Starting a business has a lot in common with counseling

Since Care to Change opened its doors, several people have commented on how exciting it must be to establish a new business. Yes, is exciting, but I can’t say it was easy or that I was always filled with confidence. My business partner and I thought for a long time about the advantages of creating a new counseling practice that would reflect our values, principles, and approach. But as anyone who has started a business will tell you, there’s a big gap between having an idea and deciding to put it into action.

I can’t tell you exactly how long I personally agonized over the idea, or how many prayers were said while considering it. I talked with so many people I trusted, including my husband and my family, and they all expressed more confidence in the idea then I was feeling inside. Each time I came close to deciding to proceed, I’d hesitate, and think everything through again.

That decision to proceed was only the first of a long list of decisions. There were considerations about how the business would be structured, where would be located, what services we would offer, how many people would be involved … the list goes on and on. It seemed that each time I thought all the decisions were made, a new decision would crop up.

Through the entire process of starting a business and finishing the center, there have been frustrating moments, too. Fortunately there were more little victories along the way. I lost count of the number of times I looked up and asked God, “Are you sure this is what you want me to do?” There were moments when I wasn’t so sure. But the day the first clients walked into the counseling center, I knew in my heart that all the decisions and frustrations were worth it. And every time we see another person “graduate” I know it’s all been worth it.

As I look back, I realize that the process is very similar to what the people who come to see us go through. They have a strong desire for change in their lives, but they wonder whether they’re doing the right thing. When they develop the courage to call and make their first appointment and walk in the door, they start on another journey. It’s a journey that will put them to the test time and time again. They’ll have frustrating moments, they’ll struggle with issues, and they’ll enjoy a number of small victories along the way. And, the day will come when they look back at the process and realize that all the struggles and all the challenges were worth the effort.

Most of all, they’ll realize how much they grew as a person. They’ll have new confidence in themselves and in their ability to make the most of their life. If you are grappling with the decision about seeking counseling, I hope you will. I can’t tell you it will be easy, because it never is. But I can promise you that it will be worthwhile, and there will come a day when it will be clear. Our professionals are here, ready to help.