How to Rebuild a Practice When People Leave with Dr. Larry Beer | PoP 358

How to Rebuild a Practice When People Leave with Dr. Larry Beer | PoP 358

How do you bounce back from a set back that could potentially damage your business? Do you set time aside for those things that matter most? Are you surrounding yourself with people who can help you rebuild or push you to that next level in your business?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Dr. Larry Beer about how he rebuilt his practice when people left and what he is doing differently now.

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Meet Dr. Larry Beer

Dr. Larry Beer is the founder and president of Child and Family Psychological Services. They will be celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2019 and there are currently 43 licensed therapists on staff.
He is a licensed psychologist and licensed professional counselor who sees approximately 25 clients a week.

Find out more about Dr. Larry on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Dr. Larry Beer’s Story

Dr. Larry is an adjunct assistant professor in the CECP program at WMU and a fellow of 2 divisions of APA and a former president of Division 51 (Men and masculinities)

In This Podcast

Summary

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Dr. Larry Beer about how he rebuilt his practice after nearly 25% of the staff in his Kalamazoo office left.

Unexpected Setbacks

We’re so focused on just building practices, I don’t know if we’re focused enough on what we do when what we’re building takes a hit from one thing or another.

Early last year Dr. Larry found out that seven associates (nearly 25%of his Kalamazoo staff) were going to be leaving to start their own practice. Dr.Larry has the larger offices in Kalamazoo where there are 27 therapy offices and he has a satellite office in Portage where there are six therapy offices.

Emotional and Strategic Levels

This was really scary, I thought I was being a really good owner and tried to do the best I could to support them. I was feeling really hurt.

As Dr. Larry started questioning and wondering how this could have happened he had to go through a grieving process. On the flip side, however, there was this situation at hand which had to be dealt with whether he liked it or not.

Making a Group Practice an Appealing Place for People to Stay

I try to not take anything for granted.

It’s become easier for people to work independently, they don’t need the licensed psychologists like they once did. Part of being a practice owner is constantly evaluating how to make being at this group practice easier or more appealing than going out and starting their own business. With this in mind, Dr. Larry tries to not take anything for granted, he makes people feel appreciated and recognizes their efforts. By giving employees opportunities to be connected to the practice and connect with their colleagues.

Dr.Larry had to be really transparent by letting the other associates know what was happening and that he appreciated their loyalty. Now he is also finding really cool opportunities for the practice to participate in.

The Rebuilding Process

  • Put out advertisements
  • Ask for referrals
  • Interviewing process (looking for people who are competent, community-oriented and reliable)
  • Developing an orientation manual
  • Mentoring process

Work-Life Balance

Its really important to remember that our work is there to support our life outside of work.

Dr. Larry values this highly and adapts his schedule so that he can spend quality family time.

