Making changes and choices in life challenge us and forces us to move out of our comfort zone. I wanted to share my own experience when I first started out in my private counselling practice 7 years ago. Initially I tried several locations, but none of them were really suitable. One night, a chance meeting with another new private practitioner changed everything for me. We discovered we had a lot in common. We had read the same book on setting up in private practice and were both interested in being part of a support circle to help with this process I could not believe my luck in meeting her. We found a few more women and began to meet regularly to share resources and support each other. Shortly after she told me she was looking for someone to share her room to help with the rent. I really loved the room and agreed to take it for a few sessions per week. This worked well for a few months and then just a few days before I was due to go on a 2 week holiday, she called me to tell me she had made a major decision about her life and career and was leaving counselling and going into business with her new partner who had persuaded her to join his businessin the corporate area. She was giving up the room at the end of the week and taking all of the furniture with her! She was very apologetic, but said this was what she felt was best for her relationship. I was left with nowhere to see my clients and the task of finding another room quickly or taking over the rent full time.
I had a few sleepless nights as I agonized about this decision. My practice was still getting established and I was not sure if I could build it up to the point of affording the room full time. I asked myself “what if I can’t succeed in attracting enough clients to pay the rent and have to give up? I would feel a failure. On the other hand, I had already tried two other venues which had proved unsatisfactory and I really loved the room and the location. I had dreamed of having my own practice for many years and I felt this was a now or never chance for me. Although I was nervous and somewhat panicked about the need for a quick decision, there was also a sense of excitement as I contemplated working with clients in this calm, attractive environment which would be all mine. A room of my own!
I called the owner of the room and indicated my interest in taking it over. He was pleased not to have to advertise and surprised me by offering a sliding scale of rent over the next 6 months. This sealed it for me. I couln’t believe my luck and somehow felt this was meant to be. Over the next couple of days I arranged for basic furniture to be delivered before I went on leave so that I was able to continue seeing my clients on my return. Gradually I built up the practice and learned a lot about marketing my services, discovering what clients I worked best with and the type of work I really enjoyed.
The above personal experience demonstrates a major change in my career journey which involved a chance meeting, an offer which I accepted, followed by an unexpected choice. Fortunately I was able to recognize a potential disaster as an opportunity and overcome my fear and anxiety. I took a risk and made a choice which over time has led to satisfaction and success for me. I have never regretted my decision and every day I see clients in my room, I think about how lucky I am to be doing what I do.