If you need more clients, consider your self-use

Waiting at the right time is great. Waiting at the wrong time hurts your practice.

Waiting at the right time and for the right reason is a great skill to have as a somatic practitioner. Waiting at the wrong time or for the wrong reason can hurt your practice.

Moshe Feldenkrais used to say that if you have a job or passion that requires a specialized use of yourself — like a violinist who needs to turn her head to the left and use her right shoulder and arm differently than the left — then while you’re doing that thing you do, you should use yourself the way you need to.

And when you’re done, you should go back to “being a normal person.

Easy advice to give. Not always so easy to see where we should apply it, especially in relation to building a satisfying practice.

Most somatic practitioners work in a very special way that amounts to a specialized use of self.

It’s really important to realize that while this enables you to excel at your work, using yourself the same way all the time is not going to help you build a successful, satisfying practice. This doesn’t mean that you have to become someone else to have a solid foundation for your practice, but it does mean that you may need to tap innate strengths to develop skills you’ve most likely ignored up to now.

In my last post, I mentioned that learning to build the business of a satisfying practice involves personal growth, and nowhere is that more evident than in the second important question you need to answer, if you want more clients.

You see, as somatic practitioners, we often spend a lot of time being quiet and patiently waiting. Waiting to feel the client relax. Waiting to see an intake of breath. Waiting to hear the “aha!” that lets us know something happened. Waiting to be inspired. Waiting for a response from the nervous system. No doubt about it, the ability to wait is a skill worth having when you’re with a client.

But sometimes — like when you wait for the phone to ring, wait to be asked to speak somewhere, wait for recognition from local media, wait for referrals from other professionals, wait for your clients to recommend you to their friends, wait to raise your fees, wait to hear back from that new client you saw last week, wait for your practice to materialize … you are WAITING when DOING would be more effective.

And this bring us to our second question:

Are you doing or are you waiting?

People who have success as solo-practitioners don’t wait for the action to come to them.

They don’t “take what comes.”

They go out and find what they want — partners to help them serve more people, opportunities to broaden their reach, the perfect space for their practice, the help they need to put on a great event in an exciting place.

They are in action, making things happen — writing, speaking, tweaking, planning new programs, blogging to their ideal clients, teaching clients to make referrals. They plan time to build and maintain the foundation that underlies a satisfying practice.

They work on the skills they don’t have yet — like attracting clients or giving a talk that helps people commit to their work. They find colleagues to mastermind with so that they aren’t alone, and mentors who’ve walked the road before and know how to focus on moving forward instead of getting caught up in detours.

They get around, over, past and through their personal $h1t… the $h1t that stops them from being able to move forward. “$h1t” like having a terrible relationship with money, believing they have nothing special to offer, being introverted or shy, feeling like there’s nothing to celebrate or be grateful for, imagining they won’t be able to make it even if they invest the time and money in learning,

They embrace their strengths so they can have a satisfying practice that feels like them, because otherwise nothing is authentic, everything feels like a drudge and there’s no internal support for getting things done. When they stay in their strengths, they don’t feel ‘weird’ because they aren’t imitating anybody. It’s easier because they’re not draining their energy. And it supports the unique qualities that draw people to them as practitioners.

So how about you? Are you doing or waiting?

  • What’s the single most important thing you know you could do that would get you more clients, but you avoid doing it?
  • What are the challenges that stop you?
  • What kind of help do you need to get past those challenges?
  • Who do you know who could give you that help?
  • What shift do you need to make internally in order to act on what you just discovered?

Coming soon — #3 in our triad of questions to ask if you need more clients!

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