When we're not busy professionally, we have time on our hands and that usually leads to thoughts going round and round in our heads about what could be wrong, why aren't we busy?
It's an easy enough time to be anxious. I remember those days when I was starting out, worrying if people wanted what I was offering? could I pay the rent? would I have to get another job just for money? should I give up?
My head was more active than ever. I spent a great amount of time just thinking about work in those early days. Typically when we're unsure about how we will succeed, it occupies our mind to a huge degree. We are so stressed about surviving and remaining in practice helping people, that we simply can't relax in the way we are able to do once we know the clients are reliably coming in and that we can afford to live. When that happens, we can finally have time off in a way we couldn't before, and quietness of the mind comes with it.
There are several things that happen when we're concerned about continuing in practice. Firstly, when we worry, our mind is pattern-matching for things that can go wrong. The mind is using the part of the brain that is designed to see danger or problems more easily than opportunities. A system designed to keep us alive in a crisis, is now setting the parameters for how we think, and this makes it harder for us to see the reality because we 'feel' things to be true which may not be.
Now you will have heard expressions like 'trust your gut', 'what you feel is what you know to be true', and so on. But consider this: for decades when I had anxiety and depression I 'knew' I was lazy, stupid, not as good as other people, and so on. My 'gut' told me to hold back. Phrases like 'If it's for you it won't go past you' and similar, were all strongly felt and convincing ways to keep me from trying and thus risking failure. If our mind is not in a good place, our instincts will be skewed.
These types of feelings are triggered a lot more easily when we're worried about whether we can succeed, about keeping the roof over us and our family's heads, and fearing that we're failing.
Here are the 5 most common conclusions we tend to draw as Therapists and helpers in such times:
5. I should train in something else. I'm not busy being 'X' type of helper, I should get a new skill and then I'll be busier! I cannot count how often this comes up. I did it myself too. I trained as a Hypno-Psychotherapist first, then went on to train in EMDR, NLP and more. Some of that is interest, and while it all helped me to do better work, it did nothing to connect me to those who needed my help. How many skills we have or how many ways we can help people are of no use until we have people coming to us.
Typically someone who is not busy with one skill, becomes someone who is not busy with several skills. Until we manage to connect our abilities to the people in need of them, it's all academic.
4. There's too much competition. There are lots of people offering what I do. I can't compete! (This is often followed by what we just looked at – maybe I should get a second skill set) 🙂
If we offer our message in a way that emphasises the type or category of help (i.e. Acupuncture, Business Coaching, Counselling, Chiropractic, etc.) over the type of suffering we help with (pain, overcoming procrastination, recovering from panic, back pain, etc.) then there is huge competition. However, if we talk specifically about what we help with and learn how to connect with our ideal clients, then there is almost no competition.
Once I had worked out the psychology of connecting with those in need, I was inundated with clients and competition evaporated. Today I send dozens of clients each year to the people who I used to think were competition.
It was a shock to me to find that there are many more people out there needing help, than we can ever hope to assist. It's all about learning how to reach them, and sadly as therapists and coaches we're usually not trained in this by the organisations, colleges and institutes that teach us our professional skills.
Helping people is not the same skill set as reaching people in such a way for them to realise that we can help. However, competition is not an issue for any therapist I know who is good at putting their message out there.
3. It's not possible to earn a living at this, I should go part time only. It's a scary thing to commit to helping people full time. But expecting success to happen by magic is sadly what we often start out with. We're nearly all given the impression that 'it will just take off'.
It doesn't unless we build it.
Working hard to get our help out using ways that are shown to work, rarely leads to a decision to go part time. But we normally do only the usual things – flyers, brochures, cards, website and so on. That yields almost no results unless we know how to reach people.
For example when I was starting out, I put articles in my local newspaper. When I wrote something informational on stress, the way I normally did at that stage, I got no clients. The following month, I rewrote that piece of 300 words. This time I talked about what stress feels like to the sufferer and suddenly I got 6 clients. It resonated with them. Look at how the message is being put out. Is it created for the person in need or from the point of view of the person offering the help? Be always about the person suffering. This is where we can start to help them, and that also builds our success!
