To complement “Get Unstuck! Pause, Slow Down & Appreciate the Present” in the July 2016 print edition of MASSAGE Magazine.
A few days ago one of my clients, a relatively young massage therapist, came to me full of distress.
He told me he was ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater regarding his new massage business.
I didn’t understand it. Just a few weeks ago, he was glowing with excitement about his big decision to leave his part-time job as a massage therapist at a local spa and open his new business.
And now, he was sitting in front of me, with circles under his eyes, appearing exhausted, anxious and in despair.
“It’s not gonna happen. It’ll never happen. Why did I leave my job in the first place? I had security!”
I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, but it was obvious my client was stuck on something.
So, I gently reminded him the first thing we do when we are stuck, according to The S.T.U.C.K. Method, is to stop.
He knew the routine.
So, he closed his eyes and he took a few deep breaths.
When I noticed he didn’t open his eyes, I encouraged him to continue keeping his eyes closed and follow his breaths for a few more moments. It was clear that my client was in need of this sacred time and experience to simply be mindful and come back to his center.
When he opened his eyes, I asked him to share with me what was going on.
“Remember a couple of years ago, when I got my first job as a massage therapist at the local spa?” he asked.
“Yes,” I responded. “I remember it quite well. You were so excited to have landed on such an opportunity!”
“I know,” he continued, eyes open now. “It was fantastic. It was like a dream come true. I had just gotten out of massage school and then bam! I landed on this job! Who would have believed it?”
I continued to listen mindfully.
“I began working there, a bit nervous at first, but soon enough I found my comfort zone. I found the work to be so incredibly satisfying and my clients just loved me. After a year or so, I became the most beloved therapist at the spa. Remember when I won that Best Massage Therapist award last year?”
I nodded in assent.
“I loved treating overworked hig-tech employees and exhausted mothers. I was so happy to get up each day and go to work, as I knew that being a massage therapist was my calling. But, as you know, I’ve been thinking about leaving the spa for a while and starting my own business. I really had a feeling I could grow something huge because I had such a following.
“I mean,” he continued, “I still do have such a following. But, I left my job and tried to start this business and it’s just not happening. It’s not going anywhere. I expected, by this point, my business would be huge already and it’s not! Maybe being a business owner isn’t for me?”
Tears welled up in his eyes.
He looked at me, expecting a response.
I allowed the silence to be for a moment and then asked him, “Can you tell me what you are stuck on?”
He let out a sigh.
“Impatience?” he asked.
“Yes, maybe. What else?” I pushed him.
“Fear? Desire?” he questioned me.
“Yes, it sounds like perhaps all three of them. Let’s start by processing through one of them, OK?” I asked.
We reached the second step of The S.T.U.C.K. Method (Tell) and he said to me, “I am stuck on impatience.”
“Great,” I responded. “Now, let’s uncover what’s beneath this story. Can you share some beliefs with me? Then we’ll check the accuracy of them, OK?”
He nodded to me.
He looked up at the ceiling as he collected his thoughts.
“I believe I should have a booming business at this point,” he started out.
“Can you check the accuracy of that?” I questioned.
“Well, yeah, I mean, it’s only been a few weeks since I started this business, so I guess I shouldn’t expect success in such a short amount of time,” he said.
“What else?” I asked.
“I believe all my clients should be leaving the spa and knocking down my door already!” he continued.
I looked at him.
“OK, maybe not all my clients.
“I believe my clients don’t appreciate me if they are not coming over to my new clinic.”
“Well, maybe they don’t all have my information yet about my new business or maybe they’re not ready to make the switch yet.”
I could see my client was realizing his story was not so grounded and was ready to start considering other perspectives.
“I can consider that it takes time to grow a business,” he said.
“Yes,” I responded. “Have you ever seen a woman birth an adult before?” I asked and he laughed out loud in response.
“I can consider that all good things come at their own pace. As they say, ‘Slow and steady wins the race,’” he suggested.
“I can consider that as I am building my business and promoting myself, I can take the time to figure out what my exact niche will be. Do I want to work with a specific population? Age? Physical ailment? Or do I want to be known as someone anyone and everyone can go to for a massage therapy session?”
“Great consideration,” I responded.
“I can consider continuing to study as I build my business because perhaps I will one day want to be a teacher to massage students.”
“Yes,” I replied.
“I can consider teaming up with another massage therapist. We could go into a partnership. I also can consider learning the best ways to promote myself. While I am an outstanding massage therapist, I really don’t know the first thing about self-promotion or really even about owning a business.”
“Hmm….” I responded.
“I got stuck on impatience, but it’s OK,” my client said as he verbalized the final step in The S.T.U.C.K. Method. “I realize that by being stuck on impatience, reality was really clouded. While I do want a booming business, I also want to do this right and with patience. I know it will come. I have lots of confidence in myself.”
“Nice job,” I said to him.
My client left that day feeling better than he did when he first came in to see me that day. Over the next few sessions, he began to share with me his plans for his business and marketing efforts.
Shira Taylor Gura developed The S.T.U.C.K. Method and is the author of Getting unS.T.U.C.K.: Five Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being. As a well-being coach, Gura facilitates engaging and interactive workshops and retreats promoting emotional well-being. Her belief that a more mindful, compassionate life is available to anyone, anywhere is reflected in her blog. She wrote “Get Unstuck! Pause, Slow Down & Appreciate the Present” for the July 2016 issue of MASSAGE Magazine.