May 10, 2019
After lots of feedback from readers and attendees at the World Massage Festival, Michael and Allissa discuss her latest article in ABMP’s Massage & Bodywork MagazineListen to "E223: Dealing with Impostor Syndrome as a Massage Therapist" on Spreaker.
After lots of feedback from readers and attendees at the World Massage Festival, Michael and Allissa discuss her latest article in ABMP’s Massage & Bodywork Magazine
Read the full article here.
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Michael Reynolds Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we discuss the business side of massage therapy. I am Michael Reynolds.
Allissa Haines And I’m Allissa Haines.
MR And we are coming at you live — not really live, but in person together one more time here, the last night we are at the World Massage Festival here in North Carolina. And we’re flying out tomorrow. So we thought we’d take advantage of our time in person to sit in front of our cool little Yeti microphone here — I love this microphone. It’s so cool. It’s NPR-ish.
AH It really looks like — it’s very NPR. It looks like one of those old-school microphones you’d see in a vintage photo.
MR I know. It should be hanging above us, though.
AH And that’s probably why Blue Yeti designed it this way to be like, let’s appeal to the hipster crowd.
MR (Laughter) We’re so hipster.
AH So I respect that deeply, deeply.
MR Right. So I wanted to do something a little bit timely, I guess, related to what we’re doing here at the event, and that is to talk about a very cool article that Allissa wrote for ABMP’s Massage and Bodywork magazine on imposter syndrome. It’s a really amazing article. You need to go read it. So before we jump into some of the highlights, I wanted to ask Allissa to kind of walk through a little bit and give you some highlights. Be sure you go read the article. If you go to ABMP’s website, even If you’re not a member, you can put in an email address and read it online for free.
AH And we’ll have links in the show notes to the —
MR Yeah, we’ll put things there.
AH — article to make it really easy for you to access. And we decided to do a podcast episode on this for a handful of reasons, but mostly because of the feedback that I have gotten from people since this published. And it’s only been out for like two weeks. And other than just the total excitement of me having an article in here in addition to our regular column, it’s kind of a return to talking and writing about the feelings of massage, of being a massage therapist, not necessarily strictly business related, although this does directly relate to how you run your business. But the things I have heard from therapists since they started reading this article — and I got a really sweet Facebook message from someone who — I don’t — I’m not sure how they read it because they’re not a practicing massage therapist, but it was — and she said — I’ll read a little bit of the message from her, and Nicole, said, “Thank you for the article. I’m a welder fabricator and the article really hit home for me and brought a wave of comfort.” And she’s dealt with imposter syndrome especially in — when comparing herself to men in her trade who have lots and lots of experience.
And so it was really cool to feel that this kind of transcends — and it really does transcend just the massage field. It’s people — and especially women, but all people — in lots of professions who feel like they haven’t earned the position that they’re in, who don’t have confidence and self-esteem about their abilities and their skill sets. And we had somebody else come up to us at the table today and who said — it was so great because she told a story that was so much like my own. Like I am just terrified of talking about massage in front of people, and I was just crippled by the idea of doing this presentation for a business networking group. And I know you’re listening, person who talked to me, and I wanted — I realized later I didn’t say, hats off to you for even joining a networking group when you’re so scared of this talking about massage. And talking to people about your work can be really scary, but you did it. You plowed through and you did it and you found a supportive community.
So part of why I felt — and this was Michael’s idea and why I really agreed that it was worth it to cover this a little bit more in the podcast and really encourage more and more people to read this article because it is universal. And I said to this woman today at the table, I was like, yeah, your story is my story. And when you feel — when you realize other people are struggling with the same thing and you feel less alone, it feels conquerable. This feels like a thing you can handle, and when — and it’s really helpful to be like, oh, oh, so I’m normal. I’m a normal business owner who has these feelings of inadequacy, or not earning this position, or like I’m fooling everyone and there’s some kind of — as Michael likes to say — sorcery going on as opposed to just really great skills.
So I’m not going to read my article to you. That’s ridiculous. But I kind of want to — so let me give you like a general rundown of how we’re kind of defining what imposter syndrome is. It’s the feeling that you don’t really belong in — that you have not properly earned your achievement and you don’t belong or haven’t earned your place or that you’re not smart enough or not experienced enough and that it’s just luck or happenstance that has brought you this success or brought you to where you are. It’s rooted in a lot of different things: low self-esteem, performance anxiety. It is what we’re finding so closing tied to anxiety, and there’s actually a whole imposter cycle that you can kind of trace. And I have to say I’ve traced this repeatedly looking back on experiences I’ve had in my massage practice and then also in the process of writing this article. And an overview — and again, you’re going to need to look at the article — they have a really great graphic for it.
