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Is your Practice on Fire or Burning Down?



Holly Battrum is gonna be talking to us and our topic today is on, is your practice on fire or burning down, putting resilience and power back into your practice.

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Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Welcome to another episode of the American Acupuncture Council, to the Point, I’m your host, Lauren Brown. And I’m a C P A. I’m a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine founder of Healthy Seminars and author of Missing the Point Why Acupuncturists Fail and what they Need to Know to Succeed. And today I have a colleague and friend on our episode.

It’s gonna be Holly. Holly Battrum is gonna be talking to us and our topic today is on, is your practice on fire or burning down, putting resilience and power back into your practice. So let’s bring Holly in here and I’m gonna do a brief introduction here, but just let you know that she is also a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine.

She’s been doing great in her practice since she started it back in 2015. She’s also an. N l p coach and mentor and before she did Chinese medicine she was involved in business leadership. And Holly, it’s good to have you on and I’m looking for you to share some of those practice management pearls today.

Hi Lauren. Thank you so much for the invitation to chat with you and of course, the American Acupuncture Council for hosting these conversations. Yeah, we’re gonna have some fun. We’re gonna have some fun. So, you know, your title is Practice Is Your Practice on Fire or Burning Down and Putting Resilience and Power Back into your Practice?

And you and I I have had, you and I have had this conversation that. People want this work-life balance, and I don’t know if that’s a realistic expectation, but I’ve heard you talk about not so much work-life balance to have joy and succeed in your practice, but you talk about rhythm. Can you kind of tell me what that rhythm is about and how that is different from a work-life balance?

Yeah. I think that for me particularly, rhythm makes so much more sense, right? When you talk about balance. What are you walking on a tightrope or we’ve, you know, it’s a very fine line of things that you’re trying to achieve. Even when we’re talking about harmonizing in Chinese medicine, we don’t, we are not necessarily trying to balance the system.

We’re, we’re trying to harmonize it and move things around and so, If we get sort of trapped in this balanced concept, I think we put a lot of energy into staying in this very narrow window, right? We have our boundaries and we need to keep those boundaries and, and it’s almost like those latency patterns that we have in Chinese medicine start going into kind of holding everything in place, which becomes very taxing.

So, Right. If you look at rhythm, rhythm is ebb and flow. It’s the what we talk about all the time and. In our medicines, but we don’t necessarily apply it to ourselves. And maybe that means you don’t have a daily habit, you have a weekly habit. I know for one thing in my practice it’s, it’s really hard the way I have my clinic set up for me to get every single thing I wanna get done every single day.

But for example, when Mondays are my really long day and I may not get my workout in, I may not get all of my. How stuff done that I wanna get done because I’m spending 12 hours in practice, whereas I’m not in the clinic on Thursdays. And so I’m able to allot more time on Thursdays for some of those other things.

So I, when I started to look at it from this rhythm concept, it just took a lot of pressure off and made the burnout less and made sort of this challenge of keeping all this structure together a little bit easier. So what do you see as the some of the factors or why people are burning out?

Because we do hear practitioners, colleagues say that, you know, they went into this, they went into this to help people but they find they’re struggling. They’re becoming a. Exhausted, disenfranchised. And I’m curious kind of what do you think some of the reasons are behind that? Maybe it’s that whole rhythm, work-life balance you just discussed, and then how can somebody assess where they are in their practice to know whether they’re going in that right direction?

Yeah. So I think in medicine in general, but particularly in our, our profession, one of the things that happens is we’re taught from sort of this authoritarian concept, right? We have, which is it’s all good information, but we’re taught from a lineage standpoint. And so everything that we do then becomes, this is the way somebody else did it, our masters did it, and you.

And you’re trying to almost replicate that. And so when that happens, we know you can’t think as well in your own sense. So you can’t think as deeply of bringing your own purpose and root into what we do. So though a lot of us do go into these fields trying to help people, we’ve kind of lost ourself in the process.

And so if we try to change our mindset a little bit, and I don’t even wanna say necessarily mindset, but if we start thinking outside of that box, then we can start thinking with more of an abstract concept, and that’ll leave some of that burnout. And do you have any like specific examples, like from, did you come right outta the gates and it’s, and it was all perfect?

Or did you learn through some of your own mistakes that I know that’s, that’s where I got a lot of my lessons and that’s how I share with my colleagues. So what about yourself? Do you have any personal stories that you don’t want people to repeat and then kind of what you’re doing to have this.

Rhythm. And, and I’ll just add, cuz you were sharing, we’re talking about the work life balance and then you’re talking about rhythm. You know, everybody. If you think you’re having work-life balance on a daily basis, those are probably difficult expectations. And I liked how you said you, you know, Monday’s your busy day, so you’re not getting your workout in that day.

But if you look at it over a week or a monthly period, it looks more like balance. And so going back to my, my question, I’m just curious, like what was kind of your experience and what are some of the things that you’ve learned that you’d wanna share with our listeners? Yeah. So no, mine was perfect day one.

