Blog | Personal development

Sharing Your Why

If you’re not headed in the direction you want to be, maybe it’s time to assess your teammates “why”

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After Lisa and I got our Journey Healing Centers up and running, our business partner, Charles, and I continued our “road show.” That was the nickname we called our effort to find counselors who might be interested in joining our treatment team and support a referral relationship.

Almost like politicians trying to gather support for an election campaign, we shook a lot of hands, showered towns with our brochures, and gave our best “pitch” to a lot of professionals in the behavioral health industry.

Not everyone shared our enthusiasm, however.

Street smarts meets book smarts

In fact, the majority of the counselors we encountered were unimpressed by our slick performance and arrogance over believing we had any right to run a legitimate treatment center.

After all, we were nothing more than uneducated nightclub workers, who were we to suggest we know what it’s like to work our way back from the despair caused by addiction? Who were we to think we could help families deal with the wake of destruction addiction brings?

Many counselors promptly suggested that we go back to school and get degrees in counseling, like they had done. This was shortly before they asked us to leave.

In an effort to save ourselves from further rejection, we hired a University of Utah professor to consult with us on building our business. After asking us a few questions about our struggle, she agreed with the counselors. “You don’t know what you’re doing,” she argued. “You really need to go back to

School.” To which she ended the consultation and billed us $750 for the consultation, and considered her job complete and her recommendations helpful.

Imagine our crushed spirits as we heard professionals we wanted to build relationships with didn’t want to support us. What Charles and I volleyed back-and-forth was how we knew from firsthand experience that there were countless numbers of people struggling with and dying from addiction. We knew we could help but because we didn’t have a fancy degree on the wall, other “professionals” didn’t want anything to do with us.

Were we not fighting the same fight?

And that is when we realized the difference. We were dealing with Ss who thought they were Bs.

CASHFLOW® Quadrant in the real world

cashflow Quadrant

While Lisa and I were building a business, the counselors we were trying to recruit were sole-proprietors working in the S-quadrant on the left-side of the CASHFLOW Quadrant.

Even though were were fighting the same fight, we were doing so from very different perspectives.

The consultant we hired was never a business owner. She was full of theory and was a great teacher but she wasn’t an entrepreneur. We weren’t speaking the same language that she was.

Charles and I knew two very important things that none of the professionals we contacted understood:

  1. We weren’t creating jobs, but building a business. We had no intention of treating the guests ourselves, rather we only wanted to provide a space for the healing to occur. They were experts in the counseling field. That is what we were hiring them to do best so we could do what we wanted to do best.

  2. The counselors we were networking with earned their degrees through hard work but knew nothing about what I lived through. I knew exactly what it was like to live with addiction.

    I started testing my theory and would ask them, “Are you a friend of Bill W.?” Invoking the name of the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous was often a code for those of us in the world of alcoholism recovery, and anyone with real experience in the field would know that. But, shockingly, many of the addiction counselors we spoke with didn’t. How could they talk to anyone effectively about overcoming drug and alcohol addiction if they’d never experienced it or been affected by it personally?

After discovering these two important points, we were convinced that we needed to start conversations with people working on the ground in the addiction treatment industry. In other words, they needed a strong “why,” not just a degree to earn a paycheck.

Think about who you associate with. Do they share your same “why”?

If you want to read more about our story, grab a copy of our book The Social Capitalist.

Original publish date: September 09, 2019

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