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The Secret We All Share

the secret that massage therapists share

I have been very fortunate to be invited to speak recently at a couple of national conferences and there has been a general theme floating around. It’s something that no one really wants to admit and because we don’t, we all feel like the odd one out, the one who doesn’t fit in or the ugly duckling. When I mention it to practitioners they openly admit their struggle but it’s spoken only in hushed tones.

I’ve been practicing for over 20 years now and have for that entire time felt like a bit of a fraud. I go to seminars or conferences and people talk about concepts or technical aspects of a modality that I can’t remember or struggle to grasp. I feel like an idiot, I shouldn’t really be doing this as surely I am just kidding myself. There are people out there who are obviously much better at this than me.

You’re not alone.

Speaking with practitioners who I look up to, who I see as gods and believe that they must have it all sorted I realise that we are all in the same boat. In fact I am beginning to think that the longer we practice the less we understand. A great master of Ba Gua Zhang, a Chinese internal martial art, called Li Zi Ming said at 80 years of age after being a practitioner of Ba Gua Zhang for over 60 years that it was only now he realised he had only just scratched the surface.

When I talk to practitioners at these conferences and am able to get under their guard they all admit to feeling the same as I do, even the 40-year veterans. What we work with is so much a part of the human condition that expecting to be able to work it all out in a matter of years let alone a lifetime is just unrealistic.

What then is the answer to this puzzle?

Make sure your lack of confidence doesn’t follow you into your clinic because it’s not about what you don’t know it’s about what you do know. Leave your self-deprecation at home and your ego out of it. Neither of these serves you or your client.

We also need to embrace our limitations because without knowing these we don’t know where we need to improve and where perhaps we just don’t need to go. You can’t be everything to everyone. Focus on the areas that bring you joy and passion and challenge yourself where you need to. Apathy is the death of a practice and growth as a practitioner keeps you vibrant and inspired.

So next time you feel like a fraud talk yourself around and seek help when necessary. Your clients need you to.

Jeff Shearer is a massage therapist and Chinese medicine practitioner who has run several successful practices and now works in Darwin. Jeff also runs Ethical practice an information based business helping practitioners to be all they can be

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