300 Transcript

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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.

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Hello everyone, and welcome to the 300th episode of The Testing Psychologist podcast. I cannot believe that I’m saying that. It’s completely nuts. 300 episodes. Let’s dive in and talk about what the past few years have been like.

[00:01:00] All right, y’all. Here we are. Episode 300 of The Testing Psychologist podcast. I can’t believe that. That is remarkable.

As we get going, I want to provide a little bit of context. These milestones are always exciting for me. As y’all know, I tend to do reflecting at different points in the year; the year-end episodes are always great; when I hit certain download thresholds, that’s always nice.

These milestones are exciting, but this one was interesting to me. There was more power to 300 episodes than I thought there would be. Downloads are typically a compelling way to measure [00:02:00] podcast success, but for me this time, the number of episodes is a more accurate measure of the journey involved with podcasting as far as I’m concerned.

That got me thinking about the longevity and the endurance of what started out as a complete leap, something that I had no idea where it was going to go.

For me, that’s a different approach to life. I typically like to be fairly controlled and if I’m taking a leap, I usually have some kind of at least rudimentary actuarial chart or spreadsheet or something to predict where it’s going to go, what it’s going to do, and why I’m doing it. And that was not the case with the podcast. This was one of the projects in my [00:03:00] life that I guess you could say started as more of a hobby than anything, right? Isn’t that the definition? A hobby is work that you don’t get paid for, something like that.

I had no inclinations of this turning into any sort of business or income stream or major facet of my life. And for me to engage that kind of effort for an ambiguous outcome is pretty rare, just with my personality. So, to me, sitting here and looking at 300 episodes is a mind-bender.

I know there are tons of podcasts out there with way more episodes, right? There are some folks out there who are upwards of 1500, 2000. I don’t even know. The Moth has been around. Macmillan. There are lots of podcasts with tons more episodes. [00:04:00] I looked it up for a presentation I did about a year ago. At least back then, the average run for a podcast is somewhere between 30 and 40 episodes.

So even for me, a perpetual down player of my efforts, outcomes, and so forth can recognize that this is a little bit of an outlier, at least in this world to have this many episodes. I am admittedly proud of that. Even saying that is very strange. I’m worried about everyone judging me for it, but I’m going to throw it out there.

So rather than sharing current numbers of downloads and all that sort of thing, I find that it would be interesting to, interesting for me anyway, to go back and look at the [00:05:00] beginning, like, what did my life look like when I started this podcast. There are so many differences, as I would hope there would be, but it was startling to compare January 2017 to June 2020.

Here are some random facts about my life when I started this podcast. Like I said, it was January 2017. Prior to that, I’d been doing business coaching for two or three months with Joe Sanok from Practice of the Practice. He convinced me to start a podcast somehow. I had been preparing, and recording episodes. I was ready to start releasing in January of 2017.

Here’s what was going on at that point.

My clinical practice was nuts. I was doing [00:06:00] 16 to 20 comprehensive evals a month. These are not two-hour disability evals. I was doing 16 to 20, 12 to 15-hour evaluations every month.

I went back and looked at my calendar and TherapyNotes for this time period, and my jaw honestly hit the floor. I can not believe that I was doing that kind of work. I don’t know how I was doing that much work.

When I look at the calendar, that was back in the time when I was doing a strict on-week and off-week schedule. Those of you who’ve listened to the podcast for a long time have heard me talk about this, where back then I would dedicate an entire week to only doing face-to-face clinical work. So this was interviews, feedback, testing appointments, [00:07:00] school observations, anything face-to-face. And then I would take the entire next week “off” to write reports and do administrative work. So no face-to-face time.

Looking at the calendar for those “on-weeks” it was just crazy. It’s crazy doing 6 to 8… No, is that right? 8 to 10. Sorry. Gosh. Yeah, 7, 8, 9, 10. 2-hour intakes every week. I was doing 6 to 8 feedbacks a week and testing appointments, of course. So, it was wild. Vastly different than what I’m doing now.

At this point, I am doing different types of evals. I still do 1 to 2 comprehensive evaluations a month, but I’ve started to add in two other briefer evaluations. So still doing the clinical work [00:08:00] because I love it, but back then, that was certainly the peak of my business.

As far as the practice, I had one administrative employee. I think he was full-time at that point, maybe not, might’ve been only 20 hours a week, but I had one administrative employee answering phones, doing billing, and scheduling. I had three licensed clinical employees and it was nice to reflect on that because two of them are still here and one of them I am still super close with. She left after a few years and started a practice here in town and is doing well. So great relationships with them. Two of them are still here. And I had two psychometrists who were helping me with the testing load. So that certainly helped a lot with those 16 evaluations a month. [00:09:00] I wasn’t doing all of the face-to-face testing by any means.

