The Confidence Gap

Sometimes, confidence matters as much, or even more, than competence. Learn how to boost your confidence when it’s needed.

By Lynn Grodzki, LCSW, MCC / copyright Sept 2017

I have been fascinated by a number of studies about the role of confidence and how it affects those in business and leadership. They confirm what I have observed as a business coach over many years. Whether or not you have sufficient confidence can directly impact your level of private practice success, including your bottom line.

The Importance of Confidence

Recent studies suggest that for those in business, confidence acts like a source of fuel, allowing people to go further and faster.

Those with more confidence are able to persist in their goals longer with a higher chance of completion. They find and get more resources. They accrue better information. Because they sound confident, they are listened to and talked to with more respect.

In terms of public perception, those with more confidence rate as more talented when compared to those who are equally trained and talented, but more modest. Higher confidence even equates with more money earned and other financial benefits.

How Confidence Affects Private Practice  

As a business coach, I have seen that confidence affects 3 key areas of private practice;

  • The perception of you and your business by others (think potential clients, referrals sources, colleagues)
  • The energy and drive you have for your projects (accomplishing your goals)
  • The felt sense you carry that can encourage or block your daily tasks (your feelings and emotions about your work)

In light of the studies and my observations, I wondered: How does confidence develop, especially in those who are new to the profession? What is the best timetable between competence and confidence?

Confidence versus Competence

Just to clarify terms:

  • Competence speaks to your ability: this would include your training, methods, certification, results, experience and expertise.
  • Confidence reflects your attitude: this would include your level of belief about yourself, self-assurance, and how you express this to others.

As clinicians and practitioners, we are usually taught that competence comes first and that with time, our level of self-confidence will naturally develop.

But now, based on these studies and my observation, I think we need to build confidence along with, not after, competence. I see it as a skill, as important as any other to develop when building your ideal private practice.

I recommend that you develop both confidence and competence, as early as possible.

Let me show you how to develop more confidence.

Do You Have Sufficient Confidence?

As a business coach, I can often spot what seems to be a confidence gap. For example, do you:

  • Have difficulty talking about your work in a way that generates new business?
  • Worry that if you express your competence, you will be seen as bragging?
  • Set goals that are too small or give up too soon?
  • Default to getting more and more training when you have doubts that you are not good enough?
  • Hope that others will see your value, rather than having to say it yourself?
  • Struggle with the “imposter syndrome”?

If you feel that your level of confidence could use a boost, let me show you some basic steps to close the gap. These simple steps can confer some positive effects for your business in a lasting way.

First, it helps to understand what can block the development of confidence.

Common Blocks to Confidence

 If you experience a confidence gap, here are some common reasons why, according to research I have read:

Biology:

Hormones further behaviors, some of which seem to help to project confidence. Men, in general, appear more confident than women, according to studies, perhaps because testosterone fuels risk taking and tolerance of conflict. In areas of leadership and business, the ability to invest in a project, experiment, or stand up for an idea connotes assurance and belief in oneself.

Personality:

Introverts appear less confident than extroverts, especially in a public setting. Many of us who are primarily introverts are empathetic, quiet, and reflective; this makes for a good therapist, but may not translate to looking like we have confidence in business. Extroverts are more expressive and tend to talk and emote more, which is perceived as appearing more confident.

Upbringing:

Learning to be overly accommodating as a child, or the need to be seen as “good” or even perfect by parents or others can hinder a sense of ease and experimentation that leads to confidence. Perfectionism is especially difficult to overcome, sowing seeds of self-doubt and making it difficult to assert oneself or act positively. Those who are easy going or appear less anxious seem more secure and trustworthy by the public.

Society:

Some in our profession suffer from “imposter’s syndrome.” Its hard to master the craft of psychology and psychotherapy and claim expertise, especially in a public arena or online. Others fear disapproval by their colleagues. They resist speaking up or looking confident due to the “tall poppies” pattern: the tallest flowers tend to get cut down first. They don’t want to appear boastful or egotistical for fear they will be “cut down” or discounted by peers, supervisors or mentors.

How to Build Confidence in Business

The good news is that higher levels of confidence can be taught, learned and applied, like any other skill. I have been helping those in private practice to build confidence, in order to meet their business goals, for many years.

I recommend using any or all of the following six possible strategies for boosting your confidence in business:

  1. Persist: The amount of effort that is needed to build, sustain, and maintain a business is probably more than you consider. Your level of persistence in service of your private practice goals is key to developing confidence. Confident business owners are persistent. They follow through, over and over again. Don’t give up too soon.
  2. Risk: Learn to tolerate some risk. Stretch. To expand your level of confidence, experiment. Go a bit beyond your limits. Remember, small steps count. What can you do, try, or test that might be new behavior? Who can you call, contact or reach out to meet? What event can you attend?
  3. Voice: In my book, Building Your Ideal Private Practice, 2nd Edition, see chapter 8: “The Brand Called You” for ideas to help define your basic message, a way to talk about yourself and your work based on your values, passion, and areas of interest. Can you bring your work into your conversations? Find your voice and assert who you are and what you do in a way that feels true to your nature.
  4. Refute: When you have doubts or anxiety about work, develop more confidence with the technique of refutation, explained in Martin Seligman’s book, Learned Optimism. Use self talk to answer back to any doubts or pessimistic thoughts, especially those that may pull you off course. Use objective statements to counter overly negative thoughts and build self-assurance.
  5. Act as if: A certain degree of projecting confidence is akin to performance. You may need to “act as if” you are confident before you really feel it. As many of us know, this one strategy is a quick fix. Act as if you feel calm, have a voice, can take a calculated risk, and have energy to persist with your desired goal. Acting as if you are confident leads to feeling confident. Practice makes perfect.
  6. Get support: I am a big believer of the value of teamwork. Who do you turn to support you when tackling any or all of these new behaviors? Who can you support in kind? We all need collaborative partnership to succeed. Who is on your team?

Hope this list of strategies spurs you to move forward with new behaviors and an improved level of confidence.

Resources

Some links to additional articles and studies on this topic:

http://www.wnyc.org/story/how-we-mistake-confidence-for-competence

Professor Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic explains our inability to differentiate between confidence and competence.

 

https://www.fastcompany.com/3036534/study-self-confidence-plays-a-crucial-role-in-forging-your-career-path

The role of self confidence and career paths.

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/margiewarrell/2016/01/20/gender-confidence-gap/#4e0f46151efa

How lack of confidence holds women back.

