Jennifer [00:00:04] You have to have a great relationship with money in order to make money really work for you. And I feel like the more work we can do around intuition and connect to why money is a tool and what we want money to do for us, the stronger we are in our relationship with money.
Linzy [00:00:28] Welcome to the Money Skills for Therapist podcast, where we answer this question How can therapists and health practitioners go from money shame and confusion, to feeling calm and confident about their finances and get money really working for them in both their private practice and their lives? I’m your host, Linzy Bonham therapist turned money coach and creator of the course Money Skills for Therapists. Hello and welcome back to the podcast. So today’s guest is Jennifer McGurk. Jennifer McGurk was connected with me through one of my lovely students, Paula Miller, who’s taken Money Skills and now she’s doing Money Skills for Group Practice Owners. She introduced Jennifer and I, and she was like, You two should meet each other. And we just did, and it went so well. So thanks, Paula. Jennifer is the founder of Pursuing Private Practice. She is a dietitian who helps other dietitians start private practices in all these ways. And she’s also expanding and serving other health practitioners. Today, Jennifer and I talked about the relationship between money and food, which is a conversation I’ve been wanting for a while. This has been percolating in my brain. So we talked about how our relationships between money and food can look so similar, both in terms of the societal messages, the fantasies, the magical thinking that we have around money and food, but also in terms of what does an intuitive grounded relationship with these things look like? Tons of parallels there. And then Jennifer also shared about how money looks different at different stages of private practice, which is super helpful to think about as we grow. Money looks different and our skills and what we’re learning also needs to look different. Here is my conversation with Jennifer McGurk. So Jennifer, welcome to the podcast.
Jennifer [00:02:22] Thank you so much for having me. It’s such an honor to be here.
Linzy [00:02:25] I’m excited to have you here. I’m excited to have you here. And I was saying to you just off mic, just before we started recording that I had just been thinking the other day, I was walking and I was thinking, I need to have someone on the podcast to talk about the parallels between our relationship to food and our relationship to money. And we had already prescheduled this podcast and here you are.
Jennifer [00:02:48] The worlds are colliding.
Linzy [00:02:49] And worlds are colliding. So for folks who are listening, who don’t know who you are, can you tell us a little bit, just a little bit about who you are and what you do to contextualize our conversation?
Jennifer [00:03:00] Yes. So my name is Jennifer McGuirk. I am the CEO of Pursuing Private Practice. I am a registered dietitian, also a certified eating disorder specialist, clinical supervisor and business coach. And historically, pursuing private practice has really been meant for dietitians, nutritionists. And we just started branching out and talking to other healthcare professionals because so much of the work that we do for dietitians can be across the board to other professions. So I’m so excited about this new direction, although it’s just a little tiny pivot in the world of business, as you know.
Linzy [00:03:36] Yes. Yes.
Jennifer [00:03:37] But my background in dietetics and private practice has really solidified the work that I do now with other dietitians. And I love the concepts of health at every size, intuitive eating, weight inclusivity, and those values really inform the work that I do in business. There is a lot of diet culture in business, and I love to find it, point it out, and help business owners be connected to their business and more intuitive about their decisions. While understanding like creating a business that serves them is the number one value and priority. And a lot of times as healing helpers and professionals, we put ourselves last.
Linzy [00:04:20] Yes, we do.
Jennifer [00:04:21] So I am so excited to, you know, have my work be out there helping so many business owners.
Linzy [00:04:26] Yeah. Okay. And I love this. And the way that, you know, you bring your knowledge of diet, culture and all the work that you do to counter diet culture into your work, because I do think there’s there’s so much here.
Jennifer [00:04:39] Yeah.
Linzy [00:04:40] Let’s dig into like what do you see as the connections between food and the way we talk about food and money.
Jennifer [00:04:48] Yes. Okay. I was- I’ve been thinking about this question so much lately because I’ve been talking a lot about money, and you are the perfect person to talk to about this. So many of us focus on the external with the money and they give themselves value. It’s almost like they get a hit of serotonin when they see a certain number in their bank account. And I always say to people like making money is amazing and making money is a boundary, but why does making money matter to you? And I like to think about money as being a tool. I know you’ve said that before on your podcast, too, so I know we’re in alignment with that. But it’s not like you, you know, get all this money and then like, instantly the magic happens for you. You have to have a great relationship with the money in order to make money really work for you?
Linzy [00:05:44] Mm hmm.
Jennifer [00:05:44] I feel like so many of us have shame around money. I feel like so many of us want more money, but don’t necessarily know how much more we want. I feel like a lot of us have this, you know, upbringing with money that affects how we think about it today. That just makes us disconnected. And I feel like the more work we can do around intuition and connect to why money is a tool and what we want money to do for us, the stronger we are in our relationship with money. And with food.
Linzy [00:06:12] Yeah. Yeah.
Jennifer [00:06:14] Very similar in the sense that so many of us are disconnected. We have these nutrition like recommendations. We have all these diet plans that exist. We have diet culture telling us when you lose this magical number of pounds and when your weight is where it is, your entire life is going to be better. But what happens when all of that doesn’t work for someone? Because it doesn’t work for a lot of people and they’re disconnected to their bodies and the intuition of hunger and fullness and the principles of intuitive eating and satisfaction in eating foods that we actually really want and connecting to our body image in the way that is going to work for us. And said with a ton of nuance, because there’s a lot of oppression in this world that really, you know, affects so many people in different ways and more people have oppression than others. And I am someone that has many unearned privileges and I’ve worked with over a thousand eating disorder clients in my office between my solo work and my group practice. And I have seen so many people battle diet culture and come out on the other side very connected to their why and why their relationship with food is so important in their life. And I see so many parallels with that and money.
Linzy [00:07:35] Mm hmm. Yeah. Like the the diet culture piece. Like I’m hearing part of it is like, with money, it’s like you look at a number on your bank account, you think it says something about you, or there’s the story. When X happens with money, your whole life is going to be different. Just like there’s a story when you lose X amount of pounds, you’re going to feel great. You’re going to be confident that it ended up like these kind of fantasy narratives that happen with these two things. And yeah, like what I’m hearing from you is, is intuition. Yeah, right. Like there’s there’s a going inside. So I’m curious. You know, if the problem is that we’re kind of sold this story of when X, then Y, right, that either doesn’t come true or isn’t even possible depending on our our circumstances or who we are. Tell me about like how intuition looks like. How does that different relationship with money or with food look? What is that intuitive relationship like?
Jennifer [00:08:28] First of all, I think it’s different for every single person. In food, there is a concept called intuitive eating. And in intuitive eating, you really do combine so many different nuances into the work of being a connected eater. So there is the nuance of having knowledge about general nutrition and what works for your body. There’s the nuance of connecting to hunger and fullness. There’s the nuance of rejecting diet culture and figuring out like how to respect your body, move in a way that works for you and, you know, figure out like what are satisfying foods that are actually going to work for you. So having that individualization within a framework is how people really connect to what their body needs, right? And in a world where there’s so much diet culture and just noise everywhere telling you what to do, how to eat, I think people lose that internal voice that is guiding them through the choices that they make around food every single day. So connecting to I like these certain foods and I don’t like these other certain foods.
Linzy [00:09:36] Yes.
Jennifer [00:09:37] Connecting to like actually, what does nutrition mean for me in terms of setting up meals and snacks that might work for my body. Right. And things that I’m craving and etc., etc.. And then also, to what do I have access to for people that might work, you know, in hospital settings and nurses and people like that. Like they might have a specific meal break where they get to eat at a certain time versus someone else that might have a little bit more flexibility. So what is going to work for them? And this is the work that dietitians do, and this is why, quote unquote, following a meal plan. And then I’ll get to the money thing following a budget that’s given to you.
Linzy [00:10:16] Yes.
