Curious or competative?

Your answer, can make you or break you.

I’m a massage therapist by trade, 15 years in the field.   I just moved to a new town and I’m feeling stiff and sore from lugging boxes upon boxes to my 3rd floor apartment.  I can use a massage.  It will be good to meet the local talent.

Last week I picked up business cards from around town. Today I started making phone calls to the massage therapists.  Maybe I’ll be lucky and find a few folks who are interested in trading. 

Mostly I get answering machines and leave messages.  It will be interesting to see who calls back and how long it takes them to respond. 

I actually spoke to two women.  The second lady was very cordial and seemed excited about the prospect of doing a trade and getting to experience “new hands.”  I’ve never met this woman, but she is someone I already feel I can trust my body to.

The other woman I happened to catch is a different story.  I explained the situation.  She curtly dismisses me.  She says, “I’m already trading with other people, sorry I’m not interested.”  This is fine, I can certainly understand.  But it seems from the tone of her voice that she is suspicious of “new competition”

My mistake:

I continued to try to connect.

I go on to explain that I am also interested in promoting local massage therapists.  My idea is to create events where practitioners can participate and promote their work—“I’m not jumping into the market as competition.  I’m interested in finding massage therapists to promote.”  I say somewhat apologetically, as if I need to appease her.  This does nothing to help calm the situation. 

Eeek! Can of worms, can of worms.

Her response:  Events like what?

Now, from another person this question would have simply been an inquiry, a conversation starter. 

From this woman, the tone of voice-the question sounded like an accusation.  To be fair this is my perception, not fact.  And to be fair to myself, I have keen intuition. 

I know that my call is innocent.  I have nothing to apologize for.  I want to be helpful, I want to be friendly.  My intention is to share massage and meet new people in my new community; especially people in the profession I’ve been working for 0ver a decade.  I do have ideas on how to promote other massage therapists, while encouraging community health and my own professional aspirations.  Nothing to apologize for here.

What happens next is not pretty.  I suddenly find myself engaged in a losing scenerio and on the defensive. 

The woman begins to rapid fire machine gun questions at me

Her: Where did you go to school?

Me: (sinking feeling as I respond) BSSI in Helena

Her: How many hours do you have?

Me: (thinking: wait a second…how did this happen? This is not nice, nor fun) “Wait a second,” I say, my jaw tightening, “I’m not on trial here.”  “Why don’t you tell me about yourself?  How many hours do you have, where did you go to school”

 Her: I’m just trying….

Me: (I cut her off- She is trying to size up her competition, so I’ll get to the point)  “Look I do good work, I have 750 hours of training, My background is in Tui-Na, Seitai Shiatsu, Thai Therapeutic Massage, Swedish and Deep Tissue.  Is that good enough for you?   “How ‘bout you” I ask again curtly. (I fin myself speaking cranky to a woman I’ve never met.   It feels gross.) 

** I have to reel in my attitude, this does not feel good nor is it helpful.

Her: Ummm….Bozeman, I have 700 something hours of training.

Me: Uh, huh, well listen. (I’ve stopped listening to her)  If you are interested in doing a trade sometime, my name is Renee and… I rattle off my phone number.

I let myself be pulled into a ridiculous game in which I have no interest in competing.

The result:

I end up feeling crappy about my response.  I should ‘a, would ‘a, could ‘a  myself for the next hour or so.  Then let it go.  It’s a waste of time.

The note I write next to this woman’s name –“Yucky.” 

Undoubtedly, we will run into each other at some point, this is a small town.  One thing is clear; we each gave the other a funky first impression. 

The point of my story is this:

Quick!  Ask yourself….is this person really my competition? Really?

It’s easy to make a good first impression.  Be nice, be curious.

Making a bad first impression can difficult to recover from — maybe impossible.  We never know who we are connecting or disconnecting with.  We never know how the future will unfold.  Who might the person we are speaking with turn out to be — now or in the future.  Viewing the other person as competition, will make a yucky first impression and can take us out of the game.

So, tomorrow when you run into someone in your field who wants to pick your brain or share their work, you have a question to answer and only a moment to make up your mind.  Is this person really your competition?   

How will you choose to respond?


Perfectly Imperfect

Life is messy.  It can be dirty and dark – up to 12 hours of everyday unless you are living way up north.  Here the hours can turn into days, days that seem never to end.  There is the great darkness when the mind is clouded by worry and the heart is sick with grief.  Life is messy, easy to get lost in the perception of the light of perfection.

  • If I wait to be perfect,  I’ll miss out on the living & loving.
  • If I wait for someone else to to see my brilliance and hand me a wad of cash to make my mark.  The slate will remain clean.  Unimpressively clean.
  • If I wait until someone gives me permission.  I’ll stand here forever.  Waiting….waiting….

I’ve got hidden talents, and gobs of gorgeous thoughts trapped in my computer and perfectly filed away in a cabinet in a storage shed somewhere in the wild blue of Montana.  What’s it worth?  Nothing, unless I am willing to be perfect in my imperfection. 

I am blogging in part to share what I’ve discovered in my 37 years on planet earth.  I am here in part to let go of my habit of perfection.  Either way I trust this project, process and practice will open the world to me in ways I can hardly begin to imagine.

So read on if you want to share this wild ride as I unravel and unveil before your very eyes. I promise the grammar & spelling will not be perfect.  My thinking at times may wander. I’ll do my best to keep it in check.  Please remember however, if perfection is what you are after, I’m not going to let that desire get in my way. 

What I will promise you is this.  I will be here regularly, practicing, learning, questioning, myself and the world. 

On the warrior path back to self, the first step is to show up.  I’ll be here, not waiting, but showing up–for me.

If this process interests you, send me a quick note and/or subscribe to my blog.  I look forward to sharing and discovering with you.

Back to School


After 16 years I find myself walking once again the corridors of beautiful brick buildings filled with books and access to inspired teachers.  I am giving myself a gift, a new beginning.  

My eyes wide open, street smart to the sometimes aweful ways of the world.  I embark on this journey fresh and willing.  My approach to school is much different this time. 

  • What I know is valuable.  Still, I recognize I have gaps in my skill set.  My ability to produce is dirctly related to confidence.
  • I realize: I don’t know….and I want to know???  Go where the people know what you want to know.  Pay attention.
  • Getting to right question is more important than the right answer.
  • I’ve done enough drugs to understand their value and limits.  For kinestetic learners, only trial and error can teach these truths. 

I could tick off twenty more bullet points about how the school of life brought me full circle to the school of higher education.  I’m sure I’ll take a bit of time to elaborate on those topics.  For now gratitude is enough.

“Made it through first week of school. Cried every day. So much to be grateful for, so much suffering in the world. To have a second chance to study and practice writing as an art; what a gift, what a relief.”  Renee Frances Conn Facebook  Friday January 14 at 7:52pm: