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To be a conscious creator is to apply your skills, knowledge, creativity, and passion deliberately, with awareness, in the service of your goals.
Sounds simple, right? The truth is, most of us aren’t living and working this way. We may tell ourselves we’re setting our own course, but we’re not really plotting our paths and taking action with intention. Instead, we’re reacting to circumstances that feel beyond the scope of our control. We’re surviving. We’re living what Thoreau called “lives of quiet desperation.”
I know, because I lived this way for many years as an overwhelmed practice owner.
People would ask me, “How’s it going at work?” I’d answer, “It’s going great!”
It wasn’t going great. The honest answer to that question would have been: “It’s terrible. I’m working 70 hours I week, I never see my family, and I’m not making any money.” But who says that? I could barely admit it to myself. I wasn’t consciously creating my business. I was reacting, moment-to-moment and often poorly, just to hold things together. It was exhausting and demanding, for a long time, before I said, “no more.”
In my Lighthouse Leader program, I work with practice owners to organize and grow their businesses. Together, we
- Develop with intention the vision for your practice
- Reverse engineer that vision, to make it an achievable, sustainable reality through strategic action
The second step—reverse engineering—is where all manner of strategies, methods, and metrics that contribute to a thriving, profitable practice come into play, from managing finances, to implementing a digital marketing strategy, to boosting referrals. But you can’t get successfully to the implementation step without first changing the way you think about your business, and your work to nurture it.
Why is this so hard? I’ve spent years coaching practice owners through the process of changing the ways they think about and operate their business, and I see a few reasons play out again and again:
Ego. We physicians are accustomed to achievement. We’re the straight-A types. We tend to feel as though we should know everything—our ego tells us we must already have all the answers, because that’s who we are. Is it hard for you to slow down, take stock, and admit you don’t know everything about running a business? That your practice isn’t functioning the way you want it to? It was hard for me.
Fear. For a lot of us who’ve succeeded throughout school and in our professional lives, fear of failure haunts us like a ghoul. If you’ve never failed at anything, the prospect of failure, and what others will think of you, can be chilling. There are a lot of committed clinicians out there who are running small, solid businesses, but who are afraid to grow.
Overwhelm. So many practice owners are so over-stretched and overloaded, treating patients and operating a business, the idea of making any short of shift, or change, feels too much to even consider. Change—even the welcome, growth-producing kind—is uncomfortable. Many practice owners I encounter are uncomfortable all the time, and they just don’t want to feel any worse than they already do.
Ego, fear, and create a fixed mindset that keeps many practice owners from looking forward, embracing the prospect, and promise, of change. They keep us from identifying and implementing an intentional vision for our businesses.
How to become a conscious creator
With my clients, our work begins with what I call the Power Formula. It says:
Your thoughts plus
Your communication (including how you speak to yourself) plus
Your emotions plus
The single fastest way to make a positive impact on your business is to upgrade your thoughts, and set them into motion with action. Action creates energy, motion, and momentum—and with them, exponential change. Jim Collins describes this wonderfully in his book, Good to Great. He calls it The Flywheel Effect. It takes a lot of energy and effort to get a flywheel moving, to get momentum started—to begin to move the flywheel—but once that flywheel gets going, momentum grows easier and easier to maintain. You achieve greater and greater momentum (progress) with less and less effort.
Thought is the first part of the equation that leads to action and results. The first step on the path to being a conscious creator of your business is to ask yourself: What am I doing right now to change my thoughts?
We all tend to think our thoughts are original, that they spring from our minds as fresh pieces of knowledge and insight. The truth is, for the great majority of us, thoughts are unknowingly shaped by forces outside ourselves: our upbringing, our adult environment, the cacophony of social media that surrounds us. With all that constant external feedback, it’s little wonder that so many of us aren’t able to think clearly and deliberately about our businesses and our lives. We live in a state of perpetual reaction, rather than charting deliberate courses of action.
That can change. With mindfulness and intention, you can begin to make conscious choices for your business, choices that reflect your values, priorities, and aspirations.
Everything you want to change in your business flows from this first step. Get this right—become a conscious creator– and all the specific strategies and tactics you need to your your business become so much easier to implement. Without this step, creating the practice that serves you and your patients well remains a difficult struggle. If you’re ready to take this step, schedule a free Discovery call with me, to talk about where your practice is today, and how to consciously grow it in alignment with your goals.