Making Wise Choices to Increase Your Business Success—and Your Self-Esteem
With age comes wisdom, or so they say. But it seems the more appropriate expression might be: With age comes self-awareness. And with self-awareness comes the ability to know what you like and don’t like, what you can and can’t handle, and what you love and what you hate. Wisdom and self-awareness are entangled together.
But, after so many years on this earth—and with all that self-awareness—what you do with that information is a different story. Let’s say, for example, you hate running. You know this about yourself. You have tried (so many times) to get excited about a pair of running shoes, find a cool trail, create the best playlist, and set off to burn some calories. Every attempt at “becoming a runner” fizzled after a couple of months. Or weeks. Or maybe just one jaunt did it. You have so much respect for the sport. You want to like it. But you just don’t.
So you’re not a runner. You know what? Good for you for knowing who you are. Running hurts. You like to go for walks instead. Congratulations! You have self-awareness. Maybe along the way, you have also created a list of foods you won’t eat, pets you will never own, types of music that make you angry, and celebrities you would never date. All self-awareness, but is any of this wise? And more specifically, how does any of this relate to bodywork?
DOING WHAT IS WISE VS. WHAT FEELS GOOD
Wisdom, it seems, is also attached to morality, which is a whole sticky subject in itself. To be wise is to make “good” decisions. But what feels good and what is good are not always easily discerned. It is, nonetheless, this relationship between self-awareness and wisdom—that not so harmonious marriage—that holds the key to your success.
As massage therapists, many of us struggle with reaching our goals. Maybe the goal is to schedule a certain number of clients per week, or to establish a private practice, or to achieve good old financial stability. No matter the objective, when it is not reached, it can be devastating.
Why does this happen? For a host of reasons that are pretty much all speculation. At this point, I think it is wise to relate my own story. I have a feeling it might resonate.
MY AHA MOMENT
For years I was a hardworking massage therapist. Like many of you, I managed my own private practice while filling in the gaps at various spas, clinics, and wellness offices. I constantly struggled to find the confidence to raise my prices and take the leap into being my own boss.
I began teaching, which was amazing. It supplemented my income without the physical strain of seeing too many clients. It presented its own host of issues, though, and I found myself wondering if I would ever feel secure.
Then, I had a moment. An “aha” moment, as Oprah would call it. Nothing triggered by catastrophe or drama; I just had a moment.
I was coming home from a day of teaching and hoping my students had soaked up what I was desperately trying to impress upon them: that this career can be amazing, because, like everything else in life, you get out of it what you put into it. If you put your heart and soul into it, you will be rewarded in kind. And in the mundane routine of my evening, I suddenly asked myself, “Have I really put everything I can into my career?” The answer, as you could probably guess, was no.
Evidently, I was giving my job, my career, and my life what felt good but what was also keeping me complacent. It felt good to watch TV at night. It felt good to sleep in. It felt good to treat myself to dessert. (Every night.) None of this—and this is the important part—was wise. But the question that blared before me in that moment (after my realization) was, “Am I brave enough to do what is wise?” The moment I answered “Yes!” to that question, my life started to change.
Since that day, I have started a YouTube channel, launched a line of deep-tissue massage butters, become certified in teaching continuing education courses, and collaborated on opening a massage therapy school in Long Beach, California. All of it was scary (and painful at times), but all of it was also wise.
Turns out I am brave enough. Every day I choose to be brave and make the choices that will help me grow wise. Sometimes it doesn’t feel “good.” Most of the time, though, it feels great.
Interestingly enough, I have also picked up running. It hurts. But the sense of accomplishment—and confidence—I gain from that small part of my day is worth every drop of sweat.
So, whatever your career goals may be, I challenge you to take a hard look at what feels good, and then hold it next to what is wise. Just like those moments when you guide your clients through sitting in their own pain and help them understand it, sit with your answers so that you can understand you.
Choose wisdom. Every day. Your success will follow!
I never made any sacrifices; I made choices. —Greg Searle, Olympic gold medalist
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