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Meet Joe Sanok

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Podcast Transcription

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This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 358.
How the heck are you doing today? So, let’s say it, that you’re here, hanging out. All the people out there named Janet or Bill or Samantha, or let’s go with Peter, Lydia’s, Maria. Maybe, let’s also say hi to people with the name Maryellen. It’s my mom’s name. Hopefully you heard your name there. Really glad you’re here. And the rest of you that don’t have those names, glad you’re here too.
You know, I just love this podcast, but it’s really cool to watch other people as they level up, find more time for their families. And I was just reminded of this, both yesterday and in looking at this coming Friday. Yesterday, like over this weekend, my little daughter, Layken, she came home from visiting her grandparents and was like limping. And she’s had this happen before. She has this limp and it just like came out of nowhere and we thought it was a growth spurt the first time.
And then this time it was like, ah, and you know, my wife took her to the doctor and right away the doctor said we need to get some x rays and blood work. And to have the flexibility where I had to move just a couple things around and I could go and I could hold my little four-year-old while she was getting blood drawn, she was so brave. I mean, she was like whimpering, but trying to stay like calm and me and her older sister would have lost it.
But to have that freedom when in the past, you know, I worked in foster care at CMH and people had crises and fires and it was near impossible to have flexibility. And then those jobs are needed. They’re solid jobs. But for me to now have this kind of freedom and to watch other people have that kind of freedom and to guide people through, how do you get to the point where you decide what you want your life to look like. If you want to work wraparound, if you want to work at CMH, awesome. Do what, we need more people that are passionate about that and don’t just have that be a default.
And then, you know, this coming Friday, she has a heart checkup and my wife just got a call and we have to reschedule some things. But just to again have that flexibility, when medical things pop up that are unexpected, it’s just really important and it makes me happy that I can be there as a supportive husband and that my wife doesn’t have to go through all that alone. And for my daughter to know that like I’m going to take time off to be with her. That’s what makes you know, a life and to have a business you love and enjoy that fulfills you, that gives you those four E’s that we talk about, of just, you know, being able to really just, four E’s. No, they’re not. They’re I’s; influence, income, impact and innovation. The four I’s. To have those and to have that fulfillment is just so important. So, few people get to have that in their jobs.
So, I want to tell you just about one thing that’s coming up. So, we’re going to be opening up tickets next month, for alumni that have come to Slow Down School. So, if you’re an alumni that came, one of the 40 or so people, then you are going to get in at a discount for Slow Down School.
And then after that, we’re going to be opening up the Slow Down School tickets for people that are new. And there’s a big discount for people that are returning. And we’ve only got, I want to say, I have to look at the exact numbers, but because Next Level Mastermind people, they get to come to Slow Down School for free, sort of the Big Ideas Mastermind people. And then the Starter Million Practice Master people, they get to all come for free. I want to say we only have about 15 extra spots for us to hit our max of around 40 people. So, we keep this event super small so that people can really get to know each other, but make massive changes and so on.
On Monday and Tuesday of the week in July here on the beaches in Northern Michigan, we hang out, we relax, we go for some hikes, and then on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning, we run full tilt towards your business, towards your big ideas. We really help you to transition to like, just get so much done in that one week that it’s like a year’s worth of work. So, it’s awesome on Friday afternoon, then we take a big yellow school bus and go wine tasting.
And so, if you want to hang out in the beaches of Northern Michigan, if you’re new, you have to schedule an appointment to talk with me because I want to make sure we have the best fit of people that I know that if you’re going to spend that level of money to come hang out here, that you’re going to get an ROI for it. And so, I like to talk to anyone that’s new and just make sure it’s a fit because if it’s not, I’ll tell you. We want to make sure the spots are the people that are really going to get the biggest bang for their buck.
So, it’s people that have at least a six-figure business. Usually, they’re working on a big idea, but they don’t have to be, because we put you into families that just either want to work on a practice or work on a big idea or a combination. And we run full tilt. We go crazy. It’s really amazing.
