Episode 42: Build The Plane As You Fly It — Impulse Momentum [featuring Laura Long]
Putting your ideas out to the world can be horrifying. Sometimes we get paralyzed, and impostor syndrome takes over.
Laura Long of “Your Badass Therapy Practice” and I talk about how to work through this fear by creating Impulse Momentum or Imperfect Action.
Building the plane as you fly it (or simply putting the idea out to the world before it’s finished) is really how you start to work through a lot of this fearfulness, insecurity, and self-doubt.
Laura and I both own private practice coaching businesses, are successful speakers, and have built our own individual audiences. We’ve each experienced this type of fear, and almost convinced ourselves not to pursue our goals and visions. Had we not worked through the fear, this podcast episode and everything else we’ve created would have never happened.
Impostor Syndrome and Self-Doubt are normal parts of the entrepreneurial process.
Doubt Yourself — Do It Anyway
More about Laura:
Laura Long, LMFT/S, is a business coach and the lead badass at YourBadAssTherapyPractice.com, where she helps ambitious, driven, Type-A therapists push through their fears and unleash their inner badass.
Laura offers free practice-building tools (and hilariously obscene emails) through her mailing list, and her flagship e-course has successfully graduated over 400 therapists. She also runs small mastermind groups as well as a private online community reserved for her students.
Laura is best known for her off-the-cuff coaching style that includes colorful language, a witty sense of humor, and an uncanny ability to keep it real. Her unique approach to marketing and customer service challenges the status quo and helps therapists to become better business owners. She shows therapists how to grow and scale their practices without losing their minds - because building your private practice should be fun!
A Thanks to Our Sponsor!
I would also like to thank The Receptionist for iPad for sponsoring this episode.
Chances are you've paid special attention to making sure your clients feel welcomed and at ease from the moment they walk into your practice's space. Make sure you don't overlook one very important step, their check-in experience.
The Receptionist for iPad is the highest-rated digital check-in software for therapy offices and behavioral health clinics, used by thousands of practitioners across the country.
The Receptionist for iPad is a simple, inexpensive way to allow your clients to discreetly check in, notify providers of a patient’s arrival, and ensure your front lobby is stress-free.
The software sends an immediate notification to the therapist when a client checks in, and can even ask if any patient information has changed since their last visit.
Sign up for a 14-day free trial of The Receptionist for iPad by going to thereceptionist.com/privatepractice, and when you do, you’ll also receive a $25 Amazon gift card.
PATRICK CASALE: Chances are you've paid special attention to making sure your clients feel welcomed and at ease from the moment they walk into your practice's space. Make sure you don't overlook one very important step, their check-in experience. This episode is sponsored by the Receptionist for iPad. It's the highest-rated digital check-in software for therapy offices and behavioral health clinics used by thousands of practitioners across the country.
With a visitor management system like the Receptionist for iPad, your clients won't be left wondering if you know they've arrived, as the software sends an immediate notification to the therapist when a client checks in and can even ask if any patient information has changed and needs to be updated since their last visit.
The receptionist for iPad is a simple, inexpensive way to follow your clients to discreetly check-in, to notify providers of a patient's arrival, and to ensure your entire front lobby experience is stress-free.
Sign up today for a free 14-day trial of the Receptionist for iPad by going to the receptionist.com/private practice. And when you do, you'll also receive a $25 amazon gift card.
Hey, everyone, you are listening to a new episode of the All Things Private Practice Podcast. I'm your host, Patrick Casale, joined by friend, and colleague, and badass therapy owner, Your Badass Therapy Practice, Laura Long, LMFT in South Carolina. We're going to talk about just do the fucking thing, and working through impulse-momentum.
And, Laura, I'm really happy to have you on. I know our schedules are just busy as hell and it's really just good to connect.
LAURA LONG: Yeah, me too. Thank you so much for having me, Patrick. And this is really cool just to be able to like come full circle, because I feel like we talked maybe it was like a year ago, and you were just getting started or had just started, and so, we just connected. So, this is really great just to like see how far you've come in such a short period of time.
PATRICK CASALE: Thanks. Yeah, and it kind of ties into what we're going to talk about is just like, I think you use the term impulse-momentum and I use the word, like, imperfect action of just, like, putting the idea out there and just doing it and working through that fearfulness, that perfectionism, that imposter syndrome. So, you were just talking about that with your retreat that you and Ernesto just had in Miami. Tell me about, like, how that came about for you?
LAURA LONG: Yeah, that was a really cool thing. And I'm actually going to be talking about it, just to plug his summit in Nashville in May, the Not The Typical Psychotherapist Summit. So, Ernesto is a close friend of mine and has been for quite a while. I always love what he's doing out in the world and the way he impacts therapists.
