Practice-building for Psychotherapists

Maintaining Your Motivation for Marketing

It’s rare for me to get stumped by a question when I’m presenting. After spending more than 20 years speaking, presenting, coaching, and training, I’ve developed the much-needed ability to think on my feet. But last week, I got thrown for a loop during a presentation I was giving for the American Mental Health Counselors Association.

After much consideration, I’ve decided to give myself a “do-over”, and answer this question the way I WISH I had answered it last week. (You’re never too old for a do-over, right?)

This is the question that threw me at the very end of the presentation:

“What would you say to someone who has lost their motivation for private practice?”

My answer last week went something like this:

“If someone has lost their motivation, they need to seriously consider if private practice is really where they want to be, because the motivation for private practice comes from within.”

However, even as I was answering, I knew that wasn’t really true. I mean, we all lose motivation from time to time, right? I am passionately committed to my mission of helping therapists build 6-figure private practices, and I still have days when I just want to get a coffee and window shop. That’s part of human nature.

The desire to succeed MUST come from within you, but that desire can wane at times. Tweet: The desire to succeed MUST come from within you, but that desire can wan at times.

Perhaps it’s external demands on your time, or stressors in your personal life. Maybe it’s a particularly demanding client on your case load. Your private practice is an extension of who you are as a person, which means it’s subject to the same ups and downs that you are.

After pondering this for a week, I’m finally ready to really answer the question from last week. And my do-over answer goes something like this:

“We all have days when we feel overwhelmed and discouraged. When that happens, it’s easy to lose your motivation for your practice. This doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. During these difficult times, it’s important to stay connected to your “why”, your reason for being in practice in the first place. As you re-connect with the deeper meaning in your work, you’ll re-ignite your passion and motivation for what you do.”

In case your motivation is lacking for your practice-building efforts at the moment, here are a few more tips I recommend for psychotherapists:

  • Just because something is taking longer than you thought, it doesn’t mean you aren’t getting anywhere. When you are building a private practice, it can feel like nothing is really working. This is NOT the time to give up on yourself. It could be that the seeds are just germinating. As long as you are following a sound practice-building strategy, commit to stick with it until you start to see the results you wanted.
  • Focus on your baby steps, NOT the results. Commit that every day you’ll take a single baby step toward your goal, no matter how insignificant that action might seem. As long as you are heading in the right direction, every action gets you closer.The value of this strategy is that you maintain your momentum, even if you’re not doing much. Then, when your energy and motivation kick back in to market your private practice, you’ll be much further along.
  • Accept that you’ll NEVER be motivated to do certain tasks. My kids are generally pretty helpful around the house and willing to chip in with chores. Until that is, it’s time to fold laundry. For some reason, laundry is the bane of their existence. They’ll make any type of bargain that will get them out of folding duty. After 4 years of this, I’ve really given up hope that they’ll ever be enthusiastic about it. But the laundry still needs to be folded every week. That’s just a part of life.Chances are, there are aspects of your private practice that you’ll always be less than enthusiastic about. Maybe its writing your blog, attending a networking event, or looking for speaking engagements. Whatever it is for you, there’s a possibility you’ll NEVER learn to love it. But, just like laundry, it still needs to be done every week. That’s just part of marketing a private practice.

The most successful private practice therapists became so successful because they are willing to take action whether they are motivated to do so or not.

However, your motivation for private practice should always return, bringing with it a healthy burst of energy to make serious progress toward your goals. If you’ve truly lost your motivation, it is time to take a hard look at what’s behind that. Maybe you’re frustrated because you don’t have the marketing and practice-building skills you need. Maybe you’ve got some limiting beliefs that are standing in your way. Maybe your practice isn’t aligned with your greater vision. These could all cause you to lose your motivation for what you’re doing.

How about you… How do you handle it when you lose your motivation for practice-building and marketing?