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I remember when I was first setting up “shop” in 2010. Since I was working part, part time and didn’t have an office yet, I traveled to my client’s place of business to do coaching sessions. I began looking for space in the fall of 2012 and found an office I could rent on a per use basis not far from home. As a new practitioner, it was important for me to “look professional”. The room I rented was part of a larger facility and while the space looked professional, it didn’t quite feel right. I saw many clients there until the time came to seek a new space. I remember how agonizing it was to move into a new office space. Would my clients follow me? What would they think of the new space? It was interesting to me how unnerving it was to move a new practice.
I learned through others experiences, that as a practitioner your space becomes an extension of what you do. It takes years to find your “groove” and until then, you seem to worry about where you are located, what the space looks and feels like and how your clients will receive it. You want everything to look perfect. You want to look professional, like an expert and successful. It also seems that we attach “meanings” to working from home or in a shared office.
After going through my last and final move (for a while) in March, I wondered if I was the only one who had this experience. My colleague, Laura Ryan, was moving about the same time so I made it a point to book a time to see her new space. I traveled to her new office on April 15th. During the drive over I thought about how much easier my move had been. I realized no matter where I “worked” and how intentional I set the space, my clients were coming for the work I do, not my space.
I arrived in mid afternoon and after a few moments of waiting, Laura greeted me and took me on a short tour of her office. Once we were out of the common areas, I asked her if she would share her moving experience. She agreed and a “space interview” was born. 🙂
Me: “What happens to a practice when you move it?”
Laura: “This is my second move in my professional life. When I first started I was on South First street and I was renting by the hour. So moving into my last space was…a place that was mine. It became my home over the years I was there. It was a very rocky relationship with that space, we had some ups and downs…but the space itself was so much like my home. It was so beautiful and sweet there and I loved it there…I kinda grew up in (that space) as a professional.”
Me: “How many years were you there?”
Laura: “I was there for eight years.”
Me: “Wow, so you got to see your practice evolve over time.”
Laura: “Yes. So many things changed in my life…I went back to school and had a baby in that space. A lot of life changes happened in that space. So leaving it was really, really hard. I didn’t think I’d ever get over it and I didn’t think I’d ever feel that good again. I remember the last day I was there I was really emotional. I didn’t think I would feel comfortable somewhere new.”
Me: “How long have you been here in your new space?”
Laura’s beautiful office is on the 5th floor of the Austin Medical Plaza. She shared some of the things she’s had to remember in the new space. For example, she offices with several professionals and there are pin codes on each of the doors and the office building’s main door. There is a parking garage across the street and public restrooms outside the office area.
And despite being in an office building versus a stand-alone house, the suite she offices in is very much its own oasis. I noticed as I walked down the last corridor to her office suite, the energy changed. It’s like the whole vibe of the place shifted, especially as I walked through the front door of the suite. When you walk in, you notice a beautiful waiting room with a huge (and I mean huge!) water feature that immediately calms the senses. And the more time you spend here, the more relaxed and comfortable you feel. I can see why Laura has made it her new home
Me: “You know what I noticed Laura? You can’t tell that you are in an office building. When you walk in here, it feels different. Even the carpet doesn’t look like the normal office space carpet.”
Laura: “Yes, it feels good in this space. At first when I moved my stuff into the space, I wasn’t sure it was going to look good at all. But (showing the space around us) it has come together.
Me: “Yes, it looks good to me! And it really feels good in here…safe and soothing.”
Laura: “And the thing about this suite of offices is that it’s been gutted and rebuilt. So everything is new and was done…intentionally…for therapists. It is very calm environment. ”
Me: “What’s it been like for your clients?”
Laura: “The transition for some of my clients has been tough. They got used to the last space and this is a very different feel. And some people don’t like change.”
Me: “You know what I’ve noticed, Laura, is that for many practitioners, they have their identity locked into their work. So the practice becomes an extension of who they are and so its important that the space reflect who they are. What do you think about the space in that regard?”
Laura: “The thing I’ve realized is that I am not the space. I had a really hard time with that before, but now I know I can be practicing out of a cardboard box and people would still be making the connections.”
Me: “I love that you say that because it took me a while to understand that, too. What’s your favorite part of the space?”
Laura: “All of it. I love my office but I also like the waiting area. I feel like everything feels warm but professional. It’s professional without being clinical. My old space was quirky; it was an old house. I like that this space is new and I don’t have to worry about uneven floors and cracks, etc. Sometimes I forget I am out of my old space. I think that is a compliment.”
Me: “I agree. Thank you for having me in your space today. And thank you so much for sharing your experience with us.”
We continued to talk in her new space and I admired all the cool ways she’s organized the space to make it both functional and therapeutic. She’s been in the Austin Medical Plaza @ 37th & Medical Parkway since March 1st and is feeling a sense of ease. After seeing her in this new space, I can’t help but feel excited about the next chapter in Laura’s life. I’ve always believed that our environments contribute a lot to our well being. And sometimes, even if we can’t see the end, a move like this can be both healing and motivating. In Laura’s case, it seems this new space is giving her an opportunity to call back some of her energy and focus on activities she feels passionate about; like writing and conducting classes. This is a great example of calling back our energy (www.realliferealchanges.com/wheres-your-energy). Yippee!
So if you are curious about Laura’s space or work, I recommend connecting with her at anewdayhypnosis.com. Her perfect referral is someone who is stuck and wants someone to support them. Future and current projects include classes on women and wealth, Imago theories, and parenting.
And, remember, if you are not feeling good in your space it might be time to move or purge some stuff because relationships with our things require energy from us.