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[00:00:00] Hello, everyone. Welcome to The Testing Psychologist podcast, the podcast where we talk all about the business and practice of psychological and neuropsychological assessment. I’m your host, Dr. Jeremy Sharp, licensed psychologist, group practice owner, and private practice coach.

This episode is brought to you by PAR. PAR has recently released the Feifer Assessment of Childhood Trauma or the FACT, the first and only comprehensive instrument measuring how stress and trauma can impact children in a school-based setting. You can learn more or purchase the FACT Teacher Form by visiting parinc.com\fact_teacher.

Hey y’all, welcome back to the final episode in the Holiday Hopes series. If you haven’t caught the previous six Holiday Hopes, episodes, definitely go back and check those out. You don’t have to listen to the whole series by any means, but the intent behind this series which is [00:01:00] wrapping up today, was to give you short little bites of information, small pieces, small elements of your practice that you can change for the new year with the hope that if you change 1 or 2 or 3, or gosh, even 6 or 7 of them, you would have a pretty different and hopefully more enjoyable practice by the new year. All in good time though. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. You can take this one by one at the pace that you see fit.

So today is the last episode. Today, I’m going to be talking about celebrations and incorporating celebrations into your work life. This is something that often gets ignored, something that can completely fall by the wayside. And just a small example of that actually happens pretty much every holiday season for [00:02:00] me, where I don’t block off the amount of time that I want to take off over the holidays and I’ll often end up with a few things scheduled when I really don’t want things to be scheduled.

So, it’s not celebrating per se, but it is all in the vein of putting work first rather than downtime and rejuvenation and so forth. So if that happened to any of you this year, know that you’re not alone and maybe this podcast is for you.

So by the time, let’s see, when this comes out, I think there will be one spot left in both my beginner practice group and my advanced practice group. Those are both starting Mid-January or early February. So if you are in that beginner phase or the advanced phase, the two ends of the spectrum, there is a group for [00:03:00] you: group accountability, coaching, other psychologists who specialize in testing and want to level up their practices. If that sounds like the place for you, then check it out at thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting and book a pre-group call to figure out if it is indeed the right fit right now. And if not, I’ll help you figure out what might be.

Okay. Let’s get to the conversation about incorporating more celebrations in your life.

All right. Again, today we are just talking about how to celebrate a little bit more. I am a firm believer in celebrating for many reasons. When I was growing up, I loved [00:04:00] birthdays. I continue to love birthdays and other means of celebrating. I love celebrating other people and their accomplishments. I love celebrating my own accomplishments, but it can be really hard to do that for many of us.

There are some reasons that go into that, of course, but I think one of them is that a lot of us are pretty goal-directed. In fact, most of our academic careers have been certainly goal-directed. I mean, there’s middle school, there’s high school, there’s getting into college, there’s graduating college, there’s maybe finishing an undergrad thesis, there’s getting into grad school, there’s finishing another thesis, there’s finishing a dissertation, there is a doing your internship, there’s graduating, there’s taking the licensing exam.

There are many [00:05:00] goal lines so to speak along the way that we could celebrate, but the problem is that for many of us, we have about 30 years maybe more of continually striving for a goal-line only to see that goal-line get pushed back again. For those of us who’ve gone through doctoral education, there are many, many goal lines and there’s always something out there to do beyond whatever goal you just reached. So, psychologically, it can feel hard to stop and actually celebrate the smaller or even larger milestones along the way. And so, we get into this pattern of just pushing and never stepping back and celebrating because of that belief that there is always more. We haven’t quite reached where we want to go.

So, one theme here is shifting your mindset [00:06:00] just a little bit into saying that you don’t have to wait until a huge milestone to celebrate. You can make little small celebrations along the way, as well as making time for the big celebrations. That story has certainly been true for me across the course of my life and with the practice and consulting and so forth. If that resonates with you again, you are not alone.

Let’s talk about how to do more celebrating in your life. How do we do this?

The short story is that you simply make time to do it. The second half of that, the longer story is that you give yourself permission to do it. I think the permission is the hardest part.

I know for me, if I stopped to celebrate, there’s this voice inside that [00:07:00] says don’t back off, don’t take your foot off the gas pedal because there’s still much more to go. You could still do more. There’s still more to accomplish. And somehow, I have conflated this idea of stopping to celebrate as if it would… It’s like making a concession myself that I’m going to stop working as hard or that I’ve told myself that I have done enough. It’s okay that I’m going to just rest forever and never get back to being more ambitious. And the truth of that is that it’s simply not true, at least for me.

So, a big part of this is just giving yourself permission to celebrate and know that it does not take anything away from your accomplishments and that celebrating doesn’t mean that you have lost your ambition or that you’re [00:08:00] conceding reaching your goals or that you’re going to back off and lose your edge or anything like that.