 

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/05/the-confidence-gap/359815/

Why confidence matters as much as competence.

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/9474973/Key-to-career-success-is-confidence-not-talent.html

The secret to career success is not talent, hard work or education, but sheer, unashamed confidence.

 

 

 

Letting Go to Grow

By Lynn Grodzki, LCSW, MCC / copyright August 2016

_________________________

A well-known business mantra is let go to grow.

This means that at key points in the evolution of a business, you, the owner, need to let go of something so that you and your practice can move forward.

Let go to grow is more than a motto for a savvy business owner: It’s also a challenge for each of us to look at our routines, behaviors, tasks, or long-held ideas.

What needs to change right now or at least be gently retired before the end of the year so that you can advance?

Here are some examples about how you can let go to grow. Commit to find the courage and confidence to take the next steps in your private practice.

Step 1. Decide What Needs to Go

What are you holding onto that no longer makes sense? What slows you down? What stops you from making your small business easier or better?

You may need to let go of:

• Thinking too small about your future.
• A lack of boundaries for your practice policies.
• Routines that sap your energy.
• An insistence to do everything by yourself — denying yourself help and assistance where needed.
• A belief that you can’t raise your fees.
• Sticking with an insurance-only business model.

or maybe you need to stop:

• Letting fear win.
• Operating without a business plan.
• Undercharging and then feeling resentful.
• Hesitating to reach out to those who need to know about your services.
• A reluctance to brand yourself or find your niche.

Step 2. Let Go with Grace

I have been thinking a lot about the process of letting go on a personal level, because I just physically moved my home and office. Although I moved within the same city, I still needed to let go of 30 years of stuff, familiar routines, and a neighborhood I loved. Not easy tasks for me.

To really embrace the change meant I needed to open up. I needed to have the space inside myself to allow in the new. What made it easier was an inspiring contemporary piece of poetry that gave me another framework for letting go. It helps to have the right mind-set when letting go.

You can read it here, with permission of the poet:

She Let Go

by Rev. Safire Rose

She let go.

Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear.  She let go of the judgments.  She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.  She let go of the committee of indecision within her.  She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go.  She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go.

She let go of all of the memories that held her back.  She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.  She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn’t call the prayer line. She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.

No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing.

Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be.

A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.

Step 3. Take the Right Steps

Once you identify what to let go, then you need to know what to start doing instead. You will need to have a plan for letting go to grow.

For example, here are 3 goals many small business owners desire:
• More money
• More full fee clients
• More time

And here is a quick strategy I offer for each goal, so you know what to let go of and what to focus on to achieve growth in each area.

More Money

What to let go:

  • Working without a financial plan
  • Negative beliefs about negotiation
  • Resistance to running a business, not a hobby

What to focus on instead:

  • Tracking your income and expenses on paper so you can see the reality of your money at a glance
  • Learning the basics of successful negotiation to handle conversations about money in a confident and therapeutic manner
  • Adopting the mindset and practices of an ethical business owner

More Clients

What to let go:

  • Old ideas of marketing and mistrust of new technology
  • Negative beliefs about your low value
  • Resistance to how much it takes to stay visible with referral sources

What to focus on instead:

  • Make sure that you have a strong and compelling online presence
  • Identify your clinical strengths and the return on investment your clients receive from their work with you
  • Scheduling marketing activities with a new marketing plan you feel is within your comfort zone

More Time

What to let go:

  • Time drains including distractions and procrastination
  • Hopeless and helpless thinking
  • Resistance to delegating, hiring others, or using technology for practice management

What to focus on instead:

  • Protecting and safeguarding your time and energy
  • Countering negative thoughts with positive action steps
  • Exploring strategies for streamlining tasks

Do you need help to take the next steps in this plan? Let’s talk. I can be reached for an Intro session here: http://www.privatepracticesuccess.com/individual-coaching/coaching-fees-and-logistics

or email: info@privatepracticesuccess.com

She Let Go Poem

She Let Go

by Rev. Safire Rose

 

She let go.

Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear.  She let go of the judgments.  She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.  She let go of the committee of indecision within her.  She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go.  She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go.

She let go of all of the memories that held her back.  She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.  She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn’t call the prayer line. She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.

No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing.

Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be.

A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.

_____________________________________

Reprinted here with permission of the author

 

Business and Self-deception

Private Practice Success Newsletter

by Lynn Grodzki, LCSW, MCC / Sept 2015

In a small business, it’s not just the way you talk to others that grows your practice; it’s also the way you talk to yourself. Negative, self-deceptive internal dialogue can derail a business owner. Instead, learn how to tap into a better and truer voice, that of your inner entrepreneur.

How Self-deception Works

It’s Monday morning and you have a list of business tasks to do this week, apart from seeing scheduled clients. Your list reads: Make an overdue marketing call, rewrite your website homepage, complete all client notes, do the monthly billing, clean off the office desk.

You have set aside time in your calendar for each task and feel assured that you can accomplish all the items on the list.

You start with the marketing phone call. You have a colleague that you respect, someone you have made several referrals to over the past year and although you are friendly, you have yet to have a referral from her. You decide to be more direct after saying hello, to tell her that you have some openings in one of your groups and ask for a referral. This feels like a bit of a risk since you tend to be unassuming, even a people pleaser, but you want to practice being more direct about your business needs.

As you get ready to dial her phone number, you pause. A series of thoughts go through your mind. “It’s not fair that I have to make this call. I help her, why doesn’t she automatically just help me back? Why do I have to work so hard for referrals anyway, its easier for everyone else but me. Forget it. If she wants to refer a client to me, she knows where to find me.” You decide not to make the call, feeling upset but justified.

Unknowingly, you have just become the victim of your own self-deceptive thinking.

Self-deception Defined

Self-deception is a process of thinking based on misleading ourselves and rationalizing our resulting behavior.

We convince ourselves that what we think about a situation or even ourselves is true, despite evidence or information to the contrary. We justify our mistaken beliefs because it keeps us feeling momentarily safe and self-righteous. With self-deceptive thinking we can explain why we don’t make an important call–to avoid possible rejection– even though this course of non-action means that our business misses a potential opportunity to grow.

Self-deceptive thinking interferes with a critical element in being a successful business owner: having an entrepreneurial mindset. An entrepreneurial mindset means you have an equal measure of both optimism and pragmatism. When you tap into your “inner entrepreneur” you can hold a vision of what’s possible while, at the same time, assess reality.

