Previously we looked at why you became a practitioner in the first place. This week we’ll get some clarity about how you can best serve your clients by creating an inspiring and motivational vision for your practice.
This might not be a new topic for you, but it’s something that too often gets neglected during the practice building process. You may have worked on a vision before but not given it your best effort, you might have dismissed it as a waste of time, or you might have just made one up as part of an assignment in school. Or maybe you have a vision, but it’s too small. Maybe you have already achieved your limited vision and you’re too afraid to push the boundaries.
Regardless, without a proper vision you will wake up one day in a practice that you resent, or at the very least in one that isn’t what you dreamed it would be. You are stuck and have absolutely no idea how to move forward, and your practice isn’t supporting the lifestyle you want financially, emotionally, or time-wise.
The reality is that if you want to be great, you have to do what the greats do. The people who are leaders in their field are the ones who have very specific and grand visions, and then take calculated action steps to achieve that vision. The best time to create a vision is NOW, and I’ll guide you through how to do it. I promise it won’t take as long as you expect!
We’re going to talk about why visions are important, the dangers of not having a vision, and how to write a vision. By the end of this post you will have all of the tools you need to write your own practice vision.
Think about this like building a house. Without an architect and a master plan the house might not even be stable enough to stand up. If everyone just showed up to the worksite and started building without a plan then the house would look ridiculous, if it even got built at all. Someone needs to set the whole team in motion towards a grander vision, and that architect is you.
1. Why Vision Planning is Critical
Once you have a vision it should guide you in every decision you make, because each decision will be moving you either closer to or further away from your vision. In business it will help with marketing, hiring, financial decisions, self-improvement, and everything else, but it will also guide you through your personal life. In the end, your vision leads you towards your dream practice, and your ideal life.
It’s important to remember that this is YOUR vision, not anyone else’s. You are the one that will have to take action and then live with your decisions, so it’s critical that you really and truly believe in it.
Once you have a clear vision, and you review it regularly, your mind and your subconscious will stay focused on it even when you’re not actively thinking about it. When that happens, you will start to see possibilities and opportunities you might not have seen otherwise, and success starts to happen quicker and more easily than ever before. Then later, after you can clearly define your vision, it becomes easier to articulate it to everyone else. When you start to share your vision it becomes more real for you and you become more confident in it. That confidence rubs off on other people, and they will begin to help you work towards your vision.
2. Dangers of Not Having a Vision
Without a clear vision your practice might grow accidentally at first, but you won’t know how it happened, how to replicate it, or how to change direction if you’re not happy with what your practice looks like. You will be at the mercy of what you have, as opposed to what you want. You will probably end up with a practice full of clients you don’t enjoy working with, and you will have no idea how to find the ideal clients that you get excited to work with every day.
You will also find yourself grasping at straws and saying yes to every opportunity that comes your way, and every request from a client. If we go back to the architect analogy, imagine that one architect who specializes in designing houses got offered the opportunity to design a condo and he said yes. And then next he designed a school, then an airport, then he decided to try his luck at designing watches. Sure he would have gained a lot of experience and met a lot of people, but do you think any of his projects were very good? How much unpaid time do you think he spent researching each one of those projects? When you say yes to everything, including every client or every speaking opportunity, you become known for nothing. A vision will help to narrow your focus but increase your expertise and client results.
Without a vision you are fulfilling other people’s goals, doing what they want from you, and building a hodgepodge of a business.
3. How to Write a Vision
Writing a vision shouldn’t be that hard, since it’s really just a consolidation of all of the ideas and dreams you’ve had for your practice and for your life. One rule of thumb is that if you can’t put it into words,you can’t have it, so take some time now to think through your vision and get it down on paper.
This Worksheet asks questions like:
- What does success look like to you?
- What is your vision for your practice?
- For your clients?
- For your team?
- For yourself?
- What do you want to be known for?
While you answer the questions, ignore any voice in your head that says it’s impossible. There should be no limit to your vision, and you do not need to know how you will achieve your vision at this point. The most important thing is that you write your answers with passion, conviction, and enthusiasm. Ignore any fear that is holding you back and just go for it!
Once you have legitimately taken time to answer the questions on the worksheet, you can weave your answers into a vivid story about your ideal vision (see the example at the end of the worksheet). Take that story, and any visual accompaniments, and read it often. This will make you feel empowered, and really help you through those tough days in practice.
- Decide on a time to sit down and work on your vision. Schedule it in your calendar.
- Use the worksheet and the example to create a vision of your ideal practice and lifestyle.
- Share your vision with your team.
- Read your vision often.
Writing your vision is very powerful, but it’s not a magic spell to success. Next week we’ll talk more about implementation and detailing the steps to create your perfect practice.
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