The waters may be cold but you still need to jump in and swim. This line came to my mind this past weekend when I went to the beach in NYC for the final time of the summer. I was there practicing self-care and was thinking about what I would write for this article. I thought about some things that I have encountered in myself and others that I have worked with for over a decade in taking their next steps in life.
The first thing that came to me was embracing entrepreneurial anxiety. You know what it is, it’s the feeling of anxiety about taking the next step with something that is uncertain like starting a private practice, it’s the pit in your stomach when you have a conversation about increasing your fee or pitching new services to potential clients. It happens for everybody, its normal, and will continue to occur as long as you are trying to grow. The most important piece here to remember is you are trying to grow.
Launching big ideas, taking that new next step in your life, it’s all about you taking steps to make your life the way you want, to live more in alignment with your values and to actualize yourself. When we work to grow we will continue to encounter this type of anxiety and I want to encourage you to embrace it. There are three things that can help in turning this process around for you.
You can re-frame the anxiety. By re-framing anxiety we can help ourselves normalize it and embrace it as natural part of the risk taking process of trying and going for something new. Keep in mind you worked hard in graduate school to earn your degree and took the time to acquire the necessary licensing requirements to reach this step. You have earned the right to set your life up the way you see fit. Part of doing this is also ensuring that you have some guidance along the way.
Hire a consultant to work with you specifically on launching your big idea. There are many successful people in private practice that are making waves in your community. Make an effort to connect with one of them that works specifically to help others take the next step. Usually these folks provide a combination of coaching, strategizing, and information to help you map out and make strides towards your goals. This process is challenging so it is also important that you remain inspired.
Identify and connect with a person that can be a mentor to you who is either in your field or someone closely related to your area of expertise. Most mentors are people you have picked because they have more experience than you. They are people that you can typically meet with once every couple of months that can help remind you of the reason you are working so hard and taking risks. They are also a source of reassurance and nurturing as they are where you want to be at some point in your career.
When you combine these three things you have a recipe for success and you can truly embrace entrepreneurial anxiety as reminder that you are making the changes you want for your life. Remember, you can do this! Now get started!
Aaron Skinner-Spain, LCSW is the Founder and Director of Clinical Services of NYC Affirmative Psychotherapy LCSW PLLC. NYC Affirmative Psychotherapy is a community-focused, sliding scale group practice with a special commitment to serve queer communities of color. Besides working in his group practice Aaron provides clinical supervision and consults with other therapists who want to start private practice, group practices, or those launching other types of new businesses.