On Competition, and How I Just Don’t Give a Shit

I spent the first part of my weekend in a very bad mood.

My upset stemmed greatly from a problem I keep encountering in owning a small business: Others have a sort of possessiveness in which they want to project themselves into the running of my business. While I won’t go into the details of the first half of my frustration, as it’s something I am still trying to work out, I must bring up the latter half of my issue.

While it has been a present topic my entire career, it has been of late a very constant pressure:

 

The False Conception of Competition in My Field

 

The thing is, I don’t give a damn about competition. I was never good at sports and I barely passed the debate section of my high school English class. And when it comes to people who help other people, I just don’t see how there can be too many. There will never be too many authors. There will never be too many massage therapists.

 

I work in a very small town and have always been very disappointed in the limited presence of other MTs there. I came most recently from a large city where I worked in a clinic which employed around 40 therapists, and was located down the street from about fifty other clinics, spas, and other healing arts centers. Overall, I still had plenty of work. There is always a need for other members of my profession. Even in a seemingly minuscule town in rural Pennsylvania, three MTs is never enough.

 

I can’t seem to find an origin for the following. I found it on Pinterest, and a google search has done nothing to turn up its origin. I hope I can attribute it to someone, as the concept has a huge impact on everything I do at work and in life, and I think it’s really important to mention here:

 

“I’m not interested in competing with anyone. I hope we all make it.”

 

The truth is, that I actually get a little upset when people inform me that I have competition in my field.  Not because I think that I do, but because other people don’t understand.  This is not something that needs to exist in healing.

I don’t have competitors. I have colleagues. That’s what we are and that’s what we should be and that’s how I wish people viewed us all!

I might not be the perfect match for a client, and that’s ok. But without other options for a therapist in town, that person will probably go without the care they need, and that’s not fair. And to pretend that someone else doesn’t exist because it means less clients for me? That’s wrong beyond all wrongness.

On top of that, hey, you know what? I like getting massages, too. I can’t give myself a deep tissue massage. It’s IMPOSSIBLE. I need other therapists in town, for my own sake.

 

I am very well trained in my area. But there are so many other modalities and styles of massage and bodywork that I am not trained in, not skilled at, or don’t want to do. When a client comes in with a particular need, I will not lie to them and say I know how to ‘fix’ them or their problem. I can’t do that to the client nor to my profession. It’s dishonest and unfair. I must have other resources – other therapists to whom I can refer my clients when there is nothing more I can do for them. This goes as well for when I can’t work. If I’m out of town, sick, fully booked. I need a list of therapists whose names and numbers I can give to my clients and potential clients. If another therapist comes to the shop where I rent my studio space I want them to be able to leave a stack of cards so that others might find them when they are in need! I’m not afraid of competition! Because I do not believe that is what we have between us.

My only competition is myself.

 

I do not own my clients. No one can steal what I do not own. It’s unfair to the clients and the other therapists to accuse them of somehow stealing my livelihood. I won’t ever do this.

 

In conclusion:

 

Please give your support to all members of the wellness community! The greatest concern we should all have is that each client, potential client, and former client is getting the care they need!

 

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