High Achieving Black Women in Practice with Dr. Mēgan Pickens | GP 170

Are you a high-achieving person? Do you often chase your ambitions with all that you’ve got? How can you keep your achiever mentality under control and not lose sight of what’s important to you in life?

In the second part of this two-episode series, LaToya Smith speaks about how to start a membership community with Dr. Megan Pickens.

Podcast Sponsor: Therapy Notes

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As a therapist, I can tell you from experience that having the right EHR is an absolute lifeline. I recommend using TherapyNotes. They make billing, scheduling, notetaking, telehealth, and E-prescribe incredibly easy. Best of all, they offer live telephone support that’s available 7 days a week.

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Meet Dr. Mēgan Pickens

A photo of Dr. Mēgan Pickens is captured. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor. Dr. Mēgan Pickens is featured on Grow a Group Practice, a therapist podcast.

Dr. Mēgan Pickens is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor with nearly 20 years of clinical experience. She provides supervision and training for counseling students and associates new to the field (about LPC Supervision).

Dr. Mēgan was once a High Achieving Black Woman (HABW™) who struggled with setting boundaries in all of her relationships. During a ten-year troubled relationship, she learned that the more you accept and allow people to take what they want, the more they will continue to take. She worked in the counseling field for several years before realizing that she had a calling to help other HABW™, specifically black women who have been socialized to believe that the only normalcy is not having healthy boundaries. 

Visit The Volition Collective and connect on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

In This Podcast

  • Are you a high achiever?
  • Slow down and appreciate it!
  • Keep your achiever mentality in check with your values

Are you a high achiever?

A simple yet profound way to assess whether or not someone is a high achiever is to look at what they choose to do.

Do they choose to do the difficult tasks? Do they choose the high road, or the long road when it comes to achieving their goals?

Dr. Pickens works with high-achieving black women and helps them to navigate, overcome, and dismantle unique challenges and obstacles. Some of these include:

  • Creating and maintaining strong relationships

Love relationships, family relationships, and relationships with God and spiritual aspects I think are a lot of the things that they’re dealing with.

Dr. Megan Pickens
  • Boundary setting and upholding those boundaries with themselves and other people
  • Being vulnerable about struggles without feeling shame

Do you know how great you are? Do you take time to enjoy all the things you’ve built or are you always looking for the next thing?

Dr. Megan Pickens

Slow down and appreciate it!

If a person is a high achiever, they will often have their sights set on a distant goal and do everything that they can to reach it, even if it impacts their physical or mental health.

Even though this dedication is admirable, it is not sustainable.

[Stop] to smell the flowers because you lose sight … you miss out on the joy and the beauty of the little things if you’re constantly chasing [goals].

LaToya Smith

If you are a high achiever yourself, practice taking a step back and enjoying what you have accomplished. Appreciate your hard work, have a short rest, and make sure that you are taking care of yourself when you next continue to work on your goals.

Keep your achiever mentality in check with your values

When you are chasing a goal and focusing all your energy on it, you may not only let your health or relationships fall to the wayside, but your values perhaps too.

If you are chasing a certain number as a goal for your income, you may let other things that are also important to you go in the pursuit of that number. Is that true success?

Do I know how to love myself enough to pause … to find the relationships that best fit me? … like, “Yeah, I made $350k but what’s my value to really to those around me?” Do I [see] worth in myself outside of this salary?

LaToya Smith

You have to find yourself in between your goals and dreams. Your aspirations are important to you and a part of them does define a part of who you are, but not all of who you are.

You also have an intentional choice in who and what you become, and a part of doing that is to see whether or not you are living out your values.

Useful links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet LaToya Smith

An image of LaToya Smith is captured. She is a consultant with Practice of the Practice and the owner of LCS Counseling. LaToya is featured on the Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

LaToya is a consultant with Practice of the Practice and the owner of LCS Counseling and Consulting Agency in Fortworth Texas. She firmly believes that people don’t have to remain stuck in their pain or the place they became wounded. In addition to this, LaToya encourages her clients to be active in their treatment and work towards their desired outcomes.

