Ever wonder how you can muster up the motivation to stay the course and keep going with this career path and road to licensure?
It can be so hard day in and day out if you’re feeling discouraged or depleted, trying to find paid work, and earn all your hours. You may have the rewarding position of being an employed therapist or you may not like it because of where you’re working. You may love what you do or aspects of it, but the other parts of it wear you out. It can be difficult feeling like you’re fighting an uphill battle to get everything done you need to. You have good days and you may even have ones where you feel like all cylinders are firing. Then you look at everything you still have left to accomplish and it’s overwhelming.
The Daily Grind
Sometimes the grind of doing all the things you do clouds what you’re doing it for. The end of the day exhaustion, the feeling of being unsure of yourself and the self doubt that creeps in can keep you feeling stuck. It’s so vital to talk about and work through these feelings and self concepts through therapy or coaching so you can keep going. Burn out is real and I encourage you to protect yourself with a vengeance from it. One way to do that is understanding how to stay inspired and motivated.
Being Good Enough and Committed to Getting Better
Paul Meyer, known for his excellence in performance management, said the number one motivator for success is having a burning desire. That would be something you want really badly. He said saying to yourself that’s good enough won’t do it unless you want to stay mediocre. I would add that it’s helpful to tell yourself you are doing the best you can and it’s good enough for now, and add that you’re not done yet, that you’re aiming for better and better. This way we don’t get hung up in perfectionism, because that can actually keep us stuck and not moving forward efficiently enough. At the same time, we want to spur ourselves on to being and doing better.
How Can You Meet More of Your Goals?
Tom Morris, a professor of philosophy wrote a profound book years ago called “True Success,” and he said with inner commitment and desire, we conquer challenges; without it we stumble. With it, we’re willing to take risks; without it we just play it safe; with it we strive for excellence, without it, we settle for much, much less. So, he says, be driven by a pursuit of excellence, which is such a basic principle but so essential to succeeeding at our endeavors. One key to this is looking at your performance or process like improving at golf–don’t compare your game to where others’ are at. Compare yourself to yourself and look for progress there.
Another principle is to commit to a focused plan of action without tolerations, says psychologist Nick Lazaris, who specializes in performance enhancement and is renowned for raising group performance. He says there is no value in an idea itself, the real value comes from acting on an idea. I would add acting on an idea or desire in a way that gives you effective results, and sometimes this means enlisting help or support.
How Do These Principles Apply to You?
(Please note, no mental health therapy is being provided and all names are changed to maintain a level of anonymity) In talking with Liza A., a client of mine, she shared how she’d really like to dive into doing workshops to market her practice and grow her referral base but she felt resistance that was keeping her stuck. After listening intently to understand, we explored her motivations and desire–trying to get at the burning desire and where she was getting stuck. She said it could give her more clients and educate the public about what she knows. It could help people even if they didn’t become her clients. I dug a little deeper and asked what would that make her feel, a coaching technique to understand more. She said it would make her feel good to know she’s helping her community while doing something proactive to grow her practice–to get the end result of more clients coming to see her. And it would feel fulfilling and scary at the same time.
Resistance Has Deeper Meaning
So, when I asked her what is keeping her from doing it, from taking the next action step, she said it was scary to think about getting up in front of people and what they would think of her. As we talked through it more, she discovered that she projected onto people she hadn’t even met yet that they wouldn’t like her. Her internal self-judgment was externalizing, because she thought they’d put her down no matter how valuable her content was. And she had great content ideas! As she was able to see that she was projecting onto potential clients, she was able to shift that perspective and she became able to see that her self-concept had been keeping her from doing that next step. Underneath the hesitancy to do the work were some limitations she put on herself that weren’t serving her well. She felt so much better when she identified it and could get past it in a gentle, self-accepting way.
Powerful Way to Get Ahead
Another client, Maria L. a newly-licensed therapist, contacted me for help with her web site and overall online presence. She felt stuck with what to say or who to target as her ideal clients. She had a vague idea but wasn’t too sure. As I attempted to find out who she really wanted to work with based on some personalized discussion and a method I use, I could hear what was keeping her stuck. She had been unable to flesh things out for her future practice because of some internal dialogue she wasn’t aware of that was affecting her.
We went through a brief consultation process that helped her get clear on who she wanted to work with and put language around that. I honed in on how we could brainstorm and pull out key ideas and then clarified those ideas. It was exciting to help her figure out who she wanted to work with–what kinds of clinical issues. I then helped shape and improve the language we co-created so it was completely in her voice and authentic for her. What we ended up with, she said, was way better than she she could say on her own. What she got out of it was content and copy she could use in a variety of forms–her web site, directory listings and future presentations or workshops. On top of it, from all of that content we had a marketing and business plan that she could use as she moved forward.
What are You Needing Right Now in Your Career? What Do You Need to Get Done?
So now it’s my turn to ask you, are you doing what you really want in this field? Is there a gap right now between that and where you are? Do you need to figure out what’s holding you back?
Do you simply need some practical marketing support to help you get some materials written and up and running?
Do you have the resources and ability to do what you want? Is there something you need to do to take the next step?
There’s a saying, “Find what you love to do, and then do it.” And if you need a little help or support along the way, that’s okay too, and I am here to support you in a variety of ways.
Tyra Butler is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the founder of the Early Career Clinician Community where she gives some of her best tips to succeed on the road to licensure. She works with pre-, provisionally-licensed and early career therapists to help them find paid work, start and grow their practices and make important decisions and career moves. She offers coaching and consultation, and as a professional writer provides copywriting coaching to create web site and marketing content. Contact her here.
Join the Early Career Clinician Facebook group here. Tyra has been in private practice for nine years, with 14 years in mental health, business and professional copywriting.