In her recent post on Lifehack.org clinical social worker Amy Morin listed 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do. She states: "Mentally strong people have healthy habits. They manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in ways that set them up for success in life."
Here are a few from her list that pertain not only to life in general, but also to running a successful mental health practice:
They don't shy away from change: "Mentally strong people welcome positive changes and are willing to be flexible."
I would add that mentally strong people also adapt to negative change. There's been a lot of hand-wringing among mental health professionals about the new health care law and the future of insurance reimbursements. Mentally strong clinicians tackle this head on and figure out ways to adapt.
They don't fear taking calculated risks: "Mentally strong people spend time weighing the risks and benefits before making a big decision, and they're fully informed of the potential downsides before they take action."
If you're not satisfied with your current circumstances, you can change course. But be prepared to invest time and/or money in making the changes stick. It also helps to have a backup plan.
They don't resent other people's success: "They don’t grow jealous or feel cheated when others surpass them. Instead, they recognize that success comes with hard work, and they are willing to work hard for their own chance at success."
Forget about the plumber or mechanic whose hourly fee is more than yours. Don't dwell on your competitors - they are not the reason for your dissatisfaction. You'll have a better chance of success if you focus your energy on what you need to do in order to create and maintain your ideal practice.
They don't worry about pleasing everyone: "They’re not afraid to say no or speak up when necessary. They strive to be kind and fair, but can handle other people being upset if they didn’t make them happy."
We in the helping professions need to set limits on how much to extend ourselves to others, or else we'll burn out quickly and won't be in good shape to help anyone. Thus, it's important to have policies about after-hours access, fee policies and collection, extraordinary accommodations, etc.
They don't expect immediate results: "Instead, they apply their skills and time to the best of their ability and understand that real change takes time."
Results do take time, but it's not a set-it-and-forget-it waiting game. Since unexpected events are bound to happen, you need to consistently monitor your progress and tweak your strategy and tactics when necessary. This is where a business plan can help you. A business plan aggregates into one document all the "moving parts" (income and referral sources, expenses, opportunities, contacts, etc.) providing a quick overview of where you are headed and how you will get there. It's like a blueprint for your success.
For more on business plans, see our Private Practice 101: Home Study Course (where you will learn, step by step, how to do set up your business plan) or our Practice Analysis service (we analyze your practice data and make specific recommendations.)