So, you can read more about it at slowdownschool.com. If you’re new, go check it out and we’d love to have you come hang out with us here in Northern Michigan this summer. Well, today on the practice I have Dr. Larry Beer. I’m going to tell you a little bit about him in a second, but Larry was the first practice that gave me a chance at being a 1099 contractor there. It was the first person that I could really kind of see run a practice and I got my first taste of private practice, how hard it is, how much goes into it.
Today Larry’s going to talk with us about some of the behind-the-scenes, things we don’t talk about very often. Actually, I’ve had some consulting clients and mastermind clients lately, that they got a group practice going and some of the people left and some of these mastermind people and consulting people, their folks left in a brutal way and just ways that are unethical, stealing files, and having to get lawyers involved. And this is an important conversation. I don’t see this being the end of it because this is a really big issue. And so, without any further ado, I give you Dr. Larry Beer.
Well today on the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have Dr. Larry Beer. He’s the president of Child & Families Psychological Services, which will be celebrating 30 years in 2019. They currently have 43 licensed therapists on staff. He’s also a licensed psychologist, licensed professional counselor, and see is 25 clients per week. He’s an adjunct professor at Western Michigan University and a fellow of two divisions of APA and the former president of Division 51. He’s also the owner of the practice where the famous Joe Sanok started. I think that’s hilarious. You put that in your bio.
Larry, you are my very first practice I worked at. Welcome back to the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[DR. LARRY BEER] Hey, thanks. Nice to be able to do this with you.
[JOE] Yeah, absolutely. Well, it’s been a couple of years since we talked on the podcast and there’s been some changes at Child & Families Psychological Services, you had some rebuilding to do. Maybe give us an update of the last couple of years of the group practice.
[DR. LARRY] Yeah. So, anyway, in general, things have gone really well for us. But one of the things that happened is that I think when things are going well, it’s very easy to kind of rest on your laurels and you don’t realize it sometimes like, unexpected things can happen and an unexpected thing happened here and it really challenged me on a number of levels. And so, I thought like, might be good to talk about, like, you know, like we’re so focused on just building practices. I don’t know if I focus enough on what do we do when what we’re building really takes the hit from one thing or another. You know, how do you recover?
[JOE] I think that’s such a great point. And when you emailed me I was like, “Yeah, we don’t talk about that enough.” You know, we talk about the building and the growing and you know, getting it off the ground and then scaling and you’ve been scaling for so many years. What kind of things happened that maybe changed things?
[DR. LARRY] Okay. So, what happened is that, you know, early last year, I found out that seven associates here were going to be leaving and starting their own practice. Well, you know, that really that was close to 25% of my production in my Kalamazoo office, because I have, the larger office is in Kalamazoo where there’s 27 therapy offices and I have a satellite office in Portage with six therapy offices. And so, anyway, so the 25% including two licensed psychologists are going to be leaving and just start their own practice, which they have every right to do. And so, I had to go through, it was a lot of levels side to go through on an emotional level of like, “Wow, you know, this is like scary.” You know, like “Why would they want to leave me?”
I thought like I was really being like really good like owner and really try to just do the best I could to support them in their careers. You know, some of them were interns of mine, you know, I really helped develop them and so, I was feeling really hurt, scared like, “Wow, my God, is this like, is everyone going to be leaving me?” You know, like I didn’t know really the extent of the damage. So, it took a while to kind of like just kind of catch up with myself, rebalance myself on an emotional level, and then the other levels, the strategic level, like, “Okay, this is happening. I don’t want it to happen, but what am I going to do about it?”
[JOE] Yeah. And I definitely want to drill into the emotional and that kind of strategic side, but it’s actually kind of refreshing for me to hear you say that you went through all of that because I think of the great Larry Beer, I mean, Child & Families Psychological Services is such a pillar of the Kalamazoo area. You have such a great reputation. When I came for the 20th anniversary or was it 25th anniversary?
[DR. LARRY] 25th. Yeah.
