How NOT to be a Massage Expert (and be Very Successful)

True or false: You have to be a massage expert to be successful in massage?

My guess is that you said false.

But does your answer match what you’re actually doing in your work life right now?

In other words, have you stalled with starting a business, growing your business or adding an extra stream of income because you don’t know enough, because you’re not an expert?

If so, waiting to become an expert could actually be a way to avoid moving forward with something.

I get it.

I was an expert at avoiding the next uncomfortable step to increasing my income.

I can’t open my own neuromuscular massage business until I’m as good as Paul St. John.

I can’t teach CE courses until I command the classroom like Professor John Keating in Dead Poets Society.

I can’t become a writer until I win the Hemingway Award.

And the list goes on…

Granted, you need some knowledge and skills to deliver a good service or to create a decent product. But you don’t need to be an expert.

You simply need to be competent.

Massage Competent Versus Massage Expert

Competence is the ability to do something successfully or efficiently.

Having expertise means you have a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge/skill in a particular area.

Immediately you can see an advantage of competence over expertise: time. You can become competent faster than you can become an expert.

Competence has a huge psychological advantage, too.

When I say “expert” what do you think?

I think: How will I know when I’m an expert? That makes becoming an expert seems like a never-ending deal.

Now what do you think when you hear the word “competence”?

I think: Oh, hells yeah, I’m going to get me some competence and then some!

Fortunately for me, I had a friend who helped me understand the value of approaching business (and life) from a competency perspective.

Tigers, Stripes and Behavior Change

My friend Bill Hass was a corporate psychologist. He and his team utilized emotional competence as a strategy in their business coaching program.

Here’s a piece of research they did: Tigers, Stripes and Behavior Change.

My favorite tiger.

Whenever Bill and I had lunch together, we’d talk about emotional competence. One day, I decided to apply what we talked about to my personal life.

My Emotional Competence Experiment

So I worked towards emotional competence in my marriage, and here are 3 things that I noticed:

  1. There was no barrier to entry.

Becoming competent was not an intimidating proposition. In fact, it made me want to get on it right away because I couldn’t stand the thought of being incompetent!

  1. When I screwed up, I didn’t want to quit because the goal—to become emotional competent—still seemed reachable. I just needed to make an adjustment or two.
  2. Once I got a quick win, I became confident that I could get more wins quickly.

Massage Expert Challenge

Next, I applied the competence model to my massage life. Interestingly, when I did, I not only gained competency in certain areas, I also started to recognize when I was already massage competent in something but was holding back because I wasn’t a massage expert.

For instance, a while back I wanted to develop a niche market with runners, but the core of my massage work over the years had been backs and necks.

Damn, I thought, I need to become a massage expert with running injuries.

But wait, I was already competent with working on legs. I had worked on tons of runners, cyclists and triathletes over the years.

Being an expert was an excuse. So I went out into the running world, drummed up business and refined my knowledge base as I went along.

Competent to Start a Business

If you’re thinking about opening a massage business and are wondering if you’re actually a competent massage therapist, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I have repeat business?
  2. Do my current clients refer to me?
  3. Do I convert some first-time customers into regular clients?

If you answered yes to all the questions, congrats. Move onto this step: How to Get Massage Clients: Referrals.

If you need to tweak some things about your massage read this: How to Stand Out From the Crowd.

Competent to Grow Your Business

If you’re floundering with growing your business because you’re not a massage expert, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Can I make a client feel relaxed?
  2. In general, are most clients in less pain after I work on them?

If you answered yes to both questions, get out there and start marketing! This will help: Two Tips (Not 10) To Get More Clients.

If you need to work on competence, check out this article: How to Get Good at Pain Relief Massage.

Get Competent

Ready to get competent?!

Not a great rallying call, I know.

But here’s the deal: You’re going to sit and rot in your chair if you’re waiting to become a massage expert before you make a move.

If you’re not competent, get competent.

Then market your competency.

And refine your skills and grow your knowledge base as you go along.

P.S. If you haven’t heard, I have an email group. It’s free (and you can unsubscribe anytime). Sign up below and I’ll direct you to the information that you’ll need to get you moving in the right direction:-)

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