I choked the other day. Not literally on food. I choked on my words. They were on the tip of my tongue, mostly formed. But they sounded so self-promoting that I couldn’t get them out. I had given a free Healing Touch session to the receptionist at the integrative health center where I have my practice. This receptionist doesn’t work for me, but she sits at the front desk three days a week, greeting everyone who comes through the door.
My intention in giving the free session wasn’t altruistic. My intention was that she understand what I offer so that if ever the topic came up in conversation with clients of the center, she could point to my business cards and with authority tell the person how fabulous my work is. That’s great marketing, building up your referral base. However, I’m not sure the receptionist was even aware of the partner-in-crime role I assigned her because I choked on my words. We parted ways after that session without me asking for referrals. Thankfully, I see her every week and was more proactive the next time I saw her. She enthusiastically agreed to let people know about the benefits of a Healing Touch session with me.
This marketing story had a happy ending. But what about all the other conversations in which I have choked and didn’t have the opportunity to rewind and replay? I know I’m not alone. In a women’s entrepreneur class I’m taking, all of us choked during role plays about discussing our fees and asking if our partner wanted to hire us. Why is this so hard? The information is straightforward: we charge X amount for a particular service and we have these specific times available. It should be so simple. Is it our taboo against discussing money? Is it a lack of confidence that our work is worth the price? Is it the fear that we won’t be taken seriously because we’re energy medicine practitioners? Role playing the conversation in my class was enormously helpful because it uncovered all those nasty doubts we harbor but never examine in the clear light of day.
I admire practitioners who come right out and say it. No shame, no hemming and hawing or apologies, just direct and clear. There is power in that, an assertion of worth that’s not pushy. That’s how I want to be, so I am pledging to tell the next person who asks about my business what my fees are in addition to all the benefits that come with energy medicine. And the next person, and the next person after that. No more choking, only shameless self-promotion.