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Massage Today
June, 2007, Vol. 07, Issue 06

The Power of a Minute

By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB

There's no doubt about it; our lives are busier then ever. While juggling careers, relationships, families and everything in between, we sometimes convince ourselves there is not another minute to squeeze in anything else.

I know I often feel that way. But is it really true? Is life so busy that we haven't even a single minute to devote to marketing our practice, learning a new skill or simply doing something good for ourselves?

Have you ever closed your eyes and tried to guess how long a minute is? I typically guess short - sometimes as short as 30 seconds. Take a minute and try this exercise. How did you do? Were you surprised with how long a minute really lasts? In all my years of running a busy massage clinic, seeing patients and building my business; I have become a master at multitasking. But even more than that, I have learned that every minute counts. In fact, it's amazing how much we really can accomplish in just one minute and that little one-minute actions can, over time, make a big difference in our personal and professional lives. The following tips offer some simple one-minute strategies that can be applied to building your practice, as well as other aspects of your life. I use these same strategies frequently and know firsthand they really work.

Our successes or failures in life often are the result of the one-minute actions we do or do not take. Have you ever been faced with a project that seemed so daunting you didn't know where to begin? Sometimes a task can feel so overwhelming it often seems easier to do nothing at all. I know from experience that breaking down a big task such as building a practice into simple one-minute actions not only helps me put things into perspective, but also motivates me to complete additional projects. In fact, I often wonder why I didn't follow those one-minute actions sooner.

Take One Minute

Your first one-minute action is to take one minute to slow down and organize your thoughts. Think about what you want to accomplish in your personal and professional life and empty your head of your thoughts or ideas. Get them down on paper. Once you purge your brain, you are free to focus on one task at a time. You don't have to stress that you will forget or "lose" the idea, because you've got it down on paper. Additionally, writing down your thoughts and ideas actually maximizes your time because you won't keep wasting your precious minutes "looping" the same ideas around and around in your head. Taking a minute to slow down and get organized can help speed things along.


IT ONLY TAKES ONE MINUTE EVERY DAY to focus your attention and set a course of action that will help you accomplish a goal or complete a task.


Have you ever thrown a stone into the middle of a motionless pond? The impact creates ripples that spread out to the farthest edges of the pond. The more stones you throw into the pond, the more ripples you will create. I like to create ripples because they create motion and movement, which is necessary if I am to move forward.

I often reference Newton's Laws of Motion to respond to various personal and professional challenges, particularly when it comes to running my massage practice. The first law states, "Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it."1 Is there an area of your practice that is motionless, like a still pond? Then you need to stir it up and create some ripples. Newton's third law of motion states, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."2 This third law relates to cause and effect. And in this case, the stone is the cause and the ripples are the effect. Think of the stone as your one-minute daily actions that, over time, will create a lot of ripples. Those minutes will add up to hours, which will add up to days, which will then add up to weeks of focus and deliberate action toward achieving specific outcomes. Time will pass, whether you choose to take action or not. Realizing the power of one minute can be a strong motivator.

Whether you are just starting out in your massage career or you are a seasoned veteran, below are several one-minute strategies that can help create the motion that will continue to move you forward.

Five One-Minute Strategies

Therapists with a clinical/medical practice would do well to develop relationships with health care professionals, such as medical doctors specializing in family practice, pain management (chiropractors) and sports medicine (physical therapists). Developing a referral network between health care professionals is an ideal way to build a solid referral base.

Take one minute to do the following:

  1. Visit www.massagetoday.com for hundreds of articles and a host of other resources designed with your success in mind.
  2. Make a list of target doctors and other health care providers to whom you could market your services.
  3. Write a one-minute speech describing your background and experience, your services, and the types of patients you would like referred to you.
  4. Take another minute to prac-tice your delivery in front of
    a mirror.
  5. Take one minute each day to schedule a one-minute, in-person meeting with a provider from your list until you have met your objectives. A one-minute meeting allows you to introduce yourself, deliver your presentation and leave materials, while not being overly demanding on another person's time.

Five One-Minute Marketing Tips

There are several one-minute tips that self-employed, mobile and contract massage therapists can use to build business, as well. Even if your efforts land you one or two regular outcalls each week, those could substantially supplement your income.

