“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition,” said Apple founder Steve Jobs. “They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
To run a heart-centered business, you must have a deep desire and love for the product or service you offer. It means you have done your homework and, with confidence and passion, know your product or service is helpful and important to the customers you serve.
My goal in this article is to give you two simple and valuable tools you can immediately apply in order to shift how you run your massage practice. These tools will help you and your business evolve into a successful, heart-centered way of operating.
Who Are You?
First, you will need to identify who you are. To do so, ask yourself, “What do I really love to do with my day?”
Every business, whether it is heart-based or not, requires three unique personalities—the creator, controller and capitalizer—to establish long-term success. Identifying the role that is your true, authentic, heart-based expression while surrounding yourself with the other two personality types,who are also living their authentic expression, is instrumental to establishing the healthy, core foundation of a heart-centered practice.
Creators are people who are emotionally intertwined with the creative output of the service or product they offer. They are driven by the personal fulfillment they get from offering their product or service, rather than from monetary exchange.
Creators often lack the need to leverage their gifts and often fail at establishing a financially successful business. These people need to work with someone who loves to control or run things to help them stay on track and organized. Creators also need to work with a personality who enjoys and knows how to turn a labor of love into capital, because, in the end, you cannot pay your credit card or cellphone bills with barter and trade.
Controllers are people who jump out of bed in the morning because they love to develop the best system and the most efficient process, and manage people to grow and expand a product or service. This well-organized individual hungers for the challenge to be resourceful with the tools and people around them and create measurable achievements.
Controllers love to lead the process, have the ability to see the forest for the trees and know how to properly shift between perspectives to drive the team to success.
Capitalizers are people who love to perform as financier. They are all about playing with coins and cash, and they are the true entrepreneurs.
Capitalizers are not emotionally attached to a product or service, and their passion is expressed by establishing the maximum return on the product or service they are presently engaged with. Capitalizers’ hearts beat with excitement at the opportunity to take big risks. They need creatives to create something, which they can then leverage while hiring the appropriate controllers to properly manage growth and successes.
The Life of Your Practice
Unfortunately, with great frustration, most small business owners find they have to fulfill all three roles and end up resenting the responsibilities required of the two roles that are not their true heart nature. Eventually, those tasks get put aside and the business begins to succumb to dis-ease. This is no different from a person not properly tending to her own personal three roles of maintaining a healthy spirit (creator), mind (controller) and body (capitalizer).
The most powerful tool of knowledge to run a heart-centered practice is understanding your massage practice is a living thing—meaning your business is literally alive.
To this day, many captains and sailors will secretly tell you their ship has a spirit that needs to be respected and carefully tended to. This was well portrayed in the movie White Squall, when the skipper introduces himself to the new crewmates.
“The Albatross will take us far, gentlemen, but she demands constant attention—and nothing happens on this ship that I don’t know about,” the skipper said. “She speaks to me in the night.”
Like a ship, your practice has energy and spirit.
What Makes Something Alive?
I wanted to know how biologists define something as being alive. I stumbled upon six common denominators that appear to form the foundation of this classification. As we go through these six descriptions, I will show you how to apply them as an outline for greater heart-centered practice success—and how your business is actually alive and something you can work with versus work for.
1. Living Things Release or Give Energy.
This is the part where your business gets to offer or provide the product or service it was created for. Releasing the energy of our businesses is when we get to express our greatest talents, skills and gifts. This is the reason why we can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning and do what we do best.
2. Living Things Take in or Receive Energy.
Please understand, your business is your baby and it is key to start treating it that way. It is living and it needs to be cared for. It needs food (income) to not only survive, but to thrive.
Many of us have issues with receiving money or difficulties knowing how to properly charge for products and services. So often, our self-worth gets in the way and we severely restrict the flow of energy in this part of our business, and so it begins to starve as we neglect this aspect of it.
I encourage you to think of money simply as a tool to help exchange your massage expertise for your clients’ energy in the form of payment. To maintain a healthy balance for you and your clients, there must be an equal exchange. Money is the tool that makes that exchange take place.
3. Living Things Grow and Develop.
Just as children grow through developing healthy friendships, you must foster new friendships and learn how to grow long-lasting relationships related to your massage practice. Success is about the relationships you create and are able to maintain. In other words, a customer will increase your sales; a friend will help you achieve fortunes.
