Attack of the Middle Class Mindset

In my ‘Mastering Money Mindset for Psychotherapists’ program, I talk about the dangers of the “Middle Class Mindset”, and how this can stand in the way of true prosperity. Since many of us were raised in middle class homes, it requires choice and commitment to break free of this and have the income we truly desire.

One of the especially costly aspects of the middle-class mindset is the “do-it-yourself” mark of pride. Wanting to do it yourself allows you to save a little money, grab some bragging rights, and feel good about doing hard work. (All middle-class values.)

Even after years of trying to free myself of these beliefs, they continue to catch me unaware from time to time, like earlier today…

The door from our kitchen to our garage hasn’t been latching properly the last few days, and it’s been driving me nuts. I decided this morning to call our handyman to come and replace the door knob and deadbolt. As I was texting him, a little voice in my head said, “That’s crazy. The handyman is going to charge you a few hundred dollars, and for what? It’s a few screws to take out the old hardware, and a few screws to put the new one in. How is that possibly worth calling him?”

The moment I heard that, I said, “Right on! Let’s get to work.” Since I had decided that this had to be fixed immediately, I stopped what I was doing and drove to Home Depot. I spent a little while wandering aimlessly around Aisle 15, feeling way out of my league surrounded by hundreds of different door hardware. Finally found what I needed, paid, and drove home. Took me just over an hour-and-a-half, including my stop at Chipotle.

Then the fun began! I spent about an hour with my kids replacing the doorknobs. (An hour in the 90-degree heat since I had to work at the open door.) After much frustration, a few muttered words, and banishing my kids, I finally got it. The sense of accomplishment was amazing. Yes, it had taken me 2 1/2 hours, but I DID IT!

I invited my son to be the first one to try out the fruits of our labor, which he did. “But, Mom, it STILL doesn’t close. Are you sure you fixed it right?” Well, there might be a tiny, little miniscule possibility that in fact, I didn’t fix it right. Sure enough, the door wouldn’t close. I tried tightening screws, loosening screws, jimmying the little thingie that screws into the wall. Nothing.

Exactly where we started 2 1/2 hours and $60 ago.

That’s when it hit me. I was sitting in complete frustration at my kitchen table, and boom, I got it.

My middle-class mindset had snuck up on me and convinced me that this was the right thing to do. This happens to all of us when we are trying to move to the next stage of our development. Our subconscious, whose job it is to keep us safe and secure, goes into full-on freak-out mode when we try to move past our generational programming. But we don’t realize it in the moment.

In the moment, it seems perfectly reasonable, “Yeah, I’ll just run to Home Depot and replace it myself.” It’s only afterward that we realize the incredible cost this brings. For me, this was 2 1/2 hours of my day lost. And frankly, I got off easy on this one.

I’m sharing this story with you because this is something we all struggle with. Moving past our old programming can be a difficult thing to do. Many of you don’t realize how much you are truly costing yourselves by trying to do it all yourself.

There are many aspects of your private practice that require your personal attention. Many areas in which you ARE the expert. Become ruthless about spending your personal attention ONLY in these areas; this is where you have the greatest leverage to build your business. Everything else is a waste of your time, hidden under the guise of “saving money.”

Trying to save money by figuring it out on your own is one of the most expensive and riskiest paths to a profitable private practice. It’s full of late nights, mistakes, frustration, and even tears (I know this from personal experience).

One of the best things you can do for your practice and yourself is to release this limiting belief. Adopt the more successful belief that you will do what you are best at and find experts to help you in other areas. Here are a few of the areas where I see therapists struggling when they should hire an expert:

  • Marketing and Practice-Building
  • Billing/Electronic Medical Records
  • Accounting/Bookkeeping
  • Legal Advice
  • Website Design
  • Social Media
  • Administrative Tasks

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, I suggest you write out every single task you do for the next three days. At the end of the three days, go through the list and ask yourself if YOU are really the best-qualifed person to be doing that task. If the answer is “no”, find someone who IS an expert. Will it cost you money? Yes, but in the long run, you’ll save so much more than you can imagine.

Now, I’m off to do something I should’ve done first thing this morning… call the handyman.

If you’d like concrete tools to help you move beyond your limiting beliefs so that you can earn more than you’ve ever earned before, our Mastering Money Mindset for Psychotherapists program can help. Learn more about the program here: