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[00:00:00] Dr. Sharp: 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 podcast is brought to you by PAR.

Conduct a broad-based assessment of personality and psychopathology with the gold standard Personality Assessment Inventory or PAI. The new PAI Spanish Revised Translation retains semantic equivalents while using clearer and more inclusive language. Learn more at parinc.com\pai.

Many of y’all know that I have been using TherapyNotes as our practice EHR for over 10 years now. I’ve looked at others and I keep coming back to TherapyNotes because they do it all. If you’re interested in an EHR for your practice, you can get two free months of TherapyNotes by going to thetestingpsychologist.com/therapynotes and entering the code [00:01:00] “testing”.

Hey everyone. I am here today with a business episode, and I am honored to have my guest, Soribel Martinez.

She’s a licensed clinical psychotherapist with over 25 years of experience and a track record of helping people overcome obstacles and create the life they want. She’s a business coach and consultant for professionals in private practice. She is the bestselling author of Unbreakable released in 2023 and Multi-Million Dollar Private Practice, which is releasing in May of 2024. In addition to being a CEO, business coach, and author, Soribel is a dynamic public speaker and the mother of a 16-year-old son.

You will tell from our conversation that Soribel has a really infectious energy. She also has a very inspiring story of resilience and determination.

We talk about her journey through [00:02:00] childhood trauma, some major health issues, and her path to building a very successful group practice in Connecticut. Her approach to business development, practice management, and wealth mindset was truly inspirational. I think you will love her energy and drive for creating a sustainable and healthy business.

Now, if you are a practice owner and you would like some support, of course, as you just heard, Soribel is an option and I am also an option. So if you go to thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting, you can check out the options there. I have some individual spots opening up in April of 2024 and would be happy to chat with you to see if it would be a good fit.

All right, let’s get to my conversation with Soribel Martinez.

[00:03:07] Soribel, welcome to the podcast.

Soribel: Hello. Thank you. How are you today?

Dr. Sharp: I am doing relatively well today. It’s been a little bit of a wild week, I’m not going to lie, but today is good. I’m headed out of town tomorrow on a little vacation. So, I’m in a pretty good space.

Soribel: That is awesome. This week we had a lot of snow. We had a snowstorm, so it’s been cold, but we’re good. I woke up this morning, so that’s important.

Dr. Sharp: That is important. You got to be grateful, right? You’re in Connecticut, right?

Soribel: I am in Connecticut.

Dr. Sharp: Yes. I hear you. Well, being in Colorado, I’m very familiar with snow for many months out of the year. I’m glad to be headed somewhere. I’m going to Las Vegas tomorrow and it’s going to be a little bit warm. There is no[…]. 

Soribel: Oh nice. [00:04:00] Yes, I’m going to Aruba next month. So I’m looking forward to that.

Dr. Sharp: That sounds amazing.

Soribel: Yes, we need some sun.

Dr. Sharp: I’m with you. Well, I’m glad that you are here. I’m grateful to have some of your time and interested to get into your story and how you have turned this into a business framework. It was really compelling to talk with you a little bit two months ago or so.

Soribel: Yes, let’s do it.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah. Well, I always start with this question that’s a little, maybe self-explanatory in your case, but I always like to ask, of all the things, of all the ways that you could spend your time, energy, and emotion in the world, why this area, this topic out of all the things?

Soribel: All the things? Well, to be honest with you, my story starts when I was [00:05:00] 7 years old back in the Dominican Republic. That’s where I’m from. My dad was a businessman. He was the president of the Agricultural Bank. Honestly, I always admired the fact that he had such a commitment to being in business and in the administration of the work that he was doing.

So I used to dream of being a businesswoman. I used to dream of being a leader, changing lives, having a nonprofit to help people. I didn’t know that was going to be to help children, but I knew that I wanted to be a leader and I knew that I wanted to go to school and do great things. I didn’t know what that meant. I knew that I wanted to write books too. I didn’t know what kind of book and I didn’t know the story that was going to unfold to write my first book called Unbreakable.

So why this?

I’ve always been [00:06:00] interested in business and mental health. Initially, I went to medical school to become a psychiatrist. I wanted to be a psychiatrist. I went to medical school for two years, but honestly, I felt that medical school was not for me. I wanted to do the work. I didn’t necessarily want to jump up the hoops to be a doctor and then specialize in all those things, right?

So I came back home and I decided to continue in mental health, completing a master’s in in psychology, then completing a master’s in business and realize, well, I need a license too, right? That’s when I decided to complete my master’s in social work.

I started mental health social services since I was in high school. When I graduated high school, I went to college. This is the work that I’ve always done. I haven’t had any other job. I have not worked at McDonald’s or Burger King or [00:07:00] any work. When I graduated high school, I started working in different social services, human service field, and mental health kind of work. 

I always had a heart for helping others, whether it was as a psychiatrist or mental health provider, now having a business is still in the helping profession. To me, it was like, I knew I was going to go into business in what I was doing. I just didn’t know when.

I was a school social worker in the district where I live. To be honest with you, my son had gotten older and I thought that was the best opportunity for me to go into private practice and open my business. I was not happy with how much money I was making. As a single mom with a child, wanting to give him more opportunities, I felt like this was the time. And that’s how I got here.

