5 Steps to Overcoming Barriers

By Kristin Coverly
[Business Side]

Let’s start with an on-the-spot BizQuiz: off the top of your head, quickly jot down at least five things you’ve been meaning to do to enhance your practice or career but have been putting off. No pre-filtering, just write them all down.
Why do we have a list like this? Why don’t we immediately take action on our amazing ideas? We often create our own psychological barriers to success. We self-sabotage and let fear keep us from making progress and trying new things. Not anymore!    
I’ve created a five-step analysis tool to help you karate chop those barriers—or gently move them aside, depending on your mood—and move forward. It will help you get to the root of what’s holding you back and clear the way to make an educated decision about whether to move forward with the idea.

The Barrier Analysis Form

Use this process for every idea you feel stuck on or have procrastinated or put off until the mythical “right time.” You know what I’m talking about: things like raising your rates, applying for a clinic manager position, networking, providing massage at a local event, changing offices, etc.
For this example, we’ll use implementing online scheduling as our possible new strategy.
1. Name It!
Identify the barrier—or barriers—you think are holding you back from taking action. Common ones include fear of uncertainty, fear of failure, fear of success, lack of knowledge or skill, and lack of resources like time and money.
I fear I will have a lack of control over my schedule. I fear the technology will be too complicated and that I lack the right skills.
2. What If?
Make two lists of what could happen if you took action on your idea: one of all the possible positive outcomes and the other of all the possible negative outcomes.
Positive: less phone tag, easier for clients, automatic reminders and follow-ups. Negative: I will need to rely on technology instead of controlling everything myself.
3. Fact vs. Fiction
Now think about all the things you’ve been telling yourself about what’s involved in implementing this idea. Have you created some obstacles that don’t really exist? Do some of your arguments against taking action start with, “I think …”? Research the items on your fiction list to see if you can get to the real facts. Take a look at your list of possible negative outcomes from step two and run a fact/fiction test on those too.
Fiction: I don’t think I’ll be able to control my own schedule. I think new clients will be able to book without proper screening. Fact: After doing research, I realize I have control over appointment times and breaks and I can restrict new clients from booking without approval.
4. Support
Set yourself up for success! Identify the assistance you would need—or want—to implement your idea successfully. Think of it like your own sports team: Do you need a coach, teammates, training, a game plan, or some combination of these?
I will need my colleague Sonja, who is already using online scheduling, to help me get everything set up correctly.
5. Yes/No? Action Steps
Evaluate all the information you’ve collected and make a final decision about whether implementing your idea is a smart choice for your practice and career. Yes? Write at least three action steps for things you need to do to start the process. No? Delete the idea from your list and move on to your next great plan!
Yes! I’m going to do it. I’ll start by researching scheduling programs to choose the correct one for my practice.

I hope this tool is useful for you and your practice. Good luck barrier busting.

Kristin Coverly, LMT, is the manager of professional education at ABMP. She’s a massage therapist with a business degree who cares about you and your practice and loves providing tools and education to help you succeed. Contact her at kristin@abmp.com.