I am stuck at the airport. Hour 4. It’s still raining and the flight crew has not showed up. What could this possibly have to do with my practice? More than you would think.

 I am surrounded by fellow, miserable humans. Some of them are complaining (loudly), others are engaged, stone-faced with their computers. Me? I have written a blog post, replied to all my emails, did an exam for a CEU (online!) and ate my way through a bag of pretzels.

Now, I am looking around to see who’s here and what the condition of the population looks like. I am bored, curious, killing time. I have nothing to lose. So, I begin to chat with the little girl next to me about her patent leather shoes. Her mom, grateful for 3 minutes of distraction, asks me how long I have been waiting. We commiserate, I hold her spot while she buys a bribe for her little one. She holds my spot while I visit the concourse for something better than pretzels. Give and take. Easy and helpful.

That’s how you build referral relationships at work, too. Call the author of your local association’s newsletter and give feedback about the article she just wrote.  Offer to organize your graduate school cohort’s reunion at your office…with wine!

Call your last referral and tell them how much you appreciated that client and ask them if they have a particular niche they are pursuing so you can return the favor.

Check out your zip code on Psychology Today and reach out to five therapists in the area. Invite them out to a meet-up together to chat about your practices and exchange info. Host it!


The common denominator? Offer something.

Something you would like to give or do. Something you know would be helpful. Think of all the times someone has gratuitously offered you the smallest token that has brightened your day and made your life even a little easier. Breath mint? A wave into the turn lane? Holding the elevator? These are the the small moments of give and take that are easy to give and a pleasure to take.

So, get started. Today. Make your referral world bigger one patent leather shoe at a time.