An entrepreneurial mindset gives you the fuel for taking action: you stay hopeful and focused on your goals. When self-deceptive thinking creeps in, filtered with negativity and bias, it has the power to stop you in your tracks.

I see three patterns of self-deception that commonly occur in those who own and operate a private practice. Here is an explanation of each destructive pattern and tips to correct it immediately, so that you can follow through with all your Monday morning action lists.

The Fallacies

Those who studied the work of Aaron Beck and David Burns, known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, are aware of the long list of cognitive distortions– thinking patterns that inhibit desired behavior. (See a list of common cognitive distortions here in a short article by John Grohol http://psychcentral.com/lib/15-common-cognitive-distortions)

A small group of these distortions are called “the fallacies.” Three of these fallacies contain highly self-deceptive patterns of thinking that I see especially problematic for those in business:
1. The Fallacy of Control – when your practice doesn’t develop the way you think it should, you feel like this is your fate (you have no control) or that you alone are to blame (you control everything)
2. The Fallacy of Fairness – you feel resentful based on the lack of fairness inherent in business—bad things happening to good therapists doesn’t seem right
3. The Fallacy of Heaven’s Reward – you have trouble reconciling the large professional sacrifice you have made and the subsequent little lack of compensation you receive

Do any of these sound familiar? If so, welcome to the world of business and self-deception. Read on to better understand how each of these 3 fallacies works and my tips to overcome and correct each one today.

The Fallacy of Control

We yearn for control of our lives and our practices.

When we see little result from our best efforts at marketing, writing, networking or other business actions, we can start to feel like we are up against something bigger and more difficult than mere business realities. We can feel cursed by fate, or at odds with the energetic forces of a larger universe.

Therapists and other helping professionals I coach may tell me that a workshop didn’t fill with clients, or a Psychology Today directory listing got no response, or a meeting with a colleague yielded no referrals. As we talk, I often hear self-deceptive thinking about control. Some insist that the fault is an outside force, like fate. Others take full blame themselves, as though it is a reflection of their inadequacy.

The answer is more often a mixture of factors. Our best efforts are always affected by many factors outside of our control, such as timing or a crowded marketplace and by factors within our control, such as having the right business strategy or a willingness to follow through with the sheer amount of personal effort and expense that most business strategies require to succeed.

Take marketing, for example. I often remind therapists that all of their marketing effort is really marketing research. No one knows for sure what any given marketing effort is going to produce. Given a lack of control over the outcome, the most you can do when marketing is test out the marketplace with an idea and then try to assess the results as feedback.

Then you have to decide to repeat, tweak the idea, or try something else, and of course, retest.

The bottom line is that we have limited control in business, as in life. Some find it is easier to deal with the lack of control by self-deceptive rationalization that a business task is “not meant to be” or “not meant for me.” Others collapse in blame and feelings of failure. Neither is good for the health and welfare of your private practice.

Tip: When faced with issues of control, tap into your inner entrepreneur for better self-talk, such as: “I won’t let myself feel victimized by fear and become inactive. I detach from immediate results and choose to continually take action that furthers the direction of my vision and goals.”

The Fallacy of Fairness

Therapists and other helping professionals often feel that the success of their private practice should follow their own definition of fairness. But if fairness means justice or worthy or even rightness to you, then you will find that business results are rarely based on what is fair. For example, the rate of all new business failure in the US remains at 50% and this is not necessarily about who is more deserving or who tries harder. As with the above fallacy of control, there are many other causes at play.

The fallacy of fairness can occur in many ways. A counselor in a busy metropolitan area says, “If I do good work with clients, the work should speak for itself. It’s not fair that a caseload is based on an advertising or Google adwords budget rather than the skill and effectiveness of the clinician.”

A life coach says, “I have been in practice twice as long as my colleague, yet she got asked to present at a conference that I was dying to speak at and it’s not fair.”

Harold Kushner’s book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, challenged the idea of fairness, trying to reconcile the concepts of divinity with randomness. Business success unfortunately carries the same degree of circumstance. Two therapists in the same city having the same training, specialty and even the same work ethic, can have quite varied degrees of practice success. Business results are not always fair.

Tip: Rather than emphasize fairness, you do better to focus on a clear list of business goals. If we were working together, I would ask questions like these to help shift the internal, self-deceptive conversation:
• What do you specifically want and need?
• What is your plan to achieve those goals this month?
• What additional resources do you need?
• How much time and effort can you devote to each goal?
• Who can help support you as you move forward?

The Fallacy of Heaven’s Reward

The helping professions require sacrifice, in terms of extending caring beyond session time and a host of uncompensated efforts. For example, we think about our clients outside of client sessions, we continually train to improve our skills at our own expense; we read and study throughout our professional lives. Many of us work hard for relatively low income and bemoan the lack of recognition that our profession merits.

Some rationalize this by believing that their commitment, sacrifice and self-denial will be rewarded over time. If the reward does not occur in the way it was expected, they feel betrayed. This is the deception of the Heaven’s Reward Fallacy.

This fallacy is a particularly tricky form of self-deception because it addresses an often unspoken, but expected and inherent trust about the act of helping others. It feels important that helping and giving should result in getting back.

Therapists tell me, “With the intrusion of insurance-based regulations and increasingly difficult caseloads, I give so much and at times, get back so little.” Many are left shaking their heads and wondering if their career was worth it.

I see this fallacy play out in private practice in ways both large and small: the therapist who slides her fee for a client in need then feels angry when that same client tells her about the wonderful vacation he just booked to France; the consultant who agrees to work Saturdays outside her regular work week to accommodate a client and then feels taken advantage of when the client suddenly quits for another consultant who charges less.

If you regularly violate your own policies or practice boundaries for clients, or agree to unacceptable working conditions based on some future expectation of appreciation, you are vulnerable to this fallacy.

Tip: Stay focused on the present. Respect your policies and practice boundaries. Take time for self-care and address any secondary trauma. Find ways to reward yourself for your work, using intrinsic rewards.

Intrinsic rewards are those within your control, based on the here and now. Boost your feelings of satisfaction, joy, and pride based on your work. Keep a list of your “business wins” each week and celebrate your achievements with others you trust. After a major effort, plan something big, to celebrate yourself. Don’t wait for others or even society to see your efforts. You know what you have accomplished, make it count within yourself.