[00:08:00] Dr. Sharp: I imagine there’s a lot underneath that 2 or 3-minute summary.

Soribel: Of course.

Dr. Sharp: Always, right? But that really stands out. See, I did not know that I wanted to be any kind of business owner or anything like that from when I was little. It’s intriguing to me when folks feel that call so early. And the writing: the undertaking of writing a book feels so daunting to me. I have so much admiration for folks who choose to go down that path. You’ve done it twice, which is remarkable.

Soribel: Yes, twice. I’m writing a third book. It’s not as daunting as you may think it is. I think that when you commit, I write every Monday and every Tuesday in the mornings. That’s when I write. And whether if I want to write or I don’t want to write, whether if there’s things going on or not, I get up, I come [00:09:00] upstairs and I write.

I think that the reason why it’s so easy for me is because I have stories to tell and I want people to be able to see themselves in my stories, especially in the book Unbreakable, where I talk about resiliency; how to become resilient through challenges in health or losing a child.

I was diagnosed with two brain aneurysms in 2009. At that time, my son was three years old. I was working in the mental health field. I still had dreams. I worked so hard to be a mom, and when that happened, what other choices do you have, but to be strong and do what you have to do so you can overcome, right? You don’t allow adversity to take you over, or to take you out.

So I think that [00:10:00] sharing that story is a way of allowing people to see themselves in my story because it doesn’t matter if you’re a male, female, white, black, blue, purple, you’re rich, you’re poor, we all encounter adversity in life. I wanted to be able to tell my story and to teach the tools and strategies that I have used to be able to overcome. For me, every time I tell a story, my purpose is to allow other people to see themselves in my story because when I read other people’s stories, it tells me that if they did it, I’m able to do it. So if I did it, you are able to do it as well. That’s the purpose behind it.

When you’re doing it from that place, it’s like, Oh, I have to write a book versus, Oh, I can change the life of one person through this story. It becomes a different process.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah, I could see that. [00:11:00] I’m curious logistically, as you’re writing, is it, and I know folks have different processes, of course, but this thing you mentioned of consistently writing on Mondays and Tuesdays, seems to be a common thread with folks I know who’ve written books, get through it and do it well is the consistency. But I’m curious about the stories. Do you think of the stories and then fit the book content around the stories, or does it go the other direction where you know what you want to talk about in the book, and then you find stories to support those ideas?

Soribel: I think I have done both. It depends on the chapter. For example, in my book, Unbreakable, there was one chapter that I wrote twice because after I wrote it, I didn’t want to send a message of, I’m a victim of life and circumstances. So I changed the strategy. [00:12:00] What is it that I want to teach first? What are the points that I want to teach about this particular chapter and then feed the stories that will go well so people can see the point?

I don’t know how the people do it. I find that the beginning of the week, for me, is important, especially Mondays. I love Mondays. So it’s always Monday and Tuesday is the two days that I’m going to take in the morning to write. And I’m committed to that. I’m committed to allowing my emotions to flow.

There were chapters that were really hard. For example, in the chapter when I wrote about losing my unborn child, being 36 weeks in gestation, and losing that child, having to go through the process of grief. How did I do that? Well, I have to be a mom, right? And then I still have to work and go support my clients.

So, you allow the energy and what is it that I think people [00:13:00] need based on what I needed in the time, and I can share how I was able to deal with those emotions, feelings, and overall situations.

Dr. Sharp: There’s so much to talk about. I think this concept of resiliency is so important right now. I am curious for you if you see resilience as a character trait; something that you maybe is born with or almost like a temperament, or did you have to learn it over time? Or is it some combination?

Soribel: I think it’s both. I think we are born with certain characteristics and certain gifts, and then life’s handed to you so you can practice it and become better at it. So this concept of being resilient, it’s not just being [00:14:00] resilient, for example, just in life, but you have to be resilient in life and your business.

Think about what happened to business owners in the middle of the pandemic. What happened to our mindsets? What happened when we didn’t know what was going to happen? We didn’t know where we were going to go, right?

So this topic of resiliency, I think it’s important for everyone. There are some traits that we naturally bring of strength, but for those that are not so strong in those areas, it’s almost like we have to learn how to be strong because sometimes we don’t have any choice. Sometimes we don’t have a choice. Sometimes we just have to be, right?

Dr. Sharp: Yeah, I think that’s fair. This is something that comes up. I don’t know. It seems to come up a lot. I feel like I’ve… Even today I’ve had two separate conversations with different practice owners talking about the resiliency or grit or determination of specific [00:15:00] employees, and the “younger generation”. I’m sure you’ve heard these conversations. And so this is top of mind right now. I’m thinking a lot about this whole concept.

Soribel: Yes, because think about it, I think that the newer generations have opportunities and things given to them that possibly the other generations had to fight for. And when we are in a place where we have to earn our space, what we have to earn being in that place and work hard for what we want, it has a different meaning to things, because I see all the time with employees, they come, they get hired but they don’t have the passion for the work, or they don’t have that determination or that commitment because [00:16:00] they haven’t practiced this thing called resiliency yet.

