When I started my massage career, I was pleasantly surprised by the schedule flexibility available to me in my new career. For the first time in my life, I was able to have a schedule that complimented my life. To this day, schedule flexibility is an important facet of my healthy lifestyle.
This being said, once I set a schedule, I stuck to it. I showed up to work early, did not cancel appointments, and did not run over on appointment times. If I had no appointments, I went to my office and was available for last-minute appointments. A consistent client complaint about "other therapists" was unreliability, constantly changing schedule, canceled appointment. This only served to strengthen my belief in being at my office during my scheduled hours.
This is when I learned the real meaning of “Being Present”. Presence is not just giving your attention to the moment you are in or to the person you are with. It is also about building a “Presence” for yourself and in my case, in my practice, and in later years, my school. This can only be done by physically being at your office or in your practice.
I understand "life happens" and you have to take care of “something important”. All too often a chain of “something important” things occur which create a habit, then our practices fall by the wayside. Many practitioners fall into this trap and have a harder time getting clients. If you really dig down, you will find many people who have a hard time getting clients, are not actually practicing “Presence”.
I strongly urge new practitioners to pick a schedule they can stick to without fail. I urge them to be at their practice location during those hours even if they do not have clients booked. When I had no clients, I would check-in with clients I had not seen in a while, researched CE courses, designed spa treatments, cleaned my office space, etc. I worked to establish my “Presence”. Today, practitioners can market themselves online, email clients, learn how to build their own website and get listed on search engines and in directories in addition to the things I did.
I feel that now, more than ever, there are endless opportunities for those who are willing to be “Present”.
Epilogue: Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a beautiful representation of "Being Present"