Step 1: Realize Your Potential
Thinking about starting a private practice can be nerve-wracking. You may have a science-based degree in dietetics with tons of college level courses on anatomy, biology, chemistry, food science, communications, psychology, BUT what about business courses? You may have taken a few business courses, but definitely not all the courses that it takes to be a private practice dietitian. For instance, how are your skills at developing a business plan, marketing, social media, reading contracts, leases, trademarks, billing, accounting, profit and loss statements, insurance, etc. The list goes on and on. Are you prepared to get the training that you need? There is a lot to be said for “on the job training” but that is a slow and tedious process. What if there were a way that you could fast track your route to success?
Ask yourself these questions:
- What do you love about your career?
- What do you wish was different?
- What are your 3 top strengths?
- What are you 3 top weaknesses?
- If you had a magic wand, where do you see yourself in 6 months, 1 year, and 5 years?
Answering these questions will help prepare you for the rest of this blog and the beginning stages of private practice.
This blog series is an expansion of the book, Welcome to the REBELUTION: Seven Steps to the Nutrition Counseling Practice of Your Dreams.
Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a private practice dietitian and you’re not sure where to start?
Klara Knezevic and I decided that it was time for us to start a SEVEN-STEP Blog series on How to Become a Private Practice Dietitian Series. The first and in many ways, the most important place to start if our first tip in this series. Realize Your Potential. When you are starting a practice, at the end of the day, everything ultimately falls on your shoulders. The key to success is to figure out what you are best at doing and why and what you are not so good at and figure out how you can get better with those skills or figure out how to hire someone to make your team stronger.
Finding the right people on your team will be one of the most challenging and daunting tasks as a private practice dietitian. While in private practice, your needs will change often and it will be essential to learn to pivot your thoughts, goals and actions often. Just like we work with our patients, flexibility and adaptability is important.
I have been in private practice for over 30 years, and have mentored many dietitians within my own practice as well as dietitians around the country looking to start their own businesses, so I get this question a lot. So I am here to take you to step by step through our new blog series, showing you exactly what it takes to become a private practice dietitian.
Realize Your Potential is the first step.
The seven-steps to private practice success include:
- Realize Your Potential
- Excel in One Area of Private Practice
- Build Your Private Practice
- Empower Your Clients to be Successful and Happy
- Learn Ways to Keep Your Practice Financially Successful
- Reach New Heights
- Dare to be a REBEL
Today, we are going to start with the first step, and that is how to realize your potential within private practice.
3 parts to Realize Your Potential
The first step is to know who you are. We will help you with this step now with a journey of Step #1: Realize Your Potential including:
- What are Your Strengths?
- What are Your Values?
- What is Your Vision?
Once you have finished working through Step 1, you will be well on your way to designing your business plan.
What does realize your potential mean?
Starting a private practice can be an intimidating endeavor, and in order to be successful, you need to be aware of your strengths AND your weaknesses. That is why one of the first steps to building the nutrition counseling practice of your dreams is taking a look at yourself! So let’s begin the process by helping you find or create a career that fits your personality, passion, and values.
To create your ideal career, we will have you walk through exercises including finding your strengths, clarifying your values, and aligning your values with your strengths. Once you know your strengths, it will also help you understand your weaknesses, so you know how to ask for help. And most importantly, we want to take this information and use it to set your vision for your private practice and your future.
How to Realize Your Potential in Private Practice
1. Find Your Strengths
Before you even begin to think about a business model, take some time to sit and think about yourself. In order to excel in any career, and especially to grow your private practice, you must utilize your strengths and allow yourself to do what you do well. However, you must also accept your weaknesses and recognize that others might do a better job at something than you will. Being able to distinguish these differences is a sign of a true leader.
How can you evaluate your strengths?
There are many ways to do this, of course, but here are a couple of our favorite tools.
Myers-Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI)
My favorite tool is the Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types (Myers-Brigg Type Indicator) which I have used with business coaching clients and employees to quickly and easily get to know each other. To obtain the please understand me book, click here. (affiliate link)
To quickly and easily take the test on-line, use this link.
The MBTI will classify your personality temperament, which will help you understand what energizes you, what qualities help you get projects completed, what situations help you thrive, how you make decisions, and how you work best with others. There is no one “best” type. All sixteen types have a variety of strengths. Knowing your type and the types of those with whom you interact will help you work together more efficiently and cooperatively.
For example, if your biggest weakness is the ability to delegate, having a strong team of Registered Dietitians and administrative staff upon whom you can rely to assign projects is vital for being able to
delegate without fear. You can attempt to handle everything on your own but it will leave you tired, unhappy, and vulnerable to burnout. By learning your own strengths and weaknesses, you can better delegate and take charge of your career without having to do everything yourself. If you want more information, check out the Essentials of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Assessment (Essentials of Psychological Assessment) by Naomi L. Quenk, PhD
The Strengths Finder
The Strength Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath measures 34 strength themes, evaluated in the order in which you possess the traits from highest to lowest. It will also give you an example of how each trait will impact your behaviors. Identifying your strengths will help you to plan and act on what you are best at and what makes you happiest. By also taking note of your weaknesses you can find ways to make those areas stronger and set goals to improve upon them. Of course, when in doubt, hire out. Don’t be afraid to either hire a coach that can help you in your weaknesses or delegate those tasks outside of your business. At the end of the day you want a healthy and happy business and personal life, so do not dwell on your weaknesses; rather, use them as an opportunity to grow. To purchase this book using our affiliate link, click here.
