Some would argue that there are no universal Truths. While that is a debate for another day (best had over bourbon I think…), I would argue that if there is a universal Truth, it is this: Finding a therapist is the most challenging part of one’s mental health journey. I’ve had a therapist tell me that my brain makes her so tired she had to start scheduling a break for a nap after my session. I’ve had a therapist tell me that I will always need therapy to process my past. I also had a therapist tell me that my six year old should go on anxiety medication.
On the flip side, when you DO find a therapist who you are in sync with, it truly can be a life-changing experience - sometimes every session! (I’m talking about you Dr. Eric!).
That’s one of the reasons I am so excited to introduce you to Maria today and to have the pleasure of sharing a bit of her story. The moment I met her I knew that she has the same kind of fire burning in her that I do - not burning for the same things - but the same kind of fire: the kind that means you have to do exactly what you are trying to do in order to survive.
People used to only say that about artists and writers - people they wished would get a job, but they were trying to explain to themselves why that wasn’t going to happen. “She could do so much, but she has to write. It’s in her soul.”
As I’ve gotten older and met more people, I’ve come to the realization that there are lots of us who have to do something. Whether you are introverted or extroverted or somewhere in between, working for someone else or running your own shop, or talking to your peers, family, or potential clients - if you have this kind of fire burning inside of you, people will know.
You will do things you never thought possible. Your eyes will sparkle when you talk about this passion. And your heart will melt when you do the work.
That’s how I felt about Maria. When she started telling me about her passion for her work and the women she helps, my skin tingled. I didn’t have to wonder how she could work a “day job” and launch her own business and be a mom and a wife and participate in monthly networking events. I didn’t feel exhausted thinking of everything she is doing. I didn’t want to teach her to slow down and lean into life. I didn’t feel any of the things I sometimes do when I talk to busy women. And that’s because I knew - she has the fire - she has the passion - this IS what she was called to do. And when you are following your deep soul calling, you become a superhero with superhero endurance.
I hope that reading some of Maria’s story and her love for the work she does will inspire you to look for this fire the next time you are looking for your own therapist. It’ll be worth it.
Tell us about your business. What do you do? Who do you serve? How long have you been at it?
As a licensed clinical social worker, my passion is helping people realize they have worth, that they matter, and that they are significant.
As a woman and a mom, I focus on working with women who want to build healthier relationships with themselves and others. I believe women are absolute warriors. I live my passion by providing counseling to women through my in-person private practice in Jax as well as my online practice where I see women throughout the state of Florida.
I've been in the field for 13 years. To me, it's an honor when someone chooses to share their hurts with me and instills their trust in me to help them reach their goals. I'm a fierce advocate for mental health and ending the stigma that continues to surround the idea of counseling.
Life is hard. We all need additional help at one time or another.
Why did you start your business?
I originally chose to enter the field after experiencing my own hardships as a teen and young adult as well as a close family member's. After having a great experience with counseling, I felt drawn to the idea of helping people in that way. I've always been quieter, more analytical, and more of a listener than a talker, so it played off my strengths.
I started my solo practice because I wanted to be able to "call the shots" and help people as I felt most appropriate. I wanted to focus on my passion and create the business of my dreams.
What does "social good business" or "values based earning" mean to you?
Values-based earning means that your values are at the forefront of how you do business.
What is your favorite part about running a social good business or your favorite experience since you started?
I try to operate from a place of high integrity. I don't just see anyone for counseling. I want to make sure I'm the right fit for them, and they're the right fit for what I provide. If not, I'm more than happy to help guide them to a therapist who may be a better fit. It's most important for that person to get the help they need and desire.
What is your biggest struggle in running a social good business?
I actually don't feel I've had any struggles due to my values especially running my own business.
What would you like most to accomplish in the next year? 5 years?
In the next year, I'd like to continue to grow my business to serve more women. I'd love to do more writing, as this is also a passion of mine, and participate in more speaking engagements.
In the next 5 years, I hope to be able to scale further to offer webinars/workshops/courses as well.
Who are your business icons, heroines or mentors?
I don't have a specific one. I'm inspired by the strength of women in general and the women entrepreneurs I have met or read about.
What's your #1 tip for someone just getting started running a values-based business?
I would say to stand firm and not waiver from your values just because someone else doesn't agree.
What are your favorite conferences or retreats to attend?
I love learning, so I enjoy attending trainings and conferences that pertain to various treatment approaches and topics related to the work I do.
What is the last book you read?
The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks