Why Holistic Practitioners Need to Identify Their Ideal Clients
Holistic Practitioners often believe that they’re supposed to work with everyone who comes along. After all, our work trains us to help everyone, and we know that everyone needs help. So doesn’t that mean we’re supposed to help everyone? Well, no, not really.
If our work is a ‘communication between two nervous systems,’ then it really is a two-way street. With messages flowing in both directions, it’s really important to your wellbeing as a practitioner that the messages you get from your clients make you feel good about yourself.
At the end of a day of working with clients who ‘give you juice,’ you feel great! You are enerigized and high on the exchange you’ve had with your clients. The word “fullfilled” comes to mind…
On the other hand, if you haven’t received messages that help you realize your value to your clients, boost your self-esteem and your confidence, and make you realize anew why you’re doing what you’re doing — then at the end of the day, you’ll feel drained and wonder why you’re bothering.
You are not alone!
If you think you would be the only Holistic Practitioner on the planet not working with everyone who came — think again! I always look for a good fit with my clients. I teach practitioners how to do exactly that in their own practices.
Even Moshe Feldenkrais ‘fired’ clients who didn’t give him any indication that they were feeling better from the work they did together. I remember hearing him tell a story once in which he let a client go, because the man didn’t feel any difference, and never told Dr. Feldenkrais that he was improving — though it was obvious to Moshe that the man was getting better.
Later, the man called to complain about how much difficulty he was in because he was no longer having sessions. Dr. Feldenkrais’s response shows how important working with your Ideal Clients is — “You wouldn’t give me the satisfaction of letting me know I was helping you!”
Your Ideal Client is … probably someone like you!
If you work with people who leave you feeling drained, chances are, those people are very different from you! I say this, because we tend to like and get along with people who are more like us than they are different from us.
There are many factors involved in identifying your Ideal Clients, and one of the easiest ways to begin looking at them is to ask yourself, “What characteristics do my favorite clients share?”
It may seem odd to think about it, but you may discover that your Ideal Clients have more in common than their appointments with you! They may shop at the same grocery store, dress similarly, have kids the same age or share a philosophical view of the world. They may read the same magazines, laugh at the same movies, have similar views on technology or drive cars that are more alike than different.
In addition, I would guess that the people you like working with the most don’t cancel their appointments at the last minute, or simply fail to show up with no explanation. If they do cancel at the last minute or forget to come, I’ll bet they offer to pay you for your time, even if they didn’t get their session! I bet they tell you what they get from their time with you, talk to their friends about you, pay you on time, and don’t complain about your fees.
And then? I would wager that your hands-down favorite clients are the people who see more in your work than what appears on the surface, are working with you for the long-term benefits, not the quick fix. They take your suggestions and thrive under your care. Every time they see you, they grow a little more, and they know and acknowledge it openly to you.
How am I doing? I’m not a mind-reader — but I’ve talked with a LOT of practitioners, and I’ve discovered that an awful lot of us are looking for clients who share these traits. We know the value of our work, and we want clients to recognize it, and respect us for how we help them.
And by the way, how are you doing, in attracting the Ideal Clients who make your practice a joyful place to work? How many people are you seeing who are really the ones you want to spend your time with? If the answer is unsatisfying to you, begin thinking now about how you will shift that in the new year, so that your practice not only sustains you, but feeds you in every way!