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The Power of Risk-taking

By: Jane Wurwand
Posted: January 28, 2011, from the February 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Leadership in a professional skin care setting may be challenging. The reason: In order for spa professionals to thrive, they must do more than give great treatments. They must also offer client education, giving the customer knowledge that can be used at home. This requires a paradigm shift from the boss and from the team, and this shift, like any change, represents a form of risk. But how can spa professionals push themselves to take on this risk? Many who are in this business got here because they love touching skin, giving treatments and helping clients feel healthy. This is still the core value, but today spa professionals must also position themselves as active partners in their clients’ ongoing health.

This is parallel to the personal trainer who develops a series of killer moves that will build your best body; the trainer may coach you once or twice per week, but you’re the one who has to actually work the program. Building a long-term partnership of trust based upon your expertise is the best thing that you can do for your business.

I vividly remember my early years as a skin therapist. My feet always hurt, and I really thought that I would never finish doing the laundry and folding the towels. Late nights—not the glamorous kind—and early mornings. I always had a pain reliever and a chocolate bar in my uniform pocket. Were my chakras misaligned? Was my third eye bloodshot? Oh, I’m sure. And I am also sure that there was no other way to get where I was going and to make my business grow.

In reality, you have to walk right on the edge of what you know, beyond the barrier of where you feel safe and familiar, in order to grow and achieve. This is what risk-taking is all about. In order to achieve beyond the status quo, spa professionals need to push themselves more. You must become more willing and eager to be uncomfortable. In fact, you should seek it out, and encourage your team members to do so as well.

Many spa professionals stop themselves before they get anywhere near the edge. As much as some women complain about the famous glass ceiling, many of them are secretly comforted by knowing that it’s there. Keeping that barrier in place provides an excuse for not being pushy, for not pushing yourself, for not going too far.