The biggest hurdle: our struggle with “enoughness”

Quote over a person standing by the ocean, "You are not alone, the world needs you".

From my experience, one of the biggest hurdles to growing a busy acupuncture practice is not external – not competing in a saturated market or some complex business strategy – but internal.

I think it’s our own inner critic, self doubt, our feeling of enoughness.

I see this all the time with acupuncturists, I see it holding them back and forcing them to play small, preventing them from expanding into the huge force for good that they could be. And it makes me so sad.

It manifests in several ways: In thinking you need more education before you can really go big with your practice… more experience, more money, more time. In discounting your prices so much that you don’t thrive, build resentment in your practice instead of abundance, and burn out. In a resistance to accepting that your patients want you to lead them with confidence and hope, and want to trust and believe in you as their guide. In a lack of clarity about who you most want to serve and what you really have to offer. And in a resistance to learn about marketing and growing your practice and impact.

Because what if you actually DO know enough right NOW? What if you DO actually market your practice successfully and attract a ton of new patients? What if you COULD live the life of your dreams right NOW? You would have to EXPAND, you would have to GROW, you would have to accept that you are ENOUGH.

And that can be really scary. I know.

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I’ve struggled with this every step of the way in growing my practice. And I’ve had to push past it.

What really helped me is knowing that this feeling is completely normal. Sheryl Sandberg talks about it in her book, Lean In. She calls it the “Imposter Syndrome”: the feeling that she, as an incredibly well educated woman, is a fraud, doesn’t actually deserve to be running one of the most powerful companies in the world, and will be “found out”. Maya Angelou has talked about the fear every time she writes a book, that she’ll be found out as a fraud and a terrible writer and undeserving all the accolades and recognition she’s received. Tina Fey has spoken about it. Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a whole book about it. It’s so common!

Knowing this and having a name for this, “Imposter Syndrome”, has helped me to accept it non-judgmentally, and with compassion towards myself, and push on in spite of it, with it, carrying it along as just part of the journey.

And I encourage you to push through too.

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Enoughness is believing you’re enough just as you are. You might be wondering: But what if you want to improve and evolve things about yourself? (good!) What if you want to improve and change things about your life? (good!) Doesn’t allowing yourself or life to be enough as it is right now prevent moving forward and positive change? (no!)

The thing is, we work on enoughness to expand into potential, into what is possible. You are constantly changing and growing. And as soon as you step into action, you get immediate feedback from the universe – and use that to change, grow, and improve. The problem is when our fear and self-doubt hold us back from stepping into action. This holds us back from our potential and growth. So no, enoughness is not settling. It helps you reach your full potential.

By acknowledging and embracing and fully feeling your enoughness just as you are, it allows you to move forward with happiness and gratitude and confidence. And happiness, gratitude and confidence are powerful forces in attracting everything you want. And forward movement is key to growth.

I have enough experience. I have enough Qi. I have enough skill. I get enough results. I have enough education. I have enough confidence. I have enough money. I have enough support.

These beliefs fuel you to move ahead into action, forward movement, growth and more-than-enough. It gives you a solid foundation for development and expansion. Without these beliefs, you work from a place of decreased confidence and self-worth, and continue playing small.

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Ironically, the feeling of self-doubt often strikes the hardest right before and during an expansion. So when you feel them, carry on!! Keep moving!

One of my favorite lessons on blasting through limiting beliefs comes from the book The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. In the book, Hendricks outlines the concept of an “Upper Limit Problem” — a self-imposed limit on how much success or money (or whatever) you believe that you’re allowed to have. Here’s what Hendricks had to say about Upper Limit Problems in an article for Experience Life:

“Each of us has an inner thermostat setting that determines how much love, success and creativity we allow ourselves to enjoy. That thermostat setting usually gets programmed in early childhood. And, once programmed, our Upper-Limit thermostat setting holds us back from enjoying all the love, financial abundance and creativity that’s rightfully ours.”

The feelings of being “not enough” are the highest when you’re going through an uplevel. An uplevel is anything in any area of your life when you’re taking things to the next level – increasing your rates, graduating from school and starting your practice, expanding your skill set, marketing and growing your practice, putting yourself out there, meeting new people, starting a new job or relationship, and so on.

Upleveling pulls us out of our comfort zone. It asks us to stretch. To increase the thermostat. To extend into the uncertain.

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If you’re struggling with self doubt or a feisty inner critic, and you sense that it might be holding you back in gaining traction in your practice and growing your impact, I want you to know that this inner critic and self doubt are completely NORMAL and YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

I always say that being in business is the best self-help tool around. Because it forces us to confront these inner demons. So here’s your chance.

I think it’s helpful to look at these doubts, fears, and inner-critics – and to identify them and say “hello there. I recognize you, old friends.”

And then to ignore them, and move on in spite of them. Don’t let them stop you.

I want to encourage you to work on cultivating your “enoughness”, so that you can work from a place of ease, trust, and flow.

I have found that having a meditation practice supports my ability to trust, surrender, and have faith instead of believing that I need to hustle, muscle, and force my way in the world. I believe that there is wisdom within each of us and we have access to this wisdom and guidance at all times if only we choose to access it.

I encourage you to get in touch with your Inner Sage (that’s what the I Ching calls it, and I like it). By doing this you can begin to see and embrace that you have access to deep wisdom, power, and peace within you. Set aside time each day to engage in a practice that helps you embrace your own wisdom, self-worth, and intuition / inner guidance system. This could include:

  • Spending time in nature or in quiet solitude each day
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Journaling or spiritual reading
  • Meditating
  • Praying or practicing mantras or affirmations
  • Visualization or yoga

Find the practices that work for you, and practice it consistently (at least 4-5 times a week). You’ll notice a drastic shift in the way you’re able to release control, be open to the opportunities that surround you, and move forward confidently, authentically, and with ease, peace, and trust.

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Please, know that everyone struggles with self-doubt and it’s ok, know that you are ENOUGH, you are AMAZING, work on building your inner trust, confidence, and conviction. Don’t let it stop you from growing your impact and expanding into the force for good that you were meant to be. Because the WORLD NEEDS YOU and what you have to offer.

And if you’re ready to move forward despite these fears and feisty inner critic, I invite you to join me in the ProsperRing coaching program. Which is designed to be that pivot point that will help take your practice to an extraordinary level.

It’s designed to put YOU back in charge of what’s most important (your time, money, and impact) and give you the knowledge, tools and support you need to create success on your own terms.

You can learn more about the program and enroll here. The group is limited to 20 people. Since I want to be able to support you, give feedback, answer your questions, and make it as meaningful and impactful as I can for you – space is limited.

If you’re ready to commit to a higher standard for yourself and your practice, I sincerely hope I have the chance to work with you inside the program.

Hi! I'm Katie Altneu

I'm an acupuncturist, herbalist, & business teacher

My acupuncture clinic in Denver, CO makes me so happy. It's full enough to support my life, and simple enough to give me peace of mind. I'm a firm believer that bigger is not always better and that we need to "stop the glorification of busy".

I want your acupuncture clinic to be as full as you'd like it to be. I want acupuncturists to know how to inspire-to-action the people who need us and our medicine. And I believe the best strategies are simple and heartfelt.

Combining my prior education & career in business & finance with my personal experience starting and growing my clinic, I love teaching acupuncturists to master the business side of their clinics. I believe in you and I'm so glad you're here!

Katie Altneu, creator of AcuProsper & the ProsperRing

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