Have you ever stopped for a minute and thought to yourself: Why am I doing this? When I say “this”, I mean owning, running and building an allied health business. Do you have a personal goal? For many of us, that goal might be to work like crazy, build good referral sources, put in systems, employ good people and then maybe spend our time on the beach, tennis court, on the golf course or travelling while the business runs itself. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of joining Lachlan Hetherington on his podcast: Grow your Practice. It ended up being quite a bit longer than we anticipated. Maybe I am old, and my story is long or possibly because I am an over-communicator. Anyway, I enjoyed the experience and thank Lachlan for the opportunity. Towards the end of the podcast, Lachlan asks me whether I do any clinical work. You will hear my chuckle and see my wry smile. I answer his question but not before I tell him that I have spent the latter part of my professional life as a clinic owner stepping away from delivering treatment to work on the business. I felt overwhelmed juggling too many balls and that I could not stay true to my values of caring for my patients, mentoring my team and ensuring that the business was running smoothly. A true recipe for burn-out. So I removed myself from day to day clinical work.
Just recently, I have returned to a part-time clinical role. I was unprepared for the impact that this has had on me. I realised that I had forgotten some of my “why”: despite spending time defining this for the business along with a set of values during my time away from clinical work.
Being with people, listening to their stories and helping them to navigate their recovery is the essence of what an allied health professional is all about. I have had one of those hallelujah moments, reminding me why I do what I do and why the business exists. Not only has clinical work bought me back to my purpose, but it has also bought me closer to my team. It has realigned me with the joys and challenges that our clinicians experience. The mentorship of the team has been more profound as they see me sharing the same experiences, challenges and successes. Importantly, it has also put me back in touch with what our people really want and need from us as clinicians and what our referrers expect.
In my pursuit of building the business, I have become aware that I had forfeited many of the benefits available from a personal, team and business perspective from being at the coalface.
My advice. Do whatever is right for you at the time; however, do not forget why you are doing it. Happiness might be found in places that you least expect it.
Dianna Howell CMgr MIML MAPA