When you are putting situations in life where you don’t have any other choice, like, as a single mom, struggling that summer, and I’m like, you know what? I don’t need the summers off as a mom anymore. My son is getting older. Where am I going to go on vacation for three months? That’s boring. I need to take the leave now and I did, but I had no choice because I have a child that I have to take care of. I have responsibilities and I have to make sure that I keep growing into the woman that I want to be.

Being resilient is a must. And in order to do that, I created the Unbreakable Leadership Framework where the first step to that is developing the mindset. This is how we think. [00:17:00] It’s how we perceive things in the world that either break us or take us out. How we think about life, and how we see the world is really important, and how we then behave towards any given situation.

Dr. Sharp: Sure. Can you talk about some of the major differences in mindset that you see as being important in a resilient mindset versus a not-so-resilient mindset?

Soribel: The first thing that I see is, I’m a business coach for other private practice owners, one of the things that I see is when people come to a problem or they’re confronting a situation in the private practice, it’s almost like we get stuck. That’s the non-resiliency. We get stuck in the problem. We allow our physical eyes to [00:18:00] see what is in front of us. We get stuck and our minds get negative really quick.

A resilient mindset, it’s like, I have a problem in front of me. I know it’s hard. I feel nervous. I feel scared. I feel overwhelmed. I feel like I want to give up. However, what are the solutions to this particular problem? How can I overcome these particular situations? What are the tools and strategies that I can use so I can move successfully through it?

Versus the non-resilient mindset is like, I have a problem in front of me and all that I’m focused on is that particular problem. And then I allow myself to sit in what I call the dirty chair- the dirty chair of our negative feelings. I feel afraid. I feel like I can’t do it. I feel like it’s too hard. I feel nervous. I [00:19:00] feel incompetent. I feel like I don’t have enough support. I feel like I want to give up.

So, the non-resilient mind, we sit on that dirty chair, and they marinate in that dirty chair. And the more they season those feelings and those emotions, they get bigger and bigger and bigger. And then you’re a stinky person of negative thoughts, negative feelings, negative actions.

The resilient person says, well, yes, I am in a tough situation. It’s really difficult. I’m feeling this way. I honor my feelings. I know that’s not easy, but I choose to bounce back from the dirty chair, clean up, and keep on moving. That’s the difference in my view.

Dr. Sharp: I like the view. You’ve put that really well. That makes sense to me. There’s some overlap both growth mindset versus [00:20:00] stuck mindset or whatever you might call it.

Soribel: Growth versus I’m a victim of my circumstances. Nobody loves me. Nobody wants me. Life is hard. This is too difficult. People don’t want to work. I can’t hire the next person. We all feel that way. The difference is what you’re going to do. Are you going to stay seated in the dirty chair? Are you going to bounce back from the dirty chair? You’re going to learn the lessons that need to be learned and then we’ll keep on moving.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah. The place I’m getting a little bit stuck is, it’s almost like you need some amount of resilience or grit to develop more…

Soribel: Yes, you do.

Dr. Sharp: …because you have to go through some hard stuff to build it.

Soribel: You have to. Yes.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah.

Soribel: I always tell therapists, when were you a better therapist: when you started or 10 years later after practicing being a therapist? When are you the best? [00:21:00] You have to start somewhere and you develop over time, you develop the skill and you’ll get better, better, better, better. It’s the same thing with resiliency.

Dr. Sharp: You have to practice.

Soribel: You have to practice. Yes.

Dr. Sharp: Yes. What are the other components of the Unbreakable framework?

Soribel: Once we develop the right mindset, we understand that what is going to get us a true life in general, and us becoming the best leaders that we can be is embracing personal leadership. People think that the only thing that makes them a leader is to have a whole multitude of people following them.

Dr. Sharp: That’s not true. I’m kidding.

Soribel: No, the most important role that we have is in our personal life. And the first step is we need to be the [00:22:00] leaders of our lives. We need to lead ourselves.

How do we do that?

We acquire the right mindset. We build the right mindset. We learn how to bounce back from difficult times when the business is not going well, when people quit, when people are ill, whatever it is that is in front of you on your personal life, you learn how to deal with you first and you acquire the skills that are necessary to be that person for you.

I always say, every person wants a role model. Every person deserves a role model. Sometimes you have to become your own hero because, at the end of the day, you deserve it. We all need one, but sometimes we don’t have either. We have to become that person. So that personal development is about [00:23:00] developing ourselves, taking care of our mental health, because the way that we do one thing is the way that we do everything, right? If you’re not attending to yourself, it’s going to show up in your business. 

Taking care of our mental health, taking care of our relationships, and taking care of us first so we can extend into the world everything that has been given to us to share with others. But it begins here and it’s sent to our family. We have to be the leaders of our family, our children, the people near us. We have to become leaders. That is personal leadership.

And then, once we do that, we can develop the other skills to become the leader of our community inside of a private practice or business. So if you’re working at a school, whatever role you have in the world, it all begins here with us, and the answer is [00:24:00] not an external answer. There’s no external solution to our problems. It always begins within. 

Dr. Sharp: What are some of the ways that you’ve seen people develop that personal leadership that you’re talking about? Is it going to therapy? Is it talking with friends? Is it some, I don’t know, ayahuasca experience? What are people doing to develop this personal?