She has also launched Strong Witness which is a platform designed to connect, transform, and heal communities through the power of storytelling.

Visit LaToya’s website. Connect with her on FacebookInstagramStrong Witness Instagram, and Twitter.

Apply to work with LaToya.

Email her at latoya@practiceofthepractice.com

Podcast Transcription

[LATOYA SMITH] The Grow A Group Practice Podcast is part of the Practice of the Practice Network, a network of podcast seeking to help you market and grow your business and yourself. To hear other podcasts like the Practice of the Practice podcast, go to www.practiceofthepractice.com/network. You are listening to the Grow A Group Practice Podcast, a podcast focused on helping people start, grow, and scale a group practice. Each week you’ll hear topics that are relevant to group practice owners. I’m LaToya Smith, a practice owner, and I love hearing about people’s stories and real-life experiences. So let’s get started. Welcome back to the Grow A Group Practice Podcast. I’m your host, LaToya Smith, and today is part two of my interview with Dr. Mēgan Pickens. She does great work in the community from not just having her own group practice for the past 14 years. She has a membership community that we talked about in the last episode, and I love the fact, I just can’t stop saying it, about how she spoke about growing organically, starting where you’re at, using your gifts, understanding that we’re all sitting on like a gold mine and then just going forward from there. She does speaking engagements. I often say she is the extrovert of extroverts. And one thing I love about Dr. Pickets, even when I moved to the area and what’s really helped me is her membership community, being able to meet up on Fridays with other therapists who looked like me. Now, this is when, I had recently moved to the DFW, I’m a therapist, I recently started my practice and it was really hard to find people of color that were doing this work in the area. And if you knew somebody, I don’t know, like, Mēgan and I were sharing a little bit earlier the fact that we can name off names of the number of black women practice owners in the area. It’s somewhat of an issue that there’s not more. I know people are growing now. I know they’re starting their practices, but today we’re going to talk about high achieving black women specifically when it comes to practice, but also just moving forward in that area. So, Mēgan, once again, welcome back. [DR. MĒGAN PICKENS] Thank you. Thank you for having me back. [LATOYA] Yeah, I’m excited. I’m excited you’re back again. I know last time we had a great discussion, but this time we’re talking more about more about a niche that you have, one of them. I know you do a lot of speaking around this area, but I know it’s very, very important, not, I mean, obviously for black women and then for black women who are group practice owners. And I’ve never heard anybody address the two together. You know what I mean? So I just think that’s important. What got you to wanting to focus on high achieving black women? [DR. MĒGAN] Well, number one, I am a high achieving black woman. I know a lot of high achieving black women and people found me. Once again, I know I talked about this in my last show, it was organic. Like I, when people, like I said, when I started off in Mansfield, I was probably only one of the only black female providers. That’s what clients were looking for in South Arlington and Mansfield. People were looking for a black provider. So when they found me, they would come to me and it was always, not always, but a high amount of them were women or couples. So it just went from there. I see people that I’ve seen, I saw 14 years ago, even 12, 10 years ago, that will find me out and they’ll say they’ll pass on my information. That word of mouth is valuable. So when you’re doing your work, you want to make sure that you are offering quality work because people really do talk about it and share information with each other. So it started from there and during all this time, I was going through my own thing. I was married at the time, a lot of the time. I got divorced happily in 2016. But I was married to an emotionally abusive person and I could not figure out why I stayed. So my dissertation was about high achieving black women. It was the experiences of high achieving black women who had experienced emotional abuse. The reason why I studied that was because I didn’t really need him per se, for like money and stuff, so I’m just trying to work my stuff out and figure out why. In that I found, okay, there are other women like me, a lot of other women like me, who were high achieving women who were in these relationships. The thing about it is the success was everywhere else except for relationships. So it just carved out a niche and once I started really looking at the clientele that I already had, they were already there. So it was a both situation. It was my own experience and my clients who were coming in to me that helped me find that population. Then I’m all about business. I’m like national business mind that got it from my mother and so I