 

Preparing for Your Future

by Lynn Grodzki, Private Practice Success Newsletter, May 2015

________________________________________________
In March 2015, I presented at the prestigious Psychotherapy Networker Symposium as part of a panel titled “The Future of Private Practice.” LISTEN TO FREE AUDIO

Each of the 4 experts gave a Ted-style talk: a 20-minute focused snapshot of their take on the most critical economic and social forces shaping today’s practices.

When I wasn’t on stage, I listened and took careful notes to pass along to you. Here is what I heard, in the order of the speakers on the panel (my talk was second and I have added the link to audio there as promised):

1. “Therapy on the Run”by Ofer Zur

Ofer Zur, whom many readers may know from his workshops and writings (http://www.zurinstitute.com) offered a checklist of 68 business “key ingredients” — in rapid pace during the 20 minutes he had to speak! Her is making his checklist available to my readers, see it HERE.

He started by asking if people felt like business owners or just clinicians; then he asked the audience to identify their areas of expertise. He differentiated between passion—where your heart is—versus your areas of expertise, because these are not always the same.

His checklist included the need for budgeting money, tracking data, getting office help, maintaining secure records, and risk avoidance in terms of ethical violations.

The last topic is one near and dear to Ofer, who works as a forensic psychologist concerning ethics. To avoid risk, he recommends that you have forms (ones that you create for this purpose) covering any unusual practices (willingness to see family members of an individual client, ability to confer with outside therapists on a case, etc.) and get them signed, to eliminate any misunderstandings between you and your primary clients. Explain how you work, set your boundaries and policies, and then back it all up with written forms.

He said that one of the top risk management issues that land therapists in court are those that push a therapist outside of the scope of work –writing custody letters to support one parent over another tops the list. “Don’t write any letters or documents putting you in a role outside of the normal scope of your work.”

Ofer strongly advises therapists go back to basics and balance online marketing with tried and true community outreach. Early in his career, he built a full practice quickly after giving a series of public talks on an issue that was affecting families and children in his locale—domestic violence. His first talk was on “Fighting and Loving.” Even though his talk was somewhat controversial because he addressed the role of the woman in domestic violence, this immediately helped establish him as an expert in the community, led to other talks, and eventually filled his practice.

2. “Navigating the New Psychotherapy Marketplace” by Lynn Grodzki

For my 20-minute talk, I first gave an overview of the change in the therapy market and some promising news: The numbers of people needing therapy is growing, due to Obamacare, a growing acceptance of therapy, and mental health parity.

A big, new, expanding market is opening up right now for helping professionals. But most of these new clients are finding their therapist from the Internet and as such, present some new challenges for their providers.

I talked about both the opportunities and challenges this market presents, and for the bulk of my talk I focused on the 3 top skills you need to reach and retain these new clients and make your work relevant.

The skills I outlined are:
• Negotiation
• Persuasion
• Anticipation

I showed how these are both business and clinical skills –and gave case examples to explain and highlight the application of each skill. You can hear it all, I have posted my 20-minute talk right here: LISTEN TO FREE AUDIO

3. “Creating a Brand for Your Practice” by Joe Bavonese

Joe Bavonese (www.uncommonpractices.com) is a specialist in Internet marketing and also consults on group practices. In this talk, which he immediately said would be less about branding and more about business essentials, he traced his own route in private practice from uncertainty to prosperity.

Joe became a model of a therapist who embraces a business mindset and skillset, using organizational systems to streamline his group practice. He spent considerable time and money learning how to market online effectively. Along the way, he also learned how to manage others and be a boss.

He was willing to try anything that might work and see opportunities and abundance. Joe admitted that not everything he has tried succeeds, but it is his willingness to respond to change.

One application was his ability to learn about Internet marketing. He studied business, and was willing to capitalize his business in a way that many therapists will not (many believe that a private practice should be run on a shoestring.) He spoke about the “lifetime value of a referral” how much the average client brings to a practice and what would you be willing to pay for this. He developed systems for every aspect of his practice.

Joe emphasized that Internet marketing is about getting found. Most searches are now happening by cell phones and to help your website get found, it must be mobile friendly. Google will now penalize your ranking if it is not.

How to be mobile friendly: Go to this Google link:
https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
and put in your website domain to analyze if your website is mobile friendly. If it is not, don’t despair. It might be an easy fix, just installing a “plug-in” or at most, you may need to get some help from a web designer to shift the template to make it work with a phone format.

4. “Learning the Language of Integrative Health” by Rubin Naiman

Rubin’s message about the future was clear: Therapists need to stay part of medical care, now more than ever since so many illnesses have a psychological component.

We have to develop a shared language of health and wellness to be able to talk with and educate physicians. Rubin should know, he is a member of an Arizona Center for Integrated Medicine with Dr. Andrew Weil.

Rubin makes a distinction between illness and disease. Disease is a measure, illness is the experience. Therapists speak to the personal, subjective experience of feeling sick. Psychotherapy brings to healthcare the concept that patients “can be sick in a healthy way.”

He encourages a dialogue between therapists and physicians about body and mind experience. Most psychotherapy is symptom expressive, where medicine is symptom suppressive.

Therapists need to learn the language of medicine, attend grand rounds at the hospital, read medical literature, and call clients “patients”. We need to help doctors understand our needed role in health and wellness.

__________________________

Hope this is helpful, to hear more from the Networker Symposium, go to the recordings at their website:

http://www.psychotherapynetworker.org/symposium/2015/workshops/#loaded

Word of the Year

Private Practice Success Newsletter

by Lynn Grodzki, LCSW, MCC / Jan 2015

Oh, the power of a single word.

This week, a meeting of linguists searched for the past year’s most powerful word. Among the finalists were amusing words like “manspreading” (when a man spreads his legs on public transportation, blocking other seats) and serious words like “culture” to signify a community, like a consumer culture.

The search for the best word is on. Oxford dictionary looks for the previous year’s Word of The Year (WOTY) as do magazines like the Economist. While it’s interesting to sum up the past year so concisely, I am more interested in looking forward. Let’s use word power to help set a direction for your practice in 2015.

I looked at a number of WOTY approaches I liked, including this one from Christine Kane, but found that I needed to develop one for people just like us–therapists, coaches, healing and helping professionals in business–who want to think about 2015 with a specific focus.

Here’s how to find the right WOTY for yourself and your practice that can really set your intention for 2015. Then I will show you how to make it actionable.

