Your Story is My Story

This week it hit me. I realized I haven’t formally introduced myself. So for this blog post, I am sharing a bit abut my journey as “the Doctor’s Wife” and hopefully you can relate to me a bit better because of this. And so goes my story…

I remember a party we went to in the early days of our marriage. Someone asked us the typical question: What do you do? At the time I was working full time (in a "real" job) and my husband had just begun his orthodontic residency. He replied, “Sonia will never work in the practice. Isn’t it enough that we are married?”  Ha. Ha. Ha.

Then as time passed, there were too many needs in the business. I was qualified and available, therefore, the perfect fit. So began my 15-year career in our family business.  

Whether it was because someone was let go, a new project came up, or I was looking for a way to fill my time and see my husband, I was the one that said “yes.”  We are the wives and of course we say yes! We love our husbands and want them to succeed. We want the business to succeed. Somewhere along the way we started saying "yes." Somehow we forgot how to say no occasionally. 

 I enjoyed it but it was not my joy.

No one was winning anymore. My family was groaning under the strain of our inconsistent home life and lack of attention. The business was not growing as it could because I didn't have the expertise or time to devote to it. My husband and I talked about business all the time. We lost our work-life balance. Most importantly, I lost myself. I didn’t even know who I was anymore.

It was then that I created my process to step away from the business. Through this process, I completely changed the dynamics of my family and my marriage. I reclaimed my authentic self. I was ready to be an owner, not an employee. In 3 months, I fully exited the business and improved the lives of my husband, the office team, my family, and even my own life! 

You are absolutely capable of finding balance in your life too. I love working with people like you. I want to share my tools with as many people in our situation as possible! I want that for your marriage. I want that for your kids. I want that for you. I want you to have a life filled with joy, passion, purpose, and presence. Check out my free coaching session and see how I can help you to practice balance in your life too.

 

Lead or Follow?

Have you ever really watched a flock of geese? It’s truly amazing.

Did you know that Canada Geese can fly up to 1500 miles in a day if the weather cooperates? How is this even possible?

You look at these geese and they rise up out of a lake. They are discombobulated. They are trying to get their groove on. They are flapping their wings trying to get a cycle down; some kind of pattern. They just need momentum. They just need to make sure they are flapping their wings and staying in the air.

Then you see the entire flock. Instead of being this giant mess, all of the sudden they are in “V”s. They are in formation. This formation is providing them with the ability to share their load of others. They are still pulling their weight. They are still moving their body. They are still getting themselves from point A to point B, on their own power. But there is a single goose in front that is leading the way. It is breaking the path for the rest so they can follow in its slipstream. That one in the front chooses where to go and every other just follows suit.

Then you see the one goose out there all by himself. It is moving. It looks like it is really cruising (mostly because there is nothing to measure itself against). It’s just flying along, getting it’s task done. It gets to CHOOSE where it wants to go. It is the only one that flock. It doesn’t have to lead anybody. It doesn’t have to pull anybody else’s weight. It just flies its own flight.

At the same time, it doesn’t have anyone to pass the burden to when it gets to be too much. It doesn’t have anyone to lead on when it needs to step back and get some rest.

Then there are the ones in the back. They make the choice to not lead. This is just easy. They are getting where they think they need to go, but they never get to choose. They never know for sure. They are always at the mercy of the lead goose. Someone else is always the leader. Someone else always makes the decisions. It most certainly takes less effort. However, the view never changes.

You don’t need to work at 100%, 100% of the time.

You do need to be at 100% when it really matters. The rest of the time, you can allow others to take charge.

You need to decide the best way for you. Do you want to lead the flock, fly solo, or stay in the back?

Delegating: Better for Everyone

I will fully admit it. I was a perfectionist. Delegating was one of the most painful things to learn, on my journey. However, it ended up being my strongest tool. Delegating allowed me the flexibility I needed to efficiently and gracefully step away from the business.  

For those of us who are perfectionists (you know who you are!), delegation is a dirty word. It comes with all kinds of connotations: laziness, incompetence, time consuming… 

THIS IS ALL A LIE! 

Here is the secret to delegating no one ever told me: 

Delegating is empowering, highly productive, and freeing! 

Everyone has tasks they hate to do, whether it be at home or at the office. I used to think, “Who would want to do that?” about making graphics, running reports, cleaning toilets, you name it. This was all turned on it’s head after chance interactions. 

I hired a cleaning lady. I felt guilt at passing along my least favorite household chores to someone else. That was until I hired her. She told me at her interview, “I love closing the door on a home I just made sparkle and shine, knowing the family will come home to it and they will be happier for my having been here.” 