started like using the trademark with that because I knew it was something that I planned on trade marking. Way back in like 2017 I started talking about high achieving black women. I’ve been talking about it ever since. [LATOYA] That’s one thing I learned years ago, one is that your clients will tell you what your niche is because they’ll keep, they’ll come to you for a certain reason and now they’re telling other people why they’re coming to you and all of a sudden, once again, it’s like, okay, I didn’t know that this was a strength, but everybody else is saying, you know what, I realize I do do that. Then also, this is also just making another point, like really, it’s all, I think you said this last time, it’s already every already within us. You know what I mean, that gift, what that niche is. It’s about pulling it out. So like you said, like, listen, I had, I heard it from both ways. I knew it was on the inside of me and then people were telling people were coming to me for it. So this is the area I focus on. So I know this may, maybe it’s a simple question, but how does somebody know they’re high achievers? Is it like, listen, I’m successful. I got, is it one, two degrees? Is it I can work hard at a job and not quit? Like, what do you think qualifies the high achieving part [DR. MĒGAN] For the criteria that I used for the study, because when a, with a study, when you’re doing your dissertation, you have to have a specific group, so for the study, it was women. And I also focused on Gen-X age. I’ll say that too, because there’s not a lot, it’s like we’re almost a forgotten generation. You hear all this stuff about millennials, you stuff about boomers. So they had to be Gen-X and of black origin, so black and Caucasian, black and Hispanic, whatever, whatever origin, but just black also. But as far as the high achievement part, my criteria was that they had to at least make $60,000 a year, which in the scheme of things, I mean, I probably could have even done a hundred thousand and still had a lot of people in the study but I wanted to see also their population of like middle class or whatever people as well, because I don’t want to, I think there are certain things that are still high achieving that don’t have to do with money or education. So I’ll get into that. But for the study, $60,000 a year or have a master’s degree or be an entrepreneur, those were the three criteria for high achieving. In the real world that would also include CEOs in like corporate spaces. But also, I think that moms are also high achieving. I know somebody who has five kids and that’s pretty much what she does. She does other stuff, but she has raised, she has one left in the house, five normal kids, like three of them are all went to college. That to me is high achieving because dealing with all those people and all those personalities and stuff like that. So that’s why I said it’s expanded. So I think part of it is if you consider you’re high achieving or even if you’re yearning to be high achieving, so if you’re in that master’s program and you’re working on that, well, first of all, you’re already being the statistics about being in the master’s program and definitely a doctorate program. So it could be even a doctoral student because there are, I think it’s still 1% of doctors that are black people. [LATOYA] Yeah. [DR. MĒGAN] All of those things put you in that same category, but celebrities, all of those, but if you really think about it, if you pay attention to what people are experiencing, even with money, because there’s this myth that, ok, you have money and you have the job of a lifetime you’re doing what you want to do. Everything is perfect. It’s not. And because of that, those women get left out. Nobody addresses the stuff that they do have going on. [LATOYA] Got you. So what, and even for, and I love the fact that you added in moms too, because that’s a, I always say that’s a job in itself. [DR. MĒGAN] Absolutely. Then five, yeah, five people. Girl, you are a hero for real. [LATOYA] And my mom is definitely a hero. But yeah, so now especially for okay, the high achieving black woman, the high achieving black woman that is a group practice owner, like what type of things are, that you see commonly that these women are facing or having to deal with outside of what makes them a high, like, okay, now you’re dealing with on emotional level, personal level. [DR. MĒGAN] Well, the number one thing is relationships, which is why I focus on that. So love relationships, family relationships and relationships with God and spiritual aspects, I think are a lot of the things they’re dealing with. Boundary setting, because sometimes we’re high achieving, sometimes we don’t know how to say no because we can already do things and we’re high achieving so somebody ask us to do something, we do it. So those are some of the challenges. Lack of self-care because they are achievers. Just even having social support because sometimes if people’s like, so let’s say you make, I don’t know, $300,000 a year, but you want to talk about how you had a bad day. Average person is going to be like, “Ok, but you make this