What I Learned in Joe Sanok’s Living Room
This year I had the opportunity to participate in Joe Sanok’s “Next Level Living Room,” a two-day intensive practice-building workshop, through Practice of the Practice. This trip was my birthday gift to myself – I turned 70 while I was there!
I flew to Traverse City, Michigan, where our sessions were held in Joe’s comfortable living room. Together with six other practice owners, we spent two days working on our practices.
Our days were well-planned, with a range of activities designed to keep us moving forward, making connections, digging deep, setting goals and working on them, while having fun and getting to know each other at the same time.
In reflecting on my most important take-aways, three things I learned that rise to the surface are the Why, How, and Who of my practice.
Let me explain.
Why do I do what I do?
I have not one Why, but two reasons I chose to spend my retirement years starting a group practice:
- For My Ideal Clients
The clients I love to work with are late-diagnosed autistic people who have been masking for years, and are finally realizing they might be autistic. It can be difficult for them, especially the women, trans, and nonbinary folk, to get an appropriate assessment that looks behind the mask to find the truth. It means a lot to me to be able to offer them a neurodiversity-affirmative assessment. It’s also especially important to me to hire autistic clinicians who can really understand our clients. Because there are so few practices that specialize in serving difficult-to-diagnose adults who have successfully camouflaged their autistic features, it is vital that my practice continues to grow and serve our ideal clients where they live, anywhere in the United States of America.
- For My Family
As the mom of 3 adult disabled children, I have a dream to create a village where we can all live. I’d love to build little homes where my children and I can be near each other as neighbors, allowing them the autonomy of living independently, combined with the safety of having family nearby if support is needed. To achieve this dream, I need to make sure my practice is profitable, not only for my employees and our clients, but also for my family.
How Do I Help My Practice Grow?
Between activities designed to wake us up, slow us down, and dig deep into our next, most important task, we had several 20-minute “Sprints,” where we worked hard on a particular task to advance our practices. We also each had a turn in the “Hot Seat” while Joe helped us figure out what’s important, and stretch our ideas of what’s possible. This was so valuable!
Which ‘Who’ Gets Left Out?
When I think about the Who of my practice, who’s important, whose needs are prioritized, and who gets the lion’s share of my time or attention, I used to think I knew who the important Whos were. My family. My employees. Our clients. These were core.
But, in Joe Sanok’s living room I was reminded that there was another Who, more important even that these: Me. I was the Who left out when I allocated time and attention to what I thought mattered. I needed to make my own self-care a high priority instead of an afterthought. Because, at the end of the day, if I burn out, then my kids, my employees, and my clients will all suffer. If my family and our practice is on a journey together, then I’m the ship that carries us all. If I spring a leak, everybody goes down. That’s why I’m spending more time now doing things just because I enjoy them, not for practical or profitable reasons. You might find me at a movie matinee some Monday, or reading a cozy mystery instead of a business book, or playing my penny tin-whistle or whale-shaped ocarina, badly but joyfully. I’ll still get the books written and the practice will keep growing even if I’m not working 24/7.
We’ll all be okay.
And that was the most important thing I learned in Joe Sanok’s living room.
Thank you, Joe!