You’re at a party. Maybe it’s a baby shower for your niece or a backyard barbecue at the neighbor’s down the street. It’s festive, you’re mingling. There’s music, laughter, guacamole … and then someone asks the question: “So, what do you do for a living?”
A million answers fly through your head before you stumble and say something like, “I’m a life coach” or “Excuse me, I just remembered I left the oven on.”
Because sometimes it can be hard to say, “I’m a medium.” Or a tarot reader. Or an energy healer or shaman or any number of “woo” things that skew just a little on the weird side because what if they judge you? What if they think you’re crazy? What if they come at you with pitch forks and torches?
What if, what if, what if.
I talk to a lot of people in the professional “woo world,” and I hear this concern all the time from people who are considering starting their own spiritual business. The last thing that’s holding them back is the idea of having to explain themselves to family and friends for fear of judgment. Sure, it’s easy to say, “Who cares? Their opinion of you is their own problem,” and of course that is 100 percent true. I love the saying, “What other people think of you is none of your business.” But the reality is, sometimes it does matter, and so it can be hard not to hesitate when explaining to strangers (or worse yet, friends and family), that you work on a metaphysical level.
When I first went officially official with my tarot business, I drove down to the local bank to open up my business account. I had all the necessary paperwork in hand and I sat down with the manager and her trainee. “This is where you type in the business name,” the manager instructed. She looked at my paperwork and then looked up at me. “Tarot?” she asked.
“Yes,” I replied.
“It’s reading cards,” I explained. “Some people think of it as fortune telling, really it’s more like personal guidance,” I said.
She then crossed her arms over her chest and said, somewhat jokingly, “You’re not looking at my palms!”
Uh … okay. First of all, that’s good because that’s not what I do. Clearly she had some over the top witchy Hollywood stereotype running through her mind. Meanwhile, I just wanted to get this done so I could get back to my spooky life of grave digging and sticking pins in voodoo dolls. Just kidding. I had laundry and dishes to do and, contrary to popular belief, I couldn’t wiggle my nose to get it all done.
I assured her I wouldn’t investigate her life lines and we proceeded with the transaction, but it’s true to say that there are a lot of misconceptions out there and yes, it will be something that you do occasionally run into. As spiritually-based entrepreneurs, this can be a real issue.
But here’s the thing. Once you start telling people what you do, more often than not, you’ll be met with curiosity, interest and sometimes even encouraging stories. Some people will share how they once went to a card reader or a medium and had a life-changing experience.
Now, if you live in a small town, or a particularly rigid religious community, coming out as a spiritual practitioner can open up a much bigger can of worms. In those cases, it may be necessary to tread particularly carefully. But aside from that, there are some things you can do to make the process easier.
Remember that you are called to do the thing you do. This didn’t just develop out of thin air. You didn’t accidentally major in mediumship in college. This is a gift that you have and if you’re being called to use it, there’s validity there.
Remember WHY you do what you do. The reason I read cards is because I want to help others find joy and purpose in their lives. I want every person to go away from their reading feeling inspired, hopeful or maybe just a little bit lighter. This is a purpose-driven, service-oriented calling. Give me the stink eye if you want, but I know deep in my heart that what I do helps people.
If someone does come right out and judge you, now you know. You know that they’re not your people and perhaps a relationship isn’t necessary. While we don’t need to surround ourselves with all the same types of people with the same interests, we do need to put ourselves in proximity with those who are supportive, encouraging and happy for our success. Why would you want to be around someone who hopes you crash and burn?
Be prepared with your elevator pitch. Practice saying out loud what you do and why you do it. When you have it down pat and it rolls off your tongue, you’ll put forth an air of expertise and confidence, making it more difficult for others to find the cracks for attack. And when you’re feeling particularly vulnerable, remember that there is a community of others just like you– the energy healers, the witches, the readers and the caregivers who get you, who understand you and support you.