Michael and Allissa share their annual 3 Words tradition to start off 2019 right.
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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’m Michael Reynolds.
Allissa Haines And I am Allissa Haines.
MR And we are your hosts here for your last episode of the year. Happy holidays to everybody. Happy holidays to you, Allissa.
AH Thank you, Michael. Happy holidays to you. Do you have festive New Year plans?
MR Not planned yet. I supposed we’d better get on that. Usually we just go to a friend’s house and the kids get together and play with their Christmas toys, and we watch, you know, TV until we get tired and go home. So pretty boring. How about you?
AH I go to bed early and don’t worry about anything.
MR Again, who have we become?
AH [laughs]. You know what —
MR I don’t mind who we’ve become. It’s kind of fun.
AH No, yeah, I have always done that. I’ve never been a New Year’s person. I do have very fond memories of being in high school and having New Year’s Eve parties and I’d rally to stay up late. And I remember at the — right at midnight, we’d always play REM’s It’s the End of the World as We Know It.
AH Yeah. I totally remember being like — I don’t know what we called it back — I guess we called it grunge back then. I was totally like —
MR I guess so.
AH I would be emo today if I was a teenager today. We’d all be in our Doc Martins and our flannel shirts, and we’d be, like, bouncing around doing a little bop in somebody’s basement to The End of the World as We Know It. And somebody would inevitably play, like, The Cure or something and it would be really —
MR Oh, The Cure.
MR One of the best bands of all time.
AH Okay. We’ll go with that.
MR No for real. I’m right. I’m so right.
MR Oh, I love The Cure. Yes.
AH I would not have placed you as this — learn something new about Michael every day, huh?
MR Well, here’s the thing. I had a super, like, angsty period when I was in college and a little bit beyond. I was like, oh, my gosh, so angsty. And The Cure was like my drug, my music drug, during that time because The Cure is nothing but angst. Yeah, it was just — I have fond memories of being angsty with The Cure.
AH Okay, here’s the thing everybody needs to know about. Several years ago when I met Michael, I don’t know if he mentioned it or told me about it or if I had to search and find it. But I found this super old, old website with a whole bunch of Michael’s poetry —
MR Oh, my gosh. Never speak of this.
AH — that he wrote in, like, high school. And I think I lost it. I remember downloading it or copying and pasting it into a document —
MR Thank you.
AH — but I’m pretty sure it was five computers ago and I lost it. But someday, someday I will find it.
MR I’m sure it’s out there somewhere on some server.
AH And then he will completely dissolve Massage Business Blueprint and not be my friend or business partner anymore —
MR Oh, my gosh.
AH — because I’m pretty sure it was — it is — I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s certainly worse than anything I ever wrote.
MR Oh, yeah.
AH And oh, just the most beautiful teenage angst, you guys. Michael’s got layers. He’s got a lot of layers.
MR It was dark and terrible. Well, more terrible than —
AH I think there were dragons. I think there were dragon on one of them.
MR Yeah, there were dragons and machines and darkness. Oh, yeah, it was — wow. I hadn’t even thought of that until you mentioned it. I hope that never sees the light of day ever again.
AH I remember at the time you were like oh, my God. You can’t send this to Ariana. [laughs] Don’t show my girlfriend.
MR Exactly. Exactly.
AH But you know what — I want — I want you to get more podcast reviews where people say that they really related to you, and I felt like — sharing that you were a poet in the late 80s/early 90s, perhaps, would resonate with a few of our listeners. So I’ll be quiet now. Michael, what are we talking about today?
MR Yeah, we’ll see where that goes. So today, one of my favorite episodes that we do every year. is our annual “three words” episodes where — we’ve been doing this for many years now inspired by Chris Brogan and his 3 Words exercise. So every year, we prepare for the new year by — instead of making new year’s resolutions, we choose three words that align with our goals, desires, perspective, energy, whatever you want to call it, going into the new year. So with that, we’re going to share those today. You want to go first or you want me to?
AH I’ll go first because I usually do and I’m ready.
MR Okay, go for it.
AH We like to review the last year. For 2018 — I don’t always do three words because that’s a lot of work for me, people. I, in the past, have done two words and so last year, I had prioritize and patience.
By prioritize, I really wanted to keep isolating the work that I do that brings in income and activities that give me joy and eliminating distractions. It’s really cute because I said I was going to get rid of my Hulu subscriptions, which by the way, I never did, but I did watch a lot less TV.
MR Of course not.
AH I know.
MR That would be madness.
AH I’m kind of proud of myself because I wanted to make more time for reading books, which I have absolutely done this year. I haven’t counted yet how many books I’ve read this year, but I have read many more books. I found out that with my Kindle — and I have the first generation of Kindle, which is literally just a text screen, which I love. I found out I could get free eBook library downloads from the library system — the Boston Public library because I live in Massachusetts even though I don’t live in Boston — and also from my local library. And so I have been reading a ton of free Kindle downloads without having to go to the library, which was a really big obstacle for me. So I’ve been reading a lot of books; I feel really good about that. I have dramatically reduced my Facebooking and social media-ing, though I’ve probably increased my Instagraming, but that gives me joy so I’m okay with that.