An example would be like you start a project. So I start the project of preparing for this World Massage Festival that we’re going to be — that we have been at for two days. But prepare, like, what is our job going to be at this festival? ABMP is bringing us here; I want to do really great work for them. And I get really anxious and worried about it. Am I going to write effective posts for our social media takeover with them? And I going to do a good job of articulating business concepts when I talk to people at the vendor table? And I going to make an ass of myself — make that explicit note, Michael — am I —
MR Already did.
AH — and I going to make a jackass of myself when I talk to Leslie Young, high up at ABMP? Am I going to feel silly? Anxiety, self-doubt, worry?
So you can do one of two things. You can either overprepare for this task in front of you, or you can hide, ignore, procrastinate, and it’s possible to do a combination of the two, which is what I do. So then you accomplish this task. So we finished our two days of working with ABMP at the vendor booth and it’s over. And I feel good about it briefly. And people say, yeah, it was nice to talk to you. It was so great — you did a great job talking to people at the festival, and you feel good until you don’t, until you start blowing off that positive feedback and think, I just — it was just lucky. I didn’t do well at this festival because I have a skill set and I can talk to people. I did well because I was just lucky and we had great attendees, and ABMP runs a great booth, which they do. But like — and I had Michael with me to really help me through tricky questions. And you’ll make up all these excuses of how your doing well had nothing to do with your own skills and ability. And then you fall back into that, like, ugh, I feel like a fake and I shouldn’t be doing the work I’m doing, and it’s a really traceable cycle.
And hearing about this imposter syndrome, hearing that it had a name, hearing about it on a few different podcasts that I listen to, people that I respect, a mental health provider, was really helpful in recognizing that I’m not alone and seeing that this is a really normal thing, especially for lonely business owners. So I am going to give you a sneak peek on one or two of the solutions of how to handle this if you think you’ve got some tendencies toward this imposter syndrome.
But first we need to talk about our podcast sponsor. Who is our podcast sponsor?
MR I was waiting for you to ask. (Laughter). It’s one of our favorite companies, as you may know. It is jojoba.
MR I get to say it directly into the mic tonight. It’s very exciting.
AH I’m going to repeat some of the stuff you’ve heard about jojoba before. I love them because they’re noncomedogenic. It won’t clog pores. I love it because it won’t go rancid. You can keep it on your shelf for a very long time and it won’t get gross, it won’t go bad, it won’t stain your sheets. It’s nut free and nonallergenic, so you can use it on any client and every client. But I’ll say that right now, today, after spending lots of time with Brian, the president at The Jojoba Company, I love the company because of their commitment to integrity and quality and community and sustainability, and I am so delighted even more than I always have been to be affiliated with this company after spending time with them and feeling really confident that I can believe in them and their mission and their product.
MR And we got to see jojoba seeds.
AH We got to see jojoba seeds. And we got to make a little video with him, so check out our Facebook page. We have a great video where Brian talks about the quality of the product and how it’s made and what makes it different, which is really cool.
MR To get some.
AH That is how you can get some.
MR Go get some.
AH Sorry. I got distracted by talking about how much I love them —
MR That’s why I threw it in there.
AH — that I forgot —
MR I could tell you were just starry-eyed, so I just jumped in.
AH — if you use that link, you can get 10% off an order of $35 or more. massagebusinessblueprint.com/jojoba, J-O-J-O-B-A.
So let’s wrap this up. The second half is going to be a shorter half where — in the article in the magazine we give one, two, three, four, five — five tips to help you conquer this imposter syndrome stuff. And you don’t need a full diagnosis. You can be like, oh, yeah, I feel this way sometimes, and these tips will help you. I’m going to give you my favorite one, which is to avoid comparisons. We see weirdly — sometimes superficially, and sometimes a little too deeply — into other people’s lives because we’re hyperconnected with social media, with being able to text message so easily and send pictures and videos to each other. It becomes very easy to compare yourself to other people. So when I see that a colleague, a local colleague, has a really successful practice and they’re super booked, it can make me feel envious. And if I have holes in my schedule that day, it can make me feel less than. And so it’s easy to feel really dull and unsuccessful by comparison.