25th. I mean there was like hundreds of these clinicians and families that had come through there as clinicians, and I always felt like, you know, when I wanted to go do something else, that you were so supportive of that and even how you’re talking about these people leaving, you know, they have every right to do it. But the, you know, we sometimes think that when people get to a certain level, they stop with all those kinds of questions and insecurities and things that they’re wrestling through. So, to know that you wrestled through the things that I feel like I would question myself on if someone, you know, if that many people left my practice, not that I want you to go through that, but it’s super refreshing to hear that there’s not like a level that you stop, right? That sort of insight and thought thoughtfulness.
[DR. LARRY] No. And I was, you know, sometimes I had to admit that maybe I was feeling like not really aware of how vulnerable I was, but you know, nevertheless, we all are vulnerable and, it happened and you know, the people who I like and respect, you know, but still, I mean it’s like, just like I wanted to go and do my own thing. Nothing says other people aren’t going to want to do their own things. And I’ve had like one or two people like, you know, leave at a time but never like seven.
[JOE] So, drilling to the emotional level a little bit for us, like what were you thinking, like, what helped you get through that? And like what kind of insights did you come up with kind of from the emotional side?
[DR. LARRY] Well, I think I had to go through my own, one of the things I do is go through my own grieving process. Like, these are people I really, I liked, I really cared about them. And the other part is like, you know, a sense of like hurt. Like why would they, you know, knowing that they were, this doesn’t happen overnight. They’ve been having meetings together and a sense of betrayal and a sense of like, fears like, “Oh my God, who else is going to be leaving now?” You know, like, “How did I fail them?” And so, you know, had to kind of navigate through all of those emotions and fear being the big one. I mean, I have to admit there were some like, you know, nights when I didn’t get very much sleep. But then, okay, I said, “Okay, this is what happened. What can I do about it? How do I address this?” You know?
And so, I also wanted, the real blessings is that, you know, the people who stayed really supported me and I didn’t know what to expect, you know, because I didn’t see the first thing coming. And they really supported me and they worked with me in terms of like, okay, helping me just kind of like deal with this and be able to rebuild. And that’s been a really rewarding process.
[JOE] Yeah. You know, we have a number of people in our membership community, Next Level Practice that, they are working at a group practice and they’re planning to launch their own practice as sort of the, similar to the seven people. What would you want them to know? If they’re out there saying, “I want to launch my own practice, but I’m currently at a group practice as a 1099 or W2.” Like how do you do that right? Because some people are just drawn to, “Hey, I want to start my own business.” How do you do that in a way that retains that relationship with the owner?
[DR. LARRY] Well, first of all, to the things that the practice landscape has changed, you know. With now licensed professional counselors, it’s become easier for people to work independently. They don’t need the licensed psychologists like they once did. So, I had to accept the fact that, you know, people are here because they want to be, not only just because they need to be.
[JOE] Sure.
[DR. LARRY] Okay. So, I would tell them, “Hey, this is like, you’re allowed to do this. Once you learn the business, why not just try it?” I hope I’m saying this hoping that no more people leave here but that they could, you know, and my job is to kind of like make it a good enough place where they don’t want to leave. But even no matter what I do think, you know, that came to a point with the seven people, no matter what I could do, it just wasn’t enough. Like they, you know, really it was a point where they’re ready to try their own thing.
[JOE] I think that’s a really good point that, you know, part of it for a practice owner is constantly evaluating how do I make being here at my practice easier or more appealing than going out and starting your own thing. What kind of things do you feel like you do well in that area to make it an appealing place for people to stay?
[DR. LARRY] Okay. Well, I try not to take anything for granted. I really try and like, make people feel appreciated, try to recognize the efforts, give them efforts to be connected to the practice, opportunities to connect with them, how to make it just like a really supportive practice environment. In fact, kind of a cool thing happened. Like I think, I don’t think you know about this yet, but we were just selected by the local Chamber of Commerce Organization called Southwest Michigan First as one of the outstanding places to work.
We won 15 places in the whole Kalamazoo area selected as an outstanding place to work.
[JOE] Well, congratulations.
[DR. LARRY] Thanks. That’s pretty cool. That’s just hot off the press this week. That is public knowledge now. The magazine came out. So, you want to make it to a place where you think like, “How, what kind of practice, what I like to work in, you know, place where I felt appreciated, a place where I feel like the financial arrangement is fair. A place where I feel supported, a place that has a positive rep, a place that you know, that the business office that we have supports their efforts?” You know, so, it helps them build up their caseloads. So, those kinds of things.
