Why did you choose to become a practitioner?
Most likely because you believe in the power your modality has to change lives. So why do so many of us struggle to take our practice and make it happen? We have belief. We have conviction. We have knowledge.
So what’s stopping us?
After talking about ‘practice inertia’ with hundreds of practitioners both here in Australia and overseas, I have discovered one very strong trend. Not everyone has this problem, but an overwhelming majority of us do. That problem is simply lack of confidence. For some reason, we step out into the world and we start to doubt ourselves. Sometimes we may even go as far as doubting our modality. And this self-doubt can continue throughout our careers.
Why does this happen?
In the beginning, we study hard, earn our qualification and are subsequently spat out into the world, with virtually no real support. Your grades may say you are a good – even great – practitioner. But much of what we have learned is effectively untested by ‘the real world’. We are untested. How we overcome this sinking feeling of self-doubt? By stepping off the edge and having a damned good crack at it. Experience is often the best confidence ‘oomph’er.
Even if you make mistakes from time to time, or don’t always achieve the results you were hoping for, you begin to realise that is all part of being a practitioner. From that point you work out ways to make less mistakes and improve results.
‘I don’t think I can pull this off…’
These words have seeped into my psyche like a paralytic gas. Not just when I started my practice but many times over the years. Sometimes paired with that heavy clunk of terror in my stomach. Know that feeling?
I didn’t just step through a curtain that transformed crippling self-doubt into fabulous microwave-proof confidence. I first dipped my toe in the water. Guess what? The toe didn’t dissolve. So then I put my foot in and gradually found myself up to my neck. At that point I realised it wasn’t as bad as I thought. The swimming thing was another challenge altogether. But through education, support and perseverance I conquered that too.
This is the story of all of us.
We don’t miraculously succeed at something without stepping into our fear and learning to overcome our limitations. Your practice is the same.
What drags us down the most?
Unrealistic expectations. When I first finished studying my massage course I bought a mobile phone and waited for it to ring. It didn’t…oh wait, it did ring but it was always my mother, bless her. I feel silly admitting this now in hindsight but I don’t think I’m alone. When we finish studying, many of us think hard work is over. We expect that within a couple of weeks the ‘universe’ will provide us with enough clients that we can quit our café job. And then it doesn’t. Our confidence begins to falter. Within a couple of months, confidence is in free fall.
The new learning curve
After graduation, I arrogantly believed I could create a busy practice on my own, and it would be pretty straightforward. Through sheer stubbornness I actually believed the ‘build it and they will come’ line. They did come in the end. But there was a cost, and that was time. Had I sought help and taken action – instead of waiting for it to happen – I wouldn’t have spent so long in the wilderness.
For most of us, confidence isn’t just something that happens. And it isn’t something that always stays after we’ve experienced it. Confidence grows with experience, with testing the water and learning to swim. But we find new waters throughout our careers, not just after graduation. Success – initial and ongoing – requires the commitment to learn, act and persevere.
Do you trust your modality?
Yes? Then it’s time to begin trusting yourself. That is, trust yourself to:
- keep asking for help
- approach problem-solving in new ways
- set reasonable expectations
And experience a career that sees your self-esteem grow…to a point where you’re not even noticing it anymore. Why? You’re too busy improving the health others.
As always we are here to help so check out some of the great resources we have made for you: