Have you ever told your client not to go to an alternative health care professional? Me neither.
How often does a client say to you “my Dr/physio/whoever told me that I shouldn’t come to Pilates because of ABC”? That conversation is way too familiar to me too. Is that ego getting in the way of profession?
In fact, let me tell you a story.
We are a Pilates studio and at the time this story took place we had 8 Pilates teaches and 1 physio. Our studio has always specialised in injury care and prevention well before said physio came on board and our reputation is valuable. At the time of her employment it made good business sense (or so I thought) since her point of difference was that people could claim rebates on health insurance with her, something not accessible for Pilates teachers.
As time went by she was not able to fill her hours so to help her generate some extra work I asked her if she would like to A. Write a blog or B. Host an inservice for our staff. She chose the article and I agreed to pay her for it.
I was absolutely astounded when I received the article from her and the whole thing was based on her opinion that Pilates should only be taught by a physio and that a Pilates teacher does not have the skills to work with injury. Need I remind you that she was writing the article for our studio website of 8 Pilates teachers! And, our main focus has always been on injury care and pain management!
I gave her the option to amend the article and told her that I could not put it on my website because it was repelling people from booking in with the majority of our staff. Yes, she is a physio and I respect that but her skills in teaching Pilates were fiercely lacking yet the article recommended Pilates with a physio over a Pilates teacher! She stood her ground and refused to make any changes in the article. But to add insult to injury she offered her skills to improve my staff’s teaching skills (oh did I tell you that we are a teacher training facility).
In hindsight, over the years I had tried tirelessly to help her improve her own teaching skills but she just didn’t understand movement and her refusal to learn from us was what was holding back her ability to fill. Every year we would see her people drop off when their health fund payouts ran out, while our Pilates teachers numbers would remain steady since those clients were already paying full fare by choice. No-one was willing to put their hand in their own pocket for her, yet she thought she was more superior than anyone else in the workplace.
One instance sticks out when I had a physical therapist who specialises in Pilates for Neuro rehab visit us from the USA. The opportunity was amazing and my staff had a 2 day workshop with this educator. My own physio flicked through the workbook and said “I don’t need to do this workshop, I already know it all”. I heard the alarm bells ringing then but I didn’t quite have the courage to speak up. What was I thinking!!
Well, eventually I did. The defaming article was the last straw for sure. I think partly I was exhausted but mostly I was disgusted by her lack of respect for the rest of my staff and my protective instincts kicked in.
The short end of the stick is she doesn’t work for us anymore but the wider view reminds me how someone can be so contracted into their own opinions that they miss out on an opportunity to expand. Her view was so limiting that she lost her job over it. The reality is that she didn’t want to pass on any of her clients to us because her ego got in the way. Instead of empowering people she was holding them back. And you know what the predictable thing is? Our studio is a better place without her. There is a congruency and a community that was lacking before.
I never told my staff about the article she wrote. Her skewed perception of their worth. It was hurtful enough to read, let alone share so I protected them against the disdain she has for them because they don’t deserve to be judged by someone who has no business judging.
I learned a valuable lesson from this experience. And that is to stand up. To say no and to fight for what you believe in. I have no idea why on earth she handed over that article. I can only assume it was her way of setting herself free, the ultimate self sabotage.
I tell you this story because a team is only a team when everyone champions each other. It doesn’t need to be a struggle and if it is, let the struggle go. It took me way too long to speak my truth and to speak up for what I knew was right. And more than holding my own potential back, it was holding back the people who really matter in my business. Chances are, if someone tries to pull you or your team down, it’s only because you are way ahead of them.