Productive Pressure Cornerstones of Practice Freedom Featured Image

How to Break Free from “Practice Prison”

Do you ever feel like running away from your business?

If you’re an ambitious professional in the legal, architecture, engineering, or healthcare fields who owns their business and wants to take it to the next level, but feels stuck or overwhelmed, you’re not alone.

Many successful professionals struggle with finding a balance between achieving their goals and avoiding burn out.

The more you work, the more money you make, which is great financially, but it can wreak havoc with the rest of your life.

It also creates a trap where you’re so busy and over-committed that you can’t quit, can’t take time off, and can’t even find a minute to think.

I call this place “Practice Prison.”

It doesn’t have to be this way.

I’ve identified three cornerstone elements that are crucial for transforming any practice, and they form the foundation of my Practice Freedom Accelerator™ framework.

Each cornerstone – clarity, capacity, and command – contains 3 actionable steps.

Clarity

Clarity is essential for the success of any business.

When you have Clarity:

  • You know where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, and what you need to DO next.
  • Your work has meaning, and you’re excited about your business and your goals.
  • You find it easy to make (good) choices.
  • You understand your financial numbers and use them to make sound decisions.

Three Steps to CLARITY

Clarity arises at the intersection of 3 things:

  1. A clear and compelling vision of where you’re headed.
  2. A roadmap of the steps you need to take to get there.
  3. A dashboard to show how far you’ve come and to let you know when you’ve strayed off course.

1. Articulate a Clear and Compelling Vision

When you can clearly and concisely articulate your company’s vision, mission, goals, and objectives – you are able to stay focused and lead your team to understand and act on your plans.

Visualizing your goals can also be very motivating! It makes the effort and hard work required to achieve them more worthwhile.

2. Reverse-Engineer a Roadmap

Reverse-engineering means you start with where you want to go and design your roadmap working backwards from that point.

Planning this way keeps you focused on the end result and makes it more likely you will get there.

3. Set up a Progress Dashboard

As Peter Drucker famously said: “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”

Measure and monitor what you want to manage. A great dashboard gives you the information you need to make solid business decisions.

Your dashboard should be simple. Only track what you need to.

A good management dashboard will track both leading and trailing indicators.

Capacity

Capacity is your ability to get stuff done. It directly impacts both your revenue ceiling and your ability to take time off.

Capacity looks like this:

  • You feel like your practice has room to grow – you can welcome new business, feeling confident that your systems and team can handle it.
  • You have great systems and tech in place so that you feel organized, and things run efficiently.
  • You have a high-performance team in place that can not only run the place without you – but they’re also actively engaged in helping you make your business better.

Three Steps to CAPACITY

You’ll have capacity when you have these 3 things in place:

  1. A high-performing team that can run things without you.
  2. Systems that ensure things get done well and consistently.
  3. Communication skills and channels that encourage collaboration and synergy.

1. Build a High-Performing Team of People

Your goal in developing a high performing team is to make yourself replaceable.

This will allow you to take time off and make your business more valuable in case you want to sell it in the future.

2. Develop Sustainable Systems

Systems provide a framework for how your business is run.

They provide efficiencies, increase productivity, and make it easier to train new people.

The key to developing sustainable systems is to keep them simple.

3. Foster Synergistic Collaboration

Collaboration: working together to achieve a common outcome is good.

Synergy: when 2 or more people develop something better as a whole is magic.

The key to synergistic collaboration is a company culture built on trust and transparent communication.

Command

Command is about being the captain of your ship. It’s about setting an example and providing clear guidance and direction to your team. Command gives you a bit of a swagger, but please don’t confuse it with military-style “command and control.”

Command looks like this:

  • You feel confident and in control of both your business and your life.
  • Your business no longer takes over your life – you feel comfortable setting boundaries.
  • You support and mentor your team, challenging them and providing feedback to help them grow.
  • You’ve found the “productive pressure zone” where you accomplish a lot without burning yourself out.

Three Steps to Command

Command isn’t something you’re born with. It’s a collection of skills you can develop. Your 3 steps to command are:

  1. Become a badass leader – both of yourself and for your team.
  2. Integrate your work with your life so that you never feel you must sacrifice one for the other – recognizing that your business can help you both make a life and a living.
  3. Apply productive pressure so that you can find the sweet spot of high productivity coupled with sufficient rest and relaxation.

1. Become a badass leader

When you become a better leader, EVERYTHING gets better in your business.

Yesterday’s leadership won’t work for today’s professionals. The old-fashioned hierarchy is broken.

Badass leadership starts with leading by example.

2. Integrate Work with Your Life

Balance is unrealistic.

Integration of your work, your life, and your self is a more holistic approach.

Business and home are both LIFE. They should support each other.

3. Apply Productive Pressure

Productive pressure is just enough to ensure great performance without tipping over the edge into stress and overwhelm.

A healthy amount of stress is good for you!

The sweet spot is in the middle: sufficient pressure to crush your big goals – but not too much so you avoid burning out.

Where does your business need the most work?

Consider the 3 cornerstones of Clarity, Capacity, Command.

  • Which do you feel most strong in now?
  • Where do you feel you need to do the most work?

Would you like some help with that?

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