When the storms of life hit and the cash isn’t coming in fast enough, you start to question what you’re doing. You might randomly start doing a million things to try to generate income. This usually delivers pathetic results. I call this activity “breaking branches.” Here’s why:
A number of years ago, my husband and I went on vacation to Maui with another couple—let’s call them Frank and Alma. One morning we decided to take a drive up the coast to a place that had great snorkeling.
We loaded up the car and drove to this amazing cove. Not wanting to waste a second getting into that clear, beautiful, warm water, we all jumped out of the car at the same time.
The problem was, in our haste to dash to the beach, our friends locked the keys in the car. Since we were in the middle of nowhere with no one else in sight, we were pretty much up a creek.
Frank spent the next hour yelling at Alma—he felt it was her fault, even though he had driven us there—and she started running around looking for objects that she could jam into the window to unlock the door and get the keys, which were sitting in plain view on her seat where Frank had tossed them before jumping out of the car.
Alma ran over to a hedgerow and began breaking branches off it looking for the exact size and shape that she could shove in through a slight crack in the top of the window and ultimately hook the door lock on a little offshoot of the branch.
Branch by branch, she continued her task. After about a half-dozen failed attempts at this, we heard someone yelling in the background. We looked up to find a local gardener running at us sputtering,
“Stop that, I just planted them! Those are brand-new bushes!”
Alma was doing what I’ve seen practitioners do every day in their massage practice marketing work. They wait until they are in an emergency situation—their client load has dried up, they panic about how they’re going to pay next month’s rent—and they go into marketing mayhem, trying out one thing after another—breaking branches—with no real logic, common sense or method to their massage-practice-builder madness.
In the end, none of the scattershot tactics work, at least not long-term. The therapist just ends up with a lot of broken branches, damaged hedges, and no keys to unlock the door to success.
The Passion in Your Massage Practice
You wouldn’t sell a client a bunch of random session add-ons and hope that something works, would you? Of course not. You would follow a system or process to determine what he needs to help him achieve success.
Just as in your clinical work, when it comes to marketing your massage practice and being a massage practice builder, there is a method that must be followed in order to ensure the best possible outcome. Connecting to your purpose is its first and most important step.
OK, I get it: You’re not madly in love with the idea of running a business, and especially not keen on marketing your services. You’d pretty much rather have root canal surgery than devote time to selling. You know you have to get around this aversion to marketing—but how?
Getting really comfortable with marketing starts by connecting to your big purpose—your why.
Visionary thinker Simon O. Sinek explains this brilliantly in his book, Start With Why. He says something that’s quite revolutionary: People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. When you connect to your why—your purpose—people are inspired to follow you, to listen to you, to believe in you. To buy from you, too.
When you reconnect to your purpose, your passion and vigor show up. You become laser-focused on what’s important in your life, which sets the stage for doing the right things in your practice—the things that push you forward and help you deflect the things that keep you stuck. Things that move the needle. It’s the foundation for all your marketing efforts.
You probably came to this work with the noble cause of healing others, but you might have pushed that purpose aside in the midst of your busyness. Over time, like any thought or behavior, your lack of mindful, purposeful connection to your why becomes flabby, out of shape and weak. A weak purpose precipitates a sagging practice.
But maybe there’s something else going on here. Lots of experts proclaim, “Follow your purpose, follow your passion!” But really, what the heck does that mean and why is it so hard to do day after day?
Following your purpose and deeply integrating with it are two very different things. I believe that integrating with your why requires you to become more selfish. You heard me right: selfish.
Here’s what I mean: Many years ago in a Life magazine interview, Mother Teresa was asked why she did the work she did. She didn’t answer, “I want to ease the suffering of the orphaned, the sick and the poor.” She said that she did it because of “the way it makes me feel.”
Mother Teresa helped the disadvantaged for a more intrinsic, more selfish reason than perhaps you thought. Her self-centered motives were clearly not a bad thing! But the need for her to continue to feel great about helping people was the driver that kept her going, never wavering in her mission.
When I receive an email or feedback after a workshop and someone says, “Wow, thanks so much for putting me on the road to success,” of course I’m gratified that someone has found direction in their work. But what I adore every bit as much is the way I feel after the feedback! I’m floating around, grinning like an idiot because positive feedback makes me feel powerful, unstoppable and proud of my work.
I used to feel ashamed about this. When I was a kid, talking about our achievements was considered bragging and was discouraged. We were taught to fit in, not stand out, and not to brag, because after all, what would people say? As a society, we are taught to be humble about our accomplishments and to discuss our successes in a way that demonstrates that we did things for the benefit of others.
As a result, we’ve swung this pendulum too far in the wrong direction. Believe me, there are plenty of people out there who should ratchet down their public self-adoration. But there is absolutely, positively nothing wrong with feeling proud and powerful about your achievements.
Embrace your success! When receiving testimonials and praise, there isn’t a darn thing wrong with feeling that, yes, you are awesome and you are great at what you do. In fact, I truly believe that you must grab on to that personal power, because when things get rough in your business—and they most certainly will—having these gems in your back pocket will drive you forward through the low periods.
Doing good deeds for selfish reasons is perfectly acceptable. After all, if Mother Teresa was OK with it, you should be, too.
Excerpted from The PEACE Process, by Miriam G. Zacharias, L.P.S.N., with permission of the author.
About the Author
Miriam Zacharias, L.P.S.N., is on a mission to help holistic health care professionals build wildly successful and joy-filled practices. She is an author, instructor at leading holistic health schools, and vice president of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals. Learn more about her book, The PEACE Process, at miriamzacharias.com.