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Graduation, Transitions, and Fear of the Unkown

First, I want to extend a heartfelt “CONGRATULATIONS” to all of my students at Bodymechanics who are graduating this week.  They’ve taken their practical final, my APP final, their comprehensive final, and turned in the last of their logs and special projects.  Friday is the big day.

Also, a little shout out to Kat at LMT or Bust who has made her final tuition payment and is getting ready to graduate, also.

Graduating can be a cause for celebration, but it can also be very frightening and nerve wracking. Any major transition in life comes involves some fear. Embrace it, but don’t let it guide you.

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”Frank Herbert

If you’re as big a fan of SciFi as I am, you’ll recognize this as a near mantra used by the lead character in the SciFi novel, Dune.

Write this down somewhere, memorize it, or print this out.  This should be your guide for the next few months.

Fear is the Mind Killer

Fear makes the world around you collapse into nothing but the thing you fear.  It obliterates everything – joy, hope, mindfulness, rational thought – and leaves you unable to act rationally, if at all.

I will face my fear

Look deeply at your fear and find out what you are truly afraid of? I’m not afraid of heights so much as I’m afraid of falling. There’s a big, thought subtle, difference there. Are you afraid of failing or of succeeding? Or are you more afraid of how your relationships with friends and family will change as you make this career transition? You can’t deal with your fear until you truly identify it.

I will permit it to pass over me and through me

The character Paul doesn’t deal with his fear by denying it. He acknowledges the fear, gives it a moment to feel the fear and then, like wind through the trees, lets it pass by. Denying the fear only gives it power to hide and sneak up on you later.

The greatest fear: the Unknown

It’s said that one of the most common fears is that of public speaking, but I would say that the most universal of all fears is that of the unknown.

How can you prepare for the unknown?

How do you fight the unknown?

You can’t. But you can’t let it stop you from moving forward. I’ve made the mistake of trying to sidestep the unknown and I’ve missed out on some amazing opportunities as a result. I’m getting better at embracing the unknown, but I’m still more hesitant than I would like.

Graduation is the beginning of an awfully big adventure.

I want to leave you with a couple of wonderful examples. I recently bumped into 2 former students at an AMTA convention. These 2 women have built up thriving, abundant practices over the last couple of years. They jumped into the adventure, took some risks, and have built wonderful careers for themselves.

In our chats, we all agreed that school, though pretty thorough, cannot completely prepare you for reality. There are too many things that you don’t know that you need to know. But, you’ll figure them out along the way.

To Live will be an awfully big adventure Peter Pan

I have a favor to ask of you, dear readers: There are massage students who read this blog, share with them one thing you learned after you graduated so they might be a little more prepared.

7 Responses to Graduation, Transitions, and Fear of the Unkown

  1. Call/email people back as soon as humanly possible. Respond to every message in a way that says, “I want you to be my client, I value your time.”
    If you will be unable to return messages for a few day due to vacations, etc, be sure your outgoing voicemail or out-of-office email indicates that.

    • An excellent point about the voicemail. It’s easy to forget to do this, but that one little thing can go a long way towards explaining why you haven’t gotten back to them right away. Thanks!

  2. If someone comes in with a specific place they want worked — work it, right away: start there, come back to it in the middle of the session, and end there. Don’t make them wonder if you’re really going to get to it.

    And don’t ever, ever let a client get cold 🙂

    • Good reminder, Dale. I sometimes explain that I will have to start with something not directly on the area where it hurts in order to warm up the superficial muscles first. The client does want to know that you are going to address their issue.

      And I HATE being cold, so I know I’ll be comfy on your massage table.

  3. Don’t sit in your office thinking business is going to come to you. Get out in your community, meet as many people as you can, introduce them to the benefits of massage. Give away at least two business cards every day. Remember that your job is not just to give a massage, it’s to educate the public about the benefits of massage.

    • Laura – I’ve known too many therapists who have made this mistake and paid dearly for it. Getting the word out is as important as having good massage skills.

      I also love your call to spend 30 minutes a day, every day, on marketing. I’m still not there on getting it on the calendar every day, but I do some marketing every day.

  4. Donate 30 minute gift certificates to local charity events, fundraisers, golf tournaments etc.. Be prepared to have an 8X11 description of what they are winning (picture and logo included). I suggest spending $1 at your local print shop and laminating it if it is being displayed. I usually donate 2-3 gift certificates per event and in the cover letter to the contact person ask that they be raffled off separately. I follow up with a thank you card or phone call to show vested interest and see if we can possibly work together in other future events. When the new client calls to book their appointment this gives me the opportunity to educate the client why upgrading (which they almost always do) to a 60 or 90 minute massage is beneficial. I don’t know about other therapist but for me this method has brought me quiet a few loyal clients who have referred their friends to me as well. I find this a great way to grow my clientele and also get my business out in the community.

"Dream large, laddie!" - Local Hero, 1983