So, we've always had a friendship and I really respect him as a colleague, and he just posted… Do you know how Ernesto does? Anyone watching this podcast probably knows Ernesto. And he posted on Facebook that he was going to be in Miami at the end of January, and basically, open invitation to whoever wants to join him. And I thought to myself, "Well, shit, I'd love to be in Miami in the dead of winter. That sounds pretty stellar to me." So, I just sent him a text that basically said, "Hey, what do you think about doing something? I don't know, we could put something informal together." And his response was just, "Yeah, let's do it."
So, yeah, within 24 hours we had an Airbnb. I think within another 24 hours he had built a landing page. And I think within four days it sold out. It was just crazy.
PATRICK CASALE: It's incredible. And that wouldn't have happened if you hadn't texted him with that idea, right? And just putting yourself out there, not that you don't know him, and that you don't have a close relationship, but just the idea of like, "Hey, let's do this thing, right? And like, let's see what happens with it."
LAURA LONG: Yeah, and you know, we had never done anything like that before. I just happened to have his cell number in my phone. But I think what's the most amazing thing about that whole story is, it's less about that I texted him. It's also pretty awesome, by the way, just his response back was like, "Yeah, sure, let's do it." But I think the most [CROSSTALK 00:03:46].
PATRICK CASALE: Sounds like a very Ernesto response [CROSSTALK 00:03:48].
LAURA LONG: I know.
PATRICK CASALE: It's like…
LAURA LONG: Yeah, those of you who are into the Enneagram, me and him haven't talked about this, but I see him as like a textbook seven, where he's just like lots of times flying by the seat of his pants, but nine times out of 10 he lands on his feet, which is amazing. But he's just there for the party, there to make sure everyone has a good time and they always do.
So, I think the most amazing thing about the whole story, though, is while we were there, and I was telling you this before we hit record, Ernesto and I never actually took the time, like, we didn't have the time. It all just was a whirlwind. I think we planned it in about three weeks. We didn't have the time to sit down and go through each and every participant, what their goals were, and what their stuff points were, what they were hoping to achieve.
And it was just so crazy that throughout the entire weekend we just kept seeing how aligned the whole… Like, everything was just very synchronous, how he would say something to an individual, and then, they would come to me maybe the next day, and my message to them would be either exactly what Ernesto was saying or just like a perfect segue. And so yeah, that level of just like connection, it was transformational, so we ended up scheduling another for September.
So, I think like going back and thinking through his posts on Facebook and my texts to him, it seemed so minute. But when you play everything that happened, none of that would have taken place had we both not just had that initial impulse to say, yeah, let's try it out. What's the worst that can happen, right? Like, no one comes, we're out-
PATRICK CASALE: Right.
LAURA LONG: …[INDISCERNIBLE 00:05:24] you know, but we didn't have time to think about that. We didn't allow ourselves to even think about what if this doesn't work? It was, yeah, sure, let's do it, let's figure it out. Pivot as we go.
PATRICK CASALE: I love that, because like, if you had the time to think about it, like you said before we hit record, right? You're thinking about where to have it, when to have it, who to invite, how much to charge, how to market it, all the things that prevent us from kind of moving forward with our ideas. And that happens to so many entrepreneurs, especially, therapists, right? Who don't like necessarily know what else they can do with their skill sets. And I think that we prevent ourselves a lot of the time when that perfectionism takes over, and you're just like, "I get wrapped up in the details, I can't figure this out, and now it's never going to happen. It's just an idea that's never going to become a reality."
LAURA LONG: 100%. I think that a lot of therapists, especially, those who are embarking on the private practice journey, they get really caught up in the end, whatever the end is for them. So, typically, it's having a full practice and living a great life, just like loving life every single day. Like to them, that's the end. The way I see it is you never actually arrive, so don't try, you're never going to arrive, because once you get to the place where you thought six months ago or a year ago that was the end, there's new information you've gleaned along the way.
So, even when you get to that place of, maybe for you it's a full practice and you're seeing 15, 20 clients a week. Oh, that's great. But by the time you actually get there you have new goals that you've conjured up, new ideas, new aspirations. So, if we focus so much on arriving, as cliche as it sounds, we kind of forget the fun and the journey. And our perfectionism gets the best of us, we start to worry about doing it the right way. I want to make sure that I'm building my practice exactly how I need to build it so that I can arrive.
But if we realize this really isn't about getting to the end, there is no end, right? It's like this game will continue on for as long as we have our practices and as long as we're alive we're just going to keep trying new stuff. But I think the perfectionism comes from thinking that if we get to this end goal then we can be happy, then we can relax.