much money. How can you have a bad day? What do you have to complain about?” That’s how it’s treated. [LATOYA] Yeah. And how do you help the black women still be able to talk about how they feel without feeling shame, “Yeah, I make 300, let me go somewhere and sit down, but — [DR. MĒGAN] I make a space for them. I made a space for them. As a result of that dissertation, I actually have something that I’m planning on launching. I just haven’t launched officially. All my people that were in my study are already in there. I created the HABW movement and there is a space where we can talk about things that people, other people might be like, so what you can’t get a may or something, I don’t know, whatever they want to talk about that might be important to them. Maybe they wanted one since they were little kid. Just because it’s not in everybody’s realm of importance doesn’t mean that it’s not important. [LATOYA] Do you find that, especially with high achievers who have gone after, from the mom who is focused on raising her kids to the black woman who is focused on getting the doctorate focused on building her group practice or her other businesses, like, do you find that, like you said, okay, they’re so focused on the goal that they lose sight of the things that keep them healthy? Like you just said a minute ago that’s really what happens. I’m so after what, this is the end goal that my relationships may dwindle or nobody’s here. Or I don’t see the importance of taking good care of myself and now I’m working to the point of burnout to make sure that I achieve this one goal. [DR. MĒGAN] Yes. And I think too though, that, I don’t know, and I think the part of connection is us reminding each other that we also need to enjoy it. I just actually finished therapy not too long ago because I just felt like I needed to go back and one of the things she said was, do you know how great you are? Like, do you take time to enjoy all the stuff that you’ve built or you just always looking for the next thing? Well, I’m super guilty for looking for the next, even when people give compliments, and I know I’m only one, I’m just like, that’s like even when we talked about the group the first time I was thinking it’s the group or whatever, and you’re just like, oh my gosh. And I just don’t, so I really have been conscious about that since she said that to me like, ok, you are a badass. Like you really are. It’s okay to admit that you’re a badass. I enjoy it. Absolutely. So I think we all need reminders of that because I know I’m not only one because for one, like I said, I’m surrounded by high achieving black women who I know. Like sitting, I guess smell the flowers. I mean, that’s really what it’s about. And you know me, you follow me on social media, so you know I enjoy life for sure. [LATOYA] You do. I’ve seen you enjoy life. [DR. MĒGAN] But like the whole, like putting that with my business stuff, I just, that’s just not something I think about, I guess. Like I’m really conscious about until recently [THERAPY NOTES] As a therapist, I can tell you from experience that having the right EHR is an absolute lifeline. I recommend using Therapy Notes. They make billing, scheduling, note-taking, telehealth and e-prescribe incredibly easy. Best of all, they offer live telephone support that’s available seven days a week. You don’t have to take my word for it. Do your own research and see for yourself. Therapy Notes is the number one highest rated EHR system available today with a 4.9 out of 5 stars on trustpilot.com and on Google. All you have to do is click the link below or type promo code [JOE] on their website over at therapynotes.com and receive a special two-month trial absolutely free. Again, that’s therapynotes.com and use promo code [JOE] on the website. If you’re coming from another EHR, Therapy Notes will also import your demographic data quick and easy at no cost so you can get started right away. Trust me, don’t waste any more of your time and try Therapy Notes. [LATOYA] I like that part. Stopping the smell, the flowers, because you lose sight. I mean, you miss out on the joy and the beauty of the little things, if we’re constantly chasing, it’s important to us though, if we’re constantly after the goal. I heard you say a minute ago too, where you had to stop and ask like, do you know how great you are? Because sometimes we normalize it or make it so simple because it’s so easy to us. Like in the last episode, you started the group, it’s organic, you’re an extrovert, people are drawn to you. You can go in the crowd and come out with like 150 new friends but it’s so, or it is so easy that everybody’s like, yoh, that’s dope. When everybody else is like, yoh, that’s dopey. I’ve been doing this since elementary school. I know you got talks a lot on them cards back in the day. I know you did. So. [DR. MĒGAN] That’s true. [LATOYA] So now you got to stop and be like, yoh, when people tell you though, so I imagine it is that way with a lot of these high achieving black women, that what comes so naturally, like, wait a minute, that is amazing. And you can pat yourself like you celebrate, you don’t water