What’s Your Word?

Is there one word, a single word, that sums up all of your hopes, dreams and needs for your practice this year? One word that names your most important mission or purpose?

What word describes your 2015 business desire? Choose carefully, and make sure that this word speaks not just to your head, but also to your heart.

The right word can be idealistic or pragmatic. It may fill you with excitement or add to a sense of calm; it may make you uncomfortable (if its a big goal) and feel like a big stretch from where you find yourself now. Or perhaps it validates your existing direction–you are almost there and just need more time.

What do you want most to achieve this year? How big of a challenge will you accept? Just like a racer in a speedy car poised to go around a track, choosing the right word starts your engine toward reaching the goal.

Here is an important caveat: I know there is a big difference between choosing a word versus knowing how to achieve it. Of course there is effort and work involved. No problem, we will also deal with the strategy and action required.

But the first step is defining your theme with just one word. This step expands awareness and begins a commitment. Name and claim what you (and your practice) stand for this year.

Good Business Words

Some of my clients are focused on increasing income this year. They chose these words: money, profitable, thriving, waitlist, productive, savings, wealth, full-fee, attraction, prosperity, and plenty.

Other clients feel that time is more precious than money. They offered these: balance, peace, abundance, freedom, fun, relaxed, ease.

Another group are thinking about the overall satisfaction they experience in business. They chose: autonomous, fulfilled, pioneer, creative, visionary, integrity, confidence, leadership and one of my favorites, ideal.

These are just suggestions. I want you to find your own, best word of the year. Once you determine your word, go a bit deeper with these 3 questions:

  • What makes this WOTY the right one for you and your practice this year?
  • How close or far are you from this goal right now?
  • What strengths and resources will you draw upon?

Now Take Action:
The Word of the Year requires an action plan. First, do some preparation in the areas of gathering information, getting support, and budgeting.

Information: Make sure you know enough to begin.
• Do you have the information or strategies you need to move forward?
• If not, what is your plan for gathering information (independent research from the Internet, training, helpful books, informational interviews of those who are models of success, etc.) ?

Support: Surround yourself with a circle of advice, help and backing.
• What support do you need to help you manifest your WOTY?
• Who can your turn to for mentoring, coaching, or other consulting? Who can you hire? Which peers and colleagues would be happy to support you? Who can you be accountable to?

Budget: Invest in your Word.
• What would accomplishing your WOTY be worth to you?
• How much money can you invest in this plan? How much time can you devote?  What other budget items need to be considered?

Word-based Goals and Actions:
List your top 5 goals and actions for the first 6 months of 2015.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

List your top 5 goals and actions for the final 6 months of 2015.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

OK, you have a plan. Time to start moving forward and taking action with your WOTY!

I would love to know what WOTY you selected and how this is working for you. Leave a reply below to share about your direction this year.

copyright 2015 by Lynn Grodzki

Business Mantras

Private Practice Success Newsletter, June 2014

By Lynn Grodzki, LCSW, MCC

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A private practice has continual ups and downs. We often think that something is wrong when our practice dips, even slightly, and right when our practice rises.

But when looked at from a business point of view, minor ups and downs within a solo or group practice are not only inevitable, but correct.

Often, nothing is wrong. This is just what it looks like and feels like to be inside a small business. It’s bumpy.

All of the successful therapists I know insist that their practices do not hold steady at all times. They have times when hours are unfilled and other times when they are completely full. Experienced therapists view the slower times with benign acceptance, seeing them as a restful oasis within the long journey haul of being in business.

Every practice has cycles. The newer and smaller your practice, the more you feel the rise and fall, both financially and psychologically. You may have a limited staff, sometimes a staff of one–just you.

You may get distracted by external situations. Life happens and pulls your energy away from running your practice. Or you may be doing all you can to build your practice but not seeing quick results and getting discouraged.

Owning a small practice is like being in a boat on the ocean. The smaller the boat, the more you feel the pull of the wind on the sails and the rise and swell of the waves. Larger ships have more ballast, more hands on deck to keep things steady.

But if you operate a small practice, you need to stay calm when the waves go up and down. You need to think clearly and stay focused on the goals at hand.

This is where having a few well chosen business mantras and helpful, using some short slogans as a compass to guide your way. I find myself using a dozen business mantras repeatedly each month when I am coaching clients.

Here are 3 business mantras to help you stay calm and focused:

Lynn’s Business Mantra #1. “All marketing is really marketing research.”

When you are a small business with a limited budget, there are no guarantees about what results your marketing efforts will yield.

Marketing (networking, online and print advertising, direct mailing, email blasts, joining organizations for exposure to possible referral sources, sending letters, etc.) is expensive, time consuming and takes effort.

“What is the best use of my time, energy and money?” therapists ask.

The truth is that no one knows for sure what marketing strategy works best in every case.

That is because every private practice is unique–there are many variables in place that can cause the same strategy to work differently. Your location, density of competition, your specific services, your self presentation, even the text on your website or directory listing can make a big difference.

There is no one recipe that works for every situation. Marketing is highly customized. Even tried and true strategies need to change over time. I know that when you actively trying to network, promote, or advertise your practice, the “moving target” of marketing can be very frustrating.

You need to adopt the right marketing mindset. Since marketing is so customized, all marketing is going to also be marketing research. This is just a test! Only by trying something and then trying it again or trying it with a small tweak or adjustment, can you know what will work for your practice at any given time.

So when marketing or advertising, stay curious. Consider whatever you are doing to also be an experiment.

Don’t get discouraged if your idea is not producing right away. Just be willing to learn. Look for measures and feedback, to help you assess and then refine the marketing process.

Lynn’s Business Mantra #2:  “Detach from results.”

Business success is fickle. It can be based on merit and hard work, but just as likely it might be influenced by timing, being first in the marketplace, knowing the right people, or just luck.

Given so many variables, it helps if you can stay in motion, taking steps forward and being thoughtful and strategic about your actions, but find a way to detach from the results of your efforts.

Pamela, an experienced couples therapist, attends a monthly networking group that asks each member to stand and introduce themselves. “I hate this exercise,” she tells me. “It feels promotional and very unnatural. I get tense and end up sounding nervous. I am not good at networking.”

I ask Pamela to focus on the process, not the outcome. The process at the meeting is standing and speaking, with a positive affect, about her work, regardless of who listens or refers.

What could she say if she only wanted to communicate her fascination with her work, or share something she was learning from the couples she worked with?

