You have probably heard this advice: “Follow your passion and the money will follow.” Yet at times during your career journey as a massage therapist, this statement may not feel true.
The truth is, career success does take more than following your passion. To achieve your dreams, you need self-knowledge and the ability to map out a plan based upon your strengths and weaknesses. Knowing what you want out of life—and from your massage practice—brings you clarity and alignment, which in turn creates the foundation that puts you on the path to success.
Step 1: Define your dream.
Take the time to visualize your dream life and career with total clarity. You want to take charge of and design your perfect life rather than find yourself living a life not satisfying to you.
What is your dream? You might dream of earning more money, owning a beach house, finding that perfect relationship, running a great business or making an impact on the world. Write down whatever your dream is—be specific—and then dig deeper. Why is the dream you wrote down important? Maybe you want to bring a sense of well-being to others, teach or share your skills, or engage in deep, meaningful relationships. Usually the reasons behind what you desire will connect with your most deeply held values. This is a key element to success, a success that also nurtures your spirit and heart.
If you don’t decide exactly what you want, you open the door to allowing yourself to be pulled here and there, or to meander aimlessly, or even to build a career you ultimately won’t feel good about. You may make some money and do interesting work, but the end result may leave you feeling unfulfilled, like you missed out. When you take charge and consciously decide exactly what you want out of life, this vision gives you the framework to set clear goals and allows you to make decisions based on what you want. All the choices you make are then filtered through that intention.
For example, one of my values is to live life with joy. My dream is to live a life filled with joyful family and friend relationships and to work in joyful, profitable businesses. I filter each decision I make through this intentional dream of a joyful life.
Step 2: Set your goals.
Align your goals with your intended future, so you achieve your dream. When you are clear on the results or outcomes you want from your life, you can break your plans into manageable chunks and set goals. Set yourself up for success by setting two big goals a year that are tied to your dream—one personal goal and one business or career goal. Ask yourself what you really want to accomplish in the next 365 days and write down those goals. Then break things down on a monthly, weekly and daily basis.
In your calendar, enter the following:
- Your two big goals for the year—one personal and one career-related.
- Monthly goals.
- Weekly goals.
- Daily goals.
For example, maybe you decide you want to become the premier massage provider in your community for neck work. This may mean that you have a two-prong approach for accomplishing this goal. The first prong would be to learn techniques that will set you apart, bringing you to a level of expertise that will allow you to claim your place as that premier provider. Then, while you are in the process of honing your skills, you will want to decide who in your community has the ability to refer your ideal clients to your practice. Make that list of potential referral sources, then write out a short but compelling bio for yourself, plus an “elevator speech” that is powerful and concise, positioning you as that neck-work expert. Begin reaching out, setting a goal of how many referral sources you connect with on a weekly or daily basis. Finally, set your fees at the appropriate amount for your market (raising them as your schedule fills and you have a waiting list) and manage your expenses. Through this focused approach to a specific goal, you can create the ability to thrive financially while achieving great satisfaction in your career and your life.
Step 3: Manage your motivation.
We live in a fast-paced and distracting world: texting, Facebook, Twitter, emails, ads, YouTube; watch this, do this, buy this, to the point we don’t even realize we have been distracted and find ourselves off-course. Think about the last time you were watching a cute kitten video online and suddenly realized an hour had passed. Knowing when your mind has wandered and being able to redirect it is a major key to self-awareness. Focusing mindfully on the task at hand, the task connected to the goals you set for yourself, ensures you are taking action toward your goals instead of pinballing from activity to activity. Purposeful use of your time is extraordinarily important—more important than talent or skill. Taking consistent and effective action is what propels you toward success.
Step 4: Use your strengths and deal with your weaknesses.
We all like to do what comes naturally, what we are good at, and avoid or procrastinate about doing things we don’t enjoy or don’t do well. This can keep us lopsided in taking effective action. Think about it this way: If you have three or four things at which you excel and a couple you don’t, and you only keep doing the things you do well, you end up turning in circles instead of moving forward.
Are you a big-picture person or a detail person? Get help with the details if that is what you need, or get support around the big picture creation if you find yourself bogged down in that area. One of the most valuable actions you can take is to delegate to someone else activities on which you are not taking action, the ones that are holding you back. Think of creative, low- or no-cost ways you can delegate these tasks so you can focus on what you do best.
Just as with any other trait, some people are born with innate self-awareness and some are not. You can hone and develop yours by listening to your own internal voice. Getting to know yourself on a deep, heartfelt and spiritual level is one of the most beautiful things you can do for your life and career—and you will find it is truly key to achieving your dreams, your way, with your values at the core.
Shelene Taylor (www.iambiz.com) turned her struggling massage therapy career into a multi-million dollar, multi-location success. She now shows other massage practice owners how to create purposeful and profitable businesses. Through IAMBIZ she shares the timesaving, proven and practical tools and strategies she uses in her own company.