What Are You Waiting For?
I have been in private practice full time now for 7 months at the time of this writing. There has been so much transition in the past eighteen months. I often think back to where I was this time last year, and I’m filled with gratitude that I’m on the other side of that decision. I’m writing this first article for the large number of men and women out there who are on the PoP email list but haven’t made the move into private practice.
Emails about big ideas for practice building flood your inbox, but you tell yourself that the time isn’t right. I was there myself, right around this time last year. I realized that I needed to leave my agency job, and I couldn’t make the leap. There are a lot of articles on the Practice of the Practice website about why to go into practice for yourself, and the whole point of the website is HOW to go into practice for yourself, but I’m writing today to ask you to consider what’s holding you back. How can you get support in order to face your fears?
Who Is In Your Corner?
When I couldn’t put any more energy into practice building without leaving my full-time employment, I made some phone calls to my nuclear support system. Every one of them told me it was folly to leave my full-time position without another job lined up. I left those conversations feeling dispirited, but also certain that these people were right. I’d say that the time would present itself, but it must not be now.
Their advice was coming from a place of love, but also from a place of fear. “What if you get hurt? What if you are unemployed for months?”
But people started coming into my life who had a different perspective. Therapists who had already made the jump and were more than willing to share their experience, strength and belief in my capabilities. Friends who had gone into business for themselves and would say things like “the universe doesn’t like it when you make decisions based on fear.” And finally, a friend who talked me through all my greatest fears: bankruptcy, homelessness, spontaneous combustion brought on by the shame of failure. She listened to me for an hour, talked to me about all my contingency plans to pay my bills, and told me exactly what I needed in that moment. “It sounds like you already know what you’re doing, and how to do it,” she said, “and you just needed to hear someone tell you that you CAN do it. I’m telling you that right now.”
What Happened Next
I put in my notice at my job two weeks later. All the people in the above paragraph love me, but I started being very discerning about who I asked for feedback and support. If you’re not sure who these people are, think outside the box. Do you know anyone who has gone into business for themselves? Do you have a friend who loves to travel and have new experiences? These people may be great resources for a new perspective on taking a calculated risk.
There will be no perfect time to put in your notice at work. It will be scary to consider that you won’t start your business with a full caseload. My message to you today is to find people who will meet your fear with compassion, curiosity, and encouragement. You can take the leap, and we’re here to support you.
Elizabeth Pace is a therapist and clinical supervisor in private practice in New Orleans, Louisiana. What she loves the most about private practice is supporting others as they question their old ideas about “doing it right” and start to cultivate a newer awareness about the kind of life they want to fearlessly pursue. Another passion is advocating for and advancing the counseling field through presentations on professional development, financial literacy, and coaching others towards the personal and professional goals that bring them joy, excitement, and financial stability!
You can visit Elizabeth’s website here!