Jennifer [00:10:17] Following a meal plan doesn’t necessarily work because everyone’s quote unquote, meal plan, is going to be a little bit different depending on their circumstances, their food preferences, what they like and how they connect to their own body. And that’s why diets just don’t work for so many people. And that’s why I feel like money stuff and budgeting doesn’t necessarily work for so many people because you can’t just give someone a cookie cutter budget and have them follow it to a tee. You have to get to know them and what they want in their life and their lifestyle and their expenses and things like that. And then when it comes to business owners, you know, what kind of business are they running? What are the operational costs, what are the expenses, what’s the team that you need? So everyone is going to be a little bit different. The categories might be similar in terms of the different things that you have to think about with money, but the ranges are going to be very different depending on your unique circumstance.
Linzy [00:11:14] Yes. Yeah. And the really sinking into yourself, you know, is something that I, you know, talk with my students about. And and even when I think about getting to that point where you have like enough money. Right. And it’s like sometimes that’s not satisfying. I’m like, why is it not satisfying? Because we compare what we have to somebody else or we think that we should be spending in certain ways and that that should make us feel certain ways. But that’s not true for most of us. Yes, right. And it’s like sinking into what feels good to you, what is satisfying to you? Like what’s a satisfying way to use money. Right. And I think to with this, there’s also you know, there’s a lot of privilege bound up in this. And I think with money, too, we start to get into certain class stories when we have a certain amount of money. You’re supposed to wear certain types of clothes or drive a certain kind of car. And like, there starts to be this certain outward appearance that you need to maintain because you’ve joined a certain class bracket. But like I will say for myself, for instance, whenever I buy some sort of consumer goods, like there’s just a lot of like cool stuff, you know, as a middle class person. When I buy, like cool stuff from the Internet, it makes me feel good for like about 10 seconds, most of which is me actually placing the order by the time it arrives, I’m already over it, and it’s made my life 0% better. In fact, then I just kind of have this extra thing in my house that I’m more stuff in my house. But I do notice, like, there is this kind of idea of like, you know, you have expendable income, like buying nice, nice things or shiny things. That doesn’t work for me. Right. But if I keep comparing myself to, like, my peers or my friends who make similar money to me, it’s very easy to think that that is what I should be doing, because that’s kind of the that’s what you do when you get to a certain income bracket, right? You, you we compare to people around us so often to guide and so often it’s disconnected with what actually we need.
Jennifer [00:13:02] It reminds me of going out to dinner and someone with a disordered eating relationship with food might think, I have to get you know, I’m not going to pick an example because I feel like it’s going to be different for everybody. But like, I have to get this really, really healthy thing on the menu. And then all of the people around you are getting exactly what they want. One person might be getting something like an entree. The other person might be getting a couple of appetizers that a person might be deciding to do, like appetizer dessert combo, and everyone is picking what they want based on how they’re feeling and what they’re craving and what works for their body and their situation. And then the person that has that disordered way of thinking around food is picking something based on external rules and not going inward. And I feel like it’s so important to have the insight as to what works for you so you can change your thought patterns, you can change the emotional reactions, and then you can change behaviors. And I say all three of them because sometimes you have to change behaviors before the thoughts and emotions actually change for you. But having that support around it is so important.
Linzy [00:14:04] Yeah. Yeah. You know, with intuitive, like I’ve tried to think of like what is the term before the equivalent to intuitive eating? Like, is it intuitive spending? Maybe it’s intuitive spending. Yeah. I remember a couple of years ago having someone in the mastermind, one of my- who had done my base course, Money Skills For Therapists, and then we did Mastermind together. And she’s an eating disorder therapist. So, you know, kind of like, yeah, this like dance of like, right. Yeah. And like intuitive spending I think about as the spending decisions where you’re really grounded. Yeah, you’re really connecting with like, why am I making this decision? What is this doing for me? What am I looking for? And this does this thing that I’m purchasing, is it actually going to give me the thing that I’m looking for or am I looking for something else that this can’t even give me? Which I think is the same with food sometimes, too. We’re looking for something from food that food can’t give us.