But it is really important to remind myself to not compare my inside life to someone else’s outside life. I cannot compare my reality to what — to the lacking-in-perspective view I have of someone else’s life according to how they curate what they post or curate what they tell me, necessarily. And it’s a really important thing to remember. There are days when I look great. From the outside my life looks pretty good, but I am probably not wearing clean pants. And there are days when my life looks like a crap show, but it’s never been a more beautifully choreographed ballet of insanity that is serving me quite well. So the way we compare ourselves to other people is of false, and it’s based on a lack of information.
It could be that someone looks like — and I’m going to totally put Michael on the spot and give an example. There was a long time knowing Michael where I was like, this guy knows all the answers. Like, he always has a really good and confident answer to any weird decision or problem or issue, which is a thing I really thought until the first time Michael called me and was like, I am — I need to run this business decision by somebody. And I was like, oh, well, crap, he doesn’t automatically have all the answers.
MR The secret’s out. (Laughter)
AH He’s just like me. It’s just he wasn’t as good at reaching out for help as early on. This is not true. Michael’s great at reaching out for help.
MR I’m getting better. I’m pretty bad at it normally, but I’ve gotten better at reaching out for help.
AH No. But Like —
MR You’ve helped me with that.
AH Yeah. And I think that it just took you a little longer to reach out to me than it did me to be like, Michael, my life is a shit show. Help me. So but it was a really affirming thing to have a friend say, okay, my life is a shit show today, and I don’t know what to do. So that’s really helpful.
Do not compare your inside life to what someone’s else’s life looks like from your perspective because I can guarantee you someone who’s got a really shiny spa who seems to be kicking it and having lots of clients and they just installed a sauna and oh, my gosh, they’ve got these really plush robes in their locker room, they’re probably in debt up to their eyeballs and won’t be taking a paycheck for a long time.
So that is the one bit of advice I want to share with you on the podcast. And if that is all you ever get from this conversation, it’s probably good. But go to the article and read more. We’ve got some really great nuggets. We sought out some advice from an actual mental health counselor who used to be a massage therapist, so it’s a really beautiful perspective. And thanks for listening to my schtick about impostor syndrome.
MR Thank you. I’m really glad you got to share some of that. And absolutely read the article. It’s — first of all, if you get the print magazine, it’s beautiful. It’s absolutely gorgeous. The design work by ABMP is phenomenal.
AH The editing — they have an editorial staff that really just sometimes turns my garbage into something really readable.
MR Yeah, it’s just awesome. (Laughter) It is absolutely not garbage. It’s good stuff and they made it even that much better. So I read it personally and it helped me a lot. And I work with Allissa almost every day. So awesome stuff. People came up and asked you for autographs, which was really exciting.
AH They did. I got a couple people. That was so bad for my ego.
AH But that’s okay because it will wear off.
MR That’s okay. We’ll keep you in check. That’s okay.
AH Yeah. I’ll be okay.
MR But you deserve it because you’ve helped a lot of people. And I know you kind of know this, but you’re probably still kind of just dealing with all the emotions around it. But you’ve helped a lot of people. ABMP has given you that feedback. We’ve seen it here at the conference. People walked up to you and told you how much they were helped by your words. People were very emotional about it. So you’ve done some really great work here.
AH I think so. And it’s also really mutual. The feedback and the thoughts and the questions that people bring us here at the festival, through our website, through emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, through the conversations with premium members, has really fed my soul — gosh, did I just say that? I hate myself.
AH I’m so tired. So tired.
MR I think it’s appropriate. We’re tired. It’s late. We’re here at the conference.
AH So yeah, all right. It fed my soul. Fine.
MR It’s Wednesday, by the way. We’re recording this before the Friday publish of this episode.
MR So by now, we’re hopefully back home and well rested. So if all goes well.
AH Yeah, thanks for listening to my schtick on imposter syndrome. And Michael, thank you for asking me to do it.
MR Absolutely. One more time. Go read the article. If you don’t have the print magazine, go to abmp.com, grab it there, pop in your email, and download it. It’s worth it. So go check that out if you haven’t already.
All right, well, with that, hey, thanks for joining us. Our website as always is massagebusinessblueprint.com. Check us out there. Leave us a review on iTunes if you get a moment. We’ve got — we actually were looking at some of our reviews this week and appreciate all of them. So if you take a —
AH I don’t appreciate the bad reviews.
AH Just to be clear.
MR We have a couple. We like to look at them for fun. We laugh about them every now and then. But thanks for the vast majority of you who have left us good reviews, and we appreciate that. Again, go check us out on the web. Look at our premium community if you want to look more into that. And we’d love to keep in touch, so email us at email@example.com if you have feedback for us or topics you’d like us to discuss. So thanks again for joining us today. We will see you next time.