PATRICK CASALE: That's really well said. You're spot on. And I think so many people just want to leave their agency jobs initially, right? It's like, "I just want to get the fuck out of here. I want to work for myself." Like you said, "…a full practice, that would be great. I don't even know how I can get there. I don't think it can happen." And then, you arrive there and you're like, "Huh, okay, this is satisfying, but maybe I am no longer as interested in this. Maybe I want to do something different. Maybe I'm realizing, like, I really enjoy A, B, and C." And I think that being an entrepreneur is a constantly evolving process. Like, it's constantly like, "Ooh, this is fun, this is enjoyable, this is creative. I really like this." And then, all of a sudden it's like, "Ooh, but I have this other idea now because I'm in the thick of it, right?" And like, idea after idea starts to formulate the more you open up that space and that lens of saying like, "Wow, there are a lot of possibilities here."
I certainly didn't see myself sitting here talking to you. When I started my private practice I just wanted to get the hell out of my job. Like, that was all I wanted in my life. And I was like, "Fucking finally." Like, I am a private practice owner, I have made it, I am at the pinnacle.
LAURA LONG: That's all I ever wanted too. I just wanted to be in private practice myself. I thought I was going to have to be like old and wise, whatever that means. And, you know, things happen, and all of a sudden you're kind of like pushed where I was, kind of pushed into this realm. And I could have never in a million years imagined that I'd be here either, you know?
So, if I got to whatever I thought was the end, meaning having a full private practice, and then, was just like, "Oh, yeah, that's it, I made it." I would have never taken other chances in the future that inevitably led to me feeling much more fulfilled. But I had to go through all of that first. And I'm glad for it. I'm happy I did all that. And that's not to minimize anyone who really just wants, you know, you want a full private practice, that's totally fine. I think the point I'm trying to make though is that that's not the end for anybody. It's not just, "Okay you've arrived, and now you can just kind of rest on your laurels, and you're fine." It never actually ends up that way, because you get new information along the way, you make new relationships, you will learn more about yourself as an entrepreneur.
And if we get so wrapped up in doing it the right way and slanting then we never actually take the first step as you called it, imperfect action. So, for me this concept of impulse-momentum and actually, I was telling you it comes from physics, which is really hysterical, because I'm not the brightest crayon in the box to teach a lot of things. So, if you look up impulse-momentum, you're going to get all kinds of like weird, scientificy algorithms, and it's like, "Oh, man, she's smart." No, I literally just mean impulsivity. But it's like intentional impulsivity. So, it causes momentum. I was like, "Yeah, impulse-momentum."
This idea is that it is important for us to do some amount of research or asking questions, learning as much as me, as we feel like we need to know to take a step. But oftentimes, our anxiety leads us to believe that we have to know everything before we can take a step. And that's where we make a lot of mistakes, because we can't possibly know everything. And it's through the doing that we learn more about ourselves and actually have fun doing it. It's not in the research.
So, when I talk about being impulsive, intentional impulsivity, people often confuse that with being thoughtless or reckless and just, you know, flipping a coin and making a decision. That's not actually what I'm talking about. I'm talking about taking that very first step.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that recklessness and impulsivity get labeled incorrectly a lot of the time. When I had my gambling addiction that was reckless and impulsive, that was like, I'm not thinking through the consequences here of what I'm about to do. I think when we're thinking about impulse momentum or imperfect action, whatever the hell we want to call it, because they're very similar in nature, it's just like embracing that fear and stepping into the unknown. And I think that's how we grow.
And I also think that we need to start thinking about fear as a gas pedal instead of a brake, because anytime I've stepped into that place, second guessed myself, asked myself, "Can this be successful? Is anyone going to buy it? Is anyone going to think it's good?" I land on my feet almost every single time. And the process is always the process, so it feels the same way, whether it's the podcast, whether it's coaching, whether it's the retreat, I'm like, "What? I'm creating it as I go, right?" Like, I said to you before, like, kind of building the plane as you fly it, like, that's always my analogy of, like, half the time and maybe 90% of the time I don't know what the fuck I'm doing until I get there. And like, that is my process. And I think that's a process for a lot of successful entrepreneurs.
LAURA LONG: I actually was listening to a podcast not too long ago and I can't remember his name, it was Clint something, he's some Navy SEAL, and he was talking about this exact idea of fear and kind of, you know, Navy SEALs are trained for pretty much any dangerous situation and how to handle it. So, when you're jumping out of a plane at 40,000 feet, you should have some amount of fear in what you're about to do, because you recognize the significance of the action you're about to take. The fear doesn't stop you. You recognize that you have some fear of the fact that what if my parachute doesn't go off or doesn't open, right? But you jump anyway, because you're trained for this, you've prepared for this. And so, you jump.
I feel like building any business, whether it's a private practice or a coaching business, like what you've done, or any other business, it takes some level of preparing and doing some research. And at some point, you've got a jump and you'll feel the fear, but the fear doesn't mean you don't do it. So, that's where I sort of define fear differently from being afraid. I think when we're afraid it's very disempowering. Feeling afraid means that I cower, I get smaller, I don't take action. Feeling fear is just a natural… it's a data point. It's recognizing that what I'm about to embark on is important to me, it's significant. It doesn't mean I don't do it.