And then patience. I was really working on my patience with myself, my patience in my words and actions with the children that I spend time with. Even more so — when I wrote this last year this time, I didn’t know I was going to be moving in with Walt and the kids and since doing that, patience has needed to be more at the forefront, and I think I have succeeded in that in many ways and failed in many more.
This year, my words — I did choose three of them. My first one is work. I want to more clearly structure and stick to my work time and tasks. I have set some really big income goals for next year. I want to stay focused on them. I have set goals for client numbers. I want to stay focused on them and keep doing the things I need to bring more new clients in and keep my clients coming in more regularly. I want to have a tighter set of work hours that are less flexible so that I am not using flexible work hours as a way to distract myself. I have forgiven myself for getting off track this year. I had a lot of things happen outside of my massage practice that took my attention away, and I had a lot of things that took my attention away from doing lots of writing for here at The Blueprint. It was a glorious year of our first column in the ABMP’s Massage and Bodywork magazine, and it’s a wonderful column and I love doing it. And I have finally figured out how to better fit it into my work week so it doesn’t take up time that I was using for something else. I’m really focused on work this year and working more because I did not work enough this past year, and it might even be that I don’t even need to work more, I just need to work better. So work.
Next on — my second word is patience. Again, in my words and actions with the people I love and with myself. And that’s pretty clear cut.
And my third word is friendships. I have, in the past year or two, have failed to nurture my friendships and I’m starting to really feel that. I’m starting to feel really distant from the friendships that give me a sense of independence just from my romantic relationship and family life and also that give me a sense of fulfillment that I can actually maintain a friendship. So I am setting a loose goal of at least meeting with — once a month — with a friend for a coffee or a drink or a meal or a walk or something. I want to have at least one friend event per month. And I’m really excited about that.
So should we do halftime now, Michael, before you jump in?
MR Yeah, yeah. I love your words.
AH Thank you.
MR That’s fantastic. I think that’s really —
AH Do you see —
MR Yeah, go ahead.
AH So let’s discuss. Do you see any land mines or anything particularly good or bad here?
MR I really don’t. I mean, I see kind of the perfect set of words for you for this year. I really like it. I feel like there’s a lot of energy around these words for you.
AH I’m hoping so, man. Who’s our halftime sponsor?
MR Awesome. Well, once again, I will continue to show restraint instead of shouting it from the rooftops. I will give you a calm, informative, The Jojoba Company is our halftime sponsor.
MR Jojoba! Oh, I couldn’t resist. You pulled it out of me. Jojoba!
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AH Michael, your three words, sir.
MR All right, so again, I really like this exercise a lot because a lot of times people feel pressure to create New Year’s resolutions or set goals or have these big milestones or things to check off a list. And the originator of this exercise, Chris Brogan, kind of talks about why this doesn’t always work for some people because you don’t meet your goals and feel like a failure or beat yourself up and you stop going to the gym on February 5th or whatever. And it’s just, like, this whole system of goal-setting and resolutions is kind of broken. And so, instead, the three words are away to kind of point you in a direction and then help you go in that direction. I love it. It works a lot better for me and for a lot of people I know. So that’s kind of the background and why I love it.
So last year — I’m actually going to start with last year. Last year, I kind of beat myself up a little bit at the beginning of the year because I didn’t really — I pretty much failed in 2017. I feel like I just didn’t align with my words at all. Then in 2018, I picked the words simple, dreams, and family for my 2018 words. I’m actually happy to say I think I killed it. I think I crushed it with my three words in 2018. Not the whole year; but near the end, I think I made it happen.
So I wanted to simplify my life and my business life as well. And a big part of that is I actually sold my primary business last year. Actually a few weeks ago was the final, kind of, close date. And so by doing that, it was a process of simplifying my life in a certain way that really worked for me. The second word, dreams, was about instead of spending a lot of time wondering what other people thought or what I was supposed to do, focusing on my own dreams and what I really wanted internally. And that is part of that as well, you know, following new dreams. And then family is pretty obviously, you know, spending more time with my family and setting my life up in a way that supports my desire to be with my family more. And so, near the end, I think I really made that happen.
And so for 2019 — this is a little bit building on that — my 2019 words are family, grow, and select. I’m moving family over to 2019 again. I moved it to the front just to kind of state that a lot of what I’m doing centers on being able to spend more time and have more flexibility with family. Taking Eli out of day care a few times a month to just go have a play day and go to the children’s museum or the park or whatever and just feel like I can do that without worrying about “is something blowing up back at the office” or something, you know? That kind of stuff. I’m also including friends because I — when I say family, I mean, my friends — my close friends are a part of my family so I kind of consider that all-in-one as well.
