Why you should stop giving so many fucks

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.

It’s true!

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.

So, what about you? What are areas where you’re giving way too many fucks without actually contributing consistently and strategically to solve the problem? What can you do differently?


  1. Lindsay

    On point. I stopped listening to NPR 2 months ago and I don’t miss it. Because you’re right. Listening to all the terrible shit going on in the world is meaningless unless I do something about it. I give back by being a therapist. And I charge a decent rate because I’m tired. I’m tired. And I want to be awake! I want to see the world and go to the gym. And I do. And I’m paying my ginormous student loan debt down in chunks- because of you!! Thanks for giving a fuck for all of us therapists who wanted to give less fucks😉

    • Tiffany

      I love this passion! I love THIS ==> “And I want to be awake”

      yes, Yes, YES! You have flipped me inside out and exposed exactly what it is we are trying to do here. So many therapists are asleep, miserable, going through the motions of life without living. Let’s shake that shiz up.

      I am currently reading Shawn Achor’s book ‘Before Happiness’ and he talks about cutting out just 5% of the noise (those things that make us anxious, riled up, yet that we have no intention of taking immediate action on) as a way to increase capacity for positive change. You’re right on point, Lindsay!

  2. Zoey

    Sooo good! I’m feeling like I need to read this every day along with my other mantras! Also, I was thinking about surrounding yourself with people who are also committed to not giving any fucks and wonder woman-ing the shit out of those who give too many fucks as to guard your energy. Thanks, as well, for how fucking bad ass you are and how it challenges me and grows me!

    • Tiffany

      YES! Surround yourself with fewer fuck-giving-folks. It is hard enough to keep your mind focused on creating impact and doing good as it is, then add in a cohort of folks who go on a tear with every new political revelation and it becomes almost impossible to fight the urge. Surround yourself with a community who encourages taking consistent, disciplined action, while keeping the ultimate vision in mind and do your best to avoid individuals who are constantly getting distracted by each new irritation to the detriment of themselves, you and the world.

  3. Naomi Boothe

    Sing the DILLIGAF song.”Do I Look Like I Give A Fucj” 😂 on a more serious note, the tools of Access Consciousness have been a life saver for me! Who does this belong too? If it’s not mine, return to sender! And getting my Bars run!
    But I can second the procrastination issue still!!

  4. Shandra

    Love it. Love it, love it! I am feeling better and more relaxed already. Liberating article.

    • Tiffany

      I’m so glad to hear it, Shandra! Be FREE!

  5. Sandra

    Great article! Now can you please do one about avoidance and procrastination on necessary business tasks because of paralysis secondary to giving too many (or too few) fucks?

    • Tiffany

      Heh. Do go on, Sandra… I’d love to know what YOUR observations about this struggle are.

      • Sandra

        Oh, just that I fall easily into a well-trodden downward spiral of I need to know everything/do everything right and so I end up giving up and doing nothing (more on the business end than the therapy end). I guess what prevents this on the therapy end is my conviction that the client is the expert and my knowledge that I’m NOT is (counter-intuitively) an asset which allows humility and creativity/experimentation.

        I find it easy to have humility on the business end and to lean on my consult group/accountant/lawyer or whatever, and being creative when envisioning my practice is a piece of cake. But then I get terrified about getting into trouble by doing something wrong when I’m doing the detail-work (because I can only afford so many legal consults and HIPPAA is Impossibly complicated) or just get bored by the bookkeeping stuff and I fall behind and then I just don’t do anything. It’s hard to find my energy down there alone in the weeds.

        • Tiffany

          Interesting dilemma and I bet you’re not alone with it! In fact, I hear regularly from therapists who get caught up in the weeds and freak out. I invite you to think of the “weeds” or those pesky details as one more fuck that you don’t have to give. Simply accept they are the costs of doing business and refuse to waste anymore time fretting about not wanting to do these tasks – OR hire them out and stop giving a fuck about the costs. Just earn more!

  6. Sarah Kate

    I give way too many fucks about if I’ve read everything, know enough & could be doing better. Whatever that means.

    • Tiffany

      Sarah Kate – you have officially given enough fucks. I hereby decree you forever released from giving any more for the next 3 years. Go forth and start making shit happen!

  7. Renee Avis

    I love your writing in this article! I was laughing out loud when I first began reading it and I could totally hear you saying all of these things!;) Thank you for the reminder of giving way too many fucks about fees in my PP. I feel like I am getting my shit together and it is a boat load of work that I must do every week. And because I am getting my shit together I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel that I am very excited to see. And YOU are a very big part of the process of helping me get my future together and moving in the direction I want it to go!!

    • Tiffany

      Thank you for sharing, Renee!! It is such an inspiration to so many therapists out there who have yet to see the light at the end and, therefore, continue toiling away, repeating patterns that are no good for them or ANYONE. Keep on busting through – YOU are a light for tons of people. Keep on shining, woman. 🙂

  8. John Harrison

    You dropped the hammer on this one! Might be my favorite one of your posts to date. Keep talking the truth.

    • Tiffany

      JOHN! HA! Methinks we have this giving too many fucks idea in common. 🙂

  9. Melinda

    LOVE this Tiffany! What a great reminder of the impacts our fears have on our abilities to DO the thing. Take away: our fears show up as giving too many fucks.

    • Tiffany

      Holy Mackerel, Melinda! Definitely. Fear is stealthy son of a gun that likes to disguise itself in ALL *kinds* of cloaks.

  10. Scott

    This post came about two minutes (literally) after I hung up from a call giving someone a discount rate, immediately followed by a referral that I had told previously I would give a discount to. Now I am sitting here ready to throw my computer out the fu#$ing window because, once again, I gave too ‘big a fuck’ cloaked in caring and “the right thing to do”. I read all your stuff. I have a rapidly growing practice and getting full fee most of the time but I am not holding to my boundaries and that’s a problem.
    Sorry to be using this as a way to journal my anger but you hit the nail on the head for me. Time to get clear on what I am in this business for and get my boundaries tightened.
    You are amazing!
    Thanks for all you do!!

    • Tiffany

      YES SCOTT! I love this fu#%ing frustration! This will compel you to create a strategy and Stick to That SHIZ! You can do it, especially given that your practice is thriving and you get a lot of full fee referrals.

      Let me ask you this, do you have a handful of therapists you trust who take sliding scale or have a lower fee? If not, gather some. Every time someone calls wanting a sliding scale, you will be making EVERYONE happy by having a great therapist to refer them to!


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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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