I listen to a LOT of audiobooks!
At the moment, I’m listening to ‘How to Be Better at Almost Everything’ – by Pat Flynn. Pat is a best-selling author, fitness expert, entrepreneur, and a professional business coach. This audiobook was published in January 2019.
I've been following Pat Flynn for a few years now. He is funny, relevant, and a marketer extraordinaire!
Pat's podcast, https://www.smartpassiveincome.com/listen is great company while I drive in between client appointments in Toronto.
The message of this book (so far!) hit home for me today - and is pretty relevant for movement therapists too! Pat argues that being a ‘generalist’ is a good thing!
All we've been hearing about lately on the socials is that we need to have an ideal client, a narrow niche for our business, and marketing that speaks to very particular audiences in order to find our ‘people’.
What if movement therapists are generalists in a very good way? ... (stay with me here) ...
What if movement therapists know a little about a LOT of things - office and industrial ergonomics, biomechanics, respiratory physiology, yoga asanas, strength training, cardiovascular conditioning, functional anatomy, orthopaedic assessment, exercise program design, taping techniques, manual fascial release therapy ... you get the idea!
If we stack all this knowledge about all these different things together - and THEN focus on one chosen area -
If we integrate all of our skills rather than isolate our talents to one area -
We can then focus all of our energy on isolating the special skills that we need – but the ones that are weak will be our priority. We can find the skills that need work, that we need to practice, and that are the most painful for us to revisit, train them up, and then reintegrate them back into our professional portfolio of amazingness!
Get general knowledge about the fundamental skills that you'll need to succeed (college then university, university then college, continuing education, certifications, etc.), and then pull out the areas that you know you need to work on. Now drill down and practice in these areas carefully. Next, integrate your new skills back in to your general knowledge base and move on to the next weak area.
If we can pull out the areas that scare us, where we lack confidence, where we’ve blown by finding a solid clinical finding – these are the areas that need our attention. To isolate our trouble spots is key! Isolation is informed by integration and vice versa – the integration of skills will then tell us what to isolate ... and we'll soon see the areas where we're weak - ideally before our clients tell us!
To get really good at your chosen skills consider practicing in areas of weakness under increasing amounts of pressure. For example, perform under the restrictions of a timed test, under supervision by a senior practitioner, or with a client referred by a top referral source ...
This means that isolation/integration/specialization - is a great path to becoming a movement pro with a focus. We don't want to isolate without integrating, and we don't want to specialize without first isolating and practicing our weak skills.
Pat's advice? Get really good at 80% of your chosen skill area - the other 20% doesn't matter - it will come with experience and time. Don't waste your time learning to 100% - start making money NOW on that 80%!
Then break down that 80% and find your underbelly, your weak spots, your ‘oh man!’ head slapping ‘I can’t believe I missed this!’. THAT’S where you’ll need to isolate and practice up.
Strategic overreach - the idea that challenging ourselves occasionally to the place of absolute failure - is good, to a point. It keeps us humble, encourages us to get back to learning, and quells the voice of our protective, well-meaning ego.
We need to have some efficiency in a skill area in order to improve upon it. We need to stop avoiding the things we aren’t good at – and dive in – repeat and repeat some more until our skill levels improve.
For example, when I teach a yoga class, you can be sure that I will avoid EVERY SINGLE pose and Vinyasa that doesn’t feel good, those that are awkward, and the ones where my personal skill is poor. I can teach ‘em – but I certainly can’t do ‘em!
But this is EXACTLY where my focus should be! I’m now challenging myself to build a yoga class with ALL of my weak spots exposed. No, it’s not particularly enjoyable – but I do laugh at myself – and I try to get better with every chance to teach to my own weaknesses.
Want to really improve? Teach to YOUR weaknesses – and watch your talent level change in a hurry! Spend time to drill down and find where you need the most help. And I’ll see you in a course in the future I’m sure. Because I’m doing the same thing.
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