Can Introverted, Non-Go-Getters Succeed in Private Practice?

Howdy, introverts! From the emails, Facebook Group conversations, and discussions in both the Abundance Practice-Building Group and Individual Consultations I’m clear there are a lot of you here! Thank goodness!

I’m going to answer a question I get at least once a month. It usually goes something like this: “I’m really introverted and not a go-getter; do I have any chance at succeeding in private practice?”

My answer is “Absolutely!” Sometimes people read my story and think I’m going to preach my personal (outgoing, extraverted) avenue towards building. Here’s the thing, my personal way works for the people it works for: People who can’t get enough of people. I have other tricks up my sleeve for folks who get burned out by people. I want you to be good at your job and good at life and burning yourself out will not work.

Let me clarify that “go-getter” is not better, just different. Yes, we may get more done faster, but possibly too hastily. On an average day, my decision making takes about 5 minutes tops. Trying to decide stresses me out. Quick decision + action + figure it out if it tanks isn’t always the best strategy. Getting lost in decision making isn’t helpful either, but there’s a lovely middle ground in there, I bet.

So, not a go-getter? No problem. Sometimes there’s a bit of making yourself do things that are scary or putting yourself out there in a way that is not your norm. As a competent therapist who made it through grad school and has the uncomfortable conversations that come up in life, you already have this down. You don’t have to hustle if hustling isn’t in your nature. In fact, I will argue that trying to do things that are of someone else’s nature and not your own is a sure fire way to fail.

Here’s why you may even be better suited to private practice than an extraverted Type A like me:
  • You know how to pace yourself. I hope you know how much of a strength this is. It’s like burn-out prevention is built into your DNA as long as you build your practice in a way that’s true to you.
  • The loneliness I used to feel in private practice doesn’t feel like loneliness to you; it feels comfortable.
  • You don’t talk your partner’s/roommate’s ear off when you get off of work because you haven’t been able to talk about what you want to talk about all day.
  • You don’t overwhelm people with your energy.
  • You don’t have to hyper-regulate around your anxious clients to keep from activating them more.
  • You naturally take more time to self-reflect, re-evaluate, and check in.
  • Your identity doesn’t hinge on achievement in the same way. Of course you want to succeed, and you will, but you’re less attached to each little sign that that success is on it’s way.
  • With the advent of social media and websites, you can “be seen” in ways that are more permanent and less fleeting. And you will probably think about what to write instead of hastily responding like I might.
Are you feeling like it’s more doable? I really, really hope so.

For those of you who don’t fit in to the introverted, non-go-getter category, don’t worry. You’re going to be great, too. I just wanted to take some time to reassure the folks who tend to reach out with the most self-doubt.

Now you: What strength do you bring to the practice-building table, no matter your personality type? Let us know in the comments below, or it that's too extraverted for you, email me!

P.S. In the inimitable words of JayZ and Pharrell Williams “I'm a hustler baby, I'm a hustler” but you don’t have to be.

Allison Puryear is an LCSW with a nearly diagnosable obsession with business development. She has started practices in three different states and wants you to know that building a private practice is shockingly doable when you have a plan and support. After retiring her individual consultation services, she opened the Abundance Party, where you can get practice-building help for the cost of a copay. You can download a free private practice checklist to make sure you have your ducks in a row, get weekly private practice tips, listen to the podcast, hop into the free Facebook Group. Allison is all about helping you gain the confidence and tools you need to succeed.



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