Designing Your Dream Life

When we start out as therapists, often we have a dream or goal that we're working towards, even if it's not verbalized. This can change over time, but designing your dream life is not only fun, it's vital for your motivation. Join me, Uriah Guilford, as I help you figure out your dream life and your big 'why'. Click to listen now!

In This Episode, You'll Learn:

  • How can you do this in practice?
  • How can you stay connected to your 'why'?
  • What are the benefits to having your dream life clearly in mind?

Resources Mentioned In This Episode:

Find Your Way
Hero On A Mission

⬇️ Click for full episode transcript ⬇️

Hello, my friend!

I'm very excited to talk to you today about designing your dream life. Now, you might wonder, why are we starting with this topic, designing your dream life? The short answer is this will provide you tons of motivation and positive energy that will help you to reach your goals.

Because the goal of productivity and business growth is not just staying busy, it's not about competing or winning or some other equally uninspiring goal. It really is about doing meaningful work that excites you. It's about making a difference for yourself, for your family, and for your community. It's also about reaching your goals and accomplishing your dreams, and taking on challenges and accomplishing things that make you feel proud - proud to be a therapist, proud to be a business owner, proud of yourself and what you are capable of doing. Now, that's a lot more exciting, isn't it?

So what's possible here? I believe that you really can have a business that provides for you and your family. You can have relationships that are fulfilling and enjoyable. You can have a schedule that is sustainable and burnout proof. Imagine that. You can make a difference in your community and beyond while making all the money that you need and creating the life that you desire.

So this really is part mindset upgrade and part intentional lifestyle design, which I think is rather enjoyable.

So ask yourself this question, what does my ideal life look and feel like? And here you can honestly use any practice or tool that helps you find the answers you need. Maybe it's art, maybe it's meditation, journaling, visualization, vision boards, or anything else that you can imagine. Just allow yourself to dream big and decide what you really want for your life and for your practice. What you come up with should genuinely excite you and energize you. That's the goal here.

So four steps to design your dream life. Obviously, there's a lot more to visioning and lifestyle design. But for our purposes, these four steps will be the most helpful. Number one, clarify your big why. Number two, design your dream budget. Number three, design your ideal day and week. And then lastly, create your must Have and No More lists. I will share about each step, and then you can use the workbook to follow along. So clarify your big why. You've probably thought about this, you've heard about it, maybe you watched a video about this, or you've heard a coach talk about this, why is it important?

So there's incredible value in having clarity on your bigger vision, in staying connected to the reason why you became a therapist, and why you started a group practice. So the reality is that life and business can be super hard, and even discouraging and demoralizing, especially these last few years. But if you stay connected to your why, it will keep you grounded and allow you to persevere through any hardship or challenge. It's really easy to lose sight of this at times, and it's also easy to return to and remind yourself and also remind your team. So for this exercise, I want you to write down the words that summarize your why, your vision, your mission, whatever word you want to use. And you can use the following questions to guide your reflection process. What makes you come alive? What are your innate strengths? Where do you add the greatest value? And how will you measure your life? So don't overthink this. Write down what comes to mind as quickly as possible, then you can refine it and tweak it as needed. And if you're anything like me, I often get these types of prompts, whether it's in books or in online courses, and then I don't stop and take the time to answer them.

But I would suggest that you do that. You can pause this video, give it some thought, write down your reflections. And the more that you zero in on your big why, your vision, your mission, the more it will influence and energize all of your actions. Okay, so here's my example, if it's helpful for you. These are the most important parts of my big why. So I love using my creativity to inspire therapists and help them succeed. I do this through my group practice as well as productive therapists. I'm energized by new ideas, and I enjoy the creative process of building products, programs, and businesses. I work hard because I want to provide an amazing life for my family, and I also really like to have nice stuff. So I honestly can't wait to hear about your big why and what motivates you to get out of bed every day. Just know that you are powerful, capable, and amazing, and the world needs you and your big ideas. The challenge sometimes is how to stay grounded and focused. One way to stay supremly focused on your life purpose is to create regular opportunities to be reminded of your big why.

You could write an affirmation that you read as a part of your daily routine. You could find an object or a piece of art that helps you recenter on your purpose. You can also create an accountability and support team around yourself that helps you really stay on track and reminds you that you are a world changing therapist. The business author Donald Miller has a daily practice of actually reading his eulogy that he wrote that helps him stay motivated by keeping his mortality front and center. Now, that's an extreme example, but you can find what works for you. Two books that you might have heard about that I would recommend would be Find Your Why by Simon and then also Hero on a Mission by Donald Miller. So I know I just breeze through or blaze through a lot of important information about finding your why. And this is not something that you can do quickly, but take the time to do the work. And if you already have something written down, revisit it and reflect on whether or not that still is true for you now. And this is a foundational piece of productivity and reaching your goals and accomplishing your dreams.

Okay, next up, this is an exercise that I really like and I really enjoy. It's a powerful exercise to help guide your business growth goalsand also create an exciting target to aim for. I've heard this called dream budget. I've heard it also called freedom number. It's all the same idea, which is make a list of everything that you want in your life and figure out how much that costs. I don't know if you've ever done this before, but it's super interesting. I've done it a couple of times so far, and it's always been a useful exercise for me. So here's just a 2019 example for you. And as you can see here, I know it's small on the slide, but I included all kinds of basic categories like clothing and groceries and utilities, etc. But for this exercise, I want to focus on a few specific categories to help you imagine what's possible for your dream budget and to think a little bit bigger. So focus on your mortgage. What house do you want to live in, ideally? Focus on charity. How much would you like to be able to give to charitable causes? Maybe focus on self care or travel or entertainment or even gifts.

