Back in 2009, I was burned out, broke, and lost my love for my work. After only two years of doing something I thought I would do forever.
Like so many, I fell into a practice situation that is way too common for a lot of doctors out there. High volume, long hours, tons of stress, and a crappy paycheck.
And if that wasn’t enough, I had no life, because I was always in that practice.
It was at that breaking point that I realized something huge. We’re all told this BIG FAT LIE that you’ve gotta work your tail off for the first three years in practice, so you can eventually make money and then finally have a life.
And I learned all of this…through first trying to fit my vision into what convention is telling us to do in our industry. Spending hours doing marketing screenings, low-balling my prices, trying to schedule anyone and everyone, only to deal with patient turnover…and still left without a paycheck. This vicious cycle led to major (I’m talking MAJOR) burnout, frustration, losing my passion to take care of others, and wanting to give it all up – I was ready to QUIT!
But that’s also when I woke up and reached a tipping point, and I realized that if I didn’t fit in the convention mold, then I had to do the complete opposite of what everyone was telling me I should do.
It’s no wonder that some many docs are burning out, because there’s actually a very predictable cycle of stress in owning a practice, and it’s what convention is tell you to do!
It goes something like this…
The typical practice revolves around the idea of EFFORT. The more effort the better… starting up a practice is hard, takes forever, and can be a struggle – but that once the cash finally starts coming in, success, satisfaction and happiness will follow.
We’re told we have to set aside that free time we would spend with our loved ones, hobbies, doing things we enjoy, off to the side, to make our practices happen, so we can get to our life down the road.
This puts your life LAST. Because here’s what happens, most docs spend a ton of money in start-up before even seeing their first patient, only to spend years digging out of the hole of debt.
So then you feel huge pressure to get your practice off of the ground. You’ve just spent a ton of money, and now have to spend a lot of TIME in your practice….and believing that “if I work hard enough,” eventually the money will come. And if I make enough money, that’s when I’m going to have success…
But where’s your life in this picture?
Did you know that what convention is telling you is completely backwards and actually designed for you to fail?!? You’ve actually gotta put your life and your happiness first to be successful. Not chase after success hoping it’ll make you happy.
The same is true in practice.
And one of the biggest keys to being happy is all comes down to living the life you want, and if you’re doing that, you’ll be more successful and have a better practice because of it. It’s not about spending your life in your practice…hoping the rewards will come. It’s about building a practice around YOUR LIFE!
See the irony? Most practice owners are burned out because they see lifestyle as a result, rather than an influence, on the type of practice they’re building.
And it’s a big fat lie because you end up putting the very lifestyle that you want and deserve now on hold for months, years…decades???
So let me tell you WHY this is important for you, because I want to open your eyes on what’s really possible if you leave all that convention behind…
Here’s the truth, at least from my experience, is that the way to build a practice is the exact opposite of what everyone is telling you do to. By actually designing my lifestyle FIRST and fitting my practice into it, is what made it easy, yes actually easy, to build a practice that not only grew quickly (without long days or working weekends), but became really successful – fast.
You can actually have your ideal lifestyle be the engine behind creating the practice you want, not the end result.
So what you first want to do is…
Think about the type of life you want to create first. Rather than getting caught up in what defines success, think about your VISION. What type of life do I want? Why do I even have a practice or want to start one? What fuels me? How will having a practice give me freedom? What will a successful practice allow me to do that I couldn’t before? How will I spend my free time?
When you know the answers to these questions…rather than your practice driving your life, your vision drives it.
That’s the difference. Because if you can focus on your vision, here’s what happens:
1. It’s easier to create goals for yourself.
You won’t get lost in the busywork of building a practice. You’ll be able to ask yourself at every point, “Is the way I’m building my practice lining up with my life?” If it’s not, there’s your gut check to change direction. If it is, then stay the course.
And all the practice goals that you create for patient numbers, income – you name it – won’t just be stats you feel like you need to it. They’ll be numbers that tap into something much, much bigger…what am I doing it all for?
If you have your vision in place, you can already start to live the life you want and build off of it.
2. You’ll have control over your life.
If you know your goals and why you want to hit those goals, you have total control over what you’re doing and how you’re building EVERYTHING in your life, including your practice.
In the practice-driven life, we’re attached to things outside of us. What we’ve invested in the practice. How much time we’re spending in it…the pressure, the stress, the endless to-dos to get our practice going. Your practice dictates your life.
But in the lifestyle-driven practice, the control comes from you.
If you know your goals, you have control. If you have control, that means you have the very thing that every practice owner wants. The ability to be your own boss. The ability to CHOOSE how you live and how you work.
And if you have control, then you know how much you’re going to spend, how much time you’re going to put into your practice, you know how much effort it’s going to take to MATCH the vision for your life.
3. You’ll be successful faster, with less effort.
You read that right. You’ll be happier in your practice because you are putting yourself first. And if you’re happier, you’ll be more successful. Happiness drives your success, not the other way around.
That is how you build a lifestyle practice. If you have the freedom to know what you’re creating and why you’re creating it, you’re already going to have and the ability to build off of, the very lifestyle you want.
So when you’re building a lifestyle practice, you’re building FREEDOM to enjoy your practice and have a life outside of it.
Recently named as one of the “Top 10 Wellness Leaders to Watch” on Longevity Media, Dr. Jen is the founder of the Lifestyle Practice and mentors health and wellness professionals on how to build a practice that gives them freedom and the lifestyle they want. She transformed from being a burned-out associate to building a successful six-figure practice working just 3 days a week.
Now she’s on a mission to show others how to build a practice they love.
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