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If you’d value being around high performing practitioners without the big egos, clinicians that believe in living life to the fullest while also growing an amazing practice, you might enjoy Killin’It Camp. Once a year, we’re getting together in person, in small groups with the best guest experts and so much more in Estes Park Colorado. We’ve done these focus retreats multiple times. They’ve sold out every single time. If you’re excited about it, make sure to check it out at killingitcamp.com where you can sign up for the next Killin’It Camp therapists’ retreat.
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So, were there any new things that from this you kind of added to that, that you said, “Wow, I could have done this differently or in the future I’m going to do this differently to make it an even more appealing place to work?
[DR. LARRY] That’s a good question. I don’t really think I’ve done that much. I think one of the things that I responded to was, I really had to be transparent. I just had to just like let the other associates know like, this is what’s happening, this is what’s going on. And they have every right to do that and to let them know that I appreciate the loyalty as long as they stay here and I’ll do my best to just make this practice they really feel good about working in. And I think, and we’ve been doing this all along. It’s just finding really cool opportunities to the practice participated. Like, I don’t know if you remember this Joe when you lived in Kalamazoo. There was this thing called Dude Operate.
[JOE] Yeah, that’s right. The Dude Operate.
[DR. LARRY] So, we participate in it the last three years, you know, and last year we were trolls and all these wigs and colorful things marching down with me —
[JOE] Because it’s like a big costume parade kind of thing, right?
[DR. LARRY] Yeah, yeah. They have it around the first week of June. And so, just to make like really fun things, you know, we, we have a picnic that everyone and their families are invited to attend to and of course the parties, you know, you participated in a couple of them and —
[JOE] Which I mean, I’ve got to say it like that for, from my standpoint, being pretty much brand new out of grad School, to be in this work environment that I still remember there was a day that you like jumped into the front area where all the office staff were working with a nerf gun and just like shot everybody up with a nerf gun. And we were, you know, we’d go to a baseball game and you had arranged it so that, you know, we could go hang out with the mascots and do all these different fun things.
And you know, I think that that family environment where it’s fun and that spouses and partners and kids are a part of it, I think it’s really important to create this type of vibe in an office. The one thing that I did think about though when you were talking is just the idea that, you know, there are times that people just kind of need to leave, not because you’re firing him [crosstalk] anymore.
We went through this with our daughter’s school where the headmaster left and a number of staff left. And through that process, probably a good quarter of the families left and went to different schools, but the families that are still there similar to what you’re talking about are so invested in this school. They’re so invested in making sure that it continues to have outdoor education and experiential education and you know, the kids aren’t French and all this really kind of cool stuff. The people that are left are really, they’re there for the long haul. And so, sometimes I think when people leave, it’s a chance to really say, “Well, how do we continue to double down on the environment we’re trying to create here?”
[DR. LARRY] Well, you know, I think you’re right on target here. And I think one of the real upsides was this, is that, you know, when they left all the people who came in, you know, stepped up and they started exerting more leadership and we brought some new people in and with those new people, there’s excitement about being here. And so, there was a lot of, there was an injection and a lot of positive energy.
[JOE] Now, let’s talk about the rebuilding side. So, you kind of get through the emotions, you know, you talked to the staff that are sticking around, the clinicians that are staying, like what were some of the steps you took to rebuild after these people left?
[DR. LARRY] You know, I got to the office. I said I want to do the best I can with that which is in my control. And I put out advertisements and I get the word out that, you know, this is like with an opportunity to bring upon, bring on new people, told some of the associates who reached out to some of their friends, you know, people who they have relationships with and respect. So, invited them to come aboard here. And so, we had an interviewing process where I met people and it made some, you know, had to, unfortunately I couldn’t select everybody, but it brought some really good people aboard and they had their own special something. So, the mix now.
