Life is full of choices, this is true of your career as much as anything else. One of the most important choices is your decision to be a high value massage therapist. This decision transfers onto your other selections: to work in your own practice or for others; to focus your work in wellness, healthcare, or medical; to work full time or part time. The most important decision is whether you will pursue your calling to its full potential or will you see it as a defined job with limited personal investment. There is no judgment here, just a challenge to look beyond the day to day to a greater possibility of fulfillment, service and growth.
When I attended massage school 28 years ago there were few job opportunities out there, so most of us entered this field expecting to work for ourselves in our own businesses. Since massage was still a foreign concept to most people, one of our primary roles was to educate our potential consumers and other healthcare professionals. Over the years there has been many shifts in our profession as public acceptance has grown and as opportunities to work in countless settings has emerged. We just need to be aware of the possibility of unintentional consequences. That is where I am now.
Recently I became aware of another shift - more and more students and therapists are talking about their massage work as a job more than a career. Which in turn is prompting some advanced practitioners, who see their efforts as a vocation, to quit identifying as a massage therapist. This shift has me concerned as it isn’t about where you work, but how you see that work. One of the ways I give back is by guest lecturing at schools and I have started re-incorporating a classic professional development concept called You Inc. You Inc. is simply a way to embrace the work you do in the treatment room as truly yours, no matter who writes the paycheck. Another way to think of it……. making your personal branding as valuable as possible. To be a “High Value” therapist.
If we are going to talk about value, first we must define it. Value is based on your clients, your employer, and your networking group’s perspective. How well we enrich and enhance their lives is how they determine that value. The more you can zero in on their goals and contribute to their success, the more valuable their time with you is. Therefore, a high value therapist delivers their best in and out of the treatment room. Not just skills (but you’ve got to have mad skills). They must be:
Trustworthy – with scheduling, privacy, intent
Attentive about- your client’s needs, trends in the profession, research, the world
Dedicated about - client’s goals, personal growth, professional growth
Pleased in your - own life, work, clients
Influential - encourage, challenge, let it be a two-way street
Intentional/mindful by being- fully present, focused, a creative problem solver, a balance of confidence and humility
Caring- have a love of people, a sense of humor, an empathetic bent
Finally- I’m sure you have heard the quote “You meet yourself in the treatment room” so you understand the need to be authentic and on a healthy path yourself.
So that’s the what, now the how:
Make the commitment
Be focused on the goals
Strive for more – personally and professionally
Take full responsibility for your happiness
Be patient and gentle with yourself and others
This is my wish for us all - Time well spent, Life well lived.