One of the greatest myths the Complementary Health Industry continues to maintain, and even market, is that if you follow your passion, and train with them of course, then you can make a living out of your life purpose. So you train in natural medicine, health, healing or complimentary therapies, such as a homeopath, naturopath, as a personal trainer, massage therapist or counsellor etc with a plan to start a business and support yourself and maybe even your family too. As a complementary therapist and teacher since 1996, but also as a trained small business management teacher and mentor since 2005, my experience with clients and students from both industries has informed me – and so I freely inform those who are considering training in the field – is that our life purpose and our job are not the same thing, and I say to them: “The most that you can financially expect from your healing or health business is that you create a secondary source of income for yourself.”
We are much more than our job or career. In addition, our purpose in life is not defined by our capacity to earn a living from a job that we love. Finding our purpose in life is not the same as finding our ideal career. There are some individuals who have found their purpose in life, and there are others who make a living out of it. If finding our purpose is restricted and defined by the job that we do, and our ability to make money out of it, then the question should be rephrased:
“I am searching for my ideal job because I am not happy, satisfied or fulfilled in my current one.”
If I decide that I’m not happy with my job, then the logical thing to do would be to take action to change the situation. If changing careers is not possible immediately, then making a commitment to do that as soon as possible would be one solution. We have to be prepared to change. Our job may be just one of many areas in life where we need to find satisfaction and fulfilment.
Finding meaning and purpose in the work that we do, and being paid accordingly in that particular area of life does not equate to finding meaning and purpose in the whole of life. That is a different quest. It requires a different question and demands a very different answer. You can download more about that here for free.
The internet and new forms of media are helping to dispel the belief that all you have to do to make easy money is find your life purpose and then you can proceed to pimp it out. It’s “the build it and they will come” attitude. This was great movie made in 1989, but attitudes to achieving goals have evolved significantly since then. How many massage therapists, naturapaths, counsellors homeopaths and personal trainers does one village, town, city, state and country need? Do a local search for those words on the internet to find out how many are listed in your area.
We can’t deny that the celebrity gurus, those charismatic writers and motivational public speakers of the natural therapy and healing industry are making a fantastic living out of their passions and purpose. However, unless you are a celebrity guru, or you seriously plan to become one of them and you achieve that goal then, more often than not, a non-celebrity natural therapist or healer can expect to earn a secondary source of income from their natural therapy business. To be a celebrity guru, you will need at least one, if not two doctorates in your chosen and related fields to remain ahead of everyone else, plus you will also need a lot of money to lubricate the marketing machine if you are to reach a mass of followers and then maintain their interest, and your popular appeal, over the course of your entire working life. There will be some exceptions to the rule. I have noted in teaching students and mentoring clients that they exist due to lazer-like, single minded focus and determination, unending perseverance and unlimited willingness and motivation to risk EVERYTHING that is important to them to achieve their goals. The question is: “Are you prepared to do that for a job?” In most cases, and in our current financial climate, we can no longer afford to live under the illusion that our life purpose and our job are the same thing. They are not.
Aside from the harbingers of the IT industry, there are few who can say for certain that they are marketing experts in the midst of this current super-speed zone of technology. It’s moving so quickly and new ways of doing things are yet to be tried, tested and proven as effective.
The media industry is one example. Print media is undergoing a revolution. The traditional forms of publishing are in decline. Newspapers and books make way for online information in the form of online magazines, blogs, social media and eBooks. Marketing, advertising and promoting a business, and especially for a small business whose budgets are much tighter. Just a few of the reasons for that are a shift in attitudes towards personal debt and credit since the global financial crisis hit in 2008 and an increase in competition for purchasing goods and services online, and a lack of consumer interest in shopping in the local mall. Shopping and purchasing goods and service is not the same as it was even a few years ago. More and more ordinary people, with jobs or not, by choice or not, are becoming incredibly entrepreneurial, and so many more are working from home, or selling goods and services on the internet instead of in a shop or office. The market for consumers is more competitive than ever. As we constantly break new ground in this technological revolution, there are some things the celebrity marketing experts, natural therapy colleges and the like don’t mention about marketing the average small business. An analogy given to me by my husband and artist, designer and photograher, Benno Poeder, is a useful way to describe this scenario.
A fishing expert never reveals their most lucrative fishing sources. Where they catch the most, the best or the biggest fish is their best kept secret. They will share a fish or two with you, and perhaps teach you how to fish – somewhere else of course – if you’re keen, but they won’t take you fishing in their favourite spot. You have to question the logic of bothering to fish where the experts tell you to fish. Why? It’s already fished out. Why? They’ve obviously fished there and caught what they need, and so now they’re happy to tell you, along with everyone else, to fish there. Sounds like good luck, not good management.
Meanwhile the fishing expert is far away, in peace and solitude, quietly catching plenty of fish elsewhere.
Be wary when it comes to paying big money for fishing tips and training offered by the “experts”, especially now that we in uncharted waters.