I’m just kidding. . I’m totally kidding. I think you go into practice and you go into this sort of, I have to make this work. And that’s great. And that’s where that motivation comes from. And you use those resources where you push yourself forward and you continue to try and try and try, but then you start to reach a point, or at least I did where.

Everything looks great on paper, right? You have this successful practice. You’ve got all these things going on, and, and everyone’s getting better. Not everyone necessarily, but PE people are getting better. People are coming in and, but you maybe don’t really feel like you can take a breath. And that’s where I started to notice this concept of, of what is this rhythm looking like and how, what is my definition of success and how does that look?

Throughout so that I could then kind of almost take back and start that concept of running my practice versus allowing it to run me. Oh, I like that. Can you Talk a little bit more about that and emphasize that, that, and to me that’s a really interesting mindset going from or going to running my practice versus my practice running me.

Can you give examples of what it looks like if your practice is running you and, and what it looks like if you’re running your practice? I, I, I’ll throw it. One, tell me if you agree with this, but in the beginning, my schedule I would, whenever patients wanted to come in, I would see them. So at seven in the morning, seven at night.

And then eventually I created hours. Even though, you know, you wanted patients, you wanted to be available cause you wanted to help everybody. And also you wanted to have a busy schedule. So let’s say you wanted to see eight people in a day. You would maybe work 12 hours to get those eight people in. And then I realize if you’re using one room, this should be done in eight hours.

And if you’re using two rooms, this should be done in four or five hours. That was a good example for me. My practice was running me and then I started running my practice that way. Is that an example? And do you have any others you can share? I, I think that’s absolutely a great example. I know when we first start, we do need to kind of bend over a little bit and, and say, oh, maybe our schedule does need to be more broad.

I know when I started, I, I worked two evenings a week and I worked Friday mornings and you know, a whole four and a half days kind of thing and a couple long days and, and, and now I’ve kind of isolated that to three days a week and I only work one evening. And, and that’s a great example and you sort of.

Kind of work outside of your boundaries. And now I’ll still, I don’t put those so concrete that I have to control them. So I think that’s where this, this little bit of a shift concept works with the resiliency. I mean, resiliency is sort of an elasticity and sometimes I do need to see somebody when I wouldn’t normally see them.

But I’m a hundred percent okay with that before I might be putting all these people on my schedule and really just being frustrated by it. And so if I keep myself within my parameters of my rhythm most of the time, then I’m able to offer more compassion and understanding to my patients when I step outside of that.

So that is a one great example. And then I’m so sorry. If you can kind of repeat the question a little bit, Lauren, then I can Yeah. Add to that and I, well, I was talking about examples of you running your practice versus the practice running you, but you just said something about cuz that flexibility and elasticity a sense that I’m getting is that you really gotta get clear on who you are, what success looks.

Looks like for you. And so it’s more about this inner work as well. Cuz when you choose to work outside your schedule, where’s your mindset at? Like, are you doing it out of fear? You’ll disappoint other and they won’t like you. Are you doing it that then they won’t come back? That to me is the practice running you.

But if your mindset was, I’m feeling. I’m feeling resourced. I really want to help this person. It would bring you joy. You’re not doing it out of guilt, out of, out of neediness, out of fear. You’re doing it out of compassion, and as you shared compassion and you really want to do this and it’s an exception more than the norm, then it sounds like that keeps you in your rhythm.

And so I, I like how you shared that. And to me that’s, that’s about getting clear on who you are. What do you want? Having healthy boundaries. Healthy, well, weighty, right? Mm-hmm. . We talked about an example of, of your practice running you versus you running your practice. Cause I think that’s what a big, when you said that, that was like, that is a good reason why we have burnout.

Mm-hmm. , most people practice. Are running them and they’re not running their practices. What do you think? So I was looking for another example besides your scheduling, but if, but another question, if you don’t have another example right off the bat is just as we get closer to wrap up, what do you think practitioners can be doing to have more of that resilience and joy back into the practice and, and what they may not want to be doing so they don’t run into burnout?

Oh one thing that I would say that we wouldn’t want to be doing is sort of the constant mind chatter. So you’re talking about that inner work. If what we choose to do is you nailed it, you know, put a nail on the head of, of if our stuff comes from a place of lack or comes from a place of should.

Then that is when we start to realize that our practice is running us. If our joy comes from a place of groundedness and oh, this helps my purpose go forward, then we’re gonna be much more in charge. Of our decisions. So that’s the big thing of like, I think what we should and shouldn’t do one thing that I think we miss out a lot of is that creativity.

And so if you’re struggling, you’re listening to this conversation and you’re saying, oh yeah, duh, I know that, but what do I do about that? It, it starts to do the self-work, but come from it as a place of creativity. If we are more creative, which might be just giving ourselves time to let our mind wander.