Soribel: What I often see in mental health practitioners or people in private practice is this idea that we have to take care of everybody else. Everyone else needs to be taken care of. Everyone else needs to be well. Everyone else need to have access to us because we are the answer, whether if it’s therapy, coaching, mama, papa, whatever it is, I almost spoke Spanish there, whatever it is, right?

Dr. Sharp: All good.

Soribel: [00:25:00] However, I like talking about developing an unbreakable self-care practice. And that unbreakable self-care practice is who comes first here because we can never give to others what we cannot extend to ourselves. And how and in what form does that come? Your physical health: Eating well, healthy, sleeping well, taking care of yourself, allowing yourself to go to therapy if you need therapy or a counselor- someone that can listen to you, maybe having a coach; personal coach, business coach, whoever you think that person is.

We need to develop a self-care practice that goes beyond, Oh, I’m going to go on vacation. Oh, I’m going to do my hair. Oh, I’m going to go to the pedicure or the manicure. It has to be deeply about getting to get connected deeply to our purpose, who we are, [00:26:00] what we’re here to do, and what are the things that we need to do to stay connected with ourselves.

Then once we do that, it’s so much easier to take care of others. But most people don’t see it that way. They think that sacrificing themselves to help others is the most important thing. I do not see it that way.

Dr. Sharp: I think that’s such a hard lesson to learn and it takes us… I work with a lot of practice owners as well, and this comes up again and again with being, for lack of a better term, too nice to employees, not holding boundaries, overpaying, giving too many benefits, and things like that. It’s a really hard thing.

Soribel: Or undercharging.

Dr. Sharp: Or undercharging or not charging no-show fees. All those things. It’s a really hard [00:27:00] practice. It’s hard to change these things. You have to be very deliberate.

Soribel: What I see is that when we are unable to set those boundaries like I don’t answer the phone on the weekend, or if my coaching clients are texting me after 5:00 o’clock, I am not responding to those messages. Unless there’s an emergency or something, I’m not responding to that because I need to be well. I need to go to bed at a decent time. I need to be able to take care of myself. I need to be able to take care of my family because what good it does to the world that I’m neglecting my personal leadership, my personal well-being, my personal health, to go and save the rest of the world?

We undercharge. We feel bad that people don’t have money. We overpay people because you feel bad for them. But how are [00:28:00] those actions impacting you and those around you, your family, your immediate personal leadership? How are you teaching your children to set healthy boundaries?

When you are on the phone at 11 o’clock at night attending to your clients and you’re not sleeping well, and you don’t take maybe the weekends off or you don’t take time to spend time with them or whatever that may be, we need to develop personal leadership and that will get us further in life and in business than sacrificing so much of us.

Dr. Sharp: Sure. I know I had to go through a period of struggling through this and I still do on some aspects of the self-care and the boundaries and all of those things. There are many times where I probably go too far across my own boundaries, but I’m curious for you if there was a period of having to be [00:29:00] deliberate about this and struggle through it to get to a better place. Or again, does it come naturally in some form or fashion?

Soribel: I don’t think it came naturally. For me, the lesson was that I always saw my mom as that woman that was always taking care of everybody else and extending very little to herself. That’s also one of the lessons.

Early on, when I was a teenager, I was walking the same path. I was always worried about my family, and what was going on. The things that would impact me emotionally about other people’s behavior were put to the side because that’s my family, I need to take care of them.

And then there was a period in my life, early teenagers, like around 17 or so that I said, well, the only way that I can break this [00:30:00] generational curse of the women in my family always taking care of everyone else and they never take care of themselves, and if I understand that the only way that I can be the better leader that I can be is if I begin with myself.

I did that through personal development like reading books, understanding myself, and understanding the role of women in the world. How are we expected to be the super mom or the super dad, the person that’s supposed to do everything perfectly, the person that’s supposed to solve all the problems when indeed that is a lie that robs us from fully taking care of ourselves?

So when I saw that in my mom and in the women in my family, I made a decision that I didn’t want to be that person and that I was going to build a life where I will often seek the support that I needed so I can become the leader that I wanted to [00:31:00] be, because this is not a one person do at all. This is a person in charge that understands what do they need in life and business and we begin to incorporate the team members or the team that we desire, the people that are going to help us build that million-dollar private practice. Whatever it is that you’re doing in life, you have to understand that you cannot do it alone.

Dr. Sharp: Absolutely. I have so many thoughts around this. Last summer, I hosted an event for psychologists who wanted to work on their businesses. It ended up by chance. It was 19 women and 1 man. There was a moment in the event when it became clear, and there was a lot of energy among the women that the very act of taking 4 days off from their businesses and their [00:32:00] families to come to do this thing and invest in themselves was really challenging. There was a lot of struggle around that. A lot of discussion and emotion around this. 

I wonder if you have thoughts on any kind of gender dynamics around this topic. You mentioned your mom and I’m curious how you look at it through that lens.

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Conduct a broad-based assessment of personality and psychopathology with the gold standard Personality Assessment Inventory or PAI. 22 nonoverlapping scales cover a full range of clinical constructs, so you’ll get the information you need to make a diagnosis and formulate a treatment plan. Plus, for your clients who speak Spanish, the [00:34:00] new PAI Spanish Revised Translation retains semantic equivalence while updating language to be clearer and more inclusive. Learn more at parinc.com\pai.

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

Soribel: Well, what I see is that in the world of business, men are so much more aggressive. I’m not talking about being aggressive of aggression, but more like assertive. They know what they want. They know that they have to be leaders. They know that they need to delegate. They know all of these things.

Women, for some reason, do not think the same way. We feel that, and the way that I see from the women that I help every day is like, I must do everything. I must be that person to solve all the problems. If I don’t clean the house myself and I have a [00:35:00] cleaner, the house is not clean. Says who? Or if I have a biller. Oh, well, I need to do the billing because I need to be in control because I need to make sure that it’s done. If it’s not done by me, then the billing doesn’t get done. That’s the dynamic that I see when I put events together. Oh my God, I can’t be away from my business for 3 days.

If you cannot be away from your business for 3 days, we have a really big problem. One of the reasons why you may not be growing, unfortunately, is because you cannot be away from your business for 3 days. You cannot go and do that seminar. You cannot go do the business training. You cannot go to that leadership conference, right?

One of the reasons why I have grown so fast and so big is because I have never done anything in my practice that is to be a practice owner. 

Dr. Sharp: Say that again. I think that’s important.

[00:36:00] Soribel: I have not done anything in my practice, but to be a business owner. I’ve never done billing. I never answer the phone. I have never done a booking. I’m not my own accountant. I’m not my own HR. I understood that a business owner needs to build a team from day one. And that’s what I have done, always.

Dr. Sharp: Okay, this is great. I love that we’re opening this door. I think this is probably overlaps with your other book, The Million Dollar Private Practice, around being a business owner versus a practitioner.

Question number one that comes to my mind that I hear a lot, you probably hear this a lot from practice owners, is, I don’t have the money to do that. How do I hire a team when I don’t even know if I have the money to pay myself or to cover my bills or whatever it may be? And so, I’m [00:37:00] curious how you approach that, how you start building a team from the very beginning when funds or income may be lower.

Soribel: For me, this is a mindset issue. Because go ask McDonald’s how they started. Go as a Starbucks how they began. Go ask Dunkin Donuts. Go as Amazon. Amazon started in the garage or the trunk of the car. That’s where the whole vision started. Go ask them how they started. They build the foundation and you build based on where you are.

If you are starting with one therapist, of course, you cannot hire someone to do 40 hours of administration work because [00:38:00] that wouldn’t make sense. But you can hire someone to do 5 hours to 10 hours a week. You can hire someone to do 20 hours a month. You can hire a billing person that you can contract and pay them based on how much you produce.

So the idea that we don’t have any money is not an excuse not to. It’s the reason why. Because if you don’t have any money, that’s the reason why we need to build businesses that are successful. And we build businesses where we can live off those businesses. And we can extend to the community, hiring more people. The more you hire, the more you can increase the administrative hours for that person, then you can set other systems and support that you need in place.

You don’t need to start with the whole village. You can begin with where you are and then you begin building as you continue to grow. But what I know to be [00:39:00] truth is that just because you don’t have no money, you doing all the things is not going to make you any richer. It’s not going to make you any more wealthy. It’s not going to open the doors for you to receive more because you are occupying purposes and vision for other people. I’m not an accountant. I’m not. So when I’m doing accounting in my business, I’m occupying in a space that belongs to someone else.

Dr. Sharp: I’m smiling because the way you talk about it, it sounds so logical, and I’m like, yes, I totally agree with it. But in practice, I did not do this. I take this mentality of, I need to do these things first so I understand the processes because then I can trust that someone else is doing it correctly. You’re shaking your head and I want you to tell me why. So, what are you thinking here?

[00:40:00] Soribel: Logically, it is the right way. Practically, it also can happen if you shift your mindset. You said my mentality. It means that you believe certain things. You believe that you have to master something yourself in order to allow other people to do it. Does your accountant need to go to therapy school to master understanding mental health in order for him to do his work? No.

Dr. Sharp: Absolutely.

Soribel:  Of course, not. So what makes you think that you have to master accounting in order for you to have someone doing some work for you?

Dr. Sharp: It makes sense when you say it. I hear this.

Soribel: When you put it into practice, it makes more sense because your responsibility as a business owner is finding the right person that aligns with your business vision, [00:41:00] purpose, and mission. And when you find someone that aligns with that, and they’re great at what they do, they will become in alignment. And then the work becomes good work.

I’ve been working with the same accountant since I started my private practice. He’s the same accountant that I have. I haven’t changed him. I’m still working with the same biller that I hired when I started. When I was just me. And then I hire the second person and the third person, the fourth person, the fifth person. And now we have an assigned email to her company because of the amount of work you see, but I didn’t start it like that. I started with doing a few a week.

Dr. Sharp: I hear you. This makes a lot of sense. It is great to be talking with someone who has so much energy and passion behind this idea because I think a lot of us do get stuck and we need to do everything. We have to bootstrap this. We [00:42:00] have to occupy all these roles.

The thing that actually resonated the most with me out of all of that is by us as practice owners occupying all these roles that we don’t need to, I don’t know if you said this exactly, but it’s almost like you’re taking away someone else’s spiritual path, someone else’s meaningful work. There are other people out there who are meant to do this work and you’re getting in the way.

Soribel: You are. Yes. And by the way, you are giving away yours by doing and occupying somebody’s role. Now, do I have an understanding about what an accountant needs to do? Yes, because if it’s not doing, I’m going to be like, hello. Do you see what I’m saying? But I don’t need to understand and master it to the point where I can do that job because I was not called to be an accountant.

I was called to be a business owner [00:43:00] mental health space and become the go-to leader in the sector. When I’m spending my time on the wrong thing, I’m giving away my power. And we cannot give away our power. We need to keep our power by developing our personal leadership. It begins with us changing what we think and how we think.

Dr. Sharp: I’m with you on this. So, for you, where have you ended up now? What role are you actually playing in your practice? When you say I’m the business owner, what does that look like? What are we shooting for here?

Soribel: I work on my business. I don’t work in my business.

Dr. Sharp: That’s what I’m interested in. For you, what is working on the business mean?

Soribel: The management of the overall of the business, supervising the clinical directors, and hiring people. [00:44:00] I have one person that I supervise because she doesn’t want to let me go, I do supervise one clinician, making sure the operation of the business is working and extending the business by always doing what I call the SGA analysis; to analyze where we are in the business, what are the strengths of the business, and where we need to go. What are the opportunities? What other services do people in my community need?

I need to build those programs, like an in-home program. We just launched an in-home program, and in the spring, we’re going to launch a case management program. I am working on an EAP program. National E.A.P.

So my job is to analyze constantly what is going on in the business, and what is missing in the sector. And I have to go and create those programs. That’s my job to extend the queendom, to extend my [00:45:00] queendom, to extend my vision. So I’m not just here in the day-to-day, let me see one client, and I’m tired. My job is to be the leader, is to look for opportunities.

This year we’re going to write our ontology. We’re going to create an ontology for our practice where every therapist that’s interested is going to write a chapter in the book. So we can have clients go beyond the therapeutic chair and they can have tools and strategies in the book that they can go read and apply in their everyday life.

So that’s what I do. I’m building my queendom. I’m building my business. I am monetizing my business model. I write books. I speak. I help the community. We have a nonprofit organization. Do you see what I’m saying? That’s what a leader is supposed to be doing. They’re supposed to be overseeing the company [00:46:00] and then making the company grow, go up, and deep.

Dr. Sharp: Right. The way you describe it, it feels like very visionary work with some dashes of execution, like an operation.

Soribel: But isn’t it what we are?

Dr. Sharp: I think so. Absolutely. 

Soribel: If you have a vision, you’re visionary. And that vision is our job to stay in the vision, to make it bigger, to stretch ourselves, is to push ourselves, is to pull ourselves because no one is able to grow in their comfort zone. No one can.

Dr. Sharp: Yes.

Soribel: We have to push. We have to change our mindset. We have to look at things differently. In business, I hate to say, I have a private practice, I have a company, I have a business because sometimes people look at those things as small when it’s not. We are changing people’s lives every day. We are [00:47:00] providing job opportunities.

So it’s about the vision and extending the vision, making it grow and go deep. Grow and deeper. But the only way we can do that is by establishing a solid foundation from day one, and you need to have a business mindset from day number one. It makes you grow faster and it helps you develop more in your in your business. More opportunities. 

Dr. Sharp: So what do you say to folks who may not have aspirations to grow larger businesses? Maybe they want to stay solo forever. Maybe they want to have two people, maybe three people in their practice. How does that translate down to a smaller scale like that?

Soribel: Your vision. So if your vision is I want a beauty type of business, there’s nothing wrong [00:48:00] with it. There’s Costco, but there is Stop & Shop.

Dr. Sharp: This is true.

Soribel: There are bigger spots. There are smaller, local ones, right? There are big hair salons. There’s a smaller hair salon. You work based on your vision. It doesn’t mean that you still need to be a business owner. It doesn’t mean that you still need to delegate and you need to have systems and support in place that will help you be a business owner.

If you want to continue to see clients and be in the therapeutic chair, there’s nothing wrong with that but is that what you really want to do? If that’s what you really want to do, if you want to stay there, that’s great, but you can still have support in place that allows you also to live your life, that you can enjoy time with your family. That you can do things that you like to do.

I’m sure you don’t want to be doing therapy every day. You have family, you want to go out, you want to enjoy the time you want to, you want to have these things, and having these systems and support in [00:49:00] place at a smaller scale can still help you feel like, okay, I’m building my Queendom. There is bigger Queendom or Kingdom and there’s smaller ones. It doesn’t have to be big, it has to be the one that you desire. It has to be the one that you want. But what you want also requires you to have things in place that will support your vision and mission. It doesn’t have to be done alone.

Dr. Sharp: I can get on board with that. 100%. I think of it as running your business on purpose, right?

Soribel: Yes.

Dr. Sharp: Whatever the vision is, it just has to be there. It can be small. It can be large. It could be very nuanced. It can be complicated. 

Soribel: Yes. It doesn’t matter. 

Dr. Sharp: A former coach of mine, I think, phrased it like nobody else is going to do this job for you. You’re the only one as the business owner who’s going to be thinking about the health of the business and the [00:50:00] vision and direction. You can’t outsource that. At least most of us can’t.

Soribel: You can’t. How can you think about all of that, the health of your business, the finances, this, that, the other, and see clients, and be the supervisor, and do the billing, and do the booking, and file taxes at the end of the year, and do this? Listen, this is why there are so many private practice owners that feel burned out because you are living a life that will guarantee you to be burned out.

Dr. Sharp: I’m with you. I think maybe I’m projecting here, but I get the sense that a lot of folks are just so motivated by fear of financial issues like, not having enough money to do these things, or having to fill all these roles to save money, or something along [00:51:00] those lines. We’ve already talked about this is not necessarily the right philosophy, but it’s hard to share that. 

Soribel: Yeah. I often what I see is that, instead of like, I’m afraid of all these things, all the lack, it’s about being afraid of success because most people have not had a taste of what success means to them. Some people don’t even know what success is because let me tell you something, if you want to be a stay-at-home mom, you love being a stay-at-home mom, you do it great, and you are on purpose, you are successful. But if you’re a stay-at-home mom because you have no choice and are afraid of whatever, then that’s the problem.

So I find that a lot of private practice owners are afraid of some of those things, the lack or how they’re going to figure it out versus like, let me do it well, even though it’s in a small scale. [00:52:00] I didn’t start where I’m at.

When I started, I started in-home services because I didn’t have money to open an office space. I used to drive a Mercedes, my white-on-white Mercedes from person to person to person in the best neighborhood in the worst neighborhood. That’s how I began my practice. I didn’t have it all together. I didn’t have 7 months of saved… in the bank. As a single mom, I didn’t have that. If I would have listen to all the requirements that people, Oh, you need to have six months of …. before you do… whatever, I would have not done anything. I would have not done one thing because I didn’t have it all together.

Dr. Sharp: I hear you. I think this is hopefully validating for a lot of folks because there is so much advice out there around; this is where you need to be financially or savings-wise or business plan or whatever it may be. [00:53:00] The truth is that that’s the exception and not the rule, at least in my experience. Most people don’t.

Soribel: That’s not. When I started, I was going to do part-time private practice and I was going to stay in the school system. Remember, I used to have my summers off, Christmas, all the holidays, all the things, and I was not making bad money. I was making $100,000 a year. When I started implementing a marketing plan before I started, I had 150 people on my waitlist before I opened the doors to my private practice. I mean, the door of my car because that’s how I was going from place to place. And when I saw the possibility, I said, I’m going to quit and I’m going to go full in private practice.

And you know how many people told me that I was crazy, how I was going to leave a secure job to go into business? Well, faith, my purpose, [00:54:00] my vision and the mission, and I could not do what I was meant to do in the world.

Dr. Sharp: We keep coming back to that. It seems that this purpose, the vision, what you are supposed to be doing, what you’re meant to be doing. I can tell it’s very powerful for you. That’s a journey, I think, a personal journey for each of us to get on board with our vision and purpose, right?

Soribel: Yes. We’re not taught very often when we’re young to focus on what is it that we want, right? Like, what do you want to do? We are often following the path of what the adults in our life are telling us that we should be doing, what they think is best for us, and think we’re talking about resiliency, a lot of times we’re not resilient or we give [00:55:00] up on the things that we desire because we disconnected. We are deeply disconnected from our calling or how we should be doing that could be very different than the next person who is doing it. It could be very unique for you and it’s okay to have a unique vision. But we need to make sure that that vision is what we want to do.

Dr. Sharp: Right. Oh, no. I’ll pivot just a little bit and ask what might be a bit of a random question, but I’m interested to hear how, you obviously, are pretty focused on success, financial success, you’ve built this framework, you’ve got the book Million-Dollar Practice. How do you approach your embracing of wealth with the employees in your practice? Does that make sense? Do you see what I’m asking? Because I think a lot of [00:56:00] practice owners, larger practice owners, when things get relatively successful may struggle with how to communicate and show up around money, particularly with their employees.

Soribel: I’m very open about who I am, what I do, and how I do it. We have a nonprofit in the Dominican Republic where we help children with special education needs, autism, and so on and so forth. So I’m very open, but I’m also very open to how hard I worked to be here. Nobody has handed me anything. I pay people well. I treat people well. We just had our employees’ dinner a few weeks ago, and I’m very open to the big things that I want to do.

For example, the ontology, they’re not going to pay for the ontology. I’m going to pay for the resources so [00:57:00] we can make that happen. Where they are parents or a mom that’s going to get evicted from her apartment, we can help the mom so she’s not evicted. Or when a mom doesn’t have uniform and clothing and shoes for her kids to go back to school, we are doing that kind of work in the community too. So, for me, it’s not just about the money, it is about a bigger vision. And I think that when people buy into your vision, they will understand.

I’m open. I talk about it openly. If you see me on social media, I talk about what I do, how I do it, my framework, all of that, but writing the book, I wrote the book. My employees didn’t write the book. I wrote the book. I have the knowledge. I’m putting it out there. I’m sacrificing. I’m doing these things. And I earn money in other ways like from coaching, from consulting, from speaking. I do other things also.

[00:58:00] So I don’t feel awkward and I don’t feel weird. I feel that money is created to be spent, shared, saved, and invested. I’m open. I don’t know. I don’t feel weird around anyone with it.