Take one minute to:

  1. Make a list of health food stores, gyms, yoga centers or other venues where you can post business cards, brochures and fliers. Target one to two locations each week and take one minute at each location to post and/or distribute your materials, until you have hit each one. Repeat the process as necessary.
  2. Trade business cards with other professionals. For example, at the end of your next hair appointment, take one minute to ask your stylist to display your cards at his/her station in exchange for your client referrals.
  3. Determine where you might volunteer to give free chair massage once a month, which will enable you to educate the public about the benefits of massage, while marketing your services. Take another minute to check the laws in your area regarding practicing in a public venue.
  4. Send an e-mail to a local Rotary or Kiwanis club to inquire about speaking on the benefits of massage at their next meeting.
  5. Write a thank-you note to a new client and the referral source.

Five One-Minute Strategies for Getting the Job

Working at a spa or massage clinic is a great way to have a steady flow of clients without doing as much marketing on your own. However, there is some work and preparation that goes into landing a job. I own a massage clinic and when I hire therapists, there are very specific things that I look for. But I also remember being on the other side of the interview table and know how intimidating the interview process can be. This is why taking a minute to prepare is essential to making a good impression.

  1. Take one minute each day leading up to the job interview to research the company or clinic where you will be interviewing. The interviewer will be impressed if you go in knowing the background of the establishment.
  2. Prepare copies of your license and/or certification, proof of liability insurance and any permits or other documents required in your area.
  3. Write down and memorize your answers to any potential questions (e.g., Why do you want to work here?), and practice your delivery in front of the mirror.
  4. Research the types of treatment offered at the location and if you will need supplemental training.
  5. Dress for success! Dress professionally for all job interviews. When in doubt, err on the conservative side.

Five One-Minute Income-Building Strategies

Want to earn a few extra dollars in one minute? According to my intake forms, a lot of people are using pain-relieving gels and exercise equipment at home. Why should Wal-Mart make money, when you can just as easily make these items available to your patients? I sell some of the educational tools and products that I use in the treatment room.

Take one minute to:

  1. Order samples of a pain-relieving gel product. Some companies will send sample packets, along with their informational brochure printed with your name and business phone number - all for free.
  2. Teach patients how to stretch using a resistance band or exercise ball you sell in your store.
  3. Educate your patients using visual aids and other tools, such as posture-alignment charts or trigger-point charts. Educating your clients will not only benefit them; they also will appreciate your knowledge and put their trust in you. I like to take a digital picture of my patients standing in front of a postural-alignment chart. A picture is worth a thousand words and that information can be used to book future appointments.
  4. Walk through your office as though you were a new patient to evaluate its aesthetics. Are upgrades or changes necessary? Does the clinic need a good cleaning? The atmosphere of your clinic can influence whether a client will return.
  5. Take a minute to call your clients a day ahead to remind them of their scheduled appointment. This also will cut back on no-shows. Make an effort to reschedule your cancellations.

Five One-Minute Self-Care Strategies

Part of managing our practices and our lives involves taking a minute to care for ourselves. In fact, self-care probably is the most important thing you can do to sustain longevity and prevent burnout. It also is important that we walk our talk, and self-care is a key component of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Massage therapists instruct their clients daily on the benefits of self-care, but it is equally important for massage therapists to follow their own advice! Practicing self-care helps us manage stress and stay grounded so we can be fully present for our clients.

Take one minute to:

  1. Stretch immediately before and after each client. I use a resistance band to help stretch my overused flexor muscles and strengthen my extensor muscles.
  2. Step outside in the fresh air a few times a day to feel the breeze and take in the sunshine.
  3. Walk around the block between clients, which gets you outdoors and also gets you some exercise.
  4. Prioritize your to-do lists and take a minute to reflect on your goals and outcomes to determine if they need readjusting.
  5. Close your eyes. Smile and remind yourself of all the good things in your life.

Just One More Minute

Multitasking has become almost second nature for most of us, and now you can learn even more about building your career while performing daily tasks such as driving, exercising, surfing the Web or cleaning a treatment room. Many of the top leaders in our profession have taken a few minutes to share with me some of the things they have done to succeed and be "at the top of their game." Every interview is inspiring and stimulating, and will help ignite your ideas and enable you to tap into your resources to fulfill your dreams. Take one minute to download these interviews for free at www.kenthealth.com. There is a saying, "You are going to miss 100 percent of the shots you never take." So go ahead, take one minute and throw the ball at the hoop, because some of the balls will go in and count. And often, the game is won in the final seconds.

Lastly, take one minute to cut out this article and post it in a place where you will see it every day. Read the one-minute strategies (add your own, if you like). And remember that every minute counts and presents an opportunity to learn something new.

References

  1. Newton's Three Laws of Motion. Available at http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr161/lect/history/newton3laws.html.
  2. Ibid, online.

Click here for more information about David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.

 

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