Put your goals in writing
When you go on vacation, what is the first thing that you do? Decide on the destination of course! In order to plan your trip, you need to know where you are going. Then you can do your MapQuest or otherwise figure out the best way to get there. But first you need to know your destination.
So, too, with planning where you want to go in life. Where is it that you want to be in your career? Are your health and fitness levels where you want them to be? Do you want to have better relationships with significant people in your life? What are you doing that is in service in your community? These are all things that are important to making you a well-rounded person.
Stop what you are doing right now, take out a piece of paper and a pencil (or open a new document on your computer) and write down some goals. What do you want to accomplish in your life? Where do you want to be ten years from now? Five years from now? What about this time next year at this time? Don’t over think this. Don’t procrastinate and say you will do it later. Just take a couple of minutes right now to sit down and figure out what is important to you in your life.
Decide which goal(s) if accomplished, will make the most difference in all aspects of your life. Brainstorm some of the steps you will need to take and prioritize those steps. Re-read this “to-do” list every day to remind you of where you are going and how you plan on getting there.
From time to time you may wish to re-evaluate this list, but now you have a roadmap to where you want to go. Studies show that people who actually take the time to write out their goals and re-read them on a regular basis are successful in life.
Continue to Learn!
In order to be successful, make it a habit to spend some time every day in developing your career. Read a business article or a piece of medical research, pull out your Anatomy and Physiology book from massage school and review what you may have forgotten. Watch the video that you purchased from that continuing education class that you loved. Make it a priority to take quality continuing education classes. The experience of travel is an educational opportunity as well so be sure to consider taking an education vacation at some point in your life!
Make sure that you put what you are learning each day into practice. Try out some new techniques on your clients. Be able to share a piece of research on a medical condition. Know the names of muscles and bones and attachments. Become the expert in your field. Be the knowledgeable person that people seek out.
It takes a village to grow a practice. Develop and nurture relationships that are not directly business related. Go to community and networking events. Join the PTA or the Chamber of Commerce or volunteer with a sports organization. You do not necessarily have to volunteer your massage therapy skills, but you should certainly make mention of your profession to the people you are involved with.
Ask your clients for permission to contact their physicians and offer to provide the physicians with copies of your SOAP notes and updates on your mutual client. (Make sure you have a signed HIPPA form or written permission to do so.) This will help you to create the “in” with the physician’s office that will allow you to share research on the benefits of massage therapy with that physician. Take action to build a relationship and you might not even have to ask for referrals, you might just get them.
Let people know the business you are in. Speak knowledgeably about a range of related issues. Create and share pertinent social media posts. You will be successful when you develop relationships with people in your everyday life. Offer your card to the checker at the grocery store, the man at the gym, the mom you see all the time at the little league games and don’t forget about the receptionist at your doctor or dentist’s office. This is not about selling. It is about being in service to them. What information can you share? Ask for a potential client’s contact information and make sure to follow up with them by sending them a link to an interesting article that pertains to their situation. Create a professional relationship. Consistently hold yourself out as the “go-to” expert! You never know where this might lead you.
There is a lot being done on the research front in massage therapy these days, thanks in great part to work done through the Massage Therapy Foundation. As our field continues to have more evidence based scientific studies supporting our claims of wellness creation, we become more accepted by the medical industry.
Newer therapists may have participated in performing a study while in school. While actually conducting a research study may be difficult for the average therapist, reviewing someone else’s literature and perhaps even trying to replicate the results should be very doable. Choose a topic that you are interested in and start following it. At the very least you should have some educational sites bookmarked so that you can quickly and easily do some research for your current clients and pass on information to your prospective clients and referral sources.
Receive Massage Yourself
Do you tell your clients that they should get a massage once a month or once a week or even several times a week? When was the last time you received a massage yourself? I am not talking about self massage here, although it may be a viable quick fix. Some therapists are really good at scheduling the time to take care of themselves, perhaps through trades or regular appointments, but many of us are so busy taking care of everyone else that we just don’t take the time or spend the money on this necessary component of our own well-being.
Not only is receiving massage a necessary wellness practice. It is also an educational experience. When you receive massage, you can likely pick up a new technique that you really love which you can try out on your clients to refresh your routine. You might also experience a technique that you really do not like and then you will know to avoid it. Visiting other spas or massage offices will allow you to see how they are decorated, the products and protocols that are used, the level of customer service that is offered. You can pay attention to their marketing, promotional and re-booking strategies as well. There is so much that you can learn from visiting other therapists, plus, you know your body kneads it!