The end of August is the time of year when we start to feel a quickening in the energy around us. Vacationers are returning from their cottages and beaches, parents and children are gearing up for back to school, and the lazy days of summer start to draw to a close.
For those of us in private practice, it can mean an increased feeling of pressure to shift out of neutral and put ourselves back in high gear. You may find that your client numbers dropped off a bit over the summer, and in the interest of spending time with family and making the most out of glorious sun-shiny days, you relished in seeing fewer clients and put any creative projects on the back burner.
Once the crisp August air starts to hit, however, those slow days and projects set aside can feel like a ticking clock… just waiting to let you know your downtime is up!
This shift of gears, along with the seasons, can feel both exciting and stressful. A part of us never wants the summer to end and relishes in how relaxing it has been.
Another part of us feels a creative spark ready to be lit, perhaps combined with a bit of fear—the fear that almost always accompanies entrepreneurs. It can feel like a risky business being self-employed.
As the months and years pass by, and we shift focus in our practice and create new offerings, there’s always that nagging little voice that reminds us of potential impending failure. There’s the possibility we won’t make it, clients will stop coming, or our new group, course, or workshop will be a flop.
So how do you gear up for a successful shift from summer to fall (and silence those nagging thoughts)?
I’ll share with you the three things I do every season to make sure that me, my family, and my business are all on track for success.
Take Time to Reflect
This past summer has been one of relaxation, personal growth, and reconnection with myself and my family. I’ve intentionally taken quite a bit of time off and engaged in a lot of self-reflection.
For me, summer tends to be a time when I really come back to my priorities. When I have more fun, engage more in the hobbies and activities I enjoy, plan out the upcoming fall and winter with my partner, and think about the trips and vacations we want to take this year.
I often feel rejuvenated by the end of the summer with a renewed sense of commitment to my own self-care and balance. Rather than let this opportunity slide, I use this time to make some changes for the fall season.
I consider what I truly need and enjoy, and how I can bring more of that into my daily life. I make any necessary tweaks to my client schedule, and my partner and I plan our trips and commit to the things we want to continue to enjoy on a weekly and daily basis. We put all of these things on our calendar and build them into our routine so we don’t forget!
Sharpen Your Focus
If you’ve been in private practice for a while, chances are you’ve experienced being pulled in a number of different directions. Research and anecdotal experience show time and time again that when we are focused on ONE THING that really lights us up, we are far more successful.
If you haven’t already gotten clear on the one thing you are really good at, that thing you love offering or that specific need your community has, now is a great time to sharpen your focus.
What aspect of your practice do you love the most? Who are your favorite clients? What is the greatest need you are seeing in the clients that come through your door? What offering or service just lights you up when you get to do it?
I invite you to take some time to contemplate these questions and really hone in on the one thing you want to create, launch, grow, and excel at this season.
Perhaps that means clarifying your niche or attracting a particular client type to ensure your practice is always bustling. It might mean creating a new income stream or launching a new course, group, or workshop.
Fall is the perfect time to get curious about what inspires you, and let your creativity loose! Focusing on one thing you want to do really well will serve you better than trying to do everything a little bit.
Set a Great Big Goal
I just love goal setting. Nothing gets me more fired up in terms of business than setting great, big, exciting, daunting, crazy, completely-out-there, lofty, impossible goals for myself!
Of course, I actually intend on making sure they’re realistic before I seriously start pursuing them, but I always like to start with my ‘dreamers hat’ on and let my imagination run wild.
If you could set one wild and crazy goal for yourself between now and the end of December, what would it be? Even if it feels impossible, just say it! Setting great big goals that feel completely insane is a great way to get our imagination churning.
Let’s say you set a goal to get five new clients this fall, and then I asked you to brainstorm ways to meet that goal. What kinds of answers would you come up with?
Now let’s say I asked you to change that goal to 50 new clients this fall. What happens?
I have a feeling that your response to a goal of getting 50 new clients would be very different than your response to the goal of getting five new clients.
Why is that?
Because five new clients feels doable, so when you go to take action, you’re likely just going to do the same old things you’ve always done. Which is fine, but how is that working for you?
Getting 50 new clients is a whole new ballgame. If you were to actually take action on that, it would require stepping way outside of your comfort zone and brainstorming brand new ways to put yourself out there.
It would require educating yourself more, doing some research, speaking with people who are familiar with how to achieve this goal, and putting a lot more time and energy into it than you otherwise would.
Whatever you plan to focus on this fall, go ahead and make a great, big, crazy, scary goal out of it! And once you’ve got it, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what it is … I’d love to hear from you!