This is a continuation of a series of articles written about how the Toltec wisdom as laid out in the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz enhanced my ability to provide the highest quality of service at my massage practice to my clients. To start from the beginning, click here. To read the previous post, click here, and to go to the next, click here.
Agreement 3 – Applied to my massage practice
Don’t make assumptions – Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
I had violated agreement number three, and made some assumptions.
My client lay on top of the sheets butt naked with his hands cupped over genitals. I thought, this is awkward. What in the world did I say to have this happen?
Then I remembered: I had assumed the person knew to get under the sheet. When I said “Ok, go ahead and get undressed. I’ll knock before I come back in.”, the crucial: “get comfy under the blanket” was left out.
I felt terrible. It was his first massage and he didn’t know what to do. As a result, he was embarrassed and I felt unprofessional. This was a bad start to what is supposed to be relaxing experience.
There is another assumption I made early on in my career.
Clients occasionally come into my massage practice with instruction from a chiropractor or physical therapist. In the past I rolled my eyes and mentally tossed it in the garbage. My thinking was that I work for the client not the other practitioner. The truth is sometimes it was really the client who wanted me to those things and thought it would be better received if coming from a third party. So, I stopped making the assumption that it was another practitioner, and I try to ascertain their feelings about it. If I have further concerns, I call the third party to make sure we are all on the same page.
Integrating agreement number three means every session starts with a chat establishing what is important to the client, allowing them to feel comfortable and able to express what feels good or even possibly bad at any time during the session. I avoid making assumptions, and they do too!