In Part 2 of The ABMP Podcast with Benny Vaughn, Kristin and Darren speak with Benny about his role as a life coach, how his success is a product of how he thinks, and why using positive communication with his clients is the key to a successful therapeutic practice.
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0:01:03.6 Darren Buford: I'm Darren Buford.
0:01:03.7 Kristin Coverly: And I'm Kristin Coverly.
0:01:05.6 DB: And Welcome to the ABMP podcast, a podcast where we speak with the massage and bodywork profession. This is part two with Benny Vaughn. We're so excited to have this legend of the profession on. And we wanna dive right in.
0:01:18.6 KC: And listeners in Part one, we got a glimpse into Benny Vaughn's massage therapy story and journey, one of the things now, Benny, that you've really started doing and focusing on is life coaching and personal mentoring, so before we talk about your thoughts and all of the great advice you have to share with us, tell us a little bit about how that aspect of your journey, your story and your business came to be.
0:01:42.5 Benny Vaughn: Well, thank you. Thank you very much. So I've been doing massage for 46 years, and I continue to do massage, provide this great service for people. I have taught massage therapists, and I have spent a great deal of my career teaching technique, teaching therapeutic strategies. And then I began to realize what I really would love is to assist and support the success of massage therapists. Often I've heard massage therapists comment that there are too many massage therapists in this town, I can't get enough clients, or I'm not earning enough income, and I begin to wonder, well, why is this? Why is it that massage therapists who graduate from the exact same training program, take the exact same test, make the exact same score, read the exact same books, and massage therapist a, is highly successful earning the income that they want, and massage therapist b, is struggling, not earning the income they want, and eventually begins to consider leaving the profession after perhaps three years or less? And the answer was clear to me when I reflected on my journey, and that is, it's how you think, it's your mindset.
0:03:15.4 BV: So from the very beginning of massage therapy learning for me, I believed that I would be really, really good at this, and my massage teacher, mentor and coach, Mr. Bruce Simer saw that as well, and so supported me and guided me on, here are some things you could do that will help you, here are some ways that you can get more clients. And that was the difference between massage therapist a and massage therapist b. It was the mindset. And so I decided that that's the legacy that I want to add to what I can offer the profession that has been so wonderful and is so wonderful for me, and the help for other people, because if massage therapists are staying in the profession, then we have an opportunity to help more people in society. We have the ability to do things for the good of all. And so that's how I moved into that, because people would say like, "Wow, how are you so successful? How are you getting people to pay that amount for a massage or to come every week?" And so I looked into that, well, why are they doing that? And I thought, Wow, it's the way that I think, and it's the way that I speak with my clients. And this is what my mentor, my coach, my teacher, Bruce Simer taught me.
0:04:57.8 BV: So initially in the '70s, when I began in massage, there was this new age movement, the hippies, the flower children, all of this. That's my era, because I'm 70 now. And I can remember there was this movement about, oh, I'm not materialistic, and I'm thinking like, Yeah, but I don't wanna be in poverty either. [laughter] So for me, I'm thinking, well, I've got a different view on this, so I started approaching my massage therapy practice like a business of selling, and I didn't have an issue with selling. And to this day, I still hear massage saying well, I don't like selling it, well, you're doing it every day already, whether you know it or not, you're selling yourself, you're selling your ideas, you're already doing it, so why not have some direction and support to do it the very best you can, and I don't mean well, you've got to upsell this and do this and do that, all these different terms, but what you have to do is you have to sell your client on wellness, and part of wellness is massage therapy, regularly being touched.
0:06:20.3 BV: So I thought, well, I'm gonna get some formal training on this, so I did. So I went through the life mastery consulting program, through the Brave Thinking Institute and Mary Morrissey's group. I took Dale Carnegie's sales course. I did that back in 1976 when I was just beginning my massage career because my mentor said, "You should take this course and you should read this book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People." And then another colleague said, "Hey, you should read this book, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill." And that just kind of flew in the face of the non-materialistic movement. "Oh, that's just all about money is." Well, it's actually not, it's about the metaphysics of success, is what it's about. Other books that have influenced me besides Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is the Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles. These are books of metaphysics is what they are. When I look at them I'm going like, "Wait, this is like metaphysics here," Because many of these authors and there are many books out there that could be in your library of wisdom that I have read and one is the Lotus and the Buddhist where a physicist and a Buddhist monk share philosophies about what makes the universe move. And in the end, everyone agrees that we live in a thought universe.