down. Don’t make it simple. Like celebrate you or take those compliments. It’s okay to sit in them. Like you have, do you have to convince women to do just that, like you just said a minute ago too? [DR. MĒGAN] Oh, absolutely. I mean even, that’s what I’m saying. Like one of the women in my study, you know what she makes? $350,000 or $450,000 a year. And it’s like — [LATOYA] Is she a group practice owner? [DR. MĒGAN] No, she was like in a different industry. But it’s possible for us. But I was, it was something, oh, she was, I think she’s an engineer or something, and she said, oh yeah, I was interested in engineering as a child and blah blah, and I just went and got my MBA. Like she just said it like whatever, like $350,000, like actual salary a year is just whatever. I’m like, girl, do you know like, and she was like, well, you have more expenses. I was like, I don’t care. Like I’m first fighting or something. I mean really? She just was like, oh, well, I guess it’s all right amount of money. [LATOYA] It’s amazing. So some of it is helping people, especially these black women, helping them basically stay in the moment, understanding how don’t lose sight of what’s going on right now. Let me celebrate you. Especially for the mom who may be a business owner too, but pause and let me celebrate you. [DR. MĒGAN] Yes. [LATOYA] Something I always think about and Dr. Mēgan, you tell me if I’m off again, a lot of times the high achieving black woman even myself, like, okay, we’re going after stuff. Well, again, you mentioned before we lose sight of taking care of ourself. You mentioned self-care, but I’m also wondering if this self-love and self-worth also play into it. Do I know how to love myself enough to pause? Do I know how to love myself enough to find the relationships that best fit me? And do I see my, again, like you talk about the other person, like, yeah, I make $350,000, but what’s my value really to those around me? Like, do I have worth outside of this salary? Like it almost seems like there’s a lot of having to find yourself. [DR. MĒGAN] But I think I, and I think the thing with that, those, you have to find yourself anyway, no matter how much money you make. I was just telling a young person the other day well first of all, I’m always telling them that a lot of the stuff that you are really upset about and about to lose your mind over it’s not going to mean a thing to you in about five years, 10 years, 15 years, all of that. It’s really hard to see. I know, I was twenties, I was in my twenties, so I know what that feels like but I’m always trying to give people, I don’t know, a head start, I guess. So develop yourself throughout lifespan. If you going to, if you’re growing, if you’re in a growth process all the time, which I think most of us are, even if you’re not just a high achiever, but life changes, there’s different transitions, then you are going to have that, you’re going to have to learn yourself regardless of how much money you make. Did that answer your question, because I feel like I was thinking so far ahead myself. [LATOYA] Yeah, no, you did. I think you were just saying like regardless of the salary, it’s still about finding who you are and loving on yourself. [DR. MĒGAN] Yes, 100% loving yourself because money does not make you love yourself. [LATOYA] I think it’s a good space. It’s even, when it comes to black women, like I said a while ago, whether it be group practice owners, whether it be just the entrepreneur, those that are scaling, those that wear more than multiple hats, the CEO, the owner of the group practice and the mom, the doctor student and the mom and the practice. Like there’s so many levels to it. But Dr. Mēgan, what you’re telling us today is to pause, allow yourself to celebrate you, stop, smell the roses. Work on the boundaries, work on the self-care, work on a good support system. Just don’t lose sight of you in the journey. [DR. MĒGAN] Absolutely. And delegate, delegate, delegate, which is also an organic process. Because when you start off, there are certain things, you can’t afford to do everything. Or at least I could. I’ll say that when I started off, I knew that I did not want the same out of the box website that other counselors had because I’m a visual person and like you said, I’m extroverted. So with that extroversion comes like, I’m very colorful, like I just, I love color. If you look at my website, my website is like my personality, honestly. Both my website and my business website you will see color. So I knew I didn’t want that, but one thing that I didn’t have was money. When I started my practice, I started my practice with $500 that I borrowed from my mother. That’s what I started with and a little office that I subleased from somebody. So I knew I wanted that website and it turns out that I had more time than money so guess what, I learned how to do WordPress. Because when I was pricing websites that I wanted, $5,000. And that was in 2009, so think about what it costs now. But if you look at my website right now, which I did and do, you would think that I paid all this money for that website, but I did my