In the world of transformational healers and coaches, our message and mission is usually solidly based in our own story.
Something happened to us that we struggled to overcome.
And now, that we are in a better place, we feel ready to help others who are going through similar issues themselves.
That would be a great business plan, wouldn’t it?
The Story Of “Sue”
I will never forget how, a few years ago, I was sitting in a meeting room next to a woman, let’s name her Sue.
Sue had just gone through a very messy divorce.
She had lost everything in the process: Her house, her friendships, her identity.
She was struggling to keep it together as she was presenting her situation to the rest of us, who were working on building our businesses.
She shared with us all the emotional details of the law suit, dealing with her kids’ affairs and the aggressiveness of her ex husband.
She was upset about all the mistakes the felt she had made, and was very clear that, if she had had someone to support her along the way, she could have avoided much of the drama and her life would be much better now.
This situation was now about 3 months behind her, and people told her that she was a resource for others and should write a book about her process.
So that’s what she set out to do.
She was going to build a business where she would help women who were going through a divorce.
She was going to coach them, guide them and be that advisor and friend for them that she wish she had had when she was going through this process.
She was going to be the light bearer, the communicator between her clients and their spouses, the attorneys and the people who were in charge of the kids.
She knew she could do it.
She had been there herself.
We all agreed that she had the knowledge to deliver her services in a profound and relevant way.
We could see her passion and determination when she talked about her future niche.
But there was something about Sue that didn’t quite add up:
It felt like her struggle wasn’t really resolved.
She got very triggered when people voiced some doubt about her point of view.
She got emotional when she talked about the importance of helping women getting through divorce, and it felt that this emotion was caused by her own trauma, not the issues she wanted to help her clients with.
It really felt as if a part of the reason why Sue chose this particular niche was, to find comfort and healing herself.
When we pointed this out to her, she immediately went into defense, felt attacked and uncomfortable.
She burst into tears and raised her voice.
“NO!” she said “I know what I am doing, I am ready and I am good at it!”
Gosh, this was uncomfortable, and we all felt it.
We wanted to help, but it was just not possible to get through to her.
I certainly wished her the best, but, given what I know about business and learned from people who are dealing with legal issues, she might have ended up struggling quite a bit to get a long term business of the ground.
The true problem: The Self Healer State Of Mind
I have seen this pattern in many Healers and Coaches who want to help others through a trauma they have strongly experienced themselves:
There is just not enough distance, enough closure from the practitioner’s side to allow for the detachment and focus they need to truly help.
And I have yet to see someone who would have been successful and charge what they are worth, and saying “no” to a client who can’t pay.
There is so much value for them in just doing the work with someone who understands and validates them, that this alone is worth keeping going, even if finances suffer.
And there are those memories, in Sue’s case what it felt like to be out on the street with three small children and a backpack full of clothes, not knowing where to turn next.
How could she turn a mother away who had no place to go, was at the end of her rope and reached out for help?
As a business woman, she can’t afford to help everybody who needs her for free.
As a future entrepreneur in self healer state, she cannot afford not to.
Do you see the conflict here?
How to build a successful business, even though trauma is still there
This is why I always advise my clients to not build their business on unresolved emotional issues of their own, no matter how far they have come in the healing process.
They will most likely struggle
- charging what they need to keep the doors open,
- being clear about the boundaries between their business and their private life
- be too self invested and easily triggered to coach somebody who is in strong emotional trouble
- and might fade when tough decisions need to be made
These are just some of the reasons why Coaches and healing professionals, who are in the self healer state, will struggle building a successful business based on their own, unresolved story.
There are many niche markets and messages that we can build a successful and thriving business on, even if we are still going through specific trauma in our life.
Making our unresolved problems the center of our business will most likely backfire.
Being realistic about this will help us create the income we want in a thriving business, and then help those that we are sharing similar stories with, for a nominal fee or free.