“Nothing Goes According To Your Master Plan And That Is Perfectly OK!”: 5 Growth Lessons With Therapist and Entrepreneur, Angela Ficken

“Nothing goes according to your master plan and that is perfectly OK!”
I had the pleasure of interviewing psychotherapist and entrepreneur, Angela Ficken. Angela is a psychotherapist and entrepreneur who specializes in OCD, eating disorders, and anxiety related concerns. She writes for the HuffingtonPost.com; has been quoted in Bustle.com, Nylon.com, and PopSugar.com; has a blog on ThriveGlobal.com; and is a verified expert on Marriage.com. Her mission is to teach anxiety management skills and strategies to as many people as she can who struggle with all levels of anxiety. She realized that to reach more than the people she helps and meets with in her office, she expanded her creative side and found herself jumping into the entrepreneurial world, leading to launch of the Progress Wellness App! Her mantra is “If it makes me anxious I am going to do it anyway.” Her full time office is located in Boston, MA.

Yitzi: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

I am a Boston-based therapist who specializes in treating patients who struggle with anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, life transitions (schooling, career, and relationships), and college/graduate student mental health. I am also working with a development team to launch my first mental health app this spring, called the Progress Wellness App.

Yitzi: Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

The funniest thing that happened was when I was on the radio for the first time. I was in my office in Boston on the phone with a radio station in Nevada. At the end of the interview, there were these very loud police sirens outside my window. Apparently the host heard it and said “Oh no! Looks like they are after you!” We both laughed as I tried to yell through the sirens “It’s just city noise I swear!” I wish I had said “I’ve been found out, gotta go boys!” Maybe next time.

Yitzi: So what does your company do?

I am a psychotherapist in a solo practice here in Boston MA. I specialize in treating people who struggle with Obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, and anxiety related concerns. My goal is to help people learn how to manage anxiety more effectively and to not let fear dictate their life story.

Yitzi: How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I believe my business has brought some overall goodness to the world — whether it’s reaching people through newsletters and the Huffington Post, talking about skills to help manage different types of anxiety and stressors, to sitting with someone in session working on ways to help them feel better. When someone leaves my office noticing a positive change in their life, it feels good to be a part of that.

Yitzi: What are the top five things you wished you knew before becoming an entrepreneur?

1. Nothing goes according to your master plan and that is perfectly OK! Anxiety and stress of the unknown are part of the process and that’s OK too. It can actually help with creativity.

2. Goals get tweaked along with due dates and expectations. Now I think having a master plan is more like a guide that shows a possible end point, but lots of unexpected things happen between start and finish. It’s all a learning experience!

3. The excitement of what is coming next and exploring endless possibilities is something I did not know or even appreciate before becoming an entrepreneur. Half the things I am involved in now were not even on my radar a year ago. Can’t say that for any other job I’ve had.

4. It can get lonely. I do not have any employees or co-workers. It’s important to schedule in seeing friends and talking with people outside my business so I can get in that social time. For me, having co-workers was always a natural way to take breaks and socialize briefly before getting back into work. Since I no longer have that, I need to create ways to get that for myself. That took me sometime to figure out.

5. In the end, you make all the final decisions and can take some big risks and it feels exciting and scary. Before diving in, I wish I had put together a team of people who could help me navigate something I’ve never done before. I have that now (and it’s been invaluable for support and learning) but do wish I had figured that out a few months in rather than 2 years later.

Yitzi: Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?

I don’t know if I can pick just one. Can I choose 2 people and do a brunch? If so, I would say “yes please” to Beyonce and J.K Rowling. Both are amazing female entrepreneurs who have gone through challenges that have helped/inspired them in their creative process. I’d love to know what helped them manage during those difficult times and how they decided to use those challenges to create some amazing work.

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