Tanya Younce, M.Ed., LPCC

513.795.2562

The Roadblocks to Your Passion

Hold up your glasses and let’s toast!
The New Leaf Counseling website finally went LIVE this past weekend!!
Cheers and thanks to everyone who assisted with it coming to fruition.  It’s been a rough road, but I’m hopeful that many good things will come to those whom have waited. 🙂
Looking back at that rough road, I reread my first blog topic here, entitled “Getting Started with Anything.”  I had used the success of the planning of my wedding as a springboard to my firmer and more positive beliefs that I could also create/design a unique and thriving private practice as well.  I’d determined that it was going to take plenty of positive beliefs in my abilities and the patience to take things in small steps, so that I didn’t overwhelm myself with various fears.  Yessir, I was ready to take the plunge and to finally make my dream a reality. 
Well 2½ years later, brick by brick, here’s what I’ve accomplished:
·        The practice name and logo are now “defined and designed.”
·        I have professional business cards, as well as coffee mugs and pens with the NLC logo on them. 😉
·        Tim helped me set up my first business account and we have checks that say New Leaf Counseling on them!
·        I’ve now published 15 blogs which have been viewed by over 850 people worldwide.
·        I set up and post regularly on the NLC Facebook pagewhich has received positive reviews and activity from over 260 fans, to date.
·        I have a Twitter account (which I’m still trying to figure out) which helped me to announce various events, like my first Women’s Relationship Group (which has been successful and will be wrapping up at the end of this month), to network with other therapists and like-minded individuals, and to share insightful things I stumble across throughout the week.

 

BUT…
 …with success comes sacrifice (and sometimes drama), and there have been several roadblocks along the way – most of which have been out of my control — that have made me angry, frustrated, and confused.  And though they left my head and stomach in knots, I did learn a few things that I will be keeping in mind as this and other major endeavors unfold.  I wanted to share the top 5 realities I’ve learned so far, in regards to “Getting Started with Anything:”
#1        Sh*t happens
The account manager, who had expertise in setting up therapy practices, got sick after some oral surgery and ended up in the hospital with life-threatening side effects that required FIVE surgeries. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she (for whatever reason) never notified the company owner, but instead told her supervisor, whom she’d put in charge of my ongoing project.  And then he didn’t even say anything about it so, as far as the owner knew, the original project manager had jumped ship with company property (laptop, Blackberry phone, files, etc).  This was just cray-cray.  Who does that??
#2        Be ready to be a squeaky wheel
When this supervisor didn’t follow through on several promises made to me regarding timelines and completion dates, he decided to quit the company without notifying me.  This was where I had to become a lion and ROAR!!  Contrary to my true Pisces nature, I wrote a scathing email to the owner of the company and threatened to report them to the Better Business Bureau, review my contract with the company and consult my attorney.  Well…the squeaky wheel got its grease.  He tried to make amends and pick up the pieces by assigning yet another project manager, but I still have to keep on my armor because I’m still not convinced she knows what she’s doing.  Here’s the thing, though…..when you care enough about something you’re working on and you feel taken advantage of by someone you’ve entrusted, you need to go beyond your comfort zone and be willing to be a shrew.  It’s a matter of respect and integrity.
#3        Legalities and logistics are unavoidable
There were a lot of legalities and disclosures that had to be included on the website so that I could safely, legally and ethically provide online therapy from the state of Ohio to people outside of the state.  I hated to have to do this because I was afraid it would deter a lot of clients, but it was necessary.  This part had to be researched and then condensed into 5 forms on the website that clients now have to submit before I can provide services.  It took a lot of attention to detail but, c’est la guerre.
#4        Be able to delay gratification and accept what’s feasible
So get this — in my excitement and anticipation of launching my own practice, I went office space shopping!  I visited four or five reputable office parks and learned a lot about services that are out there these days for self-employed or off-site professionals.  I came home and babbled for an hour to Tim about all the possibilities and how warm and welcoming I could make the office look (I mean, I was seriously envisioning a Keurig coffee maker in the waiting area).  But then he sat me down, looked at me seriously, and said the five words I hate to hear: “I know you’re excited, but….”  The realities were these: the website wasn’t finished; I wasn’t generating any additional income yet; the online therapy would be taking place in my home office anyway; and I really couldn’t squeeze any more hours, outside of my home, for the office clientele that I was anticipating.  Grrrr….so *pop* went that balloon.  I redecorated my current office instead. 😉  
#5        Come prepared to work hard
I know this may sound obvious, but I was completely unprepared for the amount of additional attention I’d be spending on growing this “plant” of a business.  Notwithstanding the actual counseling I’ll be providing, the operations of the practice are brain-cramping:  regularly posting on Facebook and Twitter, writing the monthly blogs, monitoring responses from Facebook ads and the Psychology Today directory, staying current with new topics in mental health and wellness, responding to referrals and potential clients, making sure my project manager is doing what she’s supposed to, and keeping files on everything just to stay organized…it’s crazy!  And all this while working a full-time job and taking care of my kids, marriage, house, and Self!  It’s a wonder so many practices and businesses stay afloat!  Believe me, I have much more respect for those owners now.
The Buddha has said that suffering comes from having attachments to outcomes, and I suppose that’s what happened to me.  I was attached to my lofty ideas, a certain order of events, others’ competencies, and my personal preparedness, among other things.  This has been a huge lesson in letting go and allowing my new leaf to grow the way it’s meant to.  Despite it all, I do remain optimistic and passionate, believing the end will ultimately justify the means.
And this isn’t meant to discourage anyone, of course, because dreams ARE worth chasing!  But it’s similar to telling a new parent about the realities of having a baby – it’s amazing and gratifying, but it’s also a lot of hard work, sacrifice, and stretching of your limits.  Just be prepared for the roadblocks and don’t get attached to too many expectations, and you WILL eventually enjoy the fruits of your passion.

2 Comments to The Roadblocks to Your Passion

  1. amy's Gravatar amy
    May 10, 2012 at 2:08 am | Permalink

    I just finished reading your blog and read this immediately after: "Our passions and emotions affect our minds, which affect our life path. When we open our minds it affects the healing of our body and shifts us to our destined path".~♥~debs

  2. May 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Love it! Thanks for sharing that Amy and for taking the time to read. 🙂

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