“I could do that, I love talking about the clinical side of my work. I can go on forever about the amazing shifts I see in my sessions. But do you think the group would respond?” she wondered.

Again, I asked her to just focus on the process of sharing her passion, letting go of how it might be received by others. It was no surprise (to me) when after the next meeting, a member came up to her and said he was going to refer his friend for her services.

“I didn’t know you loved your work so much,” he said. “ I think my friend and his wife need to see a counselor who loves to help marriages.”

Pamela learned a quick lesson about staying engaged in the process, regardless of outcome.

Lynn’s Business Mantra #3: “Small steps count.”

In a small business, its best to pace yourself and move forward with steady, small steps.

A small increase in savings or a small reduction of spending can make a real difference. The addition of a few clients each week or each month can keep your practice humming. Small is beautiful. Let yourself think in short term goals and outline immediate action steps.

Avoid losing yourself in daydreams of grandiose visions; keep your objectives specific and doable so that you don’t get discouraged.

One way to think small is “chunking down.” Chunking down is a process-oriented term that means going into detail to find smaller and more specific elements of a system. It’s a useful strategy to combat feelings of overwhelm, when a task seems too large to comprehend, or a goal is too complex to implement.

A new therapist says, “I have a part-time job but also just opened a new office and have a lot of ideas and a big list of action items, but I feel overwhelmed.” Time to chunk down to make it manageable.

To get her started, we make her list manageable and prioritize it. What are the actions that need to happen first (an updated business card, finishing her Psychology Today directory listing.) What can wait a few months? (Print advertising, joining a peer supervision group.) What can she plan for six months? (Advertising online, starting an advanced training in her specialty.)

Finally she has a list of action steps that are small enough to feel manageable to take, step by step, until each task is complete.

Whatever big task or project you want to achieve, it will help to chunk it down. I continually repeat this mantra to myself, especially when I have been at the computer writing all day, with too few pages to show. Small steps, small steps, small steps.

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(Copyright 2014 by Lynn Grodzki, all rights reserved.)

 

Keep Writing

By Lynn Grodzki, LCSW, MCC

Private Practice Success Newsletter, Dec 2012

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Start Writing

As someone who spends a fair amount of her professional time writing (5 books published in 10 years, dozens of articles written for a variety of professional magazines or journals, and a monthly newsletter for 10 years, written for my email readers) — I know firsthand that writing is hard work.

Did you have a writing project for 2012 that you did not achieve? So many things can sabotage writing: time demands, life demands, or anything else that derails us and makes us believe that whatever we want to express is not worth the time, effort, or exposure.

I have been thinking about my process of writing after completing a long article that was just published in the Psychotherapy Networker Magazine (Read it here) I think this article is some of my best writing, but it was far from easy for me; in fact, it was a slog. It took me a full year to complete and required three completely different drafts, all of which I loved but were rejected (or “corrected” — choose your verb) by a rigorous and thoughtful editor.

The Struggle

Part of the slog of writing this article was that I was on my learning curve, writing in a style that was new to me. The editor kept asking me to slow down and unpack my thinking process, to reveal more about who I am and what I think – to be less of an expert and more of a peer to the reader. His notes for each draft asked me to go deeper and explain further. He wanted a lot of narrative and personal anecdotes.

Even when I thought I had done just what we agreed, he challenged me to start from a new place and use a different slant. After each draft, I felt increasingly uncertain and it slowed my progress. The article went through starts and stops. Months passed. My previous writing experience did not help; I felt like a beginning writer.

Why bother? Was it worth my time and energy? I wasn’t getting paid. Why not stick with what I know? These thoughts were ever present, threatening to derail the process completely. But I found ways to stay on track, helped by relying on a few writing “mantras” — phrases that I have developed over time to hold me to the task. I wanted to share these writing mantras with you, in case they might help you in a similar way.

Lynn’s Writing Mantras

1. It’s my job.

Writing seems like fun only to those who write for fun. For those who write seriously – as a regular part of their work – it soon loses mystery or glamour. When writing becomes tiresome, I remember it’s a job; it’s part of my professional work. I shift from acting like writing is a pastime and raise it to the level of a professional task. As a pastime, I would try to fit in writing time around other more important commitments. But if it’s a professional task, I block out time on my calendar and let nothing else interfere. As a pastime, I can multi-task while I write; but if it’s a professional task, I turn off the phone and email and devote my full attention. As a pastime, I wait to be inspired, to be in the mood. But if it is my professional task, I do it regardless of my disposition.

2. It’s supposed to be difficult.

I hear from those I coach that when writing gets hard, they think they are doing something wrong. But that’s a faulty equation. I frame my process of writing as similar to my practice of exercise.  When I go to the gym, if I am doing it right, it’s hard and I moan and groan and sweat. With exercise, hard work is usually considered a sign of effectiveness. So, although it is great when writing comes easily, I don’t need to be worried by the level of effort it usually requires.

Things I find hard about non-fiction writing include: having to sit for hours at a time, when my job already requires a lot of sitting; looking at a blank page; feeling blocked; numerous edits and rewrites; having nothing to say; having too much to say; clarifying my jumbled thoughts; trying to be original. Especially hard is how much time writing takes and how slowly it proceeds. Hard work doesn’t mean I don’t write it well, or that the end product won’t be valuable. It just means that it takes a lot of time and effort. I need to accept how writing is for me, get over my complaints and get on with it.

3. Keep Writing

Several years ago I attended a Mystics game, the women’s basketball team (WNBA) in Washington, DC. They were losing badly, mostly due to the problems their star shooter, Alana Beard, was facing that night. She missed shot after shot. After each miss, the fans in the stadium groaned, except for a small cadre of women seated near me who yelled out: “Alana, keep shooting!” She missed, they immediately encouraged her to try again. Their encouragement actually seemed to help. Alana looked up at them a few times and nodded. She kept asking for the ball and shooting. By the second half, she was making shots that scored. She didn’t give up based on her earlier failure.

I remember that Mystics game and Alana’s willingness to keep trying when I feel like my writing isn’t successful. As Woody Allen said, 90% of success is showing up. It reminds me to keep writing.

