5 Things I Learned from Running NEXT

I am at the airport, as we speak, returning from NEXT – the 2-day live retreat + 6 month mastermind that I run with Allison Puryear of Abundance Practice Building.

Even though Allison and I had THIS text exchange:

Here I am writing this blog for you, my sweets!

WHY?! Why, when I am once again flying halfway across the country, after leading two jam-packed days of business extravaganza and getting hot and heavy (I mean, I was sweating – that shit is intense) with 12 bold and inspiring therapists would I choose to spend my first free hours writing blog articles?!


Look, I don’t know about you, but I am constantly blown away by how fucking lucky I am to be right here, in this place, right now.


How did I get here?!

It is an honor and a privilege to be serving you, my upwardly mobile, insightful, slightly awkward and endlessly remarkable therapist who is creating a life for yourself that you once only dreamed was possible. I’m right there with you.

AND, I wanted to share 5 things *I* learned over these past two days while spending time with my dreamy biz buddy, Allison and our 12 awesome NEXTies.

1. I could be so much more efficient.

Picture this, you wake up at the crack of dawn (or, well, close to it) and then you rush off to lead a workshop starting at 7:30 am and ending at 5. You put your heart into it, jumping and leaping, high energy, blood, sweat, tears and then pile into your car to go home fall onto the couch, indulging in your exhaustion, wiping your brow and grabbing a well-deserved Old Fashioned, exclaiming loudly to no one in particular that you couldn’t move one more inch.

That’s what I would normally do.

But, with Allison, we did all that first part and then WENT TO PICK HER TWO BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN UP FROM SCHOOL, and then she proceeded to make dinner for us, play with them – all patience and grace – before reading them stories, soothing their little fuckin’ souls and gently putting them to bed. And yes, I participated in all of this. Somehow.

And from this I learned, I could be so much more efficient with my time! I spend a lot of energy spinning around in circles, padding my days with with pockets of nonsense, putting forth stories of self-care and narratives of being oh so busy. It was incredibly eye-opening to see how present Allison was with her family, even after a day of hard-ass work.

I look forward to noticing where I could optimize my time so I can work smarter, not harder.


2. Getting eyes on your ideas can have a massive impact.

Our NEXTies came in with fabulous ideas. They are therapists in private practice who are excited to scale their businesses by creating new services and products. Even though their ideas were good, by having the courage to invest in help from Allison, myself and 11 other super smart therapists, they were able to REALLY identify what ideas could lead to massive impact for the people they are passionate about serving AND massive increases in their bank accounts.

It is so easy for we therapists to be in our offices, excited about ideas without actually bringing these ideas to consultants who can help us understand the strength and weaknesses of our ideas. By being bold enough to expose your idea to the light and potentially hear that it isn’t the most strategic you might actually be able to take your idea from mediocrity to GREATNESS.


3. Validate, Validate, Validate.

If you’ve spent ANY time with me and your business idea, you’re probably sick of hearing this, but I will say it ad nauseam: No matter how excited YOU are by your idea, you must, Must, MUST validate it before you create it.

The thing that breaks my heart the most is hearing stories of therapists who decide to run an e-course or create a membership site based on what they THINK is a good idea. They come up with an idea, get excited about it, ask a few friends who say – “Yep! Great idea!”, spend days, weeks, MONTHS (time they’ll never get back) creating it and then they put it out into the world and CRICKETS.

You MUST talk to the people who you actually want to buy your product. In fact, it behooves you to have them be SO into the idea that they GIVE YOU MONEY before it’s even created. This is what it means to get validation that the product or service you’re excited about is of value to others. If you really want to be of service, create something that others are willing to buy even before it’s made, that’s how you ensure a successful business endeavor is afoot.


4. Building a great business takes courage.

Man! Spending time with our NEXTies over the past two days reminded me just how much courage it takes to build a great business.

It takes courage to hear the idea you’re excited about may not have legs.

It takes courage to see just how long and winding the road to scaling your practice is and to embark on the journey anyways.

It takes courage to put your self out there and speak openly about your fears and desires – to have more, to be more, to give more.

What a joy to spend so much time with so many therapists who showed me again just what it takes to create massive change.

You aren’t alone. While it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one – isolated in your small office, awash in a sea of therapists who are playing small and often discourage you from playing bigger, you actually aren’t alone.