And then for the second word, grow, for a while, I was kind of feeling like I’d plateaued in business, in my passion. I was kind of just coasting in a lot of ways and just kind of maintaining, and it didn’t really excite me. I’m now in a place where I — pretty much every business I’m involved in is either a start-up or a very young business with a lot of growth potential. And so I’m really excited that everything I’m working on now is in growth mode and that gives me energy. And so the word grow is really aligned with that idea.
Then finally, select. So select is my way of saying that I believe I have done a pretty decent job of setting up my business world and my life in general in a way that I’m able to start selecting and being more selective about what I do. For example, in these new businesses that are in growth mode, I think burning everything down and starting over with new ventures has given me perspective to say now I can — I know what mistakes not to make. Be more selective about the clients you take on, be more selective about the type of projects you do, being able to say no to things because they don’t bring you joy in your business and your life. Being able to be more selective and pickier, I think, is — a real key to happiness, I think, honestly, is being able to do that and having the will and the discipline to do that. So my third word, select, centers around that idea. What do you think?
AH I think that’s fantastic. I really like it.
AH And I think you did do a great job this year. You really — yeah, you really whittled stuff down and nailed it.
AH So my question to you is what do you do to actively remember these words and these goals on a daily basis? For me, I found this past year, writing them in my bullet journal. One, I wrote it down on a Post-It note and then I stuck it to the back of my little cubby at work that I open and close like ten times a day. But I also made it a point to write it at the header or at the footer — the header or the footer depending on the page — of the bullet journal in just about every week’s schedule, so as I’d go week to week, I would have to re-write it and that really helped me. So how do you access and remind yourself about what’s going down?
MR What’s funny is in 2017, I had them taped on my office wall so I saw them every day, and I kind of failed. In 2018, I didn’t have them anywhere, and I pretty much did a good job. So I don’t know. I have no system really. [laughs]. Apparently, I just sort of — I’m not sure if it happened by chance or what. But I have taped them on the wall in the past, but last year I did not. I think this year I will. I think this year I will probably put them on my mirror at home.
AH So yeah — I as going to say, where’s your working home-base now that you’re sans office?
MR Oh, I’m actually in the Spin Web office right now.
AH You are? [laughs] You’re using a room there?
MR Yeah, my old office. My team basically said, yeah, we figured you’d just be in here working on your other businesses whenever. I’m like, yeah, pretty much.
AH Rock on.
MR Although we are — I am going to probably get a new home office at some point if we move soon. So that’s going to be a nice thing. Then eventually, I’d like to open a new office for the new business I’m starting next year as well.
MR That’s down the road, though. For now, I’m just hanging out at Spin Web. Or Mojo Media Labs, actually. The new agency name.
AH [laughs] Nice.
MR I feel good about our words. I feel like we are on track.
AH I agree, and I feel really good about some stuff we’re planning for The Blueprint for 2019, which we’ll probably talk about in the next episode–
AH — beginning of January, people.
MR Well, if you don’t mind, I’m going to wrap up by sharing a couple new iTunes reviews we got.
AH Please do, they’re delightful.
MR Yeah, we really appreciate it. This is kind of our way of saying thank you, kind of, sharing these and saying thank you. We got two new reviews, both actually on December 14th. So pretty recently here. The first on is from — these are the user names they use on iTunes. This is from yourwellfirst. This person said, “I’m grateful to have found a podcast about the business of massage that is relevant and helpful in today’s world. Allissa and Michael are knowledgeable and personable and keep it fun. I appreciate that the episodes are brief and to the point. I feel motivated and empowered with their useful tips and their information for my small business. I can also say they will respond to your email questions” — which we do, thank you for saying that. “Thanks for the reply, Allissa. I am recommending to all my massage colleagues who want to grow and evolve as therapists and business owners.” Thank you, thank you, thank you.
AH Yeah, we totally do. We love your emails. We absolutely love them. And sometimes we can pop back a short answer quickly. And sometimes we say, this requires thought, is it okay if we turn it into a podcast episode? But we totally get back to you. Unless you’re the spammers trying to sell us something, then we don’t get back to you.
MR Yeah, we ignore those. But, yeah. Or Allissa gives them a snarky response, which is always fun to see.
AH I do. I get out my rage at spammers.
MR [laughs] The next one — the second one is the user name is WorkNotWork. This person said, “The podcast and membership groups” — this is actually one of our premium members — “the podcast and membership group have been really helpful and fun to listen to as I learn about the massage business arena. Newbie here. Lol. Friendly and accessible by real folks for real-life situations. Thank you.”
We appreciate that. That’s awesome. An thank you for being a premium member as well.
MR Those are awesome. We appreciate that.
AH I love new therapists. It’s really nice.
MR I know, right? Very cool.
AH Bring it home. Last episode of the year. End us.
MR Last episode of the year. Well, thank you, everybody, for helping us make 2018 great and for being a listener. We appreciate all your support, the reviews, and just being out there and being part of our community. We will wrap up there for now. As a reminder, our website is massagebusinessblueprint.com. As always, the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Send us a note, and we would love to hear from you. With that, have a great New Year’s celebration, whatever you’re doing, and we will see you next year. Have a great day. Thanks everybody.