[JOE] Yeah. I want to ask a little bit about the interview process because I think that’s an area that, especially as people are in that growth phase there, you know that 60,000 to multiple six figure phase, they’re starting to add clinicians, they may put out an ad locally or on Indeed or other place. What do you do to make sure you find people that are the best fit, that you know are going to match it? Do you look for people that are fresh out of grad school or have some experience? Take us through kind of some of the things you look for in that hiring process.
[DR. LARRY] Well, you want someone, these are the things that are really important to me. I want someone who is competent, I want somebody who’s community oriented because you know they’re coming into a place where they have to be able to flow with the other people here. And I want someone who’s reliable, they say something, I want to be able to count on them. And so, those are three things that I really look for in people.
Now, of course you don’t want people sitting around here and not be neat. We happen to be a practice that uses a lot of third-party payments. So, there’s actually been a change in licensing law. Well not the licensing law, but Blue Cross Blue Shield changed the policy now where they’re willing to pay for temporary limited people. So, that did open up maybe some people that we could bring a board now that prior to last June we wouldn’t have considered because like they couldn’t be able to have enough clients to be able to make worthwhile for them. I tell people, go out and work in community agencies, get your full limited license or full license, then come aboard. But that did change things. So, that was an unexpected positive development.
[JOE] Sure. Are there any questions that for you, these are essential questions that any practice owner should have in their interview with people?
[DR. LARRY] Well, essential questions. Okay. If you were doing karaoke, what karaoke song would you sing?
[JOE] That’s so Larry Beer, I love it.
[DR. LARRY] Well, let me tell you why, okay? You know, because like these are people that you’ll be rubbing shoulders with, you know? There’s something that they wouldn’t, probably wouldn’t be expected to ask a question like that. How do they respond to a question like that? You know, you get a sense of like, gets everyone, the interview people tend to be a little bit nervous and stuff, you know. You see the colors starting to come out, you know, and how’s it? And you’re getting a sense of like how it feels being around them. So, questions where you see that personality coming about because I’m not just looking for how much someone can produce. If someone could produce a lot of money, but they’re toxic to be around, that’s going to outweigh the production.
[JOE] That’s such a great point. What, would your Karaoke Song be?
[DR. LARRY] I would say, ‘Woke up this morning feeling fine. Something special … Herman’s Hermits, you know?
[JOE] There you go.
[DR. LARRY] I’m into something good, I would say.
[JOE] Nice.
[DR. LARRY] I know, some people when I start singing I might walk out of the auditorium, whatever, you know, whatever. It’s still fun.
[JOE] Oh yeah. So, you get this kind of cohort of people you’re bringing on. What else did you do with the rebuilding as you kind of onboarded them?
[DR. LARRY] Well, okay, you asked me a question before and I forgot we did this, but we decided that one of the weaknesses we had, we did a survey and the associates decided, we didn’t really have a good orientation program. And so, we developed an orientation manual and kudos. That goes to my outstanding practice manager, Nikki Magruder.
[JOE] Nikki is amazing.
[DR. LARRY] Having a great practice manager is worth its weight in gold. You know, Nikki just does a terrific job.
[JOE] Right. I mean she’s been there for so long that you must, and that might be something that we talk about. How do you retain a practice manager? Because I think someone like that and we could easily jump ship with her skill set, but you’ve been able to retain her, help her feel valued, be a part of the team and take the lead on things. So, that’s an area we can get into later. But yeah, I just want to say it’s amazing that you’ve been able to maintain her on the staff for so long and she’s just, she’s so good.
[DR. LARRY] Yeah, she’s a tremendous asset as is my entire business office. You know, I mean all those people are invested there. In fact, you know, one of the things we did is we had a trip plan not too long after we heard the news that I take every other year. I take my office staff on a trip somewhere as a way of just showing my appreciation. So, we went to Charleston, South Carolina, I think last March or April. And we had, part of the trip is fun, but also, it’s a chance to just kind of, go over the practice. We have meetings and just get their opinion about things. And, and listen to them, you know. I’m a better director because I listen to the people who I work with. I can’t always do everything they want, but they come up with so many really good ideas.
[JOE] Yeah. So, Nicky kind of puts together this onboarding manual, people start coming on board. What else were kind of the steps of rebuilding and kind of filling up those seven spots.
