As a counsellor, advisor, or consultant, you understand human psychology in a way that few others do. You help your clients overcome fear and a lack of confidence to live a fuller life. So then, why does that same fear and lack of confidence plague your ideas and plans?
You can help clients slow down, be mindful, counter the negative self-talk, and have self-compassion. But, for some reason, you also fall prey to these roadblocks when it comes to starting your big projects. Whether that be starting a practice, a new consulting package, or life-coaching business, fear can bring you to the floor of inaction and stall your dreams.
Starting your own practice is scary and difficult. But, you have the mental tools and perseverance to create a thriving business. You know it’s possible because you see examples of others who have paved the way by starting their own thing.
So, how can you get past the fear and confidently launch something right now?
Starting Something New Is Scary
A few years ago, I was standing in the rain with my daughter watching her brothers play soccer. She had never joined an organized team. But, we noticed that some of her friends were playing at the same time. Standing in the rain shivering, I asked her, “We are standing here drenched and cold, wouldn’t you rather be playing on a team with your friends?”
She agreed that it would be better to be running in the rain than standing watching her brothers play. But, she wasn’t sure about how her abilities would compare with the other girls who had been playing longer.
As I talked with her about it, I noticed something fascinating. The thing that helped her get over her fear and sign up for the team was the knowledge that she could run. Not only can she run, she’s fast. She might not have started out with great skills dribbling or passing. But, as a defender she could catch any other player and take the ball away.
Rather than focus on all of the areas that she was weak in, she focused on the fact that she was a great runner. That gave her the confidence she needed to get over the fear and start.
Know Your Strengths
Half a century ago, an amazing shift began in the research focus of many psychologists. Instead of focusing on what was wrong with people they shifted their focus and research to find out what people were doing right. Instead of studying depression and anxiety they started to investigate resilience, hope, determination, and love.
This resulted in the wave of positive psychology research and popular writing that presently is so ubiquitous. Some suggest that the findings of these studies are exaggerated, or that more rigour is needed. Regardless, many peer-reviewed studies support the idea that we can discover and apply positive interventions to help us thrive.
A segment of this research focused on the qualities of the best managers and employees in the workplace. Leading this research, the Gallup organization designed questionnaires to pinpoint the characteristics of the best employees. They asked, “What do the best employees and managers do?” They then categorized them into four domains of talent.
The Clifton Strengthsfinder assessment is a tool to help you identify your themes of talent and develop them into strengths. Themes of talent are described in words like, “Harmony, Adaptability, Learner, Analytical, Developer, Competition, and Focus”. Altogether, there are 34 themes that can be identified by the assessment. These themes of talent describe different areas of performance where your time would be best spent. The premise is built on research that suggests that we should invest our time in areas of talent rather than in areas of weakness.
So, if you are a very poor administrator, but have the theme of Communication and love speaking in front of large groups, you should think about spending more of your time investing in the art and skill of speaking. Spending your time in areas of administration may increase your knowledge and ability in that area. But, your growth in that area will never compare to the growth that you have in an area of strength.
When we identify a talent theme, we can then maximize it by learning more about it and practicing our skills in that area. That’s when talent becomes a strength: something we know we can do at a level of near perfect performance on a consistent basis.
When we discover our areas of talent, we can unleash our focus and confidence to lean into the areas of work and practice where we can really have an impact.
If you don’t know where your time is best spent, then your time is being wasted. In addition, you are probably getting frustrated spending time on tasks that drain you.
On the other hand, you are more likely to experience satisfaction, joy, and productivity when you spend your time in an area of strength.
So, how can identifying your Strengths help you Start a Practice?
4 Ways Knowing Your Strengths Can Help You Start Your Practice
1. You Are More Likely To Start In An Area Of Strength
When you are confident in the things you do best, you are more likely to take action. Being able to aim your strengths towards the first tasks of Starting a Practice gives you a productive advantage right out of the gate.
2. You Are Able To Appreciate The Weaknesses That May Need To Be Outsourced
As a certified strengths coach, I’ve seen many people experience a freedom to lean into their area of strength with a renewed confidence and passion. At the same time, they realize that others love to do what they loathe. This can give you tremendous insight into the tasks that you need to outsource. Not only will you be giving up things that drain you, but you may also discover that other people can do a far better job completing these tasks.
3. Your Ideal Client Is Attracted To Authenticity
Knowing your strengths allows you to leave behind all of the ways in which you might be tempted to measure up to other people’s standards or expectations. Instead, you gain a greater focus on the things you do best. Living this out means that you are being authentic to who you are and the unique talents and gifts that you have been blessed with.
That’s attractive. It’s the reason that people are drawn to others who aren’t acting up for attention but are settled in who they really are. It also means that your ideal client will resonate with the genuine persona you put out because it isn’t an act, it’s you living in your strengths.
4. You Become Known For Your Strengths
Have you noticed that there are some therapists, consultants, or coaches in your area that are known for their great speaking ability or precise administrative skills. Maybe it’s their charisma or the way they develop deep relationships with referral sources. It’s probable that they have aimed their strengths in a certain area and have become famous for it because they are doing what they do best.
The point isn’t that you should be like them. The point is you should be like you. And, not just you, your best you. That’s when you become known by clients and the community as being the best in your area of expertise. And, that’s when your practice can move to another level of service and demand..
When I started my practice two years ago, I knew that it was going to be a lon,g hard road. But I also had a confidence in the strengths that I bring to my clients and my ability to share the practice with others. That confidence helped me start the practice and use my strengths in networking to grow.
I know that I need help. But I’ve got a great team of people around me that support me with everything I loathe doing. I know I’m not like the other well-known counsellors in my city, but my strengths have given me a confidence to become known for the things that I do best.
I was so proud of my daughter as she joined her soccer team and started learning how to play. She relied on her strengths in running to branch out and learn knew skills. She was always a little behind the other girls when it came to ball handling, but she used her speed to become one of the best defenders on the team.
Don’t let fear stall your dreams again. Don’t stand on the sidelines and wonder what it would be like to jump in the game.
Find out what drives you and what you do best.
Calvin Black is a clinical counsellor in Victoria B.C. He leaned into his Strength of Empathic listening and Positivity and started Calvin Black Counselling. Calvin offers counselling and coaching for men. He is also a certified Strengthsfinder coach.