What Sort of Practice Do You Want To Create?
What Is Your Intention For Your Practice?
I wrote recently about taking ourselves seriously as business owners when we have a self-employed therapy practice. In that article, I wrote about investing our time, money and energy in our practice, if we are taking ourselves seriously. The question then arises, “Well, how much time, money and energy do I need to invest?”
It’s a question that has no right answer, and maybe there’s a better question.
I find myself thinking about sports. There are many levels at which we can engage in sports. I’m not a great sporty fan, so I don’t invest much of myself in it, either at a participant or watcher level. But most of my family are keen, and their interest level reflects their engagement. So, some are interested in watching but not participating. They watch the tennis or the rugby on TV, they attend important matches, they talk about the important news stories of their chosen sport, the goals, the misses, the changes of manager, the “What ifs,” of the relative league positioning and so on.
Others like to participate. They turn out for practice and for matches, they have the right gear, they forgo other activities so that they can train and play. They socialise with other players, and their conversation is littered with talk about the coach, their team members, the opposing teams and their chances of making it to the quarter finals. The more seriously they take their sport, the greater their time, money and energy investment. Others like to both participate and watch, and they have some of all the above.
At a personal level, I don’t know anyone who plays very high level sports, at European or World Level, but I hear that the investment is huge. An Olympic level swimmer will have been preparing since early childhood, getting up at dawn to train, focusing most of their energy on their goal. Their whole life will revolve around their sport, their diet, their sleep, their social life. Everything. They will leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of their goal. They are clear about their goal, and they are committed to doing what it takes to get there. That includes finding a way to get past the challenges and obstacles that arise for them, whether they be physical ones, practical ones or emotional ones. We may not necessarily be looking for an Olympic level of therapy practice, but the process is the same. We make an intention, and we put our heart and mind to work to get us there.
And then there’s the issue of expectations. Someone who invests themselves heavily in anything can rightly expect a lot back, whether in the satisfaction of achieving mastery, or in the more tangible reward of fame and fortune. Anyone can see that I can’t win Wimbledon if I’m only playing tennis twice a year, or that the local football team, who are more interested in the get-together in the pub later, are unlikely to be top of the Premier Division. And that’s okay. Playing tennis twice a year is still fun, there’s no great risk of being injured, and it leaves lots of space for involvement in other things, like family.
I recently met someone at a conference who was very passionate about their subject, and hoping to recruit supporters for their cause. It was a subject I had some experience in from a former role, and it is of interest to me. I was asked for and gave my contact details. Over the next couple of days, I regretted my rash offer of support. I struggle to find the time for my own interests, but get caught by the part of me that wants to be liked and appreciated, the part that feels if I have something to contribute, then I should do so. But I held to my own clear intention for my business, and after much heart searching, I decided that if the person made contact, I would offer limited support. The person never made contact with me. Nonetheless, I had spent many hours agonising about how to say “No,” to them. A good example of where having a clear intention helped me to stay focused on what’s important to me, rather than becoming a part of someone else’s intention.
So, in response to the question, “How much time, money and energy do I need to invest?” my response is that there is a better question, “What is it you want from your practice, and how much are you willing to invest to get it?”
It all depends on your intention.