Continued from "Do you ever feel alone in your massage practice?"
So I decided that it would be really great to have a group of bodyworkers that meets to advance professional communications, practices, and incomes. I got this idea from a "mastermind" group. Mastermind groups are like study groups for business. A group of people gather together to problem solve and grow from each others’ experience. The facilitator will frequently bring a topic to read or discuss. Attendees can share their stories and brainstorm solutions. Since almost every massage therapist I have met has had another career outside of bodywork, a variety of experience is brought to the table.
Massage Your Practice Project is gathering this wisdom and spinning it into gold. Many massage therapists moonlight as someone else when not seeing clients. Some of us are writers, or teachers, or artists, or networkers. Bringing everyone's skill sets together into one pantry feeds everyone. Some will donate client education articles, or the address of an affordable teaching space to rent. Others may extend anatomy sketches or helpful mnemonics for learning muscle physiology. I've spent entirely too much time studying social media marketing this year, so that is what I'm adding to the basket. Also, I've been attending all the WA Board of Massage rules meetings, but I have to medicate myself to discuss that topic without having palpitations.
This brings me to Bodyworkers Confidential. I was in an ethics class taught by Jack Blackburn and part of the class was dedicated to just listening to someone's story. This was done without interruption or offering any advice. It was a deep experience to speak my heart to my peers and know I would be heard and not judged. Then I remembered this is exactly what happens in “Anonymous” or 12-step meetings.
I love the 12-step meeting format. It's simple and effective. Even better, pretty much anyone can do it. First, the chairperson introduces the purpose of the meeting, who the meeting applies to, how to participate, and what can be expected as part of joining. Then literature is read or a speaker is invited to tell her story about participating in the meetings. From there, everyone has the opportunity to share briefly with ZERO cross talk. The meeting closes and there is time for fellowship with other attendees.
Since I'm addicted to bodywork, this analogy makes sense me. I want a safe place to tell people -- people who know what it's like -- that I screwed up, or I did a great job, or I'm frustrated and scared. And I get to hear that others have the same issues I do. Maybe I meet another massage therapist at a meeting with a similar story and we exchange contact information. Adding Massage Your Practice break-out groups to this 12-step format allows the momentum to flow into teamwork and solutions. When other bodywork specialties join us (everyone is invited!) we can have some real, multidisciplinary dialogues. So maybe Bodyworkers Confidential is a 13-step program?
The first step is admitting you have a solution. The second step is joining the discussion and attending a meetup. (Or hosting your own! Have format, will travel!) If you aren't sure if this is right for you, sign up for the Massage Your Practice newsletter so you can do some research.