Allison Rapp

You’re a genius!

Your clients don't have your knowledge and they don't think the way you do about the problems they've got. That's why you can help them no matter what level of experience you have.

Subject: You’re a genius!

That’s how I titled the email I wrote to my eye doctor today because I was completely bowled over by what he did for me!

I’m writing about it because something like this might be happening in your practice and you should definitely know about it!

Here’s what happened: I’ve been having some trouble with seeing clearly at the computer in certain circumstances. Because we’re in the middle of a bigger set of changes, my eye doc and I agreed that it wouldn’t make sense to change the lenses in my prescription glasses –because they’ll need to be changed again soon anyway.

I’ve got a bunch of those drug store reading glasses, and while they sort-of help a little, using them felt really weird to me in a way I couldn’t quite explain. Wearing them wasn’t good and not wearing them was worse. The doc figured out that my left eye — the one I read with — actually sees the monitor really well all by itself, and putting the glasses on make it impossible to read. Meanwhile, my right eye — the one I use for distance vision — is helped by the glasses and can’t really see the monitor clearly without them. His explanation was that using the glasses felt weird because they made my ‘reading eye’ stop working and my ‘distance eye’ had to do the close work all by itself.

His solution? Pop the left lens out of a pair of readers, so both eyes get what they need to work together! Simple, inexpensive, took 4 seconds for me to do it, and it works!

He’s amazed that I think he’s a genius.

From his standpoint… all he did was make one of the most basic applications from Optometry 101 class that anyone could imagine.

The thing is, he makes the same mistake pretty much everyone on the planet makes:

He takes for granted what he knows and how he thinks. If he thinks about it at all, he decides that anybody would come up with the same solution.

Here’s where that goes wrong.

I don’t have his education, his way of processing or his experience. I couldn’t come up with that solution without him because I don’t know what he knows or think the way he does

And w what he knows and how he thinks has just changed my life because it solved a huge problem that I hadn’t been able to solve on my own.

It’s the same for our clients most of the time!

Holistic practitioners tend to experience terrible angst imagining that they don’t know enough to help their clients.

I’ve had practitioners tell me that they think they should send everyone who comes to them to someone with more experience.

This is a wasteful disregard of potential, if you ask me! The way I look at it is that if the more experienced practitioner were the best fit for the client, that client probably would have found the other practitioner first!

Does this mean you should never refer a client to someone else? No.

It can always happen that you realize a client needs someone else — and this could be for a variety of reasons. Maybe someone was referred to you and you feel that you really can’t help. But you could also have all the experience you need, and no room in your schedule. Or maybe the person lives very far away and a closer practitioner would be a better choice. Or maybe you just don’t like working with kids. Or the elderly.

However, if you’re clear about the clients you want to attract, then at any given level of experience, it’s likely that most of the people who get in touch with you are going to be able to benefit from the level of skill you have at that time.

This means that one of the biggest things most practitioners have to come to grips with is the discomfort that can arise when you know there’s a lot more you could know and the situation requires that you go ahead with what you know now. 

Making a start without having all the knowledge possible is scary for a lot of practitioners. To deal with that, try reminding yourself frequently that

  • your catalog of knowledge is growing constantly.
  • your clients can’t get your help unless you’re working with them.
  • no one else can give the gift that’s yours alone to give.
  • people you could be helping are suffering while you’re in angst over letting them know you could help!

Over time, as your skill grows, you’ll find that the people coming to you have more difficult problems than your clients used to have! That means you’ll always be challenged to continue expanding your knowledge base and growing your self-confidence. And of course — it means you’ll never be bored!

And don’t be surprised if your clients think you’re a genius… it’s a natural expression of awe when you help someone solve a problem of any size that felt insoluble because they didn’t know how to think about it!

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Photo credit: This graphic is mine. You may use it, if you direct people to this page in your credits 🙂

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