0:07:52.6 BV: And Albert Einstein said there's only two things that exist that we know, energy and matter. And massage therapists work with both of those, which is what I think is fantastic about our profession. We work with the two things that Albert Einstein and others say, "These are the only two things that exist that we know, energy and matter." So when you're touching the skin, that's matter. Touching the skin. What that person feels from you when you're touching them is energy and we know that we can manipulate that. We can change the course of that energy by very fundamental techniques that must just be repeated over and over again. So I would have massage therapists come visit me and they would walk around my clinic and in some instances, with permission of the client, they would sit in the room and watch me work. And what they saw, they would just scratch their heads and go, "Well, that's just effleurage, that's just petrissage, that's just deep transverse friction." They were looking for something like magical and extreme and all, and I said, "What you are not seeing is what I'm thinking while I'm touching this person. What you're not seeing is how I'm feeling when I touch the person."
0:09:27.9 BV: And so there are times to this day when a client comes in, I do my intake, find out what matters to them and then I give them a massage while I'm just simply thinking of love, because what matters to them when I do my assessment, oh, it's not about the knee, it's not about the shoulder. Here's someone that simply needs to have the human experience of love and someone caring and someone listening. And massage therapists are the perfect profession to deliver that human experience to people and it helps them. And that's when I recognized that my success all along has been the way I think. [chuckle] But when you look at my initial massage therapy license that I was issued in 1974, '75, in the State of Florida, you're required to produce a passport-size photo that was placed on the state-issued license and it had a little caption there from the State Government and it says, "Not to be removed." That when that photo is glued on there, it is never to be removed. It was just like your passport photo like, "Don't be tampering with that."
0:11:04.2 BV: And so, I can remember on a summer day in Gainesville Florida, I put on the only suit that I owned which was wool and it was probably 97 degrees, and this was before fancy cell phones and cameras and all that, and I walked to a photography studio in 97 degree weather with this wool suit on to get my passport photo because I knew that this was permanent on my massage license and I wanted it to look successful because I felt successful. So I put on a coat and tie, had my little afro all shaped up nice, sprayed a little Afro Sheen on there. I was looking good because I said, "Man, I am gonna be successful at this." I hadn't done my first massage yet. [laughter] I mean as a professional because I didn't have the license yet.
0:12:08.0 KC: But your mindset was already there.
0:12:10.6 BV: And so when I look at that photo, that license sits behind my desk as a reminder that from the very outset. And by the way, in my graduating class, I was the only person that wore a coat and tie for their permanent photo that's going on your license forever. Because now, 46 years later, people look at that and they just go like, "Man wow, you're like professional." Well, yes I am. And when people see that you're professional and they hear you speak with professional intent and then they experience your touch, that experience is invaluable to them. So all you do then is you just tell them what their investment is. So I use the word investment when I talk about my professional fee scale. So when we talk about life coaching and what I do with massage therapy, one of the first things I begin with is speak the language of success to your clients, speak the language of success. So when someone says to you, "Well, how much does it cost to get a massage from you?" My response has always been, "Your investment in you will be... " At this stage for me, my single sessions are $275. It's $275, that's your investment.
0:13:36.1 BV: And there are other investment opportunities if you wish to work long-term with me, and here's what those are, and this will give you a different rate for your investment. So I use investment instead of cost, when they come, and after I do my initial assessment, I always say to the client, after the initial assessment, I say to them, "I can help you." Or I say to them, "I will help you." One or the other, I can help you. I will help you. Now, think about that for a moment. I don't know how I'm going to help them, but I believe that I will help them. And remember, massage therapists help people in many ways that we don't even see, okay, well, the knee is moving better, okay, we can see that, but we as massage therapists, help people even more by simply caring for them, by simply expressing love through your actions, and that is invaluable, and massage therapists are in the perfect position to deliver that, to deliver that human experience. That human experience of being with someone, a provider who cares about you, who is compassionate, who is knowledgeable in the science of the body, and using the words to express that energy becomes important.
0:15:12.6 BV: So I finish the intake and I say to them, "I can help you," and I suspend the need to know how I'm gonna help them until I get to the therapy suite, and then after I say, I can help you, and you just watch their face lit up because many times people who are coming to see us, massage therapists, have seen other providers in healthcare and wellness as well. And in some of those communities, it is acceptable to say to the client, to the guest, to the patient, there's nothing more I can do. I mean, just feel the energy of me just saying that right now, there's nothing more I can do. Compare it to this and what it sounds like to you when you listen to it, I can help you, I will help you. I mean, just feel, just the difference in the energy from those two. And so the word, words are medicine, the medicine of words is an important part of my success in results. And many times the massage therapists, including myself, I don't know how I will help the client, but what I do believe is that I will help them. And remember, you will help them in ways that you don't see, because touch is a powerful, powerful vehicle for the transference of energy, safety and respect.