[DR. LARRY] Orienting them to the practice, just like mentoring them, encouraging them, and finding the mentors. And some mentor relationships, some people here took more advantage of the doing the mentoring than others. But a lot of mentoring went on. Like the nice thing here is that it’s not only me and Nikki just kind of like supporting new people, but we have a sense in this community here where everyone tries to support each other. So, yes, the mentoring process and just try to be available. Like when they ask me a question like, you know, be responsive. And I have to say that, you know, I wonder for a while I just wasn’t engaged as much as I should have been, you know, kind of like I was thinking about this or that. And it’s easy just to kind of like take things for granted and when this happened I became like doubly engaged.
[JOE] Right. Well, I think one of the other questions that I get after the hiring question is often, well, what is it that, —
[JOE] So, the other question I get so often from people is, I’ve hired people on, now how do I fill them up? How do I get them clients? How do you frame that out for people so that they’re motivated to go, kind of do their own networking, but then also that you’re kind of getting them clients as well?
[DR. LARRY] But one of the really cool things that happened here is that they started to network with each other and they came up was this idea of why don’t we do presentations? And so, from that we had two presentations where we invited school personnel to attend school counsels. And then we invited like social workers from the hospital and various associates, you know, did PowerPoint presentations, and this was all their idea. I just supported them [crosstalk] [JOE] And it was in your office, you didn’t go out to it, or, you went to their office?
[DR. LARRY] They came here?
[JOE] Awesome.
[DR. LARRY] They came here for those, but I also went out to referral sources. After this happened, I started meeting referral sources saying, “Hey, you know, like everyone’s going to know about what happened to you, what’s the reputation, the community,” Second things out with people who I had relationships with. And so, I did a lot of like going out and meeting with people who gave me some good feedback. And then we did like programs like this. We invited them in for like breakfast meetings and so, but one of the nice things about the practice here is that we’ve been established for a long time. We do have a pretty good referral network. That’s one of the advantages people get for joining us is that it probably can develop their practice quicker here than maybe some other places.
[JOE] So, if you were to go back a couple of years and talk to Larry from a couple of years ago, what advice would you give him before all this happened? Like what would you say? You know, “Two years ago, boy, I wish I had known this before these people left.”
[DR. LARRY] What are you telling us? Good question. I tell them, ‘Trust in yourself. You know that things can happen. Like, we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, you know, but that you’re resilient and you’re resourceful and that you have the ability if things go wrong to go and find ways through it and possibly even in some ways make your place better. Trust in yourself.” In fact, I did tell myself that.
[JOE] Well, so, I know we’ve covered a lot of the nuts and bolts of rebuilding, but another side of you that I just really appreciate is how much you live life to the fullest. I mean, following your kind of Instagram and Facebook, it seems like your family and you are traveling all the time. You’ve got these adult children that it seems like, at least from social media, you guys spend a lot of time together, you really love each other. It seems like you and your wife are traveling a bunch.
Like tell me a little bit about the importance of time outside of work because that’s a big thing we talked about at Practice of the Practice is, you know, you can just go make money, but like anyone can do that if you hustle hard enough. But really slowing down and having meaning in life is even more important. Where does that come from? And tell us a little bit of maybe some of your, I don’t know, habits or routines or things that are kind of on your annual calendar to stay connected with the people that matter most.
[DR. LARRY] Thanks for the question. That’s a really good question and I feel like I can answer this just like in an hour or so. Just so much to say about this, but one thing, let me start with this. Just saying that we have great work, does a lot of meaning in terms of people coming in and talking to us and us being near to help guide them, you know, to have better lives. It’s just a really special work that we’re in. But it’s really important to remember that our work is there to support our life outside of work. And I’ve always kept that as a value of mine. I made it to all my kids’ game. I have to adapt my schedule because I’m so blessed to have like a long-term marriage with three great kids. You know that, I just love spending time with them and that’s just being a blessing.