Social networking is one of the most powerful approaches to help your child (your massage practice) foster new friendships and learn how to grow long-lasting relationships. If you properly nurture your heart-centered practice in this new environment, it will expand and express itself and mature beyond your imagination.
Social networking or public speaking may seem daunting for some people, but I encourage you not to keep your child locked up in a room by itself. Instead, pick a playground and let your heart-centered practice out to discover how to play. It might take a little time for both of you to learn how to make some new friends in these new environments, but eventually you and your heart-centered practice will develop skills so both of you can grow.
4. Living Things Respond and Adapt to Their Environments.
I understand many massage therapists are wondering how their children (their massage practices) can grow and thrive in the current economic climate. We are in what is defined economically as a winter season, but, like every season, it will change.
Over time, you have learned to respond and adapt to nature’s different seasons and climates, and so will your business. Learning what happens to businesses in each season and when to anticipate each seasonal change is instrumental to getting your practice to adapt and thrive in any economic environment.
First, think of how people tend to react during a winter season. Most business owners go into a contraction state of emotional fear and depression. They focus on self-preservation and hold on tight to spending while avoiding costly promotions.
How a business owner successfully acts during the winter is by increasing promotions and creating zero-risk offers. He will also spend time evaluating his successes and failures, and begin to develop the necessary improvements.
Winter is about reviewing trends and developing new marketing campaigns to nurture clients during this cycle. A massage therapist needs to promote and model the presence of a warm, shining sun for her clients during this time, as most people feel gray, dreary and stressed during winter.
Start thinking how your heart-centered practice can respond in new, creative ways, so you can share your product or service and support clients through this season.
5. Living Things Can Choose to Reproduce and Pass Their Traits on to Offspring.
This is where having a heart-centered practice can be infinitely rewarding. As your heart-centered practice matures, allow it to become a big brother or big sister and mentor to younger heart-centered practices that are just starting out.
Consider renting some of your space to others, develop in-house educational programs or offer public workshops so you can share your successes. Watch your child expand its heart and inspire the next generation, as it passes on the traits and joys of success to others.
6. Living Things Evolve Over Time in Response to Their Environments.
This goes back to understanding how to be a great captain or a great parent to your child. It is about learning to be flexible and how to anticipate and prepare for the next evolutions before they arrive. It is guaranteed that trends and seasons will always change; being ready for them is the magic and mastery to long-lasting, heart-centered practice success.
The key is to clearly understand what the current season is, what is next and begin to prepare for that, just like a farmer. A farmer knows this is winter and spring is coming. A farmer knows what he needs to plan for, and will begin to prepare for the planting season. Anticipating and preparing for evolutions requires research and a study of trends.
The New Feminine Model
The global business model is about to change radically. I have been researching, studying and following these trends for more than 20 years. Over the next few years, you are going to see both large and small businesses reinvent themselves out of the old, masculine business model of top-down, divide-and-concur philosophy into a new, evolved, feminine business model. You will see businesses shifting from the masculine hero archetype and progress into a never-before-seen holistic approach to business.
A masculine business model is designed as a divide-and-conquer, transaction-focused experience. It is about goals focused around success or failure. This business structure is tied down by strict policies and right-or-wrong corporate guidelines. The internal structure is guarded and shielded. Masculine businesses focus on getting more sales and more clients.
A feminine business model is about embracing and creating authentic, intimate and vulnerable relationships. The focus is about nurturing these relationships and creating collaborative communities. A feminine business is fully transparent and creates intimate resonances with friends, family and affiliates. The experience of this business model is about what can we do together while having fun doing it.
Your Heart-Centered Practice
You are already part of the process of evolving your heart-centered practice into this new feminine-holistic model. This process began the moment you allowed for the possibility that, just maybe, your business really is alive. Now you can begin to understand what you need to do to help it thrive.
Remember, the only person keeping your child (your heart-centered practice) from developing into a great success is you. Like any living thing, your practice desires to grow with greatness and share the abundance of life with you.
Practice learning how to put your fears aside so both you and your massage practice can become more playful and financially abundant. Get out of the way and allow this child of yours to grow, develop and evolve elegantly into the new holistic business model.
The trend of developing a heart-centered practice is a big adventure—and could be your ultimate gift to humanity.
Jeffrey A. Goodman has advised thousands of people with his intuitive skills and insights on how to run a successful wellness business. His CareerHearted training courses are a catalyst for positive change regarding how we do business as we co-create greater harmony on Earth.