I have a friend who gives WAY too many fucks (you know who you are). In fact, his intellect knows that he gives too many fucks. He even sent me this article by Mark Manson that is all about giving less fucks. #sogood
Here’s the thing, therapists give a whole bunch of fucks – waaaay too many fucks – about way too many things.
If I raise my fee, I will be depriving all mankind of their right to great mental health services!
If I remind my client about their past due payment, it will stir up their attachment issues and it will be all my faaaaault!
If I enforce my late cancellation policy, my clients will think I’m a greedy bastard and They. Will. QUIT.
And then all my other clients will quit at the same time, too, because Mercury’s in Retrograde (and I never deserved it anyway) and then I’ll never be able to pay off this insane student loan debt that I accrued because I saw all my clients on a sliding scale because I wanted to make mental health affordable and then I didn’t ask for their payments at the end of the session because #attachmentissues and now I will be impoverished forever and have to shop at Ikeaaaaaa!
Hold the phone, there, pad’nah.
We therapists give too many fucks. And then we catastrophize about the fucks we don’t give, imagining that not giving a fuck makes us bad and if we’re bad we deserve to be punished and on and on.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t think about the implications of your policies and procedures. What I am saying is that making business decisions based on anxiety and fear doesn’t help anyone – not you, not your clients.
Giving less fucks actually allows you to hone in and focus on what – specifically – the problem is. When you’re stressing about the air quality and the impending nuclear war and the latest abuse scandal, chances are, you’re not being a productive member of society. Giving a million fucks isn’t actually creating change.
I hear a lot of therapists lament, “If I raise my fees, I’m taking away from someone who needs my help. “
And yet – even as these words are falling from said therapists lips, they are up to their ears in debt, suffering back pain, unable to find time to get to the gym and haven’t taken a vacation in months for fear of losing out on the income.
You can’t help anyone if you’re all broke down and miserable.
Let me say that again: You can’t help anyone if you’re all broke down and miserable.
It is essential that you start with identifying your needs and then creating clear boundaries to make sure you’re taken care of consistently in order to really show up and actually give fucks in a way that creates change.
Here’s how you know your fuck-giving is ineffective:
- You accidentally lose minutes or hours each day reading the news.
- You often find yourself in conversations about the latest school shooting, #metoo scandal or Trump nonsense but you’re not actually taking consistent, strategic action to change social policy.
- You can’t wait for Friday because your day-to-day feels pretty miserable.
- You often feel scattered and disorganized, unable to set a deadline and actually follow a project/idea through to the end.
- You talk ad nauseam about creating social justice, yet you find yourself feeling critical or envious of peers who are thriving – creating profitable practices, taking great vacations and taking care of themselves.
- You see way too many clients or not enough clients, but either way you feel exhausted and overwhelmed, mostly feeling like you’re never earning enough to get past survival mode.
So, how do you go from ineffective fuck-giving to effective fuck-giving?! Even though you might equate this with greedy capitalist pig-talk, the truth is this: If you don’t know how to create clear boundaries, follow through effectively and create an abundance in your own life, you will not be able to help others do the same.
In order to create change in a bigger way, to impact more people, you’ve got to understand how to do it in your own life first.
For example, by getting my shit together (and trust me, it wasn’t easy), I was able to move beyond serving a handful of folks in my private practice to serving thousands of therapists via heytiffany. I was able to donate happily to the Aids LifeCycle race. I was easily able to buy a coffee and pastry for a woman who forgot her wallet at home. I am able to continue to work with clients on a sliding scale. I am comfortably able to pay down my students loans, while also creating a financial safety cushion. I am able to help therapists figure out how to earn more while giving back.
But in order to do all of this, I had to get off the treadmill of complaining about the state of the world, getting riled up about the latest problem, and lamenting how poor I am and how unfair it is that the 1% get everything while all the rest of us suffer. I had to start by taking responsibility for where I am right now and giving a fuck about getting myself in a different place.