I got a massage. Keep in mind I never do stuff like that for me (more on how you and I need to change that in a later blog). All I could think about was how weird it was to so intimately touch someone else’s skin. The massage therapist told me how it brings her joy to know she is releasing pain, tension and stress from others. She said she was always amazed when she would get paid for doing something that brings her such joy. 

We hired a person to take on marketing at the office. It was the SAME THING! She loved all the things I felt were a complete and total drag. 

Then I realized there are people out there with the excitement to do that task that equaled my disdain for the task. This realization flipped my world upside down. It changed how I looked at delegating from then on out. I would train someone on the team to take on a task and they would thank me for the opportunity to do this task they considered fun. Everyone won! It was amazing. 

So next time you consider delegating the cheater’s way out, reconsider this. You might just be making someone’s day!

XO, Sonia

Delegating: Reinvest Your Dividends and Reap the Rewards

Yep. You are the boss’ wife. You can’t change that. Well, you can, but I don’t think that is best the way to getting what you need… more freedom. 

For years I had been working in the office, taking on task after task after task. It doesn’t take a genius to see eventually I would have too many things to do and not enough time to do it. I needed to offload some work.  

To put it frankly, I was afraid to delegate. I didn’t want to take the extra time (which I didn’t have in the first place) to train someone. I didn’t have the confidence they would do it the way I wanted it done. I felt it was just easier to do it myself.  

Does this sound familiar? 

Then came the time that I had forced the situation. I had made the bold decision to work my way out of the office. I needed to delegate tasks to various team members to free my time to plan my exit strategy. IT DID NOT GO AS PLANNED. 

I found that I had been protecting my role and protecting the tasks within that role.  

The bad side: I had been doing it so long, that it had become a part of our office culture.  

The good side: When I began delegating, the team members were flattered that I would trust them with my tasks.  

They saw how much of a perfectionist I was and by giving up the reigns, I was putting on display their ability to complete the task before the whole team and all of our patients. Their self confidence soared. Their productivity increased. Their joy while at work was palpable.  

Without even knowing it, I had invested in the business and it was paying dividends before I had even stepped out the door! Why, our team was growing! When I began delegating, they looked for opportunities to delegate to new team members or to cross-train others on the team.  

This process has strengthened the fabric our business, as well as the relationships on our team. I had no idea that by taking the baby steps of delegating my way out of the office toward my own personal freedom, that I would free my family business to soar.  

Likely the most valuable outcome of delegating has been the additional time that was freed up for me to work on other parts of my planned exit strategy. You will create a reduced task list for yourself and therefore a reduced workload. It is like a baby step in the direction of carefully extricating yourself from the day to day tasks in the office. Delegating will eventually transition into training team members (new and veteran) on the larger tasks and roles. At that point you will be ready for the major transition to train for full roles. Delegation will build a momentum you can ride on your journey through to the end.  

DELEGATING: CAN’T DO IT. GOTTA DO IT.  

This thought kept cycling through my mind: Delegating. Ugh. Can’t do it. Gotta do it.

Then my perspective shifted. I stepped away from my opinion of it and tried to reframe it.

I knew I needed to pass along my tasks at the business before I could step away. In the past, it was always: hire, train, step away. Obviously that had not worked. I was still in the office and there was no end in sight without taking things into my own hands.

My current problem: I didn’t have any extra time to “take things into my own hands.”

I was already full time, working evenings, and even with all of those hours, only able to get the tasks done that needed to get done to keep the business up and running. You know those things: collecting money, paying bills, marketing. There was no time or space for any extras. Heck there was no time or space for some of the required things. How was I going to find the time?

I brainstormed.

I looked at outsourcing (more on that in a later blog!).

I looked at hiring.

I tried restructuring my time. (This may not surprise you as it did me. I was unable to put more than 24 hours in my day.)

My last resort: Delegation. Yes, that dirty word…

Likely the most valuable outcome of delegating has been the additional time that was freed up for me to work on other parts of my planned exit strategy. Through delegating, you can (and will) create a reduced task list for yourself and therefore a reduced workload. It is a baby step in the direction of carefully extricating yourself from the day to day tasks in the office. Delegating will eventually transition into the process of training team members (new and veteran) on the larger tasks and regular duties. At that point you will be ready for the major transition to train for full roles. Delegation will build a momentum you can ride on your journey through to the end. There is balance at the end of the tunnel.

Why Our Practice is Our First Born

Why Our Practice is Our First Born

No matter how big (or small) of a role you play in the office, at the end of the day, it is still a family business. What a great opportunity it was for Keith and I to see what we could co-create when we put out heads and hearts together. As our marriage grew, so did our baby. Looking back, the reverse is true as well; our baby helped us grow our marriage.