0:16:50.8 DB: Let's take a short break to hear a word from our sponsors.
0:18:15.4 DB: Now, let's get back to the podcast.
0:18:18.1 BV: Look at how touch is used in so many religious traditions, look at how touch is used in so many cultural traditions of providing support, and now coming off of a pandemic where the phrase social distancing became normal, where not interacting with people and certainly not touching people, massage therapists are needed more than ever to help people reconnect with their human experience that they lost during the guidance from authorities on what to do during this pandemic. And massage therapists should be busier than ever right now, as the critical second responder for this pandemic. So those are some of the ways that I have... We live in a thought universe, Wallace Wattles said that in his book, The Science of Getting Rich, we live in a thought universe. And so how we think really dictates the energy of our actions, and actions create results. So every person that comes to see me for massage, I believe I can help them, and I suspend my need to know how and replace it with my commitment to helping them, and remember, you're gonna help them in ways that you may not know, and one of the ways that massage therapists help people, just listening to them and believe in them.
0:20:03.8 BV: Yeah, my neck really hurts. I listen to them, and I believe them, and some other models that they may have been exposed to, the scenario looks like this, well, x-rays were taken and MRI were taken. They were all negative. Negative compared to what? My neck still hurts, negative compared to what? And so when people said to me, "Benny, do you want me to bring my MRIs or my x-rays?" I said, "I am not a doctor. I don't read x-rays or MRIs." I said, "But I can read words. So if you wanna bring the Radiological report or the post-op report, I would love to read that. So that I know what was done." But when people are told that what you're experiencing is all in your head, it just discounts the human experience. So what if it is, isn't everything all in our head? And so I believe that the success of massage therapist is driven by the way you think, the words you use to express the way you think and you share that with your clients. So some of the things that I talk about when I talk about transformational language, is that I tell massage therapists shift from saying, "I need something."
0:21:29.2 BV: So for example, "I need to make some money, I need to make some money. I'm not making any money doing massage." Okay, shift from I need to I would love to earn $10,000 a month. You have to be very specific to generate that state of attraction. I would love to earn $10,000 a month providing massage services for people. You know, say it out loud. So shift from that I need. And many times if I am talking to a massage therapist who will say, "Well, I need to do this." I say, "No. You should just say, I am required to do this." I go from need to require, because that means that all the possibilities are out there. When you say, "I need," it implies that you are without, and so I just say, just shift to "I require." So when I say to a client about exercises or some home care suggestion that the massage therapy can make, I don't ever say to my clients, "I need you to go home and I need you to do this every day." Uh-huh. I say, "Here's what's required to move you away from pain, here's what's required." And so we're in a great position to say that. I don't say to my client, "Ah, No problem, no worries." I just simply reply with my pleasure.
0:23:07.2 BV: Here's one example, a client sends me a text message, "Benny, I'm running late, I'm gonna be 15 minutes late for my appointment with you. So sorry." And I don't text back, "Ah, No problem, no worries." I just text back, "See you when you arrive, my pleasure." So that I keep the vibrational frequency in a positive way, and that's part of your massage therapy session, your interaction with them, and that's what I do, and I know that's why I'm successful. I know that's why my appointment book stays fully booked because I'm doing effleurage, I'm doing petrissage, I am doing deep... I am not doing any kind of fancy convoluted, whatever. And in our profession, we're pretty good at renaming something. So if I take my thumb and I apply moderate pressure at the lateral epicondyle of your right elbow, our profession has six names for that. [laughter] Okay, all I'm doing is applying pressure with the pad of my thumb at the lateral epicondyle elbow. And guess what? You're bias physiology, that's all I know is too. We're feeling pressure at the lateral epicondyle. They don't say, "Oh, I'm feeling this practitioner, well, I'm feeling of that technique, it don't even know nothing about that. It knows nothing about that.
0:24:49.2 BV: So for us, embrace the simplicity of the power of touch and be good at that, and the way you get good at it is, you express it through repetition and you express it through the words you use to describe to your clients, what it is you do.
0:25:13.6 DB: I wanna thank our guest today, Benny Vaughn for joining us. This has been a profound, profound two part series podcast with Benny. For more information about Benny, go to bennyvaughnlifecoach.com. Thanks, Benny and thanks Kristin.
0:25:27.7 KC: Benny, I would love to thank you for joining us for your incredible conversation in today's life coaching session, truly incredible. Thank you for everything you do and for sharing your time, energy and experience and wisdom with us today.