We forget, we take all this information in, especially this day and age, we’re trying to download more and more information in our brains, and we don’t necessarily give our brains time to process that information or daydream. For one thing, and that can be a part of creativity. If we have a creative mind, then we’re more innovative.

So if you’re struggling with what does this look like for my practice and I wanna keep, you know, a lot of people wanna keep their lineages and I think that’s absolutely amazing. But what can creativity, can you bring into that where you’re bringing your purpose and a little bit of yourself into that as well.

So a couple quick things that you can do is, you know, even just simply as picking up a new hobby, it doesn’t have to be one that you go back to. A lot of times we talk about that and we’re like, well, I used to knit, or I used to play the drums. You know, maybe that was 10 years ago, Lauren, and maybe now you wanna actually pick up a new hobby.

And while you’re working on that, you’re gonna start thinking about your purpose and your life and things like that and your practice. So that’s, that’s absolutely one thing that we can do. The other things is a couple great assessments. So you can either take a top down approach and say, Hey, what is my purpose?

What is my vision? And does everything that I do come from that standpoint? Are my yeses because I’m furthering my vision and my purpose? Or am I yeses once again from that should so you can come at it from that way and just take some time and look at that. The other way that you can do, if that feels like.

Too much is a, is a more of a, you know, bottom up approach. And so you can literally work through almost every task that you do on a daily basis and write it down and say, Hey, I have to do this. Does that feel good to me? Do I wanna do that? Do I not wanna do that? And then once you take that assessment, you can start breaking down and, and using that as, as more of like a how do you wanna feel versus what do you wanna do?

And that’ll help you align as well. And I’ll, I’ll add to what you’ve shared, cuz I like that, that I find the top down that purpose vision, basically, if you really get clear on who you are and how you’re showing up in the world, and then your practice is an extension of that for whatever reason, it just seems like the universe kind of collaborates with you and.

And you find your tribe. So if you’re authentic and you’re, like you said, trying rather than trying to be your lineage or trying to be, you know, if I try to be Holly I may not get those patients cuz it’s not authentic. But if I’m me I’ll find my tribe. Mm-hmm. And so, mm-hmm. To me that’s that. I think of on a spiritual level, conscious, more of a conscious work, really getting clear on who I am and and bringing that into my practice and getting aligned and being authentic.

And then the, the bottom up part I like that I was just actually listening to re-listening to. The book by Eckhart Toley called The New Earth. And he actually said that in it that he’s talking about there’s certain things in during the day that you may not want to do, which is normal, right? He’s talking about feeling good.

And he says, but if you can look at all your tasks and some of your tasks, like you said, are just things you’re not gonna like, but check in on how you feel and if you can just become truly present. So now we’re getting a little, again, back onto consciousness on presence. Mm-hmm. . If you can just be honest with yourself.

You don’t like to do it, but it needs to get done and just focus and be present with it versus thinking, I shouldn’t do this. I don’t want to do this. Just do it with mindfulness. Then it, and, and accept and full acceptance that this is what I need to do right now, just now. Then it has less of a drain on you.

And then I’m sure we’ve talked about this off camera. If it’s something you don’t like to do, You can always find somebody who likes to do that and do that well, and that’s somebody you can hire and delegate that too. So you don’t have to do everything. But at some, some at the beginning you do, right?

Mm-hmm. , you can start to delegate that, those things off. So you’re doing more and more of the things that you, that bring you joy that you’re really good at. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Let me just I know we need to wrap up, but couple little things along those lines. One of my friends. Said this to me a long time ago.

We were talking about paying bills. She’s like, oh, you know, my husband always tells me that I should just be super grateful that I have the money to pay the bills. And I think that is such a different frame of reference. It’s like, oh, maybe you don’t want to pay the bills, but, you know, changing it and like, oh, I’m grateful that I can do this.

And then my other friend runs sort of a, a cleaning, like a house wife blog kind of thing. And she always calls her house cleaning instead of cleaning. And I just sat. It was a huge shift for me. Cause I’m like, oh my God, I hate cleaning. And I’m like, oh wait, no, I’m cleaning. mindset’s so important in life.

Right? And, and it comes to our practice too. I, I, I agree. So Holly, if people are looking for some coaching and a mentorship how do they find you if they wanna follow up more with you? Yeah. You can absolutely just go to hollyBattrum.com and current offerings will be up there. Shoot me an email at holly@hollybattrum.com and I’d love to chat.

Perfect. Thank you very much Holly. And I wanna remind the listeners as well that we have lots of practice management courses and some with that spiritual twist on healthy seminars.com. And also, if you like the consciousness discussions we have on my website on lauren brown.com. I have lots of conscious talks on there as well.

So healthy seminars.com for those practice management talks. And you can email me if you’re looking for that link, but, The other website is lauren brown.com and you can check out my book as well called Missing the Point, why Acupunctures Fail and What They Need To Know to Succeed. And again, thank you to the AAC for this opportunity to be your host and to our guest today, Holly.