So again, contrast that to where we’re at now, which is my goodness, I’ve lost track, probably 7 or 8 full-time admin staff, maybe well doing the math, probably 30 to 35 clinicians, 5 or 6 psychometrists. Those numbers have grown, certainly.

I honestly look back at the calendar and it was absolutely crazy and packed. And there was a closeness among our small little group back then that I do miss. I do miss that.

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

As far as practice revenue, let me see, practice revenue for the year prior to February 1st, 2017, so the 365 days leading up to that date was $328, 000, which is not bad. It’s not bad. It’s funny back then, I had totally forgotten about the income numbers. I wasn’t tracking it as closely back then. So to look back and actually see that was really interesting. So, practice revenue down around $328,000. [00:11:00] That has obviously increased over the years as we’ve added staff.

Let’s see, lifestyle-wise, Oh, this is where it gets tough. My kids were only 4 and 6 at that point. They weren’t both in school. They hadn’t started kindergarten. One of them hadn’t. My wife was still employed full-time at our local university. She is also a therapist, as I mentioned, and she has since gone into private practice. It just feels like she’s been in private practice forever, but she was still employed full-time at the university at that point.

And maybe even more importantly, or poignantly, I had not yet turned 40 at that point. I was still a few years away. So, it feels like a big threshold to cross since then. It’s funny to look back and just compare and contrast what my life is like.

[00:12:00] One of the reasons that I pursued business coaching way back then was to try to get my life under control. I was in that place that a lot of my intermediate practice folks and mainly advanced practice folks come in where they’re super busy, they maybe have an employer or two or three but they’re working all the time, and systems were not totally dialed in, and it just felt totally overwhelming.

One of my goals with pursuing business coaching back then was to get my life under control. And since then, it’s very nice to reflect and say that I feel like my life is under control. My work life anyway. As the kids have gotten older, they get a lot more unpredictable and it turns out they have personalities, thoughts, and opinions that I have to consider. But businesswise, [00:13:00] I think my life is under control. I’m absolutely not working nearly as much.

I feel like I have the flexibility that I want and love the team that we’ve built here.

Now, let’s get to some actual reflections and thoughts about the podcasting process.

Well, I always start with gratitude and today is not going to be any different.

So huge thanks to so many people. The listeners, of course. Thank you all so much for continuing to listen to The Testing Psychologist podcast and provide those ratings and reviews on all the podcast platforms to make it worth it for my sponsors. I really cannot say enough thanks to all of you who listen, spread the word, and bring more folks to the podcast. That is so meaningful. 

I have a [00:14:00] huge thanks to my two virtual assistants, Laura and Dyphnah. They keep this thing running. Laura does the bulk of the editing on the podcast, the releasing, the show notes, and all of that stuff. She makes my job really easy. I have so much gratitude for her. Dyphnah is running things on the back end of the Facebook group. She handles a lot of managing of Facebook group admissions and invites and requests and my email lists and all that kind of thing. I’m super grateful for them.

Relatedly, my Facebook group moderating team is a group of rock stars. You all probably know them if you’re in the Facebook group: Claudia, Chris, Laura, and Andres. We have such a nice group of reasonable folks. We can challenge one another. We can [00:15:00] make hard decisions. We can support one another. I’m super grateful as always for them because otherwise, the Facebook Group would just be a handful. It’s been so nice to have their support over the past few years.

I have to thank all the guests who donate their time. It’s truly incredible. I’m amazed that people are willing to come on and chat with me for an hour, hour and a half. So grateful to them.

Of course, all my business coaches over the years. I started with Joe in 2017 and I’ve had several since then. They’ve all been amazing.

My family, of course, my wife and her legitimately never-ending support. It’s pretty humbling to look back on 5 years and recognize that she has just been there the [00:16:00] whole time, never really questioned, just supported me, helped me to reach some of those goals that seemed unreachable and encouraged me when I felt like I wanted to dip out for a while. Of course, my other family, my kids are awesome. They think I’m famous because I have a podcast. It doesn’t matter what the podcast is. They have no idea, but they’re like, dad, you’re famous. So that’s rewarding in its own small way because if you can’t be famous to your kids, is it even worth being famous?

And, of course, friends. I have so many friends, psychologist friends, and nonpsychologist friends who chat with me about podcast stuff and business stuff. I would not know what to do without them.

Now, as far as the podcast itself, this is a cool opportunity to sit down and actually think about this podcast and [00:17:00] what it means. I’m really happy to say, and I was happy to discover that podcasting remains the best part of my job. Consulting is a really close second. I love working with folks. I love running the mastermind groups.

Podcasting has this magic, getting to connect with guests, which I love doing. I get to ask any questions I want. I get to learn about fascinating topics and I get to research all these clinical and sometimes nonclinical topics that are that are meaningful to myself and to others. It is truly the best way to spend time right now for me. And I think that’s a big part of why it’s remained so constant in my life. Even though there’ve been ups and [00:18:00] downs, it’s remained pretty constant. I love it. I’m constantly motivated to keep doing it, to get better, to find good guests. And that was nice to touch into as I’m reflecting.