Jennifer [00:14:50] Exactly.
Linzy [00:14:50] And so just like really slowing down to be present with choices is something that I thought would be part of my definition of intuitive spending, like slowing down enough to be with and make a grounded decision for that moment, which might look different than it would the next day.
Jennifer [00:15:05] Yes, mindfulness mindfulness around why we’re making the choices that we’re making, which is so powerful.
Linzy [00:15:12] Yes. In terms of business, like you’ve you’ve helped folks at different stages of business growth. And so I’m curious like, how do you see money as being different in different stages of money?
Jennifer [00:15:26] Yes. So at first in private practice, we have five different stages of business. We have setup, start, grow, scale, and coast. And we love the coasting stage of business so much that really honors self care and boundaries. And sometimes in business you don’t have to keep growing and growing and growing. You can just coast if you want to.
Linzy [00:15:46] 100%.
Jennifer [00:15:46] So I feel like money is different at every single one of those stages. When you’re setting up, you’re not making any money in your business. You are literally pouring money into your business. You’re buying courses to educate yourself, you’re getting your software systems set up, you’re spending money on maybe developing a website or, you know, definitely spending money on getting your office set up, whatever that might look for you, whether it’s, you know, an actual in-person space, or home. And in the start stage of business, that’s where you’re making your first amount of money. You are going to be so excited to make your first session fee. That money is going to mean so much more to you than ever before because it’s the first time you actually made money in your business. So it’s so emotional, but you’re still not making a profit at this point because you’re just having a couple of clients. When you’re growing, I find is when you actually start making money in business and you have to be really careful to set great foundational skills in looking at the data, analyzing the numbers. But at this point, I feel like so many of us don’t really know what we’re getting into with the finances because we’ve just spent money and not necessarily had to worry about it so much. And now finally, in the growing stage of business, we are making money. And then for scale, you’re probably hiring someone, you are creating systems in your business. You are really figuring out how to take your growing practice and expand beyond 1 to 1. And that does cost money. But the potential there like big risk, big reward. Yeah, scaling can bring a lot more profit and revenue into your business than maybe what you ever thought possible. Right? So those four stages, I really think focus a lot on money. Coasting, you might just be, you know, hey, maybe I can cut this expense. Maybe, maybe it saves me some time. Pretty much money is flowing and you’re not necessarily trying to grow, but you’re also not trying to lose money in a coasting stage of business. You have to keep up with certain things that will bring revenue into the business.
Linzy [00:17:45] Mm hmm. Yeah. And something that I hear, not surprisingly, through the lens of Money Skills, is how as we’re in these different stages of business, there are like different skills that start to need to come into play as you move from one stage to another.
Jennifer [00:18:00] Absolutely.
Linzy [00:18:01] Can you speak to that a little bit?
Jennifer [00:18:03] Yes. I mean, I think well, I know you talk about this a lot on your podcast, so I won’t go into it, you know, like there’s so many resources here, but paying yourself is a skill that is very different throughout the different stages of business. I feel like being able, like, especially with scaling, like growing and scaling, you’re probably paying other people to help you if you’re growing. It might be a contractor or two here or there, just helping with website stuff and things like that. And you actually have to start to set boundaries for the value that you expect for the money that you’re paying for the work. And I think that that’s huge. So many people, myself included at the very beginning, just avoid because we’re people pleasers or we want to make sure everyone likes us. And I feel like by the time I hired my 10th team member, I finally figured it all out.
Linzy [00:18:49] Yes.
Jennifer [00:18:50] I have to have a job description. I have to have expectations. I have to make sure that the work is getting done. I have to make sure that the business itself is being respected. And I am actually leading the business and not just hiring people to help me. But it’s the business is an asset that I’m trying to protect. So I do think that so many different emotions and feelings and nuances are in this conversation throughout the different stages of the business.