website. [LATOYA] Well, that’s good. Sounds like another stream of income about to get started. [DR. MĒGAN] I’ve actually done websites for a couple of people before. I just, at the time I was still seeing a full load of clients and doing all this other stuff, but I actually thought about maybe getting back into that and at least just like a, just even like a plain out, it doesn’t have to be as robust as mine, but I have a lot of friends that are like older counselors that don’t even have a website and I’m like, people want something to go to. But you know they have all these companies now that will do your website and do them for you monthly and all that stuff. So people end up paying for that, which I don’t necessarily think you have to do, but that’s just me and it’s just probably because I didn’t do it that way, but that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. So it’s probably valuable to some people, but for me it’s like, mm-mh. I try to stay away from as many monthly bills as possible because life is a monthly bill. Like can I pay for it for the year, like be done with it? [LATOYA] Yeah, I got that, which goes back to your high achieving piece because there’s a lot of stuff you know how to do, that’s for sure. But this is good. So tell people how they can get in touch with you. I know you said, I know you’re not ready to talk about it yet, but you’re about to launch something, a safe space for high achieving black women. But let those that that are listening know how they can get in touch with you to either continue this conversation or to hear you speak in the future, to be a part of the group. Like how can they just continue to follow, connect with you? [DR. MĒGAN] So to be a part of the group, the group is the multicultural behavior health provider network. You can find that online as M as in Mary, B as in boy, H as in hen, P as in Paul, N as in Nancy.org. So mbhpn.org. Membership for the year is $55 and it includes, right now 33 CEUs, but I’m steadily adding more and there will be other activities. If you, that’s if you are fully licensed. I will offer you a discount if you’re an associate and if you are a speaker and you do any kind of presentation for us, then you get to join the group for $25. I do have a place where you can just visit, where you can see the main page of the group and post about different things that I find out about. For my practice information, my supervisor training and all the other things I do, you can find me on drmeganpickens.com/quicklinks and that will give you my own link tree type. I don’t want to keep saying link because that’s a business name. I don’t want them to come get y’all. But my own links page that has all my information up, how get to my different trainings and activities and all the things that I do. Even some of the fun stuff, because sometimes I post just fun stuff. Like on my website I have my playlist. Also, I’m super excited because I’m going to be speaking during the Essence Festival weekend at an event called the Wow Experience. So I am super, super excited about it because one is the Essence Festival and I have never been, and as LaToya said, I am extroverted. I love, love, love New Orleans. It’s like the best people watching experience of food ever in life. So I’m excited about being in New Orleans, but I’m also excited about speaking. So I’ll be speaking on July 1st about battling the expectations of being a high achieving black woman, the role of wellness. That’s my title for my speaking event. [LATOYA] That’s going to be awesome. Not just going, I’ve never been to the Essence Fest either, but not just going, but just that experience of speaking at the Essence Fest is huge. Talk about in front of your target audience. That’s just the — [DR. MĒGAN] And I’m super excited because I just feel, I know me and like you said I go places and I meet 150 friends, so I’m going to come back with some celebrity friends. I know it. [LATOYA] I know you are. [DR. MĒGAN] I already have some because of Clubhouse. I have some celebrities that I actually know, like personally, because I just will talk to them in Clubhouse. [LATOYA] Well, make sure too, that you got a good, and I’m sure you will, like photographer, videographer just to capture the whole experience. That’s going to be dope. [DR. MĒGAN] I know. I need to figure out how this is going to work. [LATOYA] Yeah, it’s going to be dope dope. Dr. Mēgan, thank you so much for joining me, especially on this episode, our last episode. I really appreciate you, all the work that you do. I even learned more about the work that you do, but I just appreciate you providing your time. [DR. MĒGAN] Thank you. [LATOYA] Thanks once again to Therapy Notes for sponsoring this episode. Use the promo code [JOE] to get three free months to try out Therapy Notes for free, no strings attached and remember, telehealth is included with every subscription for free. If you love this podcast, please be sure to rate and review. This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or any other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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