3 Fear-Confronting Truths I’ve Learned

Dr. Wendy MageeTo the left is Dr. Wendy Magee sharing her expertise on technology and clinical practice in music therapy! Check out her new book at Amazon here.

Today I was honored to speak at the Online Conference for Music Therapy. It was a ton of fun – I love presenting, and I love allowing the audience’s energy to rejuvenate my own. The participants were AMAZING, so insightful and full of wisdom.

Here are 3 things I’ve learned from my own exponential, crazy growth in the past year – personally and professionally:

  1. You gotta PISS OFF the 80% of people who do not subscribe to your WACKY, SCARY vision and mission. That way, the 20% minority of people who “get it” will LOVE you and your contributions all the more.
  2. People will drop out of your life, and let you know that you’re a freak. With every new evolution of yourself, you will hear new opinions and perspectives from others that you’ve never heard before, and never imagined would be coming your way! And that’s a good thing, because then and only then do you know that you are honing in on that 20% of brilliant people.
  3. I will continue to have emotional reactions to others, even when my own evolution is absolutely, no doubt, the best move for my career. And my emotional reactions are such valuable insights into my own fears. And then the information I gather from experiencing my FEARS becomes an opportunity to learn about myself on a deeper level: how I handle, work through, harness the power of, and overcome these fears in life and business. It’s a beautiful cycle.

Here’s my commitment: I will to tune in, listen closely, and study the 20% who share my idea here :: Therapists who step INTO the executive position of CEO are able to serve more people, provide more jobs, and make the impact they’ve always dreamed of.

And hey! If you happen to be in the 20% of awesomeness in the world, then join me and Tim in this virtual conference….
You will TOTALLY dig it: (There’s a deadline, so jump on it fast.)

So, why am I getting super intense about this? Because here’s what happened to me after presenting at the conference today:

I got a sinking feeling. I felt like I brought the participants present to the PROBLEMS more than the PROBLEM-OVERCOMERS. I don’t know why I did that. Maybe I’m hanging out in my fears more than my commitments a little too often right now.

You see, I hang out with success stories on a normal basis – I traveled all over the US in 2013 learning and studying the smartest, most thriving clinics in the nation. But interestingly enough in the presentation, I didn’t talk much about stories of success and triumph, those stories that I know so well.

After my presentation, I remembered all of the interesting emails I’ve gotten recently. For instance I received one this week that went:

Subject line: “question about source of low cost music therapy services”
“…I had someone write to me yesterday asking about where they could try a form of creative arts therapy for lower cost. What is the best way to connect with music therapists who might be available for this?”

One friend put it like this: “Wow, it’s like, hey I know someone who’s looking for LOW cost therapy, and the first person I thought of was YOU! How insulting!” =) Thing is, that if the person is homeless or has special needs, then there are SERVICES available through which music therapists can serve. You see, people tend to confuse the CLIENTS with the FUNDING SOURCES.

My issue is that many therapists tend to mix up the two: funding sources versus clients. And THEN, furthermore, sacrifice their own worth, under-value their services, and under-charge, ASSUMING that private pay is less-worthy of a full rate.

This frustrates me that therapists often do not see the big picture. Oftentimes therapists do not understand that lowering their rates to accommodate someone who cannot pay is not always the smartest move. The smartest move might be to invite that individual to go through an agency/funder who will provide WORTHY payment for the service. When it comes to prompt pay for no insurance, the price should still be set at an honorable rate, following all of the appropriate laws and regulations, of course.

So, we’re actually marketing to the FUNDERS, too. See the difference?

And this is true whether you are running a for-profit OR a non-profit. It doesn’t matter! If the revenue isn’t happening, if the funding sources don’t come through via sales (for profit) AND/OR fundraising (non-profit), then you’re just running a HOBBY.

When I get an email like that, I realize how many therapists operate from a scarcity mentality, carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. And I oppose such a martyrdom mindset.

Then there was another email that went like this:

“…Your new adventure with Tim seems exciting and something musicians need. But on the other hand this also makes me sad. Why? Because I have noticed for many years now, that music just does not earn the money one needs to be financial truly independent…”

It’s almost like “Hey I see how your success is driving you down a fun and prosperous path in life, and your success makes me sad.” Right?! Furthermore, my success isn’t enough to convince her that it IS possible for her. So, off she goes into the 80%. Glad to have made you sad, my friend! I only imagine that everything else I have to contribute to the world will throw you into a deep dark depression! Good luck with that! She doesn’t “get it.” Know what I’m sayin? She is so deep into her own stuff, that she can’t even come up for air.

It’s funny because even though I am a living, breathing success story – I have achieved a happy level of revenue from (1) running a private practice and (2) scaling my expertise online – I still get the weebie-jeebies from emails like those. I’m learning to dance with those weebie-jeebie feelings, use the energy of fear as fuel for continued growth, and use the opportunities to learn more about myself.

So there you have it, my totally raw and open declaration of “I AM HUMAN AND I HAVE FEARS JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE.” =) Thanks for providing the platform for my rant. Sending you lots of love and courage today.

Be well, feel good, and make MUSIC =) Kat

12 Responses to 3 Fear-Confronting Truths I’ve Learned

  1. Darcy February 8, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

    Love, love, love this: dