Yesterday, an incredibly gifted colleague of mine and I were talking about Hurricane Michael and the prognosis for recovery from the storm. This clinician resides in and works in Tallahassee, Florida and just recently started her own private practice in the area that narrowly just escaped the mass devastation brought to other cities along the panhandle from Michael's wrath. She went on to talk about her fears and frustrations with starting her new practice and losing a week's worth of income due to appointment cancellations. As a hurricane survivor myself, I can empathize with my dear colleague as a result of my own experiences managing tremendous loss and devastation in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy made a direct hit on my hometown. When my colleague told me how she was feeling tremendous fear and having self-doubt for her ability to grow her practice successfully, this is how I responded:
"That is frustrating! But you will make up for what you have lost. Maybe this isn’t a good example but think of a tsunami. With a tsunami, the water recedes A LOT and then just as the water appears to disappear completely, in comes the flood. I use this example because it’s something that despite 21st century technology, we can’t control it. Like we cannot control the elements of our businesses or relationships. Yes a tsunami brings mass destruction but that’s because us humans have occupied the earth. In reality the tsunami replenishes and supplies an abundance of nutrients to the earth so that things can blossom. Do not get discouraged because you are seeing a plot of land struggling. You are in a season of tremendous opportunity and growth - view your practice through a lens of abundance. Let the setbacks prepare you for what is about to come".
I am sharing this with you on the blog today because I think there is great value in shifting our perspectives from worrying about what if, to remaining hopeful for what is and will be. When I work with client's who are experiencing symptoms related to anxiety and feeling anxious, I often encourage them to shift the dialogue from "What if" to "What IS". Go ahead and try it for yourself! Notice any shifts or changes when you hear your own voice say those words. Stay with it and see what comes up.
As George Harrison once said, "here comes the sun, and I say, it's all right".
Amy Pope-Latham, LCSW is a clinical psychotherapist in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.