Linzy [00:19:15] Absolutely. And, you know, when I think about what we were talking about a moment ago in terms of like intuition and being with, yeah, it makes me think about how, you know, you mentioned with intuitive eating, it’s like kind of this mix. There’s a mix of knowledge, right? Like it’s not just like your gut, It’s not just like, what do I want? What does my body want? Yeah, but it’s mixing in knowledge with, you know, that, that like, felt sense of what feels good to your body to make like a balanced decision. And it makes you think about with business. It’s like we do need to be building knowledge at every stage. Like what I’m hearing there is like there’s a skillset around just like HR, like job descriptions, right? Like employee reviews. Being able to have conversations if, like, somebody’s not performing, those are skills. And then you have your gut with it, you have your felt sense of like, is this person fit in? Are they the right hire? Do they make a mistake? But there’s all of this knowledge and these, you know, in a business structures and systems that need to be built around it. So you’re not just firing from the hip. There’s a mix of like head and gut.
Jennifer [00:20:14] Yes, absolutely. And that’s exactly intuition as well. In food, it’s a mix of knowing, you know, the data around nutrition and what food can do for someone and their health and how it’s connected, and also understanding like where it fits in the realm of health in general. You know, it is a smaller part than what I think people think. People think, oh my gosh, I’m just going to eat healthy and everything’s going to be totally okay. And that’s magical thinking. But it is, you know, figuring out how to take data and intuition together to figure out what’s going to work for you in both business and food.
Linzy [00:20:46] Hmm. And that’s actually really interesting. You know, going to the parallels again, like that idea of like, I’m just going to eat healthy and everything’s going to be good. It’s like we know that usually that’s not sustainable because you’re eating healthy. What does that mean to you? You’re probably cutting out things that you want. Eventually you’re going to just like go after the things you want. And I think the exact same thing is true with money, right? And like when you have a presence with money, when you have a balanced present relationship, you can look and see like something’s not feeling, right. Oh, I’m not- this is not being fulfilled, right? Like with food, you know, like, oh, well, I love chocolate and I’ve cut chocolate out of my diet and that’s a terrible idea. But with money, too, it’s like, you know, I’m trying to restrict- what I see people do a lot is try to pay down debt super aggressively. Right? It’s like they’ve had this very, like, avoidant relationship with money. They don’t look at it. They’ve accumulated debt. They have a lot of shame or guilt or stress around that. So as soon as they start to try to like, build skills around money, they go like heavy debt pay down. And that’s not sustainable. Right? And so then what ends up happening is like a couple months in a row, you put on 1500 dollars a month on debt and you’re like, I’m the queen of the world, and then the next month your furnace breaks and you can’t put anything down on debt, and then you feel like you’re failing because it’s become this, like, extreme all or nothing. Yeah, right. So those are like swings. It’s not really like a binge purge or restriction, but it is that like going really hard in an unsustainable way to something that might not actually be the most important thing to you in your life at that moment when you actually look at your daily needs and what money could do with you. Yeah, taking your kid to the park might actually be better for you in general than paying that $300 down on debt faster.
Jennifer [00:22:20] Yes, absolutely. I do think it is a pendulum swing back and forth, though. I see this all the time with food as a dietitian. And I do feel like I see it, too, in business where people will be. So, you know, I’m going to work on my business. I’m going to, you know, spend all this money like getting systems organized, like I’m going to just go heavy, heavy, heavy, and then all of a sudden burn out.
Linzy [00:22:42] Yes.
Jennifer [00:22:42] And in the same idea, like people just avoid so much and they do everything themselves. And then they finally start to hire people. And sometimes it’s too late at that point where it’s like you’re going to end up working for a quarter of the year, just eight, 10 hours a day to try to get it all in. And like recognizing the signs of like, where do you meet in the middle? Like, how do you spend intuitively on your business to make sure that you have support and have help and that you don’t reach rock bottom in business before it gets too late. So I think it’s a skill that people learn. I think building the resilience of knowing when to ask for help and when to change course and when to pivot is something that I feel like a lot of us learn through mistakes.
