What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

The first time I remember seeing the quote What would you do if you knew you could not fail? on a sticky note in an academic setting, I immediately had an answer: start a private practice.  It was as though I didn’t even take a breath and the answer was right there. Startling, really, how quickly that answer popped up for me. Obviously, I took that thought seriously and took action, but not everyone can. And the accompanying anxiety is real!

Let’s start with the first part of the question: what would you do…that is a HUGE question that can feel anxiety producing and overwhelming very quicky. I have posed this question many times in therapy, and then watched anxiety rise toward panic for folks. 

  • Pro tip: maybe start with a massive list, larger than you think you can manage in a lifetime, and include some simple things: dusting off a resume, applying for jobs, planting one plant in your new garden.  Then add some scary stuff: become CEO, buy a house, retire early, etc.
  • To manage that anxiety, consider writing a list (ha!), sharing the occasional (scary!) idea with a friend, and agreeing to a “challenge” with friends…who can challenge themselves with one tiny thing?

Secondly, what is this not fail bit? Failure is how we learn! Embrace the failure.  Failure is timely feedback to revise our plans, but not necessarily our dreams.

What did I do?  Naturally, I panicked, suddenly realizing how much I disliked my employment situation and how much I wanted to have my own practice. Once I could breathe again, I tackled this problem like anyone else:

  • I read books, talked with psychologists with practices, panicked some more, and then got to work. 
  • I found an office to share with an office mate (cheers to you, Andrea, and our 13!! years together!!). 
  • I tried a business model, made some changes as the market changed and as my needs changed. I continue to make changes to both my practice and my life, particularly as needs change.
  • We are on our 3rd office, reflecting the changing needs along the way! See this post to see how many people shared this dream!
  • Finally, I seek future practice owners who have a similar dream, and try to pay forward the support I received so many years ago. More changes are coming…stay tuned????

Back to you: what would you like to do??

All props to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt for the quote, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”

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