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Anti-aging: It's a Choice

David Suzuki November 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
life choices checklist

Early in my career, I stumbled upon a life-planning book that was designed to walk the reader through a simple process of self-realization, and the understanding that people are the masters of their own destinies. As cliché as it sounds, it is true. Yet most people float through life like feathers in the breeze—aimlessly. They take what is offered and ask for very little, because it is easy.


The book begins by asking readers to describe the people that they aspire to be—their self-vision—and the vital categories of their lives that define this vision. Examples of life categories could include marriage, parenting, religion, friendship, career, community contribution, health, fitness, business and anti-aging. Collecting pictures on a “vision board” that exemplify this vision is suggested and helpful for this part of the process. These visual images serve as a constant reminder and affirmation of where a person aspires to go and who she wants to be.

Life categories

For each life category, write short, yet specific affirmations that are consistent with your vision. Under each of the affirmations, create a short punch list of practical and real-life action items that need to be carried out to ensure that you stay parallel to your affirmations, which, in turn, keep you parallel to your self-vision. A life category may look something like this.

Life category: Fitness

Affirmation: I will always maintain good aerobic fitness and muscle tone (include a picture of a person who meets these criteria).

Practical real-life action items: I will work out with upper body weights two days per week; I will work out with lower body weights two days per week; and I will walk, jog or use the elliptical machine for 45 minutes, four days per week.

Affirmation: I will participate in activities that support my fitness goals.

Practical real-life action items: I will bike, hike and walk during nice weather; I will play recreational sports; I will climb the stairs rather than take the elevator; I will participate in yoga weekly; and I will vacation in places that support my fitness goals.

Life map

Life categories become the foundation of your life map. Once the life map is sketched out and realized, it is then used to turn your vision into reality. Everything that you do, every moment of every day, should have a relationship to your life map. For example, in the fitness example above, it states that you aspire to maintain good aerobic fitness and muscle tone. Your action items suggest that you will need to work out four times per week. You will also need to adhere to a specific diet plan. Each time you are out to dinner, at the grocery store or even selecting a restaurant to eat in or store to shop in, your self-vision must be considered. As you are filling in your social calendar, your self-vision again must be thought about; ask yourself, “Will I be home early enough to adequately rest for my 5 am workout?”

Although some may define this as obsessive, others understand that every choice that’s made, every moment of every day, will either take you closer to your vision or further away from it.

Anti-aging is a life category

For many, anti-aging is a life category, and for good reason. If you do not look good, you typically don’t feel good. Although truly living a healthy and youthful life is not as simple as creating a life map on paper, the point of the exercise is to realize that you can be—and should be—an active participant in every aspect of your life, including the way that you look. Anything and everything that people participate in, purchase or consume should be reviewed and considered for its purpose and function within the life that you have defined and envisioned. If it does not make the grade, quite simply, you should not be doing it. Analyze it no further.

This concept is vitally important in meeting your personal objectives, and equally as important as a forward-thinking spa professional. Remember that it is you who will lead, plan and define the practical, real-life skin care action items that will expedite your clients’ journeys to their visions of healthy, younger-looking skin.

The drill sergeant

You have probably heard stories about drill sergeant spa professionals who intimidate their clients into doing exactly what they direct. Although most spa professionals aren’t interested in taking on this role, the concept of this model works. The clients either comply, or they do not come back. Those who comply are successful, leaving the drill sergeant with a solid, loyal base of satisfied clients and a reputation that will drive her demand to an extremely high level.

Chances are that you are not a drill sergeant, and likely will not become one any time soon. So how can you use this model? One of the misleading factors of this model is the label “drill sergeant” and what or who comes to mind when this word is used; certainly not a spa professional. The fact of the matter is you do not have to be a drill sergeant. You simply need to understand clients’ objectives (their vision), confirm and affirm this in writing with visuals, and with clear, verbal communication, directly explain the practical real-life action items that are necessary for them to follow in order to achieve their goals. This is what you can do for them. Those who commit and follow your action items will succeed, and those who do not agree or like the options that you have provided are free to work with another spa professional. You will lose some, as does the drill sergeant. However, those few are, in reality, not your clients. Remember that you will never build a successful business with poor results. Client and spa professional selection is a reciprocal process; each must be right for the other.

Your consultation summary may look something like this.

Life category: Anti-aging skin care

Affirmation: I want younger, firmer, smoother-looking skin without surgery. My specific concerns are the texture and color of my skin; the lack of elasticity in my skin; drooping muscles—especially above the eyes; and the fine lines and wrinkles around my eyes. (Include a picture of a person who meets these criteria.)

Practical real-life action items:

  • Microdermabrasion: series of three services during five weeks, followed by one service every eight weeks thereafter.
  • Microcurrent and LED: series of 10 services during five weeks, followed by one maintenance service every month thereafter.
  • Oxygen infusion: used between microcurrent and LED during the 10 service series, as well as with monthly maintenance thereafter.
  • Ultrasonic peeling: used during every professional service where microdermabrasion is not taking place.
  • Strictly use the prescribed daily and nightly skin care regimen without deviation.
  • The cost of your initial series (five 90-minute services): $1,000
  • The cost of your monthly required maintenance facials thereafter: $180
  • The cost of your initial home skin care package will be in the $400–700 range, with a monthly expense averaging $200–300 thereafter. (Your client is likely already spending this on a variety of different skin care products.)

It’s not cheap, but this is the reality of the situation. Clients will spend as much as $1,700 during their first visit and also make appointments for their series of services through five weeks. From that point forward, they will need to come in once per month for a maintenance service and to keep up with their home care skin regimen. The two together may average as much as $480 per month, with an annual total in the range of $6,500. This may seem like a lot; however, will ensure the best age-defying skin care available and still remains considerably less expensive and equally—if not more—effective than most invasive alternatives. As importantly, it clearly defines the client’s requirements and commitment to this life category, which is really a lifestyle and should be considered in the client’s overall annual budget.

Commitment and priority

Remember that life is a perpetual series of choices. In the absence of a life map, your choices are baseless. Baseless choices are an expeditious proven pathway to become a product of your environment, rather than the the creator of your environment. Which sounds better to you?

David Suzuki is the president of Bio-Therapeutic, Inc., and has been an active licensed member of the esthetic and beauty industries for more than 19 years. These many years of experience in all facets of the spa environment—from hands-on to management—have helped prepare him for a greater understanding of the industry. Suzuki joined Bio-Therapeutic, Inc. in 1992 and has become an authority on technology and regulatory issues, including U.S. Food and Drug Administration submission and acquisition.

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Retail Tip: Anti-aging: It's a Choice

Crunch the numbers, and explore how many of the loyal clients described in this article you will require to meet and surpass your current income level. The reality will surprise you. Part of the process of understanding your own business is working through the life map of your business. Your advertisements and environment will support the theme of your professional vision, and the clients who you attract and champion will be parallel to and represent your vision, as well.

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