Linzy [00:23:28] Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I would say that I think the being with and being curious – this is my trauma therapist coming out – can help you notice sooner. Like what’s not working right about the way you’re managing your money or what you’re not spending money on because you’re trying to save money, but it’s costing you in your time and energy like your precious time and energy. Absolutely. Just letting yourself like be open to the information that’s there in front of you. Because I think often when we are in this like pushing stage, it makes you think too about like when folks diet really hard where you’re just like, No, I’m just going to do this and it’s going to be fine. And like, you’re putting your head down and you’re pushing and pushing and pushing. You’re like ignoring always other information from inside and from outside. And like all of this stuff that could help you pick a more balanced course. When you when you slow down in your present, there’s a lot of wisdom.
Jennifer [00:24:16] Yes. And being okay with getting uncomfortable, if that’s not comfortable for you, for the insight of it all, you know, being okay with challenging yourself to do something different. Because, you know, I know you’ve heard the saying before, too, but like, what gets you somewhere doesn’t get you to the next place. You have to learn new skills, be comfortable, and keep challenging yourself to go forward.
Linzy [00:24:36] Yes. It’s the like, what got you here won’t get you there. In business. Yeah. Yeah. Well, Jennifer, thank you so much for joining me today. It’s so nice to meet you. I, you know, I was joking with you in the beginning about kind of like we’ve got our little pools. We’ve got like, I’m in like, the little, like, mental health therapist. Let’s help mental health therapists like build businesses and you’re in the little like dietetics portion world, you know, and we both like, serve folks from those modalities. So it’s nice to kind of like join our paddles together a little bit today.
Jennifer [00:25:04] Yes. Oh, my gosh. Linzy, thank you so much for having me on it was unbelievable.
Linzy [00:25:07] And so for folks who are looking to find you, follow you, get further into your world, How can they do that?
Jennifer [00:25:14] Yes. Pursuing private practice dot com is our website. We have so much information and free resources. Lots of things for you to explore and come find me on Instagram. I love hanging out on Instagram. I have a good relationship with social media, which I feel like a lot of people cannot say. But at the real things that we’re talking about, like relationship with social media. So I do have help. It’s me and my team, but we are @pursuing.private.practice
Linzy [00:25:42] And then we will put those links in the show. Note Thank you, Jennifer, for joining me today.
Jennifer [00:25:45] Thank you, Linzy.
Linzy [00:26:00] I was so glad to have this conversation with Jennifer today and start to pull out these pieces around money and food. I feel like there’s like a whole there’s like a book here. There’s a documentary, there’s a course. Like, there’s just so much in terms of the parallels between these two things and I’m sure so much to more that we could say about desire and and bingeing and restriction, the parallel between these things. But ultimately, I do notice, you know, over time, recording these podcasts and coaching in Money Skills for Therapists and just having these conversations with friends and people that I love, about money, so often it does come back to that piece about presence, right? And just really being with and part of being with, as we talked about, is having the knowledge to be able to get information right. So part of being with your money is developing the skills and knowledge to be able to look at numbers and understand what you’re looking at and understand how to make good decisions with those numbers to get where you want to go. But so much of it is also just being curious and present and tolerating the emotions that come up and just having a relationship with that thing, not ignoring it, but letting yourself be curious about it and be with it. So I just so appreciate this conversation today with Jennifer. You can follow me on Instagram @moneynutsandbolts. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, please Apple users. Those of you who love Apple and use Apple, please jump over to Apple podcasts and leave me review. I already told you my sad, sad story of trying to leave a review for my favorite podcast, which is working it out with Mike Birbiglia and not being able to because I’m not an Apple user. So Apple users. Can you please use your Apple privilege and do what I could not do and leave review for the podcast? It’s the best way for other therapists and dietitians and other health practitioners to find us. Thanks for listening today.