Do you consider yourself an entrepreneurial practitioner?
It can be challenging to think of yourself as an entrepreneur. You may be thinking, “In this environment? With everything going on?” If this is what you’re thinking, you’re not alone.
But in actuality, it’s the practitioner with the entrepreneurial mindset that’s uniquely suited to sustain challenges and unexpected life events. Harvard Business School defines entrepreneurship as “the pursuit of opportunity beyond resources controlled.” You may feel like you have very little control in times of uncertainty. I know I do. And with everything going on, I’ve felt more grateful for each client interaction than I’ve felt in years.
So how do we continue to pursue new opportunities? How do you continue to grow as a practitioner with an entrepreneurial mindset?
Start with Safety and Trust
Everything you do starts with the safety and trust of your clients. Your clients want to know that they’re safe in your care and can trust you to provide the help they need.
Safety begins with education. You enrolled in a higher education program to become the service provider you are today. In your first graduate-level class, you likely heard of “do no harm.” Creating a safe environment for your clients is one of the most essential objectives you learn during your graduate training years. And that’s why safety sets the precedence for everything else.
Trust begins with credibility. If graduate training prepares you to do no harm, it’s the credentialing process that prepares you to be a benefit. Your clients hire you because they trust that you’ll be a key resource in their journey. Just think of the credibility your credentials give you. Those letters next to your name builds client trust because they represent your years of education and training.
You’re a practitioner first. And with that established foundation of safety and trust, you have the freedom to let your entrepreneurial spirit be the driving force to build your practice, innovate your systems, and add more value to your clients.
Learning, and relearning, new ideas is the lifeblood of entrepreneurship. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions.
Remain a Beginner
There’s a lot of information and resources out there. And that can make it feel like you’re supposed to know everything about owning and operating a practice. This pressure can easily bog you down and hinder your entrepreneurial spirit.
Just because we’re licensed professionals doesn’t mean we know everything. No one does. But the key difference is that practitioners who adopt an entrepreneurial mindset give themselves permission to remain a beginner. It’s okay to learn new things.
Consider this. Have you ever had a coworker or classmate who didn’t seem pressured to learn, but simply wanted to soak up everything they could? People with this approach are a breath of fresh air because they don’t pressure themselves to produce. They simply want to learn. By adopting a mindset of unbridled curiosity, you can begin to harness a beginner’s mentality.
It’s not just about learning new things. Allow yourself to repeatedly learn old things. As the Latin proverb says, “Repetition is the mother of all learning.” Even if you have obtained mastery over certain concepts or practices in the past, you are a different person now. Context changes and—when it does—it may allow you to learn with a new perspective.
Learning, and relearning, new ideas is the lifeblood of entrepreneurship. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. Be persistent in your pursuit of new opportunities that make you and the people you serve stronger.
Seek the Win-Win-Win
Make decisions for your practice with these four things in mind: client, clinician, community, and colleagues. The first win you should pursue is for your client. If your clients don’t receive effective services, all other functions of your practice become trivial at best. Begin assessing client outcomes and collecting client testimonials. Pay attention to the usefulness of your work because when your client wins, everyone wins.
Next, pursue wins for yourself as a clinician. The daily grind of operating a practice has burned out many excellent practitioners. Taking good care of yourself is a must. This might mean it’s time for you to bring on a virtual assistant, take more time off, raise your rates, simplify your plans, or further automate your systems. Do what it takes to maintain a clear headspace.
Finally, pursue wins for your community and your professional colleagues. Ask yourself, “What value does my practice bring to the residents and other businesses in the neighborhood?” or “In what ways am I adding value to my fellow practitioners?” As an entrepreneurial-minded practitioner, you seek the win-win-win in most every situation. You find success by helping others find success.