Tanya Younce, M.Ed., LPCC


Getting Started With Anything

For about five years now, I’ve been dreaming of having my own private counseling practice. I could envision the office and how I’d want it set up and decorated.  I also had ideas of what types of clientele and therapy in which I’d want to specialize, as well as various creative methods I’d use to help them grow.  But the logistics always seemed to evade me (Where the heck do I start?  Do I get a loan first or write a business proposal?  What are the legal aspects?  What name would I give it?  How do I rent office space?) Then there was the money excuse (I can’t afford the start-up costs. I couldn’t deal with the loss of income before a profit shows up.  How would I pay for health insurance and other benefits I’d lose?).  Then I’d just get scared of how big and unmanageable it might get (Would I be able to keep up with all the paperwork and scheduling? What if someone asks me to be a speaker somewhere?  Would I be able to juggle the practice with all my other responsibilities?).  But year after year, with each Christmas card I wrote, I’d get more embarrassed to tell my family and friends that I was still in the same job as the year(s) prior, and still wanting to move forward with my private practice.  What I wanted to tell them was that I had finally started the practice, that it was very successful, and it was the light of my life!

But now, something has lit a fire under my butt.  Earlier this year, I planned my second wedding.  It was about a six month process, but I designed, coordinated, assembled and financed all the details of what turned out to be a spectacular event for over 50 guests.  I received more compliments about how beautiful, classy, meaningful, and joyous the day had been for everyone.  And these compliments meant a lot, coming from the classy, intelligent, and fun people who gave them!  My parents, for example, came from the era of giving elaborate dinner and holiday parties.  They were very well-versed at being creative with various themes, providing lovely atmospheres, and serving delicious food and drink to all their guests.  Let me tell ya — I was damn proud when they both gushed over the homemade invitations, the customized Buddhist ceremony, the way I decorated a horribly plain looking park shelter, the quaint reception site, the French food served, and all the other details that went into the day.  This, my friends, gave me the resolve I needed to believe that I could ALSO create a private practice and make THAT happen!
So I guess the first thing to say about getting started on anything new, is that it helps if you have at least one big success in your back pocket.  Think back on all the accomplishments you’ve had in your life.  What qualities of yours went into making those happen?  Who patted you on the back and said “Attaboy” (or girl)?  It doesn’t matter how large or small the event was.  The point is that it should help build your confidence.  This leads to my ultimate advice for starting something new or changing some kind of behavior.
The two biggest things I talk about with my clients are Positive Belief and Small Bites.  First, believe you can do the thing you’re setting out to do.  It doesn’t matter if you secretly think “Pffft…yeah, right!  Whatever!” because that will eventually change if you believe it for long enough.  I’m a firm believer in the Law of Attraction, and if you haven’t seen or read anything about that, seek it out now!  “The Secret” was a big hit a few years ago, and introduced this concept beautifully, but there are other books written on it, too.  Positive thoughts strengthen your efforts, because it creates the energy needed to move forward.
Okay, second — you can’t look at these big projects as a whole because they’ll just overwhelm you.  You have to break it down into smaller, little tasks so you can take baby steps until the whole project is completed.  There’s a cool analogy that was used on “The Secret” that said it’s like driving in the dark with your headlights on: You can usually only see about 200 ft in front of you, but you can go from one end of the country to the other, just seeing 200 ft in front of you, the whole time.  I love that!  Too many of us want to put on the high beams and see the entire route to our end goal, but most of the time that’s just not possible.  Plus, it leaves no room for “adventure” to come in.  I’ll talk about adventures later, but you should always leave enough room for something outside of your realm to happen, because it usually helps you along — in some way.
So, for my own big goal of the private practice, my first step is to passionately believe that I can do this, evidenced by my past experience and successes.  My second step is starting this blog.  I’ve always loved to write.  In fact, I’ve kept a journal since I was 12 years old (and still have most of them, believe it or not!), so this medium has always been therapeutic and creative for me.  From here, we’ll see what happens.  Right now, I’m in my 200 ft. headlight zone.  The rest will unfold as more blogs get posted, new inspirations wake me up in the middle of the night, and as I open myself to opportunities (which I’ll call gifts) that may lead me to the next step.
One disclaimer I will note is that I’m not well versed in HTML, but I’m learning!  So changes to the design and arrangement of this blog will be made as I get better. 🙂
Thanks for reading and contributing to this energy.  I hope you’ll find a few helpful thoughts and give me feedback on your various experiences.

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