Wine & Margaritas
I know this blog series has addressed the issue of feeling like a fraud or Imposter Syndrome in the past. However, with my new podcast BEYOND THE SMILE: Real Talk with Real People, I thought I would re-visit the issue so that my blog, podcast, and overall message line up in some sort of way. Ok, so perhaps a brilliant digital marketing person made the suggestion. But it makes sense, right? To clarify, I do not want to talk about the issue to such a degree that I want to change my clinical focus. I am already not a fan of trendy terms, so overusing it may result in some mind-numbing on my end which I tend to avoid when all possible.
This week’s episode was with my good friend, my neighbor, my hide the evidence friend who has been through more with me than she will admit. She is bribed very well. She has volunteered to be my sample family for a national video (that I hid behind the camera during) for a course I was creating, driven me two hours after a heartbreaking relationship end to have closure, and basically has been my local sanity over more bottles of wine in the hot tub or margaritas by the pool. As a result of our relationship, the interview was able to dive into the discussion easier than some other interviews. (Disclaimer: all the interviews have been fabulous with incredible people!). I appreciate my friend immensely even though life has gotten in the way over the past few years that our shenanigans have been less frequent than in the past!
Two issues that we talked about in the interview I want to bring up here were parenting and perfection. Ok, so perfection is my term on her view of progress notes. TEN PAGES. Ten pages. Yes, it was how she was taught and was program-driven, but ten pages. The first few clinical notes that she wrote when she ventured into private practice were painful for her as I “approved” a few paragraphs (in a HIPAA compliant manner). It triggered her desire to make sure that her notes were “perfect” not from a grammar perspective, but to ensure all required details are there for the insurance, for the historical context, and for liability purposes. She has mellowed out, but I know it is still a concern at times.
As clinicians, we are excellent at empowering clients to decrease the pressure that they place on themself that is within their control. But yet we walk the line of wanting perfect clinical notes, perfect court reports (ok, that is totally a me thing!), and/or perfect assessments. With some of the clinicians I work with, procrastination kicks in to avoid the “fear” of not completing a report or note in a way that meets their standards. Or even that they are completely overwhelmed with getting all of the information together. Sound familiar at all? I will write it when I have the time to focus and have it be complete, articulate, and meeting their standards. Before they realize it, the report is late or the notes have piled up. Yes, we need to have accurate clinical notes and professionally written clinical reports in a timely fashion. But they do not need to be perfect or novels. They need to reflect the information that is related to the work that you did. No pressure needed. My guess is that if you let go of the pressure of having it be “perfect” or “highly educated”, you will have way more energy to complete them in a more productive way – even with time left over to have a short break!
The second issue is one that hits closer to home and one that I think many of us face which is parenting. Can I say that parenting can be overrated at times? Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter more than anything.
But parenting an adult child in between being a kid and being completely independent can be exhausting!
Katie & I have spent many evenings laughing, crying, venting, and offering advice on how to survive this thing called parenting. However, we both go back into our workday being able to show up, be strong and walk through the tough times with those that we interact with. All with a smile on our face. Our expectations of self tends to not align with the reality of what it is like to be human.
Is that wrong? Nope. That is what we do as clinicians. That is called professional boundaries and it is a good thing. Where the disconnect shows up is when we have those late nights and I catch myself saying “how can I help everyone else but my own kid”?
We may have all the letters behind our name or have read all the parenting books that have been written but we are still human. Human to make mistakes and lose our cool as parents (or perhaps that is just my pattern…). But our kids are human too. They get to make smart choices and not-so-smart choices. They get to learn from their mistakes and have just as many teachable moments as I did growing up.
Just because you are a teacher or a therapist or a pastor or a physician does not mean you get the free pass on troubles at home. Trust me, I have looked for it. Still have yet to find it. I am blessed to have an amazing neighbor to employ healthy coping skills (we do take walks to talk too!) along with the wine, as well as a rockstar friend group speckled all over the country. I am more than aware that not everyone has that honor.
But you are not alone in your struggles and what you feel is normal. Sometimes supports need to be formal in the venue of a therapist or a coach to give you the empowerment to make the changes that you know at your core you want to make.
If you need help working embracing who you are as a human, as well as a professional – let’s chat! I provide online therapy in Ohio, Tennessee, Florida, California, and Pennsylvania. (and soon Texas!) I’m proud to offer online therapy for helping professionals, online therapy for busy professionals, and Therapy for Therapists™. I specialize in treating imposter syndrome, burnout, and anxiety using The Daring Way™ and offer online workshops to clients who want to overcome shame. Contact me today and let’s be rockstars together!
As always, take care of you and know that you are not alone –
**To hear the entire interview, you can click on the promo picture above or by clicking HERE**