A dear student of mine sent me an email with some concerns regarding his decision to move towards work in the area of healing. He feels he’s made for such work and I agree with him. He is highly empathic and has a deep aching to help relieve people’s suffering.
I’ve sometimes observed that when people are ready to commit to a new path in their life, what that actually means is that they’re now “ready to be made ready.” They’ve committed to take action towards a goal; to have experiences that prepares them in ways that they never knew they needed, to learn, to fumble, to be shaped and even transformed. My student is “ready to be made ready.”
I decided to share some of the conversation with my student. I think the concerns that are coming up for him are shared by others, those who are just beginning to follow a more personally meaningful path as well of those already established on their meaningful paths.
Here are my student’s two primary concerns in his own words.
1. Most of the stuff on my online course is just what I’ve learned from books and other people..so how can I talk about it or put it in a course without it being a legal issue? Or without it being ethically wrong? For example… I notice most surfing or snowboarding courses I take…all have the same content… most meditation books all talk about the same concepts.
2. Who am I to coach others, when I’m still so F’ed up!? I would feel like such a fraud.
Here are some of the thoughts I had in responding to his questions.
Start small. Rather than dealing with the weight of creating an online course prematurely, I would recommend starting with a more personal and non-commercially oriented website. Use that as a platform for developing your approaches. Not only could that be an authentic and humble way to start developing your thoughts and how you communicate publicly, but pacing yourself slowly will help to discover what you know and what you don’t know, and to evolve your specific angle on well-being. Your personal voice.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong about learning from people who are doing what you want to do. The whole point is to accumulate tools that may be useful to reach people and to help them. You do not do it alone. There are a lot of shallow teachers, but there are also a lot of excellent teachers available to learn from. There’s not a week that I don’t spend hours studying to expand my expertise and experience.
The key here is to deliberately take the time to see how anything you learn fits your personal experience. If something resonates for you, check it out and personalize it. Find how that approach works in your, body, emotions and mind. Find your own relationship to the content.
I offer you a challenge. Take the time and aggravation to put what someone else has said that you relate to, in your own words. You’ll probably confront the voice that says “How can I put this in my words. They said it so well.” But you’ll find if you find a way to talk about it in your own words you will discover a personal, authentic way, sometimes even a more useful way, to make the point. It’s our job to discover what the content of any idea means to us so we can better sense when and how to apply that idea in the real time of working with somebody. And you won’t have to worry about plagiarism.
Remember this. Your job is to learn how you personally apply the knowledge that you are interested in.
What you offer is a field of love and caring that is authentic to your nature. All the content, the tools that you will discover along the way, are activated by your basic commitment to caring. Do not underestimate that field of safety that you can embody and project.
That you have these concerns tell me you’re coming from the right place. I’m glad you’re worried about being a fraud. I can guarantee you that every good teacher has asked and still asks the question, “Am I an imposter.” That question can help keep us from getting complacent, arrogant and automatic. The humility and vulnerability that comes from being willing to ask that question actually translates into a sense of authenticity that helps people you work with to feel safer.
The depth of this type of work requires a periodic surrendering of what we think we know so can we explore and discover more ways to heal and help.
If you haven’t already, start writing, not only what you think you know, but also your doubts and fears. Start writing to a deep level of self-honesty. Allow your humanity the right to wobble. That honesty will become integrity.
So absolutely go for it! Take the steps that give you the time and space to grow into what you want to do. At this time, you don’t need to know specifically what your niche as a healer is. Just keep letting your heart ache and open, and take the steps.
You’ve planted the seed. Now take your time to water that seed.
Anyhow this is my moment’s spiel.