Dr. Sharp: You said something really important in there, which is getting your employees on board with your vision. And that may be a place to spend a little bit of time here. I think this is something again, that practice owners struggle with a bit. I know a lot of practice owners with great visionary capabilities and the translation and communication to the rest of the practice can sometimes be difficult. How do you go about that? How do you approach that? How do you get people on board with your vision?

Soribel: One of the things that [00:59:00] in the beginning, when my practice started growing, I have fears of people finding out how well I was doing. There was fear. But we go back to doing that work of like, okay, I have these feelings. What do I do? Do I sit on the dirty chair or am I going to bounce back from the dirty chair?

So one of the things is when I interview people, I talk about my vision. My vision this year is to hire 100 mental health practitioners. This year, that is my vision. My vision is for us to continue to support the kids in the Dominican Republic. My vision is for us to become the first private practice that has an ontology. My vision is for us to help the community, to have a case management program, to do this, to do that.

I share my vision. It’s up to them ​[01:00:00] if they want to be part of this vision because if you want to work for a private practice where you feel safe, where you feel that you’re going to have to worry about clients and getting paid bi-weekly, well, you have to be working with someone that has a big vision and someone that is putting the work. So I’m very open about what we’re working on, what we’re doing, how we do it, how I deal with employees, how I treat people, and It’s up to them. They don’t have to be here. People come, people leave, and that’s fine. I’m okay with all of that.

Dr. Sharp: You’ve said a lot of great things today. I’ve really enjoyed our conversation. From a leadership standpoint, visionary standpoint, I feel like we could keep chatting for a long time about your experience, your life, and the way that you look at things. I love your energy and how you’re coming at [01:01:00] this whole process. I’m guessing that folks were listening are probably in the same boat.

Soribel: Thank you. I am really passionate about what I do. I feel that the only way that I can show up is by being myself because there’s no other way to be. I think that people feel that when you interview them and you work with them, I have people that have been with me since I started. They’re still here. They’re still here for a reason. So I owe it to myself to be this person and be transparent with them in what it is that the vision is for the practice.

Dr. Sharp: Yes. Well, I know that this was not an overnight process and you had to grow into yourself and figure out how to be yourself. I hope it inspires some folks out there to do the same because I know that we, myself included, there are times when I’m like, I’m not really in alignment [01:02:00] with who I am right now. I know it, but it’s really hard to shake that and do things differently. This is cool to hear about your journey and the way that you come at business ownership.

Soribel: Thank you.

Dr. Sharp: If people want to learn more about you, get in touch with you, read your stuff, where can people find you and find everything you’re doing?

Soribel: I’m everywhere. If you want to learn more about how I support people growing their own private practice to a million dollars and beyond, you can go to soribelmartinez.com.

I have this book coming out in May- Multi-Million Dollar Private Practice. It has been picked up by a traditional publisher. It’s coming out. It’s on pre-order right now, but if you go to mmdppbook.com I am gifting $1000 in bonus if you pre-order [01:03:00] this baby right here.

What that looks like is a lot of the things that I teach and that I have implemented in my private practice, I’m giving it for free. So you can have access to this book here. It’s coming out in May, but it’s on pre-order right now so you can pre-order it, and in May, you will get it. You can go to Amazon.

It’s on Amazon, it’s on walmart.com, it is on target.com as well. So you can find it. You can pre-order and come back to the page and let us know that you pre-ordered the book and then you get an email with all the bonuses that come together with that.

Dr. Sharp: Very cool. I’m going to go check it out. This has been fun.

Soribel: Yeah, check it out.

Dr. Sharp: I appreciate it.

Soribel: Thank you so much.

Dr. Sharp: Absolutely. Thanks for being here. 

Soribel: I can talk about this all day.

Dr. Sharp: That’s good. It’s exhilarating. Business ownership is [00:04:00] a ride and we got to have our colleagues, our connections, and support to ride the roller coaster.

Soribel: That’s right.

Dr. Sharp: I appreciate you being here and talking through some of these things.

Soribel: Thank you.

Dr. Sharp: Absolutely. Take care. Maybe our paths will cross again someday.

Soribel: Yeah, thank you. I hope that the audience will follow me. Of course, this is a limited time and we’re talking about a little piece of everything. I have a YouTube channel- Soribel Martinez. I’m on Instagram. I’m on LinkedIn. Facebook. Find me. I’m always doing free training.

I have a big seminar coming up in May where we’re also going to do the celebration of the launching of the book. I hope that you get to read it. I think that you will find a lot of benefit in reading the book.

Dr. Sharp: That’s great. We’ll include links to all those things [01:05:00] and socials and everything under that umbrella in show notes so folks can find you however they like. 

Soribel: Yes. Thank you.

Dr. Sharp: All right. Take care, Soribel.

Soribel: Bye, bye.

Dr. Sharp: All right, y’all. Thank you so much for tuning into this episode. Always grateful to have you here. I hope that you take away some information that you can implement in your practice and 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 podcasts.

And 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 [01:06:00] 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.

The information contained in this podcast and on The Testing Psychologist website are 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 [01:07:00] supervisory or consultative relationship is formed between the host or guests of this podcast and listeners of this podcast. If you need 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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