Imagine only working mornings. Say 9am to 1pm. That's 4 hours. How many client sessions is that? Allow some flexible time is my recommendation too.
Multiply that by 5 for a week.
Multiply that by 46 weeks to estimate a working year with 6 weeks off a year.
How much is that? I imagine it's a bigger number than expected. And that's working a half day.
What will you do with your afternoons? Paint? Meditate? enjoy life? a second business?
The clients are out there, in trouble, and we can use our time to help them if we allow ourselves to earn an income that lets us do this. I really hope you do.
2. People don't want what I offer. This might seem the same as number 5, but it is actually more often about how we offer our skills. It's very common for us to talk a lot about how good things can be when they improve for the client, painting a picture of positive change. Being about the results is important, but it can easily miss the person who is stuck in their problem and who can't even imagine ever getting productive results in their own life.
For example when I was crushed by decades of anxiety and depression, I never once connected with the descriptions of anxiety out there. Nothing made me realise what it was that I was suffering. I certainly never could have imagined how great life has since become. People talking about those things did so in a way that didn't reach me, and thus I suffered on for decades.
Now, what got me over those problems was around before I was born. It was available near where I grew up, and I could have afforded it all my life. So what was the problem?
We don't talk enough about people's situations. I had to be reached in the place where my mind and outlook was. I needed someone to talk about the pain I knew, so that I could recognise what I was living before I could be brought to imagine that it was possible to change. Without that connection nothing was going to happen for me.
This is what brings in 19 more clients for every 1 I used to see since I started putting my message out in this way. Its what is working for so many people I've trained.
We have to help people recognise their problem first, then lead them towards the positive and we'll get to help a lot more people. This is the beauty of this equation. Prioritising our client's needs lets us be successful in helping more and more people.
1. I'm not good enough to help people. Well, put simply, if we haven't helped quite a few people we don't have enough information to support any such conclusion.
Until we put ourselves out there and have a good number of people come to us for help, we don't really know what results we're going to get. This way of thinking is usually a case of the worry building to a fear in order to hold us back from failure – 'if we don't try we can't lose'. That feeling is a lie!
It's a loss for everyone if we give up. The people who need our help never hear about it, we end up having to do something else for a living, and the skills that we invested a lot of time and money into, go wasted.
Challenging that fear and choosing to persevere, to put ourselves out there, to keep the needs of the client in mind first, and then to connect with where they are at, will deliver the client. Then the results will speak for themselves.
I think you'll be very happily surprised with what people can accomplish with your help. We're usually passionate about helping people, we're usually skilled in doing so, and we always feel great when we see someone change their lives for the better.
Go for it!
Have a think about what the feeling is. Is it true or is it fear?
The bottom line is that until many people know both that we exist, and understand how and what we help – it's too early to draw any of these conclusions above.
We need to reach people, have them come to us for help, and then repeat that over time to really get a sense of what we can do. And usually we can do more than we expect.
I really hope you decide to get your help out to the world. How many people can we help in a year if we allow ourselves to succeed, to earn an income that allows us to keep going, and get to have time off to recharge our energy and enjoy life? That will let us help a lot more people than if we see only a few clients part time.
Which options sees more people being helped by the end of the first 12 months doing this?
This is the win / win we're after. More people get help, you get a better life, and less worry 🙂
Please keep sharing your help!
Have a great week,
A Happily Booked out Therapist & Coach
Founder, Therapy and Coaching Success
If you would like some help getting your message out there you can get 3 Free Training Videos and more to help you reach those who need your help at: www.TherapyandCoachingSuccess.com
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John Prendergast is an award-winning Success Coach and and Psycho-Trauma Anxiety Therapist.
He is also the Founder of Therapy and Coaching Success that specialises in helping Therapists, Coaches and other Wellness Practitioners, connect with those in need, build their diaries and earn the income they need.
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