So, the first component is maybe just, like I said, to give yourself permission to celebrate from an emotional standpoint. Once you have that in place, then the practical piece falls into place a little easier. So the practical things really just get to the scheduling and figuring out what you would like to celebrate. I like to do small celebrations on a weekly or even daily basis sometimes.

Maybe you’re saying, well, what am I going to celebrate? I’m just working each day. Well, you can celebrate finishing a report. You can celebrate finishing a section of a report. You can celebrate [00:09:00] making it through the week and accomplishing whatever goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the week. If you’re not setting goals for yourself at the beginning of the week, I recommend that you jump into that. I have an episode on journaling for productivity that addresses some of those ideas. So if you’re not doing that, then definitely consider starting.

Giving yourself some milestones along the way to celebrate is as important. Often that means writing things down and making sure that you know what you’re working toward, but celebrations can happen any time. You can celebrate the fact that it’s sunny outside or that you got an extra referral or you were booked for a speaking gig or whatever it might be. [00:10:00] It could be anything.

I like weekly celebrations. I like monthly celebrations. And then I like the idea of having larger goals that are also paired with time to celebrate. So, for many of us in private practice, that might be an income goal. It might be a savings goal. It might be a certain number of clinicians that we’ve hired. It might be a profit margin. It can be any number of things that you want to celebrate. It might be a certain number of families helped during the year.

I just want to get your wheels turning about some of these bigger celebrations that you might be able to engage in and you can schedule them. I like to schedule them regularly. So, you can weave celebration into an annual retreat, for example, or a quarterly [00:11:00] retreat. It’s really a nice way to cap off a think week if you have gotten into that habit. So, just start to wrap your mind around the idea of celebrating a little bit more.

You might even start by just making a simple little list of daily, weekly, and annual accomplishments that you would like to be able to celebrate. Once you have those, then those give you north stars to work toward so that you know when you’re allowed to celebrate.

Let’s take a quick break to hear from our featured partner.

Kids are experiencing trauma like never before. How can you figure out whether they’ve been affected and how it impacts their behavior and performance at school?

The Feifer Assessment of Childhood Trauma or the FACT is the first and only comprehensive instrument measuring how stress and trauma can impact children in a school-based setting. The FACT teacher form solicits the teacher’s perspective on the performance and behavior of children ages 4 to 18 years. It takes just 15 seconds to administer. The available e-manual gives you detailed administration and scoring instructions. You can learn more or purchase the FACT teacher form by visiting parinc.com\fact_teacher.

All right, let’s get back to the podcast.

Celebrations look differently for different people. This might be buying yourself that really expensive bottle of wine or champagne or Bourbon or whatever it might be. It could be taking yourself on a trip. It could be booking a massage. It could be buying yourself a little treat. It could be buying yourself a big [00:13:00] treat. It’s any number of things. It could be taking your family on vacation.

So, that’s the exercise here. If you just sit down with a piece of paper or a document and create one column of events to celebrate or milestones to celebrate this year and another column that you can use to pair those events with specific means of celebrating, then the final component is to actually get onto your calendar and block off the time to do those things if time is indeed a factor in keeping you accountable to celebrate.

That’s it. That’s pretty straightforward, but this is an idea that has been, Gosh, it has been running around in my mind for a while, and it’s been a challenge over the years. Like I said, if you are used to striving, [00:14:00] it is hard to dial it back and rest and give yourself time to actually celebrate some of these successes.

And if you can’t think of anything, ask those close to you. Ask your partner. Ask your friends. Ask your family. They might be able to help you with ways to celebrate and things that you can celebrate because we’re not always experts on ourselves. 

I hope that was helpful. I will be engaged in a nice reflective exercise here as we start the new year looking at, of course, my schedule and the things that are happening in my life. I hope that some of y’all are doing the same. And again, this is a nice exercise to wrap into that process as you think ahead and look toward what this year might look like for you.

Like I [00:15:00] mentioned at the beginning of the episode, if you are a beginner practice owner or advanced practice owner, and you would like some group coaching and accountability to toss ideas around, have some homework, set some goals to get your practice to the next stage, I’d love to help you out with that. You can book a pre-group call at thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting, and we’ll see if it’s a good fit.

All right, y’all, thanks for listening to the Holiday Hopes series. I hope that it has been helpful. You can go back and check out the other episodes if you’d like. If you take one or two of these ideas and put them into place, the hope is that they will make a noticeable difference in your practice.

So as always, stay in touch. Let me know what you’re working on, what you’re thinking about, what you think of the podcast. And [00:16:00] I will talk to you next time as always.

The information contained in this podcast and on The Testing Psychologist website is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this podcast or on the website is intended to be a substitute for professional, psychological, psychiatric, or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Please note that no doctor-patient relationship is formed here, and similarly, no supervisory or consultative relationship is formed between the host or guests of this podcast and listeners of this podcast. If you need the qualified advice of any mental health practitioner or medical provider, please seek one in your area. Similarly, if you need supervision on clinical matters, please find a supervisor with expertise that fits your needs.

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