PATRICK CASALE: I love that. That's so well said. You're right, because I think we have to be a little fearful, a little anxious, even, of what am I about to kind of embark upon and I've never done this before, or it's new to me, or, you know, I think we have a fear of being seen in some ways, too, and how that's going to be received. But I think you're so right about just doing it, right? Like, I've trained for this, I've put in the work, and there's so many people out there that have such good ideas that will never put them into action because they are afraid and they shrink back. And they convinced themselves, "Not me, I can't do that thing." And that is a really unfortunate thing.
I think about the movie, Bronx Tale, all the time where someone says, like, the status thing in the world is wasted talent and I think when we're not able to put our ideas out into the world and pursue our passions it reflects professionally and personally too.
LAURA LONG: And we often get hung up in making a wrong choice, or any mistake, or even like a huge mistake. You know, "What if I do this thing, and I embark on this journey, I start private practice, and I pick the wrong niche?" For example, you know, "What would that say about my reputation in the community, or if I make this like huge mistake how will I ever come back from there?"
And I think that even the fear of making a mistake takes away from the fun of the entire journey, because you are going to make mistakes. The pivots that we make along the way are what make it fun. I'm certain that you Patrick have not gone from where you started to where you are now having not made any mistakes. You probably have, you've pivoted along the way, I don't even know, maybe you wrote an email and you're like, "Oh, that didn't land well." You just learn from it and move on. And who gives a shit, right? Because people still read what you put out. People still want to consume the content that you create, but you wouldn't have touched those people's lives out of your own fear of making a mistake, didn't write that email.
PATRICK CASALE: Yep, 100%. And, you know, I talk about mistakes all the time. I think it's important to own them and then, just normalize them, to say we're human beings, we're going to make mistakes, we're going to, "fail in a way at times" especially when we do things that are new or out of our comfort zones.
And I've made plenty of fucking mistakes over the last two years. One includes hiring a VA in Ireland simply because she was in Ireland and had no experience in what I needed. That sucked. Most recently I overpaid my group practice clinician $75,000. I own that on Facebook and that was painful. Today, I sent an email to my entire mailing list about my Ireland retreat that meant to go to 11 people. And now they're all emailing me. "I didn't sign up for this. Like, what is this email? Like, I'm not coming to Ireland. I wish I could." I'm like, "Oh, shit. Like, this is actually unintentional." Really good marketing, by the way, because they're all emailing me. "I didn't know this was happening. Keep me posted about the next one."
But you're right, mistakes happen. And as entrepreneurs, there's an ebb and flow. Like, we've got to ride the roller coaster, so to speak, right? Like, I'm sure there have been times in your practice, in your coaching, and everything along the way, even speaking engagements where you've been fearful, maybe you stumble over your words, maybe you made a mistake, but you continue to pivot, evolve. And those mistakes, those bumps along the way are good learning experiences to laugh at down the road, or even say like, "I'll never do that again." Right? Like, "I'll never overpay my clinicians that much money again. So, that's something I'll always, you know, have in the back of my mind.
LAURA LONG: But since when did mistakes become such a terrifying thing? We've all made them.
PATRICK CASALE: That's a good question.
LAURA LONG: But when it comes to launching a new business, opening a private practice, we feel like, okay, we just need to consume as much possible information as we can, get on everyone's email list, buy all of these courses, completely overwhelm yourselves with all of this information, much of it being contradictory information from different sources. And then, we feel like we're somehow going to embark on this journey of private practice never having made a mistake, everything's going to go well all the time, in six months we'll be full, and then, we'll just like sit back drinking mai tais on the beach.
Like, I guess in theory that sounds good, but why are we so terrified to make a mistake, to begin with, and then, we don't take that imperfect action, we don't build on that impulse momentum all because we were afraid of making a mistake when we all do it all the time anyway? And half the time, none of us know what we're doing, right? We're just like pedaling along doing the best that we can and we learn from it. So, I hope that that's encouraging for people because they are, "Yeah, what if I screw up this thing?" Okay, if you screw it up then what? It sounds like this is a tough questioning, then what happens? Then what?
PATRICK CASALE: Right, exactly? And you know-
LAURA LONG: You're not going to die.
PATRICK CASALE: …try to like really work on some catastrophizing too, right? Like, what if worst-case scenario happens, will I be okay? Yeah, the answer 99% of the time is absolutely yes. You might feel embarrassed, you might feel ashamed, you might feel like, "Ooh, I got to bury my head in the sand for a minute." But you're going to rebound, and you're going to learn, and you're going to grow. I don't think Laura or I would be sitting here having this conversation, being well known in the coaching and private practice industry if we hadn't been vulnerable along the way, and authentic, and made these mistakes, and own them, and also, learned from them to incorporate into our own coaching, because that's what mine is about. It's like, I did these things, I'll help you not do these things, you know? They're going to happen regardless. And I just think it's so important.