4. Let the environment help.

One of my mentors, coach Thomas Leonard, said that not all behavior change has to occur inside of a person. Sometimes, you’re better off trying to use the environment. Can’t write routinely or get distracted and lose your motivation? Set up your writing space with care and creativity, so it helps you write. Once I read an essay by author Joan Didion about her practice. She wrote every day for many hours. She said that sometimes she dreaded having to “go into that room” to get to work. I thought: She has a room just for writing? No wonder she is so prolific. I don’t have an entire room, but I do have a corner of my office that is set up for writing. It is clean, organized, quiet and welcoming. I have a good chair, good lighting. It’s conducive to the task at hand. When I sit down in my writing chair, even when I think I have nothing to say, the contained setting helps to hold me in and get started.

5. Embrace editing.

I am a big fan of editing, and by that I mean letting other people see my writing, while it is in process. Few of us can be objective with what we write. I ask friends, colleagues, other writers, and family to be early readers, and I have regularly hired professional copy editors as needed to help me polish finished chapters and articles. (Tip: your readers should be people who want the best for you, who are clearly on your side, and are able to articulate their thoughts about your work in ways that are helpful.)

The best advice I got about editing came from my colleague, author Nancy Napier, who had published two books when I was still writing my first. I had not yet gone through an editing process with the publisher and she urged me to embrace the editing process. Nancy advised me to let go of ego, stay non-defensive, and understand that editing is a collaboration to produce the best product. This is now the way I receive feedback, from readers and editors: with appreciation, even if I ultimately decide to go a different way.

6. Any day I get to write is a good day.

I am fortunate that I am able to write and that I like to write. For me, writing is a chance to be with myself and reach out to others. It’s a chance to create and think. Even though it is often hard work and requires definite time, space and energy, I remind myself that any day I get to write — whether it is important writing or a short blog entry — is a good day. Wishing you lots of good writing time!

Attracting Full Fee Clients

by Lynn Grodzki, LCSW, MCC

Published in the Private Practice Success Newsletter, June 2011 Edition

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Most therapists, coaches and consultants aspire to a full-fee practice, but it’s getting harder to achieve. In this newsletter, you will understand both the challenges and a key strategy to attracting your ideal clients.

In several earlier articles, I have explained that there are 3 paths to building a viable private practice today.  In several earlier articles, I have outlined the three paths to private practice today. (For those new to this discussion, read how to create a consumer-driven practice “When The Client Is In Charge” or an insurance-driven practice “Referrals From Doctors” by clicking on the links.)

This month, we look at the third, vibrant business model that relies on full fee clients.

The Belief-driven Practice

The belief-driven practice is my term for fully independent practice that relies on the strength, theory-base and personal passion of the therapist, coach, or consultant to attract a flow of ideal clients. This boutique model of practice allows the owner to charge a full fee, because these ideal clients are looking for quality and willing to pay for expertise and good results.

This model is traditional. But I hear from therapists and others in private practice that, in the face of a difficult economic market, increasing competition, and changing trends, this business model is becoming ever harder to achieve.

Getting Found

Today’s market for mental health therapists, coaches, and consultants often resembles a Middle-Eastern bazaar.

For example, if you are a psychotherapist, you can see that a plethora of professionals (psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, counselors, and psychiatrists) promote and use a myriad of approaches (over 180 schools or methods of therapy at last count.)

It’s easy to get lost in the mix. In this crowded marketplace, how do you get found?

To attract ideal clients, you need to stand out from the crowd.  Clients who pay full fee do so because they want YOU, not just any counselor.  An ideal client is not price-conscious (i.e. Who is cheapest?) or convenience-focused (i.e. Who is open on weekends?)

Ideal clients want quality and, because they want you, they are willing to adapt to your fees and hours.

Ideal clients come via enthusiastic referrals from others, or because they resonate with your message or your methods.

Communicating with Passion

Ultimately, the fuel for this attraction is you and your ability to communicate your belief in your work. You must get comfortable writing and speaking directly and persuasively about your skills. Many therapists and healing professionals I meet feel a lot of passion for the work they do, but don’t know how to express it well. They get stumped when talking or writing and mute their message.

They become forgettable.

Communicating your passion is a skill, akin to developing a skill of influence or persuasion. As helping and healing professionals, our goal is not promotion or manipulation, but a way to express sincere caring, proficiency and integrity. These skills help attract new clients and retain existing ones long enough for them to complete their work with you.

Of all the skills I teach as a business coach, this strategy — enhancing your ability to express your passion and belief in your work — is probably the one that has the most long-lasting results in helping others build a full fee practice.

Essential Next Steps

The more you believe in your own value and effectiveness, the more others will. Here is why that is true, according to a much tested research study first noted in 1936, that stands up to repeated results today.

The better you capture and express your belief and passion for your work, the more your clients appreciate what they have paid (well) to receive, and the more likely the therapy will succeed. I think this strategy holds true, regardless of professional orientation (coach, consultant, counselor, healing professional.)

So, here is the big question: Do you know how to communicate this way?

Let me show you how. Read the whole article to see an example that explains how I coach therapists, coaches, and other consultants to enhance their communication of passion, value and belief in their work.

Research

Let me explain the importance of passion by explaining a study known in the profession as the “Dodo Bird Effect.” This research, which has been upheld many times, was originally conducted by psychologist Saul Rosenzweig (American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 1936) to assess which therapeutic orientation or method was most effective or produced the best results. He found that the specific therapeutic orientation doesn’t matter because all orientations work. Hence the Dodo Bird reference from Alice in Wonderland. After a race, the Dodo bird judging the race declared that all had won and all must have prizes.

Relying on Belief

As therapist Gary Greenberg explains, “The Dodo Bird Effect has been borne out by numerous studies since, with one elaboration. The single factor that makes a difference in outcome is faith; the patient must believe in the therapist and the therapist must believe in his orientation. For therapy to work, both parties must have faith, sometimes against all reason, that their expedition will succeed.” (“The War on Unhappiness,” by Gary Greenberg, Harper’s Magazine, 9/2010.)

This reliance on belief is essential to the attraction and retention of clients. The more passion expressed by the therapist (and the client) for the work being done, the more likely the therapy will succeed.

How do you communicate your faith or belief in your services, methods, and results?

Let me give you a real-life case example that explains how I coach therapists, coaches, and other consultants to enhance their communication of passion and belief.

Identifying Your Influence

Anna, a therapist and life coach, was worried about the state of her practice. She hired me to help her grow her practice, but she had some preconditions. She told me that she had been in private practice for over a decade and during that time seen the market for her services go up and down.