To take this test on-line, you can use this link.
Focusing on your strengths is a great way to foster self-esteem and individuality. Creating a business based upon your strengths will keep you ahead of the pack, as natural strengths fueled by passion is not something that can be taught. Your strengths are unique to you, and focusing on them will enable you to realize your potential. When you utilize your strengths day in and day out and recognize where you need to keep working or hire help, your business will succeed. Remember to repeat this exercise several times over the course of your career as you build and develop new skills.
The Enneagram Made Easy
I recently discovered The Enneagram Made Easy by Renee Baron & Elizabeth Wagele, and it is an absolute treasure. You can order this book here using our affiliate link.
It helps identify nine types of people including the:
I love the names of the personality types and how you can be a blend of a couple of profiles to get your unique personality type!
Once you find your personality type, read about yourself. This can be a deep dive and very valuable in your future as both a business owner and employer. You will be able to read about which personality types are the best fit for you and why. Remember, you don’t want to hire people exactly like you. It is important to figure out what you really need.
If you want to get a free sample of enneagram, take a look at these helpful links:
2. Aligning Your Strengths with your Values
Once you have identified your strengths, the next step is aligning your strengths with your values.
When you visualize your ideal job, are values something you consider? Of course, everyone has a vague idea of what they value, but have you really dug deep to verbalize and take ownership of your
values? Most people have not.
Values can simply include a list of 10 words that describe things that make you feel happy, proud, and fulfilled. Knowing who you are now and who you want to be will help you move closer to rebelliously doing what you love and earning what you deserve, or as we like to say, “Have your cake and eat it too!” This is how you achieve the reality of “if you love what you do you will never work a day in your life.” That key piece of life advice has been stated by many, but the question is: HOW do you create a job where you LOVE to go to work every day? The answer is by matching your personal values to those of your business. If you’ve never consciously thought about your values, that’s okay.
What are your values?
Here is a great tool to help you realize your potential. It will guide you to identify your values and passion, which will help to create your vision (more on vision in the next step). Review the following list of values. Choose the three words that resonate most with you. After you have determined your values, it is time to figure out a way to align them with your career in order to focus on your happiness and fulfillment, both personally and professionally.
For instance, if you place high value on independence, freedom, and flexibility, a 9 – 5-day job may leave you feeling trapped. If you value making a difference, you will feel energized fostering your clients’ growth. If you value community and teamwork, you may find a group practice setting is just what you are searching for.
No matter what you value, if you are doing what you do best and living your values every day, you are a perfect fit for becoming a REBEL Dietitian!
Here is a list of values. Circle your top TEN values to use as a guide through the rest of this blog series. Feel free to email us (email@example.com) at anytime for help to prioritize your values.
Which of these words best fit your values?
Once you have identified your strengths and your values, it is time to
Align Your Strengths to Craft Your Values into Your Vision
Now that you have a clearer picture of your strengths and your values, it is time to start to visualize your future. On to manifesting your vision.
3. Set Your Vision to Release Your Potential
Now, the final step to help you realize your potential. It is time to combine the strengths you possess with your individual values to create a vision for your business. Having a strong vision will bring you a profit and enable you to stay true to your values. Often, this step is challenging because you may be stuck in traditional thinking of what you “should” do. Here we hope to inspire you to get down to basics and think about things that you enjoyed when you were a child—in fact, something as simple as arts and crafts can help you tap into your creativity and think outside of the dietetics box. You are responsible for your own future so get out there and create the life you really want!
You may have heard of vision boards and may have even made a vision board in the past, I recommend creating a new vision board every three years as you grow and your needs change over time.
One fun and powerful exercise to help you develop your vision is to create a “vision board”—a collage of images that speak to you about your goals.
They can be personal or professional goals and/or a combination of your values and vision:
Remember, you are aligning both your personal and your business values to create your vision.
The idea is to have a visual reminder of what you want for your life and business on paper to help you keep your focus and move you closer to your goals. Your subconscious mind works on this image all the time whether you realize it or not, so you might as well give your subconscious mind specific, positive images to dwell upon. We suggest that you even take this vision board one step further and think of it as an action board. In other words, this board is making a promise to yourself for what you want to happen. The key is for you to set up ways to stay accountable to reach your vision (more on that later); otherwise, it will simply remain a vision.
Vision boards are especially helpful during times when you feel defeated or unsure of where you are going. Your vision board can help you keep in mind your passion and the big picture. As you share your
inspiring images and goals with others, it helps you to move closer to these goals because now you have outside accountability as well.
We believe in these vision boards so much!
Here are some vision boards that our team made at a recent team building and annual planning retreat.
Want to learn more about becoming a private practice dietitian?
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And don’t forget, we have other great business coaching blogs to help you along the way.
Rebecca works with business coaching clients who are more experienced and looking to expand their current private practice by hiring more RDs and/or staff, or by expanding their clientele.
See Rebecca Bitzer’s bio here.
Klara works with business coaching clients who are looking to begin accepting insurance at their private practice or who are just starting out in private practice. Klara can assist you with all steps in the medical billing process and is an expert in Electronic Health Records.
Take a look at Klara Knezevic’s bio here.
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Rebecca Bitzer loves to empower Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) and their clients. Co-author of Welcome to the Rebelution: Seven steps to the nutrition counseling practice of your dreams and Taste the Sweet Rebellion: Rebel against dieting.