Our beliefs are an integral part of who we are. We make all of our decisions based on them, whether or not those beliefs truly support our growth as people and business owners. Most of our beliefs go unchanged and unchallenged because we aren’t consciously aware of them. That’s how they continue to hold us back.
But once we’re aware of our beliefs, we can examine them objectively and determine if they are contributing to manifesting a life that we want. As we identify those that limit our potential, we can begin to form new ones that create possibilities and opportunities we couldn’t have imagined with our old belief system. Where they came from isn’t really important. What allows us to free ourselves from limiting beliefs is simply knowing what they are and being brave enough to try something else.
This is a list of limiting beliefs I know well. They have kept me from taking risks, following my truth and controlling my destiny throughout my life. But as I seek to fulfill my purpose, I’ve realized I have to let go of them. It’s scary to leave the familiar behind because we associate what we know with being safe, which is one of the most basic needs for survival. And yet, the safety we strive for exists in the unknown, too. We just haven’t experienced it.
Belief #1: Resistance to Change
Change is hard. We are wired to repeat behaviors that result in reward and avoid those that don’t. But just because something is comfortable doesn’t make it rewarding.
When I opened my current practice in late 2013, I decided to specialize in deep tissue massage. I had read that choosing a niche would be more effective than trying to appeal to everyone. I thought I was doing that, but I wasn’t all in. My desire to be liked, guilt about not helping everyone I could and fear of there not being enough clients who wanted Ashiatsu caused me to offer traditional injury massage as well. I knew I was really good at that but doubted my ability to have a thriving Ashiatsu practice because I had so little experience.
Most of my clients did book Ashiatsu because that’s what I promoted but I kept injury work on my service menu so I would be more legitimate to health care professionals and insurance companies. What I found was that my injury clients would get curious about Ashiatsu and try it. Once they did, they didn’t book another hands-on session again.
This wasn’t a reflection of my skills, just a testament to the effectiveness of Ashiatsu. After two years in business, I decided to not only take traditional injury massage off the menu but to change my business name to highlight my exclusively barefoot services. This has made me a more confident provider and tells potential clients exactly what I do so there’s no confusion. I have now stepped into who I was meant to be as a healer at this point in my career.
Belief #2: Unwillingness to Invest
Saving money is smart. Or is it? Generally, a reliable car costs more because we pay for routine maintenance on it instead of saving that money (or spending it somewhere else). Sounds like an analogy for getting regular massage, too!
There’s a difference between operating conservatively and being cheap. Sure, all those little expenses add up but when we deny ourselves the chance to make more money because we aren’t willing to invest in our business, we end up stunting our growth. Considerations such as location, cell phone performance, online scheduling and the massage products we choose should be carefully evaluated. What seems like a great deal may actually be costing us big time by giving clients a compromised experience, making rebookings and referrals less frequent.
When I started my first practice in 1999, I shared space with a truly wonderful person and therapist. As I got busier, it got harder to accommodate clients with my limited schedule. Another space opened up in the tanning salon, and I decided to stop sharing space and have my own. This more than doubled my rent but also let me concentrate on earning a living exclusively from massage and leave my part-time job behind.
Belief #3: Projecting Expectations
In order to validate our beliefs, we often project them onto others. One of these is how much our clients have or are willing to spend. Most business owners are on a tight budget when we start out (I know I was). That doesn’t mean our potential clients are, too.
I’ve held the belief that keeping my prices on the low side is important for keeping clients. This belief came from feeling I didn’t have the discretionary income to spend on massage. The truth is I still keep my prices lower but only in exchange for frequent visits. Although each individual session may cost less, overall spending might be quite high.
Early in my practice, I stumbled upon the power of the discounted package. They were easy to sell and kept clients coming in regularly. The problem was, I couldn’t get a handle on my cash flow getting paid sporadically in large chunks rather than daily. After almost three years of constantly being behind, I changed to a pay-as-you-go membership. I was worried about how my clients would react but knew I wouldn’t be able to stay in business if I didn’t try something different. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made! Now I’m making enough money to stop relying on trades and pay for the bodywork I need to take care of myself.
Belief #4: Lack of Action
Fear is a powerful motivator for keeping us stuck. We often don’t try another approach even when our plan isn’t working because we’re afraid of making a mistake. There are few things you can do that will destroy your business unless you don’t stop them soon enough. Heed the red flags early on because what we fear most is more likely to happen if we don’t switch gears than if we do.
Another common reason we don’t take action is a lack of knowledge. If you feel you need more business and marketing skills, learn them! There are so many resources available. Yes, some cost money. If you’ll make that money back (and more), then they are an investment. I’m a firm believer that any program will yield results if it is done consistently. Don’t get hung up on which one you should try. Find something that fits your budget and has the features and benefits you’re looking for. Then commit, make a plan to implement it and follow through.
After a year of writing the blog, I wasn’t getting the traction I wanted to get my message out there in a big enough way. I happened upon a coach on Twitter who helped me get focused. She turned me on to techniques and resources I either didn’t know about or wasn’t using for maximum impact. If you heard about me for the first time recently, it’s probably from something I learned from her. Now I have a direction and the fire is burning brighter than ever!
Belief #5: Impatience
There is a universal Law of Gestation that states that what we ask for takes time to manifest. If what we want is quite different than what we’ve settled for thus far, the time required to line things up will be longer. This means we must continue taking action for a while even if the results we intend don’t happen right away.
I’ve been guilty of deciding something doesn’t work after only one try. Now that I know about this universal law, I give new ideas three months of consistent action before I evaluate them. If nothing has changed by then, I give it up and try another angle. More often than not though, I see progress by then and keep going.
I tried a boosted post on Facebook once. It reached 10,000 people but no one booked from it, so I decided boosting on Facebook doesn’t work. What I’ve learned since then is that the audience you choose is vital to getting the response you want. Stay tuned for more in-depth success strategies for that. 🙂
We are often our own biggest obstacle to success. Developing an awareness of the beliefs that lead to our actions (or inactions) can be transformative if we’re willing to dig deep and step outside what’s comfortable for us. It’s ok to start small. As we gain clarity, we experience more abundance and become more willing to take chances. For me, that’s the most crucial element of having a practice that I love!
What business beliefs are holding you back? If you don’t see a comment box below, please click the Leave a comment/comments link to share. Thank you!
Did you know I have a series of Massage Mindset Minute videos on my YouTube channel? They’re packed with easy to use techniques that dismantle limiting beliefs that keep us stuck. I invite you to check them out!