There’s no guarantees on that, but that’s just worked out really well. And one of the things that Cindy and I love to do to is, you know, we love to travel and we’ve been really blessed to be able to cut and go to some really cool places. Like, you know, I was able to go on a bike trip in Sicily with my brother and some of his friends and Cindy was able to take my girls, the daughters to Portugal and, this is too recent things. But I also try and make trips back out to New York, visit my family and I know my wife likes, you know, we go to visit my wife’s family in Baltimore too. But we just had a really, on a personal note, just a really eye-opening experience happen. Do I have time to tell you about it?
[JOE] Yeah, of course. Yeah. And on that, no, no, you can’t talk about your eye-opening experience.
[DR. LARRY] Well, this is a very powerful experience. On September 20th, my brother and a few, if you met my brother Stephen. He’s an entertainment lawyer in New York. He’s going to go see Paul Simon concert and he thinks he has like getting the flu. Turns out Stephen, who’s plays hockey, rides bikes, very healthy. It turns out it’s fluid from his heart leaking into his lungs and that’s why he’s having trouble breathing. So, I canceled, I’m a little bit, I’m still emotional to be talking about this. So, I cancelled my afternoon appointments on all the points once I found this out, flew into New York, saw my brother hooked up to tubes in a coma and we didn’t know if he was going to make it through tonight.
This is my younger brother who I’d never expect this to happen to. Anyway, Stephen’s like made a remarkable recovery. He wound up needing open heart surgery, he’s bounced back incredibly and I visited him a couple of weekends ago, was it last weekend? Wow, the weekends kind of flow together. And Steve would walk in and he tells me, “You know, Larry, it’s like after what I’ve gone through, it’s like everything is new again.” You know, I was in a hospital for like, you know, was three weeks. And I went out with my wife and it was like, felt like a first state. There’s just so much more appreciation of everything after you almost lose everything.”
And that has really stayed with me. It’s just trying so many things you can focus upon that aren’t right. What’s missing. But you think about so many things, so many blessings that you do have to focus upon what is there. And so, I tried to be mindful of that before and after this experience, my brother Stephen, I’m even more mindful of that.
[JOE] Thank you for sharing that. And I’m so glad your brother is doing well, but you’re absolutely right. You know, when you have those experiences, it just gives you a new filter that, you know, you just can’t get rid of. You got to kind of listen to that and follow that. Well, Larry, the last question that I always ask people is, if every private practice owner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?
[DR. LARRY] Okay, how about this for starters, okay? It’s not so hard to just treat people decently. Just show respect to everybody, and trust in yourselves. Listen, learn, appreciate the adventure. You know, it’s almost like raising a kid, you know, sometimes you can get mad at it, you know, because it’s not working the way you want to. And sometimes you’d be really proud of it and just kind of like, fasten your seatbelt, enjoy the ride.
[JOE] So awesome. Well, Dr Larry Beer, if people want to connect with you, if they want to learn more about child and family psychological services, what’s the best way for them to connect with you?
[DR. LARRY] They can connect with me, my email addresses lbbkzoo@aol.com. Phone number’s (269) 372-4140 or visit the website for starters, you know, to kind of learn a little bit about the practice. I’ve got a little video on there. It’s childandfamilypsych.com.
[JOE] Perfect. Well Larry, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast. Even more so, thanks for giving me a shot as a 1099 contractor with you back in, what was that? 2006? So —
[DR. LARRY] It’s always been great. I hope you can make it in for the 30th.
[JOE] Oh yeah, absolutely. So, thank you so much Larry and we’ll talk to you soon.
[DR. LARRY] Okay, see you soon. Bye.
[JOE] Well, thank you so much for listening today. If you are rebuilding, you know it’s so important to have a group of people around you. If you want a group of people, if you want a mastermind group or consulting or you need help with that sort of transition when you’re really leveling up, we would love to chat with you and see if one of our consultants might be a fit or if one of our mastermind groups might be a fit. You can apply over a practiceofthepractice.com/apply.
And we really want to thank Therapy Notes. Therapy Notes is the best electronic medical records system. They help protect you when you have an audit. They help create such a system that’s amazing for you to run your practice. You’re putting time into actually doing that clinical work. Use promo ‘JOE’ at checkout to get two months for free and thanks so much for letting us into your ears and into your brain. We will talk to you soon.
This podcast is designed to provide accurate, authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the guests or the publisher are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one and special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy. We love your music.

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