So when I did this back in 2019, I got a rough number at the end there of about 13,000 per month. And that was the number, the amount of money that I needed, or I thought that I needed, to meet all my required necessities as well as more things that I wanted. And so from there, I was able to do some quick math to work backwards and figure out how much gross revenue my business would actually need to make. And I just usually do this by asking my personal assistant, my smart speaker, this question, 13,000 is 20 % of what number? And for this example here, the answer was 800,000. And that became my goal so that I could figure out how much money do I need to make so that I can have my ideal income. And this is assuming a reasonable profit margin of about 20 % or so. Okay, so I hope that this makes sense to you. It's not a challenging exercise and it's something you can really just enjoy, hopefully. So I did this again in 2022 and you can see that my dream budget number increased significantly from 13,000 to either 18 or 21, depending on whether or not I get a nicer house.

And the number changed mostly because I decided to change three things, very possibly buy a nicer house, save more money each month, and then also upgrade my car. So I had to encourage myself to actually dream bigger and think, Okay, this house is actually quite a great house, but there are some things that I really, really would want if I'm dreaming of a bigger house. reaming bigger. So that's something that I constantly challenge myself to do, and I would challenge you to do. Dream bigger than you think you deserve. And from there, you can do some pretty simple math to figure out how much gross revenue your group practice would need to make for you to make the amount of money you need to make. So here you can see if you want to earn $50,000 a year, your practice would need to bring in $250,000. $100,000 a year for yourself would require about $500,000 for the business, and on and on. So these numbers, I want to note, these numbers are most accurate for a group practice or any business where the revenue is not mostly dependent on the owner. Obviously, a solo practice owner could make $100,000 with much less gross revenue, but the business is very dependent on their time and effort.

So that is the dream budget exercise, and it won't take you very long, but I would encourage you to go through that and take the time to do it. Next up is designing your ideal day and week. This one will probably take you about 15 to 20 minutes, and the goal here is to get crystal clear on what you want your schedule to look like. Then you can start to make some positive changes. So here's a list of questions that are helpful that you can ask yourself about your ideal day. What time do you want to wake up? What time do you want to start work? What kinds of things are you working on most of the time? Who are you spending your time with? Who are you working with? How many meetings do you have? How many clients are you seeing? That's an important one for a lot of us. Also, how does your day feel at the beginning, the middle, and the end? What do your ideal evenings look like? So some examples for me, I never like to wake up earlier than 7 30 in the morning, and I never wake up with an alarm clock.

That's one important thing for me. I always want to be working with smart, fun people with very little drama whenever possible. And I like obviously spending time with my family every day. And the things that I enjoy doing with my time, work wise, as well as non work, I usually revolve around reading, writing, learning, creating, and definitely tinkering with tech. As far as clients, I don't see clients anymore, so that is a zero. And when it comes to coaching clients, I actually keep that pretty low as well. Meetings. I don't like meetings very much, so I try to only schedule meetings on two days per week. And that's really important for me because if I look at my calendar for the week and I've got meetings Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, I just feel a little bit stressed and overwhelmed. So I try to keep all the meetings on just two days. And overall, I want my day to feel calm, productive. I want to feel accomplished. And then at night, I don't want to be working. I want to be having dinner with my family, maybe watching some TV, maybe playing some games, those types of things.

One interesting thing is that I don't think most of us realize how much power and control we actually have over how we spend our days. A lot more than people who have a job or don't own their own business, for sure. So it's really helpful to reevaluate how you're spending your time and what needs to change. And then if you expand this to, let's say, your ideal week, you just want to consider a couple of things. How many days per week do you see clients or have meetings with your team? How many days do you work per week? Maybe it's only three, maybe it's only four, or maybe you enjoy working five days a week. Do you work weekends? Also, how many weeks do you work per year? How many weeks of vacation do you take? So those are all important things to consider when you're designing your day, your week, and then you could even expand out to your year in terms of vacation planning and other types of things. So that is a little bit about designing your ideal day and your ideal week. And then lastly, I want to encourage you to create two lists.

I think this is a fun exercise, and it's a chance to focus only on yourself. And honestly, how often do we do that as therapists, practice owners, bosses, and even parents? So this is really about you and what you want, and also what you won't tolerate anymore. So first, you're going to make a list of things you must have to live your dream life. And then second, you're going to make a list of the things that are a hard pass for you, things you truly don't want anymore in your life. And this is one of those exercises that is simple but also super helpful. And you might be tempted to skip this one and just move on, but avoid that temptation. Take 10 to 15 minutes to fill this section out in the workbook, and I promise you won't regret it. So here's a couple of examples for me. My must Have list includes time, freedom, and a flexible schedule, like I said before, not too many meetings. Minimal worry about money. I want to enjoy good food. I want to have a few close friends, but not too many. I also really want to feel inspired and continue to create awesome stuff.

And I want to have close relationships with my wife and kids. And then I want something to look forward to. Those are the things that are really important for me to be really happy, satisfied, and fulfilled. And then on the list of things that are a hard pass for me, definitely overworking and burnout, familiar limiting beliefs that constantly seem to come back and pop up, scarcity mindset, ignoring my feelings, avoiding conflict, and for sure, people that make me feel less than. So I know this is a lot of information in one lesson, but these are the four steps to designing your dream life, the ones that I want us to focus on. Number one, clarifying your big why. Number two, designing your dream budget. Number three, designing your ideal day and week. And then lastly, creating your Must Have and your hard pass lists.

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