Now, it’s also hard. I will say that consistency has been a big challenge at times, at times, not so much, but it seems like every year probably May, June, July, it seems like something happens to disrupt the flow and keep things consistent. Y’all know that we’ve gone through or are going through a little bit of that right now because my assistant took off. She had a baby. And so, we are working through that.

It also takes a fair amount of preparation to show up ready to go each time. There are some challenges for [00:19:00] sure. It takes time and a lot of energy to keep it going, but totally worth it.

These are just random thoughts, but I still forget sometimes that real people are out there listening. It’s easy to look at the download numbers and say, that’s great that these many people are listening to this episode somewhere, but it is truly surreal to actually meet listeners at this point. I don’t know when that stops, but I’ll be anxious to find that day or maybe not. I don’t know. Maybe that’s part of what makes it fun, but it was awesome to meet people when they reach out for consulting or meeting folks at conferences or whatever it may be. It’s so surreal and so awesome.

[00:20:00] It is completely humbling to be around such knowledgeable guests. That is such a double-edged sword for me. Maybe some of you have had a similar experience and different circumstances in your own lives, but just being around such knowledgeable people and experts is, like I said, so humbling.

On one hand, it’s fantastic. I love being able to hang out and chat with all these folks and I am constantly dealing with imposter syndrome because I jump on these calls with subject matter experts and do my best to hang on and not sound like a complete idiot during the interviews. I’ll be honest. This has only dialed back a little bit with exposure. It doesn’t seem to be [00:21:00] going away as quickly as I would like it to. I wish I had better advice in terms of dealing with imposter syndrome, but I think exposure is the way to go. So far nobody has actually called me an idiot, so I’ll take that and keep it in my back pocket. But imposter syndrome is real, but also necessary. Otherwise there would be no interviews and that’s not okay.

Related to that, I feel like the podcast has just given me so many opportunities to either be gentle with myself or completely beat myself up and everything in between. To put yourself out there in this way is vulnerable. To get on these expert interviews and ask questions that I know [00:22:00] are dumb questions, no matter what people may say. There are dumb questions. I’ve asked some. The missing episodes, the gaps in recording, the mistakes, like saying the wrong thing, it’s given me a lot of opportunity to work through that and practice not being perfect.

Some days are better than others. Some days I can walk away and say, Hey, I did my best, and let’s just roll with it. Some days I definitely ruminate and it sticks with me a little more. What I try to do is always just turn it into motivation to do things differently and to get better at this craft, but it has given me so much practice at not being perfect. So, there’s work built into [00:23:00] this. There’s a process.

Now, looking forward, I’m going to continue experimenting with new formats and series. I’ve loved that. I’ve loved being able to be creative and take the podcast in different directions just to see if they work. I’m going to try to do more masterclasses, people love those, more series and maybe experiment with some other formats as well.

As we move forward, it is inspiring and again, truly amazing that there are so many topics about testing out there. When I started this podcast, my coach tasked me with the objective of recording 20 episodes before I released it so that people could binge if they wanted to, when the podcast first came out I thought back then, this is it. I’m going to release 20 episodes. I don’t know what else I can talk [00:24:00] about. And here we are, we’re 300 episodes in, I have an Excel spreadsheet with at least 150 more topics and potential guests to get in touch with.

So, this thing’s going to be around for a while. I hope y’all are ready. Buckle up. If you know of good guests, send them my direction. I’m always looking for experts, always looking for folks that could be a good fit for the podcast. And y’all as the audience, have a role in letting me know who that might be. So for guests or really anything else, never hesitate to reach out. You can reach me at jeremy@thetestingpsychologist.com. I look forward to another 300 episodes with all of you.

All right, y’all. Thank you so much for tuning into this episode. Always grateful to have you here. I hope that you take [00:25:00] away some information that you can implement in your practice and in your life. Any resources that we mentioned during the episode will be listed in the show notes, so make sure to check those out.

If you like what you hear on the podcast, I would be so grateful if you left a review on iTunes or Spotify or wherever you listen to your podcast.

If you’re a practice owner or aspiring practice owner, I’d invite you to check out The Testing Psychologist mastermind groups. I have mastermind groups at every stage of practice development, beginner, intermediate, and advanced. We have homework. We have accountability. We have support. We have resources. These groups are amazing. We do a lot of work and a lot of connecting. If that sounds interesting to you, you can check out the details at thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting. You can sign up for a pre-group phone call and we will chat and figure out if a group could be a good fit for you. Thanks so much.[00:26:00]

The information contained in this podcast and on The Testing Psychologist’s 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 [00:27:00] 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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