These past two days reinforced for me and the other NEXTies just how much support there is for therapists like you to create a bigger platform, to become thought leaders and change-makers, to step out of the office and onto the streets – to be bold and empowered to earn more, reach more and change the world in a massive way.

It is easy to keep your passions small for fear that your peers and colleagues will judge you. The harder thing is to put your own anxiety, shame, guilt or envy aside in order to serve a bigger calling, to truly change live. It was inspiring to be in a room full of women who were courageous enough to do just that.


Now it’s your turn: Which of these lessons resonates with you the most?! How can you use it to change how YOU do private practice?

Join the discussion in the comment section below!


  1. Tara Sanderson

    I definitely need to validate more. I am in a bubble and need to keep building my group of professionals who want to grow their business.

    • Tiffany

      Tara! What makes you say so – about the bubble?! What can you do to change the game?

  2. Erica Drewry

    Tiffany, thanks for this fantastic post and your energy. I soaked every bit of it up. I can relate to drawing energy (not vampire like, though) from the people we are helping. Seeing change happen is inspiring and I believe we learn as much from our people as they learn from us. I’ve found myself re-visiting my courage and pumping myself up to just keep taking the steps. It would be easy to wither away and settle for the status quo (the still good status quo). But I declared this mission to 13 special people and I need to get my message out to the world. Thanks, as always, for keeping it real.

    • Tiffany

      YES!!! The status quo is a-okay for some folks, but you – YOU – I have a feeling you’re going to go way beyond that status quo and make a huge impact in peoples’ lives.

      You bring up a great point! It is so easy to wither away – too easy. Any suggestions for how you keep yourself motivated even after the excitement of a new idea or a new group has waned??

      • Erica Drewry

        Thanks for believing in me. That’s a great question. A couple things: sharing it with a group like our mastermind (I don’t like to not follow through on things I say I’ll do), honed flexibility (the right combination of action mixed with revision of the plan to create sustainable change), lastly experience and patience. In other words, dreaming big but holding yourself to the steps it takes to get there. Realistic (I used to hate that word) goals accomplished lead to increased confidence and you’re literally seeing the value created which keeps the process running.

        • Tiffany

          YES! I’m glad you no longer hate the word realistic. 😉

          I am excited to see what you both create!

  3. Jacque

    I am so glad to have met you last week, Tiffany! And this post is speaking to me. I got a chance to meet 13 AMAZING women….man I’m so honored to have been there! This post is well timed and totally true for me as well.

    • Tiffany

      Likewise, Jacque!! I am V.E.R.Y excited about what you are creating. SO needed. You are in exactly the right place and we are all lucky to have you. 🙂

  4. Lindsay Melka

    Thank you Tiffany! I always appreciate raw honesty of any kind. My mom was asking me all about NEXT last night and at then end she said “you have so much energy and excitement in your voice”. This is rare. I’m usually pretty even. But, you and Allison really stoked the fire! The encouragement and support we received are invaluable.

    Side note- I had a dream you were my therapist. And I was happy to pay you $300 an hour. I don’t know what that means, but you’re the psychoanalyst:)

    Thanks again!

    • Tiffany

      Lindsay! I LOOOOOVED having the opportunity to meet you in person. It makes such a huge difference to be able to share real, off-line space with another human being. HA! You are such a cool cat and I am super excited by your vision.

      As for the dream… I’ll just keep my interpretations to myself. That’ll be $300 please. 😉

      I can’t WAIT to see your efforts come to fruition!

  5. Renee Avis

    It was amazing to spend the 2 days with you in Asheville! I came in with one idea I was so set on and quickly learned, at least for now this dream idea needs to be put on hold and to move on to another awesome idea that You helped me to see and gain an vision on how to make it happen. So thank you for all of your time, passion, love, business knowledge and energy!!

  6. Roxanne

    Tiffany, I can definitely relate to the feeling of needing to be more effficient and make time to develop my ideas. I have started with self-care seminars that incorporate yoga, nutrition, meditation, and mindfulness which is something I have always wanted to do. It feels exciting yet scary to put your ideas out there. I am definitely feeling the need to follow my passion to stay motivated.


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About the Author

Hey, I’m Tiffany McLain, LMFT, and I teach you how to charge good money for the good work you do.  I’m the founder of Lean In. MAKE BANK. Academy, a group program that empowers therapists and social workers like you to reimagine your relationship with money, offering the tools and community support to not just earn more but to fundamentally change your life and the lives of those you serve.

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