And I've been thinking about what you just said, like, where did we learn that it wasn't okay? And I think back to childhood a lot of the time. Like, attachment wounding or trauma. We don't really talk about what it's like to fail or make mistakes. We kind of, a lot of the time are reprimanded or said like, "Why didn't you do better? Why didn't you study harder? Why couldn't you learn this quicker?" And in reality, it's like, "Oh, it's okay that you got to D in math, because that's just not your strong suit." And I think that we can internalize a lot of that as we grow up and develop, because it's like that voice in the back of your head, right? I think you've called it like bitchy Brenda in a way?
LAURA LONG: Bitchy Brenda, she sucks. She-
PATRICK CASALE: But like, you know, she's right there.
LAURA LONG: Right there.
PATRICK CASALE: I have that same map by the way now that I'm seeing your thing. But yeah, I think we internalize that. And that voice is kind of amplified when we're feeling like we're not as competent, or we're insecure, or we are fraudulent, or just lucked into something. And it's really hard. I think you have to fight really hard to work through that. Otherwise, you're probably going to end up working for somebody else.
LAURA LONG: Yeah, 100%. Like, I was like, yep, everything you just said came down to that.
PATRICK CASALE: I saw your facial expression like, "Huh, I don't know what to say." You know, and I'm sure, you know, like, when you started your coaching business, right? I imagine you were fearful, I imagine you were asking yourself, "Is anyone going to buy it? Is this going to be something that gets consumed by hundreds if not thousands of people?" And I think if you don't then there might be something off there, because humility is also really important in a lot of this.
LAURA LONG: Yeah, so when I started my coaching business, I remember very vividly saying to myself, "This endeavor, whatever it ends up becoming, right?" Because who could have ever predicted any of it? "Whatever it is that being, it's going to take away time from my family, my child, other things that I want to do, other hobbies. Like, it's going to take away from that. So, if it's going to do that, it has to also be fun. I'm not going to do it if it's not fun." So, throughout this whole six, seven-year period I just thought to myself at any given moment, "How can I make this more fun." Or, "I'm having a lot of fun, let me just keep doing this."
But keeping that, like, playful element has really been helpful, and I think for folks who are building something that they are relying on for their livelihoods, like a private practice, bringing in fun can be challenging, because there's so much pressure. Oh, my gosh, I have to make X number of dollars to cover my overhead, or to pay my bills, or to get groceries, etc. But when we don't bring back in any element of fun we start to lose sight of why we're doing this in the first place and we become so hyper-focused on just outcomes, "I must see X number of clients a week or else I'm not being successful, or else I'm a failure." And all that does is reinforce and bring into the limelight more of this like being afraid, "What if it doesn't work? Okay, now I need to consume more information. Now, I need to learn more. Oh, my gosh, there's contradictory information out there. What am I going to do? Now, I'm overwhelmed."
But really, what if we just try to make this whole thing more fun? What if we just tried something, just experiment with something, take small risks along the way, practice impulse movement, or impulse-momentum, imperfect action. You know, take these little risks, and you find, oh, that was actually pretty cool. I created this group, people actually showed up to it. That's kind of fun and bring in more into what we're doing.
PATRICK CASALE: And a simple way to do that, because Laura is so right, for everyone listening, I think we lose so much sight over playfulness in our lives as we become adults and things gets much more serious. And we have more responsibility, obviously, that goes without saying, but you do have to incorporate some sort of joy, or fun, or playfulness, because otherwise, I feel like you're just recreating your corporate or agency job. And then, all of a sudden, you're in your own situation where you can't get out of it. And you're like, "Fuck, I'll go do anything else right now other than be a therapist." Or whatever the case may be.
You know, I'm really passionate about teaching and I know you are too, therapists have to write content and copy that is really authentic. And I think when you can embrace that and give yourself permission to say like, this is who I am, this is how I practice. Let's eliminate all the therapist jargon, let's eliminate all the things that normal human beings don't fucking say on a daily basis, let's incorporate like some music references, some TV show characters. Like, whatever the case may be, that takes you back to a place of like, oh, this is actually really energizing and enjoyable. And instead of just always feeling like, "I've got to meet the status quo, I've got to act a certain way, I got to do a certain thing." You know, I think we lose sight of that.
LAURA LONG: Yeah and I love what you just said. And you're like, "Okay, we basically recreate these toxic soul-sucking agency dynamics that we wanted so desperately to leave." It's almost like that is a familiar thing to us. Whereas if we bring in some element of playfulness, or having fun with it, it's almost the antidote to fear, first of all, and also, I think many of us became therapists because we enjoy the connection with other people. So, like you were just pointing out with copywriting. For me, amazing copywriting is something that connects to people, something that's compelling, it's conversational, but at the end of the day we're just creating that connection, that human connection that we love so much, which is why we became therapists. So, I try to think of something like copywriting as a fun process for that reason. It's an opportunity for us to connect with people.
