Grab your favorite beverage and cozy up because today, we're diving into the inspiring story of Christy Pennison, the powerhouse entrepreneur who turned her life around from corporate burnout to building a thriving 7-figure counseling practice.
Picture this: A single mom, a steady corporate job, and a bank account running on fumes. Yep, that's the backdrop of Christy's remarkable journey, and we're about to break it all down for you.
After being asked "what hurts your heart?" Christy challenged the conventional norms in her life and decided to make some changes.
**This was also a podcast episode (episode #213. Use the player below if you'd prefer to listen to this message.
The 'Aha' Moment: Noticing Mental Health Stress and Seeking Change
Christy was knee-deep in a corporate job, one that had morphed into something she no longer recognized. Her once-sunny disposition had clouded over, and the very thing she was passionate about – mental health – was taking a toll on her own wellbeing. It's a classic case of an entrepreneur's greatest paradox: how to protect your mental health while hustling for success.
Acknowledge Burnout Early - Don't ignore the signs of burnout. It's your mind's way of waving a red flag. Christy's turning point came when she realized she was on a path she couldn't sustain without harming her mental health.
"How do I put the things on my calendar FIRST, that give me life, that recharge me...because so often I will put those things AFTER all of my weekly responsibilities." - Christy Pennison
"But instead, I really wanna figure out how to flip the switch and be able to actually put those things that are recharging for me first on the list and then build out the schedule around it... I think when you intentionally prioritize the things that ground you, that help you reflect, that help you recharge, then the more sustainable it's going to be to create anything you wanna create... what's really priority is me taking care of myself so that I can continue to do this to do list." — Christy Pennison
Leaping into the Unknown: Navigating the Transition Into Entrepreneurship
Sometimes, life calls for a leap of faith. Christy decided to leave her corporate job, sell her house, and venture back to her hometown. It was a bold move but guess what? It was the spark that ignited her entrepreneurial journey.
What started as an idea that kept her up one night, turned into a crystal clear vision that she built upon. Sitting at her mom's kitchen table she outlined what type of business she wanted to start and even though she didn't know all the answers (or many at all) she took one step at a time and made it happen.
Trust Your Vision - Crystalize your vision. Christy's clarity about starting a counseling practice in her hometown was like a beacon. It guided her through uncertainty.
While Christy didn't know how everything would work out, she knew what she wanted to do and it was her crystal clear vision that kept her going.
'Well, I'll tell you the mission of what I do, and that is to inspire hope for change, to help individuals of all ages move forward and live fully.'" — Christy Pennison
A Clear Vision and Openness to Opportunities As An Entrepreneur
Christy didn't just dream of a thriving counseling practice; she made it happen. Her story reminds us that having a clear vision can be a North Star in the uncertain world of entrepreneurship.
Clarity is Key - The clearer your vision, the easier it is to hold onto it. Christy started her journey with a vision, even when it was just her, her daughter, and a $25 bank balance.
"I think the clearer your vision, the more you can hold on to it." — Christy Pennison
"There are things you may have to part with or let go of (along the way) but then letting go will often opportunities for you to receive." - Christy Pennison
Protecting Your Mental Health As An Entrepreneur
As a therapist Christy has a unique viewpoint on how entrepreneurship affects us personally. She was able to recognize that there's something different that happens as soon as you step into this role and that thing is that it shines a light on places you might not have known about.
We're talking fears, triggers, worry and more. While entrepreneurship is thrilling and worth it 100% for those who truly want it, it's important to know that it's also tough on many levels.
"If you're an entrepreneur, or an aspiring one, self development 101 is 'become an entrepreneur'. Because anything about your character, your personality, honestly if you have unresolved trauma or triggers you're unaware of (this is me as a therapist and an entrepreneur speaking), it is all going to come up." - Christy Pennison
Remember, You Are Not Alone - This isn't to discourage anyone from stepping into entrepreneurship but rather to ensure that you know you aren't alone if you're feeling these things. If self doubt is creeping in and you're typically a confident person, it's not that you're losing yourself, it's entrepreneurship. You're not alone in this very unique battle we've signed up for.
Confronting Limiting Beliefs: Shaking the Fear of Change While Caring For Mental Health
Fear is a sneaky fellow. It can make you cling to situations you've outgrown. Christy's fear was tied to the belief that financial stability and benefits could only come from a corporate job. But she did something brilliant. She challenged that belief!
Challenge Your Beliefs - The next time a limiting belief holds you back, ask questions. Christy dared to question her need for a corporate job, and her discovery? Paying for her own health insurance could be more affordable!
"That was a turning point for me because I started to challenge the thoughts in mind that had held me back from making a change." - Christy Pennison
The Power of Resilience: Transforming Dreams into Reality
Remember how Christy had just $25 in her account? Well, that's when COVID-19 decided to join the party. But instead of folding under pressure, she took on a role to support Walmart employees during the pandemic. Talk about resilience!
Stay Resilient - Don't give up when the going gets tough. The entrepreneurial path is filled with ups and downs. Christy's story teaches us that when you're ready to throw in the towel, opportunities can emerge.
"Right at the moment that I wanted to give up, things started to change." - Christy Pennison
"I just kept clear on that vision. I was a solo show for a year...but here we are 3.5 years later and it's a multi-location therapy practice in two different cities, with a team of 17 right now. But it all started with me and a vision and a hope to create something that could not only make an impact for myself but really my community and the people we serve." - Christy Pennison
"Things can change, you just have to keep going." - Christy Pennison
Take Away Message / Action
So, what did we learn from Christy's extraordinary journey from corporate burnout to entrepreneurial success? First and foremost, it's that mental health as an entrepreneur is paramount. Recognizing burnout, challenging limiting beliefs, and embracing the messy middle are all part of the game.
Remember, entrepreneurship isn't just about financial gain; it's about making an impact on your community and the world. And guess what? Sometimes, it's the journey, not the destination, that shapes you into the unstoppable entrepreneur you're meant to be.
As you navigate your own entrepreneurial path, keep Christy's journey in mind. You've got this!
Christy Pennison is a board-certified counselor, 7-figure business building entrepreneur, host of the Inspiring Possible podcast, and founder of Be Inspired Counseling & Consulting in Alexandria and Natchitoches, LA. She has coached and advised dozens of leaders, mental health professionals, and business owners from across the country to help them grow through the many challenges they face. Due to her knowledge and leadership, she is highly recognized by other professionals in her field. As a result, she was awarded the 20 under 40 Acadiana Leadership Award. In addition, she has been a guest on the Montel Williams’ podcast Free Thinking, and her expertise has been regularly featured in articles on NBC, Today, and many other media outlets and publications. She is passionate about empowering mental health professionals and women in leadership to live with confidence, conviction, and limitless belief that anything is possible.
Podcast IG: https://www.instagram.com/inspiringpossible/
Other Resources Mentioned:
DIY Resilient Business Planning Course: https://www.amandamckinney.com/plan
All podcast episodes: https://pod.link/1473751874
Amanda's Coaching Options: https://www.amandamckinney.com/coaching
Amanda's Book: https://www.amandamckinney.com/book
"If you're an entrepreneur, or an aspiring one, self development 101 is 'become an entrepreneur'. Because anything about your character, your personality, honestly if you have unresolved trauma or triggers you're unaware of (this is me as a therapist and an entrepreneur speaking), it is all going to come up."
- Christy Pennison
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