Your practice needs a mission and a vision statement.
No, not a ‘yea…it’s in my head’, or ‘I pretty much have a plan’ statement. A real-deal, gen-u-ine mission and vision written in black and white.
Think about it. Every important organization in the world has some sort of vision or purpose statement.
You, small business owner, are a Pro, which means you need this, too!
As you grow a business that makes an important impact on the world, doesn’t it make sense for your practice to have its own vision or mission statement?
Stephen R. Covey, the author of the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, describes this point in his Habit #2 – Begin with the End in Mind. This habit encourages us to live by design, not default, by intentionally visioning our future desires.
This isn’t new information and you do this all the time.
Think about it. Before you completed graduate school, you decided that you were interested in working in mental health. In your mind, you ‘saw’ yourself counseling or helping others in some way. That motivated you to take the right steps to get your degree. And, before you bought your last car, you thought about what you wanted, did some research online, imagined what it’d be like, and started talking to the bank before that new ride rolled up in your driveway.
You see, we mentally create outcomes in our life before we physically create them.
Without a purposeful vision, however, our business can wind up heading in a direction we never really wanted. Allowing your practice to be ‘run’ by your current circumstances, rather than by your choices, can take you down a path you never really intended. Potentially growing into something you don’t truly want, or even running yourself out of business.
A well-written vision statement will answer the deep questions that inspired you to get into mental health.
Ask yourself questions that focus on purpose, vision, mission, and values. These four foundational components of your business are essential to understand. It will deepen your resolve in doing the work that you do, help you to raise your frequency in the quality of service you provide, and help you to connect with your ideal clients in a very powerful way.
It’s worth your time to investigate this, so take your time. As you read the questions below, I suggest journaling your answers to all of them so that you can reflect back as you build your mission and vision.
Why did I want to open a private practice? What is the story behind my journey to this profession? Why is it important that I do this work?
Where am I going? What future vision do I have of the world by providing these services? What size business do I envision building?
How will I get there? Who are the people that I serve and how do I make that happen? What are the problems that my clients need help solving?
What is important and right to me? What are the values of my clients? What do I deeply believe in?
Understanding these things is like a compass that guides your course. When referred to regularly, it helps to shape the goals you set and the decisions you make in your practice.
Some practices have strong religious beliefs that take center stage. Others have a deep desire to touch their community or world and will craft their statement to reflect those values. Some clinicians have strong feelings of helping clients who struggle with a particular issue, like addiction or anxiety. While others feel deeply about helping people in a particular stage of life.
Regardless of your particular answers, your statement will help you to build a strong sense of direction, which in turn helps to gain focus and stay on track.
The actual process of coming up with an official mission or vision statement can seem overwhelming. It can also be the most beneficial part of the whole experience.
Take your time. Summarize the answers to the questions above. Write and rewrite things until they ‘feel’ right.
My business mission helps others know what we are about, who we serve, and attracts to us ideal clinicians and clients. My vision is continually evolving and changing, which helps me to grow and stay inspired.
It encourages me to stretch myself, serve our clients better and get creative in our offerings.
A business mission and vision won’t guarantee a smooth path, but you’ll have a sense of ‘True North’ in doing that important work that you do.
Wishing you BIG visions and exciting journeys in your private practice!
Jenna Fleming, M.Ed, LPC, NCC is owner and clinician at Georgetown Child & Family Counseling, located in the beautiful hill country of Texas. Her practice and work specializes in children, teens, young adults, and parents. Jenna is author of the Deeply Rooted Parenting program. She writes and speaks on topics for parents, educators, and counselors. When not engaged in her work, you’ll likely catch her being silly with her husband and two kids, practicing yoga, or enjoying delicious Tex-Mex.