We had the good fortune of connecting with Karen Whitehead and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Karen, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
Paying attention to my values and consistently aligning my decisions with those values is what has helped me the most personally and professionally. It’s also been really helpful to have a trusted guide I can turn to so I don’t get off track. Success feels like a moving target. As I have built both my therapy practice and coaching business, the line keeps moving to what’s next. Aligning my goals and values has been a huge focus that keeps me moving forward and affords me the flexibility to shift and pivot as the definition of success changes. Consistently evaluating whether my decisions reflect my core values is how I know what feels most successful to me. Am I being true to what matters? Being genuine and authentic? When I’m out of alignment that way it feels like I’m spinning my wheels or not making progress.
First it was figuring out what was next in my life as an impending empty nester, then finishing another degree, getting licensed, opening a private practice and now adding business and life coaching to my offerings. Some see these milestones and making money as success. Having a successful business though is about more than the accomplishments and the money. If we’re only focused on the money we are open making some really catastrophic business decisions and focusing on achievements can feel really hollow.
Therapists rank pretty high for burnout. That often comes from taking on more and more for the money as opposed to paying attention to how we best serve our clients and take care of ourselves in the process. That whole putting on your oxygen mask first before helping someone else.
For me, a successful business is about having something meaningful, fulfilling and sustainable which aligns with my values and goals. Making a decision to serve the clients that excite and energize me keeps me on the right path. I limit the number of therapy clients I see because I want to be the best I can be for these women and their families who are dealing with cancer, life-limiting illnesses or anxiety. My clients deserve my best. I also teach other therapists how to do this in their own practice. Serving from what fills you up rather than what drains you. In order to do that I’ve worked with colleagues and coaches and taken risks.
Having a guide, someone who keeps you accountable, holds your hand through a new venture whether that’s therapy, building a business, or meeting some other goal has saved me so much time. Investing in help so I avoid going down the rabbit hole, chasing the next shiny object, or just feeling stuck because I don’t know what I don’t know keeps my momentum on the right path. There are so many ways we can get sidetracked. Knowing I’ve got people to keep me in check let’s me refocus on my values and goals rather than getting stuck in the weeds. This has also helped me to optimize my processes. There are so many options out there I could spend months trying and testing. Why reinvent the wheel? Learning from others saves me time and money in the long run.
If it feels hard to invest time and money in a therapist or coach, it’s more about it feeling hard to invest in yourself. This is the one thing that can make a huge difference. Having a guide has given me the courage to take risks. When we get out of the fear that’s keeping us stuck we can really embrace life and who we are meant to be (those values again!) Going back to school was a risk, opening my own practice was a risk, starting a business to help other therapists was a risk. Tolerating risk is different for everyone, but it is part of owning your own business. Will I still have a business through COVID? What if I get sick? What if my new course for therapists fails? But risk is about learning and pivoting. If we try enough things, some of them are going to flop. Being okay with that, knowing that if I stay true to my values, have a trusted guide I can turn to, and continue to build the courage to take the next risk is how I sustain my success.
What should our readers know about your business?
Practicing what I preach, I am intentional about the number of people I see in my Alpharetta practice (Telehealth) so I can provide really tailored, personalized therapeutic attention to women with cancer, chronic illnesses or anxiety. I have a passion for helping other therapists create practices that energize and excite them so they can really serve the clients they love to help. Seeing a therapist who is drained, burned out and exhausted doesn’t help the client or the therapist! If you’re investing in yourself, whether for therapy or coaching, look for someone who really gets you, who can be present to your needs, and who is a good fit. Let’s talk! For more info visit www.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love being outdoors! I’d take a day in each area of town, both ITP and OTP. A walk on the beltline, a visit to museums, a quick meal in downtown Roswell, a drink with friends at Avalon, or some hiking in North Georgia.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My clients and colleagues who drive my passion to serve others in a way that is authentic and sustainable.
Website: www.karenwhiteheadcounseling.com www.karenwhiteheadcoaching.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/6figurepp https://www.facebook.com/karenwhiteheadcounseling https://www.facebook.com/karenwhiteheadcoaching