Marketing, same exact thing. The best marketing is one that are strategies that connect people or where we feel connected. We were actually just talking about Ernesto and how amazing his supposed marketing strategy is when really it's just, you know, connecting. He's just like putting stuff out there and being vulnerable, and it makes him relatable and be human. And I think if more therapists can have the courage to be that way on their websites, on their [INDISCERNIBLE 00:25:11] profiles, they'll find that they attract the very clients who really want to work with them, not just because they are trained in EMDR, or EFT, or play therapy, or whatever the case is, it's because they actually connect to us as humans. And that's why we're in this field, to begin with. It just comes full circle.
PATRICK CASALE: Now I'm in the space where-
LAURA LONG: Yeah, I saw that face.
PATRICK CASALE: [CROSSTALK 00:25:34] better myself.
LAURA LONG: [INDISCERNIBLE 00:25:35].
PATRICK CASALE: It's just one of those things I think that we are so… it's so ingrained in our culture too, especially, as therapists, to be like we have to operate a certain way, we have to be robotic, we can't disclose, we can't be vulnerable, we can't be authentic. Like, we just have to be sounding boards. And I think that's fucking bullshit. And I just want to encourage people to give yourselves permission to tap into your personalities and like use language that you use on a daily basis if you want to curse. I can't tell you how many people call my group practice because we say fuck. Like, people call because they're like, "You seem like real human beings."
And I think that allows us to look at our schedule and say, "Oh, yes, I really like the people that I'm seeing today. They are really energizing for me." Instead of looking at it and being like, "Oh, I dread going to work today, because I loaded myself up with people that I don't really enjoy working with."
And I think that can bring up a lot of shamefulness around helpers in general, because we're always conditioned to believe we have to help everyone. And that's just simply not true. It's not possible. I know you know that. I know a lot of us know that. But I do think there's still that like shamefulness that comes up when we're like, "Ooh, is this ethical? Is this something I should be doing?" You know, I just think a lot of that happens internally. And you're so right about marketing, copywriting, networking. Like, we are in the business of building relationships, connecting, and our work is relational. So, we just have to kind of put a different perspective on it in order to make this job enjoyable with such a high rate of burnout right now.
LAURA LONG: Absolutely, yeah. There's a lot of therapists right now that are just second-guessing their decision to even go into the field. And a part of me gets it, for sure, part of me truly gets it. And a part of me is really scared, really scared that so many therapists have put so many expectations or placed some standard on themselves that they have to be a certain way all the time, that they can't make a mistake, that everything that they put out there has to be polished. And so, because of that they feel so much, it's not fear, it's not afraid, it's that disempowering. If I make a mistake, what does that say about me? I'm a failure. I mean, I'm just picturing all of this pressure being placed on therapists shoulders right now. And a lot of it is self-inflicted, especially, when it comes to building a practice. They place so much pressure.
And I don't know, maybe we could place some of the blame on unscrupulous coaches who say, "If you don't do my exact system, or if you don't buy my thing, then you're going to fail." You and I certainly don't do that, but I'm certain there are others who do. So, all we do is just add to the fear or the hysteria that if you do it wrong, or if you mess up along the way then your practice is doomed, and you're going to fail, and you're going to have to go back to the soul-sucking agency.
But I just want therapists to feel encouraged to experiment and to be playful, and have fun with their practices, try new things. If you get an impulse to try something, whether it's, "I want to reach out to this person in my community who I've always looked up to and I just want to see if they'll maybe get coffee with me." Or go, like, "Let's do a Zoom meeting." Why not just try it? What's the worst that can happen, right? They say no, they don't respond, okay, on to the next one. But all too often we don't make those impulsive yet thoughtful actions that could have really made this whole process, this whole journey a lot more fun. And if it's not fun why are we fucking doing it?
PATRICK CASALE: There's a lot of like, good conversation going on right now, where we're both saying things that are pretty profound I feel like, and just like, this is real, you know? People struggle with this all the time. And I've challenged therapists recently, like, "I don't have a therapist group near me and I'm introverted." I said, "Make the fucking introverted therapist group of Dallas. Like, do these things because take that shot, you know?"
I'll tell a funny Ernesto story real quick. I met Ernesto for the first time in Colorado in 2021, COVID had first happened. The only reason I have reached out to Ernesto is because I was following him on Facebook, and he was in Fishkill, New York, which is my hometown and that was really bizarre to me, which is where his uncle lives. He wants to move there as a retirement. I don't know why. And I text him one day and I was like, "Hey, man, I'm considering going out to like Rocky Mountain National Park for a couple days. And I was just curious if you wanted to go?" And of course, he was like, "Yeah, I'll go." And I don't think he-
LAURA LONG: Impulse momentum.
