If You Don’t Mind it DOES Matter

Texas Supervisor Training Speaker Consultant Supervisor

What I have learned as a mental health practice consultant is every counselor has a compelling story. For a mental health professional, her story is her strength and her compass. The problem? Amazing stories start us, but too many of us lack the good habits that will sustain us and our practice. As a speaker, trainer, and advocate I try to help my audience focus on details, attitude, and positive routines. The goal? Your practice, and you, continue to grow and thrive. After all, we need you!

Success is in the details.

Good habits and a positive attitude are important because without them you will lack the motivation to take care of the details. As a counselor, you have a lot to do after you graduate and there is no syllabus to guide and push you along. If you don’t take care of the details, the consequences can be dire:

  • Private practice owners must complete the paperwork for the correct legal structure or risk having a practice that is poorly protected against client lawsuits.
  • New graduates must interview supervisors or risk having dissatisfying or even dangerous supervision experiences.
  • Those making the leap from school counselor to LPC must take time to choose the right school to pick up licensing hours or risk delays during the application process.

Attitude is everything.

When I graduated with my master’s degree in counseling in 2000, I went right back to my teaching job. Why? I was scared to make the leap and start my counseling career. Private practice was my ‘someday’ idea. Basically I was an introvert who knew nothing about business. I had great study habits, zero business habits, and I had bills to pay.

Somehow, I learned about a cheesy-sounding book called “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie. As a broke teacher/post grad it didn’t hurt that the book was in the public domain and I could download it for free. I set up an office in an upstairs bedroom, got the book, and did what I do best, started studying.

Create Positive Routines.

HTWFAIP was written around the time of the second World War joining other self-help books like Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich.” These books, with their very straightforward messages (shake hands firmly but not too tightly), and no-nonsense titles were designed with a purpose. American farms had been decimated by the dust bowl and men were having to find jobs in the city. World War two was coming to an end and men were coming home to compete for jobs and start families in the suburbs. These men had to learn how to survive in the post-agrarian economy and prosper. The premise was simple: change your mind, create positive routines, and successfully make enough money to support your family. I liked that.

Turns out, Dale Carnegie was a counselor. He taught me how to have confidence and define success. I began to smile and make eye contact when I talked to people at networking events. I learned that if I could remember people’s names they were more likely to refer business to me. Thanks that that book, I learned the habits and attitudes that keep my business running successfully today.

Remember, your story and your passion only get you so far. Setting an intention, creating good habits, and having a good attitude lead to adjustments in time and resources (otherwise known as prioritizing). If you can prioritize then you can protect your license, provide excellent service to your clients, and have a great counseling career.

 

To Succeed You’ve Gotta Get Gritty

Good morning Achievers!

You know grit is quite a hot topic these days (check out Angela Duckworth’s research here). Grit means you go through a hellacious experience and you do more than just survive, you thrive. Or perhaps you are the Energizer bunny and no matter what happens, you just keep going and going and going. My own gritty experience (I think the actual word I used to describe it at the time only rhymed with gritty) involved getting a cancer diagnosis, having three little kids, knowing my husband was in a combat zone, and deciding to start a Ph.D. program and a new counseling practice. So what are the five traits of Grit? They are courage, achievement, follow-through, resilience, and excellence (rather than perfection).

Courage, or your ability to manage fear of failure, can only be cultivated through hardship. That’s a tough sell to entrepreneurs. We want to succeed because we have a mortgage to pay, student loans to pay back, or food to buy. Achievement might seem like an easier virtue to swallow, but it’s important to note that this is NOT meticulous conscientious completion. It is a ‘do your best-finish it up-get on to the next task whether it looks pretty or not’ virtue. Follow-through is akin to Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘10,000 hours to mastery’ theory. It tells us that practice with purpose is the driver behind accomplishing long term goals. Resilience can be described as the belief that “everything will be alright in the end, and if it’s not alright, it’s not the end.” Excellence-not perfection is a gritty trait because it is an attitude. Perfection, on the other hand, relies on the opinions of others and is impossible to reach.

To see Angela Duckworth’s TED talk about grit click here.

Have a Gritty Day! – Kate

New Leader Great Leader

Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward. – Victor Kiam

I’m writing from Austin at the Summer Leadership Training Institute for the Texas Counseling Association. The atmosphere is amazing and the rooms are full of new and seasoned leaders in the counseling field. Being here reminds me that getting your feet wet in leadership can feel a lot like trying yoga for the first time. We all know exercise is important to a healthy body but when we think about putting on yoga pants in order to contort in a crowded hot room, it’s tempting to just forget it and wear them to the grocery store instead.

As painful as the thought may be, leadership is an important part of personal growth, career development, family guidance, and civic duty. I asked a young woman at my table from San Angelo what it was like for her to be a newly elected leader. She replied that she was excited to get started and happy that her fear of making mistakes didn’t hold her back. After I complimented her on her decision to ‘lean in’ and embrace her new role, I decided to observe other leaders in the room to discover other characteristics that make a great leader.

  1. Don’t let your fear of making mistakes hold you back. Mistakes are part of the learning process. As my friend at the table noted, once you make them, you realize they weren’t as bad as you thought.
  2. Great leaders change how people feel by being useful, entertaining, and inspiring. Each person I met at this conference changed me in some way. The combination of passion and knowledge was contagious.
  3. Your organization helps its clients/employees/members be better versions of themselves every day, so leaders should do that also. A good leader builds trust and connects members.
  4. A good leader is an extension of the organization. He/she helps people understand more about who we are and what our organization stands for.

Do something that scares you today – go lead!