She complained of feeling exhausted and said she wasn’t sure whether she could summon up the enthusiasm she needed to keep her practice going. “Clients call, but they want a therapist who takes insurance. I don’t. Too few people understand life coaching and those services can be hard to sell. I am good at what I do, but it’s hard to express it to others. I need more full-fee clients and more referrals, but I feel tired and a bit embarrassed to have to toot my own horn.”

A business in a recession is like a hungry, needy toddler. You can’t put a smile on its face if you, as the parent, show up exhausted, passive, or without personal resources.

Our coaching sessions took place by phone.  I made suggestions about ways that Anna could recharge herself personally and professionally. She took long walks each day, and thought about herself, hers goals, and hers life.

At our next coaching call, I asked her to talk about hers strengths and successes at work. I had lots of questions for her:  Who are you when you are doing your best work. What are some of the successes you have had with clients? Who have you helped and how? What makes you different from other therapists and life coaches? If I had a client to refer, why would I be smart to send them to you?

Being Persuasive

Anna felt shy and awkward to be so explicit and direct. But as I took the time to listen, validate, and acknowledge her work, she noticed an important internal shift. “I am sitting up straighter in my chair, Lynn. There is a smile on my face. I am really feeling good about my work. I think I love sharing it with you, when I can talk about it this way.”

Then came a last question from me : “When was the last time you spoke to others about your practice with this same passion and directness?

And my coaching request: “Please tell one person each a day about your work, in just the way we have discussed. Start with those close at hand: family & friends; then move on to peers and other potential referral sources.”

I suggested that she would know that she was doing it tight when she found herself sitting up or standing straighter and smiling while she spoke.

With this request, Anna got to work with a new marketing plan. She found that she had a very different experience talking with referral sources, when she did so from a place of passion. She also changed her website and brochure to reflect this new branding of her work.

In her words, “My networking and marketing now feels like a way to honor myself and my work. And I guess it makes sense that referrals are going up — and so is my retention.”

Each month in my newsletter, we will continue to explore skills and strategies that you can use to build a practice that attracts your ideal clients. Want to improve your specific style of communication? Click here to schedule a consultation.

Express Yourself

by Lynn Grodzki, LCSW, MCC

Published in the Private Practice Success Newsletter, April 2011

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Marketing may be the most reviled word in private practice.

The ever-present need for a business owner to speak to others, become a public figure, and have a strong Internet presence often feels tiring at best, or frightening at worst.

Over the past dozen years of being a business coach, I have helped many therapists with their marketing mindset, helping them shift their feelings, beliefs and actions to market within their comfort zone.

But some therapists tell me that they need even more help: they struggle with a deep-seated resistance to marketing that is very hard to change.

That’s because marketing requires a specific type of energy, that many therapists find in short supply.

During the past year, I have been working with therapists and other small business owners who hate marketing, showing them how to shift their marketing energy and, as a result, change their felt experience of marketing.

In this newsletter article, I want to show you a link between your marketing ability and the energetic center that affects your ability to speak out.

Welcome to 5th Chakra Marketing!

The 5th Chakra

Chakras are a Hindu concept of bodily energetic centers.

In Indian medicine, your 5th Chakra is located near your throat and governs your ability to express yourself and have a full, strong voice – both literally and symbolically.

Energetically, having a balanced 5th Chakra helps you:

•    speak your truth, personally and professionally
•    hear and be heard on a deep level
•    express yourself clearly and eloquently

If you are having trouble finding your voice on behalf of your practice — giving talks, meeting professionals, writing, finishing your website, sending out letters — freeing up this energy may be a good solution.

Finding Your Business Voice

Mona Lisa Schultz, MD, PhD, neurological psychiatrist and medical intuitive, is the author of The Intuitive Advisor (2009.)

She explains that an energetic block at the 5th Chakra can result in physical symptoms of throat-related  illness (bronchitis, losing your voice, TMJ, thyroid problems.) But the symtpoms can also be psychological and make you feel stuck when you try to speak out.

Getting Unblocked

A successful marketer needs to be expressive and balance assertiveness (speaking out) with compliance (listening.)

In 5th Chakra terms, Schultz offers a framework for this balance that points the way to several good solutions. You can learn to match your energy with the tasks required to be a good marketer.

Intrigued? See how to identify your communication style and find an energetic balance, so that marketing becomes easier and more successful.

Your Communication Doorway

Dr. Schultz identifies several communication “doorways” or categories:

Locked Door: You shut out the public and feel shy, or fearful or very private. You worry about being overexposed. You may have a lot to say and, in your mind, can find yourself talking to a higher power or to yourself, but in you say very little out loud to others. In meetings you get tongue-tied and the thought of networking is very stressful.

Screen Door:  You do meet with others but the conversations are often one-sided. You listen more than you talk and appear receptive, but withhold your thoughts and feelings. Like the wind blowing through a screen door, your point of view gets blown away by the strength of someone else’s opinions.

Swinging Door: This ideal position signifies that you have a natural, flexible, assert point of view but also can listen and accede to others. You can move in and out of professional marketing conversations that make them feel like a dance, not a duty.

Here are some strategies to help you shift or enhance your 5th Chakra energy when it is blocked.

Strategies

When I became a business coach, the one skill that I most wanted to teach therapists was how to speak about their work with passion and clarity.

I spent months trying to formulate the best way to help my colleagues do this seemingly simple task–talk about themselves in a lucid, positive and energetic manner. I finally found a formula that helps a lot of therapists do this well. I call this strategy articulating your basic message.

When you find the words you love to say, your basic message comes through loud and clear: “I am passionate about what I get to do each day. I love my work. I help others in an important way.”

Finding Your Right Balance

Finding your voice is key. But asserting your message is not enough. For energetic balance, you need to get into a dialogue, not hold a monologue.

You do this by making sure that in your marketing — whether you are networking, at meetings, speaking, writing articles, creating a website, blog, or workshops – you speak and listen, in equal measure. You create give and take.

Its easy to make sure that your marketing becomes a dialogue when you are talking with a professional or a referral source. But even if you are the only one speaking – when you are in the front of the room, you can still listen deeply to the non-verbals of the audience.

The best writing causes a reader to self-reflect. The best websites help a reader “find his or herself” in the text. Express yourself as you give and take.

Your 5th Chakra will thank you and, by the way, this is the easiest path to good marketing!

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Resource:

Schultz, Mona Lisa. The Intuitive Advisor. (Hay House, Carlsbad, 2009.)

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