PATRICK CASALE: Impulse momentum. And I didn't know him. I didn't have a coaching business. I didn't have anything. And I didn't expect him to say yes, because I didn't really know him. And I don't think he expected me to actually book the flight, because he was like, "Oh shit, you actually are making the plans." I was like, "Yeah." And we spent five days out there hiking and just getting to know each other and eating food. And I don't think I ever would have done that if I couldn't work through that fear and insecurity of what happens if this doesn't work out, or it goes poorly, or he says no, or whatever the case may be.
And I think about moments like that in my career right now. The coaching business, the podcast, the Facebook group, the retreats, like, all of that has been an idea that turned into something through imperfect action. I held myself back for so fucking long with this coaching business, because Allison, who is a good friend of mine, lives in Asheville. And why would anyone hire me in Asheville if Abundance Practice Building is in Asheville? You just have to work through your shit and just put it out to the world.
And one more quick story, I know I'm ranting, when I started my private practice I had three back to back to back no shows one night, I had no cancellation policy in place, I had no credit cards on file, and I just sat in my office like devastated. I was just convinced that this will never happen, this will never work, I'm never going to be successful as a private practice owner, I'm going to go back to my agency job. And I owned it, I sat with the discomfort, I made a policy, I got credit cards on file, I had everyone sign it. And that's how you pivot. That's how you deal with those speed bumps, or those failures, or those mistakes.
And, you know, I just remember sitting there looking at the Not Your Typical Psychotherapist conference, I believe you were speaking in Anaheim, and I was like, "Damn, I'd love to be there and like, be around these people, but I don't have anything similar in common with them or anything to offer." And we're both speaking at that this year, so I'm really fucking excited for that, too.
LAURA LONG: That's awesome. That was the conference where I took the impulsive or imperfect action and just got a glass of wine before my talk and just brought it on stage with me. That was fun.
PATRICK CASALE: But that's stepping into who you are, right? And just being like, this is me and I don't care that much about what people think about it.
LAURA LONG: Yeah, totally. It was fun. I wasn't drunk or anything, it was just a fun time. So, a few things came to mind as you were talking. Number one, this is your fucking podcast, so you can rant as long as you want and you don't have to apologize or even comment on it, because people are listening to this, because they genuinely want to hear what you have to say. And what you have to say is important and it matters.
Second of all, when you're talking about your story with Ernesto, I think you didn't even allow yourself time to get bogged down in the, what if it doesn't work? Or what if he says no? Or what if I'm [INDISCERNIBLE 00:32:41] for even suggesting this. And so, because of you just taking that imperfect action, you sent the text message, booked the flights, you guys had an amazing time together, right? It's the times when you did think through all the reasons why something might not work, your private practice, your group practice, starting a coaching business, those are all the things that actually held you back is when you thought through it. So, it's interesting-
PATRICK CASALE: Spot on.
LAURA LONG: … it's about impulsivity and people compare it to being reckless like an addiction. Is it though? Because the times when you are impulsive in your business are actually times when you did something that really mattered and that touched people. Whereas when you spent the time actually thinking through a decision and really reflecting on whether or not you were cut up to do it. Those are the times where you took too long, and you second guessed yourself, and you lived in this place of being afraid, this disempowering place. So, you actually just painted like… you proved my point just here. So, thank you. Thank you for your [CROSSTALK 00:33:44] it helped.
PATRICK CASALE: That's perfectly said again. And I hope everyone that's listening can really take this in, because this is really important. And I think impulse, and some anxiety, and some humility go hand in hand. And I also think that impulse is powerful, and it creates momentum. And without it, you're right, like, I can give you another example about the opposite where I looked at that audience in Anaheim in Not Your Typical Psychotherapist, I think it was like 2019, before COVID, 2018. I don't even know anymore. Time doesn't matter. And I was going to buy the ticket. I emailed Ernesto, did not know him. And I was like, "Do you do payment plans?" He's like, "Yes, I can do that." And then, I convinced myself I shouldn't go, I shouldn't book the flight, I don't belong there. I overthought it and I never did it. And I think that we can all reflect back on periods of time in our lives. And a lot of therapists listening to this are probably like, I wish I would have quit my agency job sooner, but I convinced myself for so long that it would not work and that I had to be committed to this emotionally abusive relationship where I knew what I was going to get, but it wasn't as scary as taking that leap and taking that action.
LAURA LONG: The golden handcuffs of soul-sucking agency work. They convince themselves that they have to stay for whatever reason. We have this tendency to talk ourselves out of things. And I'm sure anyone listening here, either it's something that's going on right now in your business, or you can think of a recent example of a time when that little impulse came to you. So, "Maybe I ought to sign up for that training, or maybe I should look into that retreat, or maybe I should buy this book, or maybe I should connect with that therapist in town." And you didn't do it, and you had a good reason in your mind. "Oh, well, you know, it's too expensive." Or, "I don't have the time to devote to that." Or, you know," They're probably too busy for me."
