Allison Rapp

To Get Clients, Get Rid of Your Backup Plan

Do you have a backup plan in case your hands-on practice doesn't make it? What if it's the reason you aren't making it?


Do you have a backup plan?

Mine was Bran Muffins 🙂

My mom was a big fan of bran muffins, and by the time I was in my late 20’s, I had taken a ho-hum recipe and morphed it into a kick-ass guaranteed, magic bullet for keeping my system running a peak performance. 🙂

When my kids were little and I was a much “younger” practitioner, moving from one place to another (each one with fewer people) I used to joke that if Feldenkrais® didn’t “work out” I’d support myself by baking bran muffins.

life-artThe truth is that up until the time I graduated from my training program, I did just anything I could find to support myself. My extensive list of odd jobs includes long-term substitute 3rd-grade teacher, nude artist’s model, photographer at a (very, very) non-profit company in Washington, DC, rat-poop surveyor in the alleys of Baltimore, MD, research assistant at Simon Fraser University, and Internationally-Certified Kinanthropometrist. (If you can say that the first time you read it, let me know!)

Then I graduated from the San Francisco Training…

Once Moshe turned me loose as a practitioner, however, I never did anything but Feldenkrais® work to support myself.

I discovered that making the commitment to help other people through the work we share infused my entire being with the desire to do it well. I didn’t want to waste my time on anything that gave me less satisfaction, so I did it in a way that left me no “back door,” no “backup plan,” no “exit strategy.”


Was it scary? You tell me!

At the time,

  • I didn’t feel any confidence in my ability to practice.
  • I didn’t understand what I was doing when I taught ATM.
  • FI? One of the great mysteries of the universe.
  • I didn’t know how to talk about what I did, so I went onand on about it until everyone I spoke with glazed over.
  • At any party, I remained the introvert I’ve been all my life. You’d find me trying to look interesting so that someone would talk to me because I was petrified to start a conversation – so you can imagine how difficult it was to build a practice!
  • I was in my 20’s and I had no experience of being self-employed and therefore, no idea of all the things I needed to do besides teach ATM and give FI lessons.
  • How to price my lessons? Didn’t have a clue!
  • What to do when clients don’t show up? Ummm… no idea.
  • Then there were the bills … because who doesn’t have any?

Yeah, I was afraid

In fact, in the vernacular of the day, I was scared s’!tless!

But my desire was overwhelming and I couldn’t stop my heart from wanting it. By following what I knew was right for me, I made a decision with no way out: I put all my eggs in my Feldenbasket, and without knowing what the outcome – or even the next step – would be, I stepped out of my comfort zone.

Looking back on it more than 35 years later, I can see that without a backup plan, I had to get clients. I didn’t leave myself a choice.

What’s your comfort zone like?

I’ll bet it’s a lot like my comfort zone… It’s where my fear resides, where I stay small and inconspicuous, and where things are pretty much predictable. More than that, it’s where I allow excuses to give me all the reason I need not to move toward my dreams.

Launching myself out of that zone opened up possibilities for creativity. It put me in the place where I had to act on my belief in myself, rather than on my knowledge about what going to happen next.

wonder-womanBecause I didn’t have an “out,” I also didn’t have any excuses, so I had to make changes in myself. I had to make myself available when people could come. I had to learn about problems my clients had that I knew nothing about. I immersed myself in advanced trainings, found a mentor and created my own opportunities to grow in our work.

Eventually, I even learned to build a client base!

I’m not a “young” practitioner anymore but I still don’t have an “out.” Along the way, I’ve discovered that clarity of intention is one of the most important things I need, in order to realize my dreams.

My boots are still on my feet, and … I have every intention of dying with ’em on!

Are you setting yourself up for success?

To get an idea of whether you’re helping yourself grow a practice or stopping yourself from getting what you say you want ask yourself:

  • What do you really want?
  • How do you keep yourself small?
  • What do you do, that looks like a good idea, but actually hampers your progress?
  • What can you do to make getting a practice inevitable?

Now–what’s the first action step you’re going to take, as a result of figuring these things out about yourself?


I write to make you think and give you action steps to build a great practice. If you want regular help delivered to your inbox, put your details below and submit the form. 🙂

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