Today is the first post in a 4-week series aimed at helping practitioners reconnect with their businesses and create a clear plan for success. These posts will be longer and more instructional than my other posts, so get ready to take some decisive action.
In this post we’re going to think back and dig deep to remember the reasons you became a practitioner in the first place.
Unfortunately after you’ve been in business for a while, passion can become clouded by the day-to-day requirements of practice. A non-compliant client or a higher than us usual electricity bill can distract us from our true motivations behind what we do. But thinking back, you probably became a practitioner because of a success story you or a loved one had in the industry. You probably witnessed amazing results and now feel like you are obligated to share what you know with the world.
Now imagine for a moment that your modality didn’t exist. There wouldn’t have been anyone to rescue you during your time of need, and who knows what your health would look like now. The reality is that if you quit or go out of business you are depriving others of the same opportunity you had that changed your life. I know you’re terrified that passion alone isn’t enough to pay the bills. But passion, accompanied by a strategic plan will do the trick.
Having a clear “Why” will get you through the tough days. Your Why will make every decision you have to make easier, and it will help your clients and prospective clients relate to you by helping them understand what you’re all about. And perhaps most importantly, a clear Why means that you’ll do whatever it takes to make it work.
Today we’re going to take money out of the equation briefly to remember the purity of the reasons you became a practitioner in the first place. I’m not saying money isn’t important. It is. But I know it’s not the driving force behind your practice or you would have picked a different career.
If you look at your clients, the ones who get the best results are the ones who have a good reason to change. They’re the ones that feel compelled from deep inside to try something new and stick with it. We want to recreate those feelings for you. For example, I know a woman who always liked hiking but when her mom died she realized that time is precious. She had a goal she wanted to achieve and she decided that it’s now or never. She started a 6-month training program to hike to Everest Basecamp, a 12 day trek at altitude. Her and her husband began hiking every weekend, going to the gym every day, increasing her water intake, and completely improving her diet. She made massive changes to her health because she had a very clear driver. It wasn’t just about the hike for her, but about maintaining her vibrancy and ability in her 50s. When everyone around her was slowing down she decided to fight for her youthful energy. Before her mom died of a long battle with cancer she was on anti-depressants, had food intolerances, was overweight, and was really just not herself. After her mourning period she made her decision to do the trek she was a completely different person.
Now let’s get into what you need to do step-by-step.
1. Reflect on Your Why
Before we can leverage your Why, we need to get clear on what it is in the first place. Let yourself get emotional about this process because an emotional Why is the most compelling of all. Loosen up a bit and don’t take this too seriously. Have a glass of wine and reminisce with your partner or friends if it will help! Consider these questions:
- Why did you become a practitioner?
- Was there a defining moment for you when you said “this is exactly what I was meant to do”?
- Describe a few clients that you loved working with and who really stand out for you regarding why you do what you do.
- What does being a practitioner mean to you?
- What does it mean to your personal life?
- How has it changed you?
- What would life be like if you weren’t a practitioner anymore?
- Why is being a practitioner important to you?
- Why is that important?
- And why is that important to you?
Make sure to write down your answers and possibly even gather some photos (like before and after ones) to represent your Why.
2. Share Your Why
It’s important to share your Why in two ways: personally and professionally. When you share your Why with friends and family they’ll understand what you do and be better able to support you. I’m sure you will still meet resistance with some people on what you do, but they can’t (or at least shouldn’t) argue with why you do it.
On the other side, it’s extremely important to share your why professionally with the public and your clients. As Simon Sinek famously says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” People often buy from a place of emotion, and by having a compelling story and a reason behind what you do you can take money out of the equation so people feel like they can’t live without you. They won’t get that emotional feeling from your list of credentials. Although those are important and can confirm their decision to work with you, they won’t be the only reason or the primary one. So what are some good ways to share your why?
- in your “elevator pitch”
- at networking events in person
- in your first visit with a client
- your website
- in your bio
- on social media
- a sign in your practice
- mention it in conversation on follow-up visits
Heck, put it on a T-shirt! Clients will remember your story, not your credentials. For instance, check out Cocoon Apothecary. When I first read her story I automatically trusted her intentions and integrity, and now I love their products and tell her story often. How many businesses do you do that with? Probably more than you realize.
3. Remind Yourself on the Hard Days
This step takes some practice because often when you’re feeling your worst you don’t think straight. The goal here though is to have some reminder of your Why to reflect on when you’re having a bad day. Pictures work best, or maybe a framed mantra. You can also use the answers to the questions you wrote down in step 1. The key is to have a trigger for when you’re feeling defeated so you can remind yourself what your purpose is. Especially remember why the world would be worse off if you were not working as a practitioner. It can also be helpful to remind yourself of some of the people you have helped successfully, so maybe jot down some case studies along with your other notes so it’s all together in one easy-to-access place.
Please take this process seriously and don’t dismiss it. There are lots of fluffy recommendations out there, but this is not one of them!
- Reflect on your why by answering the recommended questions
- Share your why everywhere you can think of
- Document your why to use on hard days in practice
- Read Start With Why by Simon Sinek and/or watch this video.
Next week in Part 2 of this series we’ll get some clarity on how to change your Why from something purely emotional into something achievable that can reach others.
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