Mapping Your Path to Service
In part one of this series, I talked about the importance of understanding the relevance of your innate gifts and honing in on your WHY— to help focus your work, improve your marketing message, and increase your potential to be of service.
Before getting into the next step in the process, I want to take a step back and look at the big picture of what is happening when any of us sets forth to offer ourselves in service. The way I understand it is by looking through the lens of the medicine wheel.
In the beginning of a journey to service, just like in the springtime or at the start of a new day, you are waking up. You open to Spirit and to your abilities. You have new experiences or glimpses of what might be possible if you were to become fully present, enter a flow state, get out of the way and become a hollow bone for Spirit to flow through.
This type of awakening can happen in countless ways, often guided by synchronicities. It might be an unexpected experience that gives you a glimpse at a new possibility beyond the ordinary, something so alluring you can’t imagine not exploring it further.
Next comes the medicine of the South and the summertime. Like the flowers coming into bloom, you move into a period of exploring the possibilities you discovered in the East and experimenting with your authentic expression as a healer.
You might find yourself starting to focus on certain modalities that support you in entering these altered states of acting as a hollow bone. Often times, these are ways of being that bring you the most joy and fulfillment when you practice them.
One person might find feather work particularly natural, another might be a powerful channel for singing healing songs or creating sound journeys by playing a combination of musical instruments. Some might find Spirit works through them in their ability to ask powerful questions or reflections as a coach, or in their capacity to provide a healing presence as a counselor. Others might find that magic happens when they get on stage and read a poem or tell a story.
You might have a gift with writing, or with inspiring a group to take action on a shared vision. You might find yourself receiving powerful downloads begging to be shared, or a natural teacher able to assimilate diverse lessons and structure them around a common theme. Or maybe you have a gift for ceremony, hands-on healing, divination, tarot reading, astrological interpretation, creating beauty…
The list can go on and on, and none of us are limited to one modality. Rather, the South is a time of uncovering the modalities that are most resonant to you, and are most conducive to you getting out of the way so that Spirit can flow through.
I like to think of this as a period of gathering your “medicine bundle”—coalescing a set of tools, modalities, and ways of being that you can call on depending on the need in any given situation.
The West is a time of great change in a healer’s journey, just like the change that happens at the end of a day with the setting sun, and the fall harvest at the end of a fruitful growing season. It’s a time when you have the opportunity to focus your medicine bundle at a particular purpose or cause and dream into how we are being called to tend to it. If you ask for it, you might even receive a Vision or a Call from Spirit to help guide you in this.
In my coaching work, I’ve found that the West presents a lot of challenges to many healers. I think in part it is due to them not recognizing that their journey to becoming a healer isn’t yet complete.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that once you have gathered your medicine bundle and know your modalities, it’s time to build a website and start your business. But there is still a very important part that remains—creating a truly unique and marketable product or service offering that the world has never seen.
In order to do this, you have to first understand the purpose of your creation and who it is for. That is why in the first article I talked so much about finding your WHY.
WHO DO YOU SERVE?
The other very important question to inform your creative process in the West is “WHO DO YOU SERVE?” Typically there is a huge spectrum of people who struggle with any given issue you might have identified as your WHY. So identifying WHO within that population is going to help you refine and narrow it even more.
Who is the right match for your medicine? Who will benefit most from your offering? Who are you uniquely qualified to serve? And most importantly, who do you want to serve? In marketing terms, this is your target audience, your avatar, or your ideal customer.
One of the most common and consistent answers I receive when I ask healers, “Who do you serve?” is this: “I serve Spirit”. At one level, I adore hearing this from people. It is a huge reflection of integrity and commitment to the path.
It is also, from a marketing perspective, completely unfocused and does very little to serve your business. Your prospective clients aren’t sitting at home thinking, “I need to find someone who serves Spirit,” they’re thinking something more like, “I need to find someone who understands my issue and is really capable of helping me with it.”
This can feel like somewhat of an arbitrary or esoteric quest to clarify WHO YOU SERVE if you are looking at it simply from your own perspective and motivation to serve Spirit. It can also bring up some resistance to letting go of other possibilities. A lot of healers report not wanting to limit who they serve to a specific population. They don’t want to let go of other work that might come in.
What I can say to this is that while it seems counter-intuitive, when you are able to hone in and speak directly to those you are here to serve, you naturally and easily attract clients in a way that’s nearly impossible when you stay general. Not only that, getting specific will greatly increase your depth of service and the impact you have on those you do serve.
You will likely begin to experience an entirely new level of impact and fulfillment in your work. It might even begin to feel natural to let go of being so general, like an easy exhale into your unique niche or place of service in the ecosystem of life.
Here is an exercise to help clarify ‘WHO YOU SERVE’:
PART 1 – First to let your heart speak. If there were no barriers to your ability to attract these people, who would you most love to work with?
PART 2 – Another strategy is to let Spirit show you who you already serve through the people who are naturally drawn to you.
Do a scan throughout your life. When have you felt most alive, joyful, and rewarded by your ability to help another? When have people responded to you with the most affirmation or gratitude? Who are the people who most deeply resonate with what you have to offer? Don’t limit yourself to just your clients, look holistically throughout all your relations, and for each situation that comes to you, journal on these questions:
- Where were they wanting help with (this can be conscious or unconscious)?
- What were the factors in their life that brought them to the place of needing help?
- What was their feedback about how you were able to help them?
- You might even ask some of your most trusted friends and allies what they see in you as your most unique qualities of service. How have you helped them?
After journaling on at least 10 scenarios, start looking for patterns. What do you notice? What are the similarities that weave between and throughout each of the different situations you’ve described? Similar to the WHY exercise in Part 1 of this series, you might do a drum journey or guided meditation to help you further uncover these themes.
Once you start to hone in on the common themes of WHO you serve, write them down as if you are describing a real person who embodies all of these characteristics. This is your ideal client avatar. You might think of it like a hologram. Not everyone you serve will embody all of the qualities of your avatar, but when you look at the group as a whole, each one of them will have their own resonance with this avatar, and help bring its image into focus.
PART 3 – When you’ve come to some level of clarity around WHO it is you are here to serve, it’s time to get to know them better. Take time to interview people who fit into your avatar. What do they want? What do they need? What are their biggest challenges and pain points? Interview 5-10 people and again journal on the patterns and themes that emerge across the group.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
With your WHY and your WHO answered, you are ready to start exploring HOW it is you’re able to help your client address their unmet need. How can you meet them where they are and lead them through a process to address their core issue?
This is when you get to start being more creative and actually dreaming into an experience or set of experiences that you can provide (with the help of your medicine bundle you gathered in the SOUTH). And if you find yourself getting trapped in your strategic business mind, it’s a great time to call Spirit in to co-create this with you! Do a journey, say some prayers, and see what divine inspiration comes your way.
This process will naturally lead into service design or WHAT it is you’re going to offer. This is a great time for testing your offering with practice clients, getting feedback, and continuing to refine as needed.
At this point, you have moved from being super broad and unfocused into a really refined and narrow focus in which your services directly respond to a real need and a real population of people who have that need. This is in many ways the secret ingredient to marketing.
In the North, the healer’s work is to take action in bringing their offering into being. This might involve steps like creating a website, developing a client attraction strategy and marketing materials, setting up systems to effectively communicate and deliver your service, and all the steps involved in actually setting yourself up to do business.
With all systems go, the healer is now ready to bring their offering to their community and embody the act of service. And then an entirely new level of initiation begins!
*Stay tuned for part 3 of this series, which will dive much more deeply into the NORTH and focus on the key elements involved in developing your client attraction strategy.