And every time you have talked yourself out of one of those impulses, I think if it is… or someone has talked to me about it is like following a ping. When you get that ping it's almost like this tiny little voice that just really quickly is like, "Hey, maybe you should try this thing, do this, do that, reach out to that person." But when you don't follow it, you're just depriving yourself of an opportunity that you could have grown, you could have evolved, and you're potentially depriving someone else of that connection too. So, this isn't just about you. Yeah, so following a ping or impulse-momentum, imperfect action, whatever you want to call it. It's all just about like paying attention to that inner dialogue and recognizing that there is a voice in there somewhere that's suggesting you try something new. And when you talk yourself out of it, you're leaving a lot on the table.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, another one of those moments where I'm like, "Huh, how do I respond to that?" So right, and I hope everyone listening can really take this in, and especially, if you're holding yourself back or feeling fearful in general about what's next or what can I kind of create or accomplish, my Ireland retreat was just like, "Hey, who wants to go to Ireland and do a retreat?" Oh, here are all these responses. Okay, I need to book the venue. Now, I got to find caterers. Now, I've got to find transportation. Oh, shit. What do we do about COVID? Can we book some tours that everyone would like? Like, it all came together that way. So, anyone listening to this that's coming in a couple of weeks, sorry.
In Asheville, the one I created a couple of days ago, it was the same thought process. I just got this spark of energy, like you said, and then, all of a sudden I was like, "Okay, Asheville, these dates. Okay, I'm going to book this fucking expensive Airbnb. Now, I have to fill it, now I have to figure the rest out around it." And that may sound contradictory or counterintuitive for a lot of you, but that is the process. It's not, "Let me have everything perfected, and then, I will release it to the world." It's more messy than that. And it's just like, "Let me do the thing…" asked backwards in a lot of people's minds, " …and then watch it come together." And I think that's really beautiful, beautiful, empowering, and there's some fear there too. But I think that's okay.
LAURA LONG: You followed your ping. A ping [CROSSTALK 00:37:40].
PATRICK CASALE: That's right, followed my ping.
LAURA LONG: Let's see [INDISCERNIBLE 00:37:43] and then, we'll figure it out along the way. And if you had spent the time researching exactly where in Ireland to go, exactly which excursions to take, what food, how many people, if you had spent the time to research all of it and not release any information until you felt like you had it all done and knocked out three years from now would go by and you'd be talking about that time you wanted to go to Ireland.
PATRICK CASALE: Spot on, you're right. And that's so true for a lot of people. So, you know, again, hopefully, this was useful for everyone, especially, if you're in the entrepreneurial world or thinking about creating your own business. Because, you know, we are here today, we speak at conferences, we have podcasts, we have coaching courses. Like, none of this happens without putting yourself out there and just following that ping, or that energy, or imperfect action, or, you know, impulse-momentum. So, I hope everyone can take that in.
And, Laura, I really appreciate you being on and I love what you do, I love what you offer. And this is a beautiful thing, too, now that I'm talking everyone. Laura and I do a lot of similar stuff, but we have very different voices, and we attract our own clients who are attracted to what we put out into the world. That is important for you to hear that, because there can be more than one therapist in your area who practices the same way, there can be more than one coach in your area who does similar things. You're all going to attract your people based on how you move through the world. And I want you all to really embrace that.
Laura, yeah, in closing, just tell us where they can find more of you, your coaching, your programs, everything you've got going on, and just anything else on your mind in general.
LAURA LONG: Yeah, totally. You can check me out at yourbadasstherapypractice.com. I have an eight-week flagship programs, sort of like coaching, mentorship course all wrapped up into one. I'll be launching that one more time as a live program coming up in March. I don't know when this is going to be aired but after that, it'll still be available, but it will no longer be live, and I'll be transitioning more to doing retreats, speaking at conferences, putting out new programs, so yeah. So, check me out at yourbadasstherapypractice.com.
I do send out regular funny emails that are worth reading, because I won't send anything out unless I feel like it's valuable, so that would be the best way to connect with me. But I'm also on Facebook dicking around there too, so you're welcome to find me, facebook.com/yourbadasstherapypractice. And thanks for having me, Patrick. This is really great, wonderful conversation, and I love all the mic drop moments. I hope people can appreciate all the times where there was like a weird pause. It's like, yeah, that was us being like, Oh, shit, that's good.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I'm usually like, "Oh, man, I'm going to speak directly to that." And then, every time you said something I was like, "Huh, I've got to think about that for a second." We will put all of Laura's information in the show notes. If you want to find more of me you can go to allthingspractice.com and you can join my Facebook group All Things Private Practice and download, listen, subscribe, and share the podcast. See you next week.
FREE PRIVATE PRACTICE GUIDE
Join the weekly newsletter for private practice tips, podcast updates, special offers, & your free private practice startup guide!
We will not spam you or share your information. You can unsubscribe at any time.