new service, product, or venture viable? Do you have the energy and stamina to make it happen? If you do, then you’ll want to create a more extensive marketing plan. If not, this is the perfect time to revisit your short list.
Create a Support Team
The true value of a support team is indescribable. Not surprisingly, businesses that create an intentional support system are more successful than those who don’t. And yet, it’s amazing how often we try to do this on our own. As you move ahead consider personal, legal, financial, and marketing support.
As you change your focus or redefine your professional direction, having people around who can probe, acknowledge, and encourage you as needed will indeed make all the difference. And most important, remember this process takes time and self-care. At each step, acknowledge what you’ve accomplished and celebrate the small steps along the way.
Carolyn Campbell, MA, CPPC. As a certified professional coach, Carolyn helps healing practitioners create successful businesses using their authentic strengths. Integrating business know-how, leadership, and creative outreach, she offers both individual and group coaching programs to suit the specific needs of her clients. She also brings practice-building lectures, workshops, and seminars to associations and schools.