One of the common questions I got asked regarding practice ownership at the seminar this weekend was around dealing with the stress and anxiety during the period leading upto opening or buying your first practice. It seems many potential owners were concerned because their friends experienced a great deal of angst in the transition to ownership and they want to know how to avoid a similar experience.

Because my first practice was such a long time ago, I generally find it difficult to relate however I will offer a few insights here…

1) quantify the worst case scenario and the best case scenario.
Basically – what is the worst that could happen with regards to this particular possible issue? What’s the best case? Once you have quantified these things, you will often find that the worst case, even if it does happen, is really not that big a deal. I use this strategy almost daily in business. If something for me isn’t above a certain dollar amount (many things in business can be broken down to this) then I don’t even let it occupy space in my mind. Often I see practice owners, even experienced ones, get caught up in worrying about something that is going to cost them, at worst a couple of hundred bucks. Do this for every problem you encounter and it’s no wonder you will go mad with worry. Don’t sweat the small stuff!

2) assign an accurate probability to the chance of each outcome of a particular problem
Often the chance of a really bad outcome is tiny but our brain focuses on that. The result is that, in the unlikely chance it comes true, we have made it worse by worrying about it for days. In the more likely scenario that it doesn’t even occur, we have worried about it for days for no real reason.

3) understand that there are some things that are beyond your control.
Do not worry about decisions you have no control over. Go work on a task that you have control over and occupy your mind. Keep busy. Don’t worry about if that particular piece of equipment will get delivered on time – focus on what you need to do in the here and now.

4) talk to friends and collegues who see the glass as half full.
Many people complain about everything. Don’t surround yourself with people that constantly talk about how difficult it is to start or buy a practice and all the problems you will encounter etc. It’s been said that you are the average sum of your 5 closest friends – you can’t fly with eagle if you keep walking with turkeys!

5) build an awesome team around you.
Work with people you trust and who are good at their job. This will help lower a lot of stress associated with the transition to ownership.

Lastly, ponder this:
“Stress is putting too much emphasis on things that don’t matter while failure is not putting enough emphasis on things that do matter”

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