Richard Lipman

I find that being organized helps me to be more efficient and effective.


Richard Lipman is a psychologist with over 25 years of clinical experience. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology, both from McGill University. Since 1998, Richard has focused on his private practice located at The Queen Elizabeth Health Complex. Richard works with a diverse clientele of adults and older adolescents and provides insight-oriented and supportive short-term and long-term psychotherapy.

Where did the idea for your line of work come from?

I am a psychologist. I worked in the public health system before starting my private practice and then at some point I decided that I would dedicate myself full time to my private practice.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I compartmentalize my day. The mornings are spent on administration and I see clients in the afternoon and the evening. After my last client of the day, I begin to prepare my schedule for the next day. In between each client, I write my process notes and then review my notes for the next client. There is not a lot of empty space in a day.

How do you bring ideas to life?

The therapeutic process is a very creative one and so ideas emerge essentially organically, and it’s the therapist’s role to help the client interpret their thoughts and feelings, and then expand on them, so that’s basically how ideas come to life in my work.

What’s one trend that excites you?

What I’m really happy about is that there is a trend in our society lately to increase awareness around mental health and to challenge the stigma around it, which prevents people from opening up or seeking help. That’s a really important trend that I hope continues.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Well, it’s a habit that is always a work in progress – to be as organized as possible. And to resist procrastination because that’s always a temptation. But I find that being organized helps me to be more efficient and effective.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to be more conscientious of prioritizing balance in life. Especially when you’re young, you feel like you have limitless energy and you dedicate yourself to making your work and your profession grow. I would go back and try to say take it a little bit easier and make sure that you don’t invest all of your energy in work.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

That fear is an inevitable part of the human experience and doesn’t signify weakness. And therefore a lot of people think and feel that if they are afraid that they are therefore weak and so they have a hard time admitting it to themselves and to others and that’s a major waste of energy. I think that we have to accept our fears as part of the experience and it doesn’t mean that we need to panic just because we’re frightened.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

For me, this goes back to the idea of seeking a balanced life and so one of the main things that I do is try to spend time in nature. That’s essential for me.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I would say that maintaining positive relationships. With clients of course, but also with colleagues and other professionals and referral sources. It’s been hugely important. It’s really all about building relationships of confidence and trust.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Early in my private practice I think I tried to see too many clients in a day or per week and I had a very little time for anything else and I ended up getting to a point where I felt sort of overwhelmed, which I’m sure made me less effective than I would have been otherwise. I learned to emphasize quality over quantity, so seeing fewer people in a week or in a day, but making sure that I was at my optimum best within each interaction.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I don’t really see myself as an entrepreneur, but I guess one thing that has become apparent to me is that people in our society are feeling increasingly isolated. So, I was thinking that something like an app that would be like a non-dating app, but that would bring people together and build community. I think that would be something that would be a good thing to develop and there is a lot of a potential in there.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I recently bought a couple of tickets to a Patrick Watson show. He is a musician who I really like and for me music is one of the main ways that I maintain this balance that I’m talking about. It feeds the soul and the psyche and so anytime that I get to see a good show of an artist that I really appreciate, whether its music or visual art or dance, any art really, that for me is a great investment.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Well, I’m definitely a bit of a luddite. I actually still write my process notes by hand. I don’t use a lot of tech, but I do rely on the internet, basically to stay current. I keep up with research, I read a lot of psychology journals online. I definitely use that a lot to expand my knowledge base.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I love fiction and I’m always reading something, but one of my favorite books, the one that I keep recommending, is Rohinton Mistry’s “A Fine Balance”, which is a brilliant book and incredibly well-written. It’s a great story of the power of the human spirit and so that’s what I would recommend.

What is your favorite quote?

There are a lot but, I guess, one of my favorite quotes would be Khalil Gibran. He said “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls, the most massive characters are seared with scars”, which is not exactly a light quote, but I think it helps you to remember that life can be difficult and challenging and that we can suffer at times but we can grow from that and be stronger and hopefully live a healthy life.

Key learnings:

-Do your best to stay organized, it will make you more productive in the long run.
-Prioritize having a work/life balance.
-Take time for the things that are important to you outside of your professional aspirations.
-Always be reading – whether its information about your profession or great literature. Knowledge in any form helps you learn and grow.
-Don’t expect other people to automatically have confidence in you. Be willing to earn it, and once you have, remember to be grateful for it.


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