In the healing arts, we often discuss the body’s bio-energetic system. This system, only recently given some attention in Western culture, describes a vital system of energy centers and meridians. Bioenergetics is at work in practice management, too. Have you noticed when you were feeling tired one day at work, really wishing for a break, someone cancels her appointment? The reverse can also be applied: When your mind is clearly focused, your appointment book fills up.
Deepak Chopra states, “You are where your attention takes you.” What we focus our energy on grows; what we take our energy away from withers. Just observe how a garden, your health or a close relationship responds when your energy is directed away. It doesn’t take long to see the impact of conscious attention.
The first law of thermodynamics states “energy cannot be created or destroyed, although it can be transferred or changed from one form to another.”1 Thinking of your therapy business as an organic process, by the very nature of the first law it must capture energy from the environment to use for (biological) work.
Your energy, your intention, is what drives the vitality of your business. People that value your business nurture it and benefit from it. They transfer energy to your business. When you are unclear as to the service you are providing or your reason for being in practice, you will be unable to grow or maintain your business. Primal urges of fear and frustration migrate you toward the exact outcome you wish to avoid. What we resist, persists—again, this is observable, natural law.
The second law of thermodynamics describes when energy is converted from one form to another, some usable energy is lost as heat into the surroundings. Further to this law, entropy is a measure of this lost energy. Entropy describes decay, disorganization and disorder. Applying this to business, when your purpose is unfocused, your efforts are diffuse. You work harder, but for fewer results. Many massage therapists may wonder, “I’m working so hard, but my business is still not providing enough for me to live on. What is wrong?”
Energy cannot be destroyed, only gained or lost. When energy is gained, there is an increase in organization, or “intelligence.” When energy is lost, organization is diffuse and degraded—“dis-ease.” Cultivate excuses, sloppiness, distraction and poor boundaries, and you choose entropy. Cultivate business relationships, technical and business skills and knowledge, maintain clear boundaries between personal and business time, and you gain energy.
Because your business is organic, it can benefit from the same processes as your autonomic nervous system. Through millennia of evolutionary processes, your autonomic system is guided intrinsically to control heart rate, digestion, blood circulation, body temperature and a number of other functions; we know this as homeostasis. These autonomic functions have a homing mechanism, an automatic map laid out. To create a successful business, you need a homing mechanism, something guiding your daily actions to incrementally reach your destination. A good start is the creation of a business mission statement.
Creating a mission statement requires you to identify key principles in your work. What is your primary cause (the social condition you’re trying to affect positively)? What service(s) do you provide? What values are important to you? Words, such as healing, relaxation and nurture, create a different purpose than alignment, structural homeostasis or fluidity. There are several sources for building mission statements on the Internet. For further details, visit www.peoplesuccess.com/mission.htm, www.teal.org.uk/et/mission.htm or www.franklincovey.com/missionbuilder/index.html.
Don’t worry about what other therapists are doing; create a mission unique to your contribution. Words are powerful, so choose words that inspire you, that move you to fulfilling your purpose. My business mission statement is, “We transform deep pain and restriction into free movement and expression.” Words reflect your beliefs; beliefs cause you to act; and actions create your reality.
Read your mission statement every business day to automatically direct your actions. At the beginning of every week, outline goals that will move you closer to realizing your business purpose in a very real and tangible way. Don’t be afraid to change your mission statement along the way—you will continue to evolve and so will your mission statement. When you outgrow or further clarify your business mission, change your mission statement. Continue to read it every business day. Like your wonderful autonomic nervous system, your organic business will intrinsically move towards your greatest aspirations.
You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration. — James Allen
1. Solomon, Berg & Martin: BIOLOGY, 5th Edition, 1999. Harcourt College Publishers, pp 136-137
Don Quinn Dillon, R.M.T., is the author of Better Business Agreements and the self-study workbook Charting Skills for Massage Therapists. More than 60 of his articles have been published in industry publications, including Massage Therapy Canada, Massage Therapy Today, AMTA Journal, AMTWP Connections and various massage school and professional association newsletters. Dillon’s Web site, www.MTCoach.com, provides a variety of resources for massage therapists.