We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Nicholas Hardy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. Nicholas, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The most important factor behind the success of my counseling practice has been authenticity. It’s a word that is popularized, but in counseling, it is foundational to connecting with people where they are and creating a safe environment that allows people to be themselves. It sounds easy, but this is not always a simple task. We adjust to our environments so frequently, whether work, family, friendships, etc. that we often lose touch with our true, authentic self. There is a subtle yet powerful voice that tells people they should be a certain way in different settings. Unfortunately, this translates into our relationships and causes friction internally. Helping people move beyond this and getting to the core of their problems is liberating and has been a driving force behind the success of my practice.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Nic Hardy Counseling Services is a private practice in Houston, TX. We provide individual and couples counseling, with an emphasis on improving relationships and helping people grow and develop personally. Our secret sauce is found in our therapists. I’ve never publicly said it, but I liken it to the term “talented misfits” – individuals who do not fit the mold of traditional standards and possess a certain agitation about the way things have always been done. Counseling in African American communities is considered taboo by many; therefore, it takes a level of talent, compassion, and understanding to break through many of those barriers. Simultaneously, this is what I am most excited about. I am witnessing lives changed, relationships repaired, and families mended. I never take this for granted, and always humbled that people allow me into the innermost parts of their private lives.
Business-wise, there were a number of experiences that allowed me to get to where I am today. In fact, too many to actually list. Professionally, I have always been somewhat nomadic. I get bored easy, so unless I am consistently challenged, my interest level goes down. That said, I am sensitive to the needs of people and have learned to just listen. This has helped me provide people with what they need, instead of what I want to provide. Personally, I love counseling, listening to people’s stories, and hearing about their relationships. My mother was a therapist for over 30 years, so it may have started with her.
Nothing worth having is ever easy, and I am no exception to the rule. Whether flunking out of school, getting denied by several graduate schools, or working two jobs while getting my Ph.D., my passion to be a therapist was tested on multiple fronts. However, the biggest challenge was making the decision and not looking back. Most people don’t have problems, they have decisions to make. Therefore, once I made the decision, everything else was a matter of staying the course.
Mental health has garnered a lot of momentum lately, but saying you were majoring in “Social Work” 15 years ago did not have sex appeal. Especially while many of your friends were going into finance, oil and gas, commercial real-estate, etc. I wrestled with this immensely and battled my own insecurities about whether I would be able to provide financially for a family.
It sounds cliché, but I learned to follow your dreams. God will make a way, but it starts with us following our heart. When we stay focused on what we are passionate about, and willing to make sacrifices to achieve it, it’s just a matter of time. Now, we don’t know how long that time is, so endurance is an essential ingredient. When we fall in love with the process, we don’t look at the clock as much or compare ourselves to people around us.
I want people to know that counseling is for all of us, whether it’s with me or not. We should all have a reliable relationship that serves as a good source of information, and an outlet that we can be safe and completely open to without fear of judgement.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We would visit the Flat for a cool vibe, but then go to Turkey Leg Hut, Taste Bar and Kitchen, and/or 50/15.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My wife deserves the biggest shoutout. Undoubtedly, she is my biggest supporter and is consistently encouraging me. She was in my corner when it didn’t make sense and believed when there was no tangible evidence. There is also so much that goes into it behind the scenes. Still, she is there… fighting, believing, and walking alongside me every step of the way.
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