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I’m a runner.  I’ve had plenty of periods where I don’t run for a while, but I always come back to it, and it’s always for the same reasons. 

Nothing makes me feel quite the same as I do after putting in a 5 miler.  I breathe deeper, get good time alone with my thoughts, feel better during the day, and on and on.  At the same time, nothing is quite as difficult to stay consistent with as running 5 days a week. 

As I was running the other morning, I began thinking about some of my private practice clients, and how in many ways they face a similar challenge.  Just as I always feels good when I’m done running, I’ve found that many private practice owners have the same feeling when they’re “done” with a big project, “done” with the startup phase of their practice and finally have the doors open, and “done” with getting a big bank loan finalized. 

Being “done” always feels good, whether running the streets, or running a practice, but the process of reaching that end goal isn’t always a whole lot of fun.  As much as I love running, it’s not really the feeling of being out of breath, the constant pounding that I feel with each step, or the burning in my legs that makes it worthwhile.  It’s the feeling of accomplishment that is achieved when I put each of those tiny steps, deep breaths, and aches and pains together over a period of months and years to achieve personal accomplishments that can be obtained in no other way.

When I work with a client, I spend a lot of time discussing vision, personality, lifestyle, values, and a lot of other stuff that doesn’t have an immediate tie to the bottom line.  The reason for this is that running a private practice, like a 5am running routine, is only going to be successful if it lasts for a really long time, and the only way to achieve this by tapping in to motivation, experience, and vision.  To do this, I use the same techniques to keep myself running that I do with my private practice clients: Stay focused on the end objective, always be prepared for bad weather, break each session (project) up into bite-sized milestones, enjoy the journey, and don’t go it alone.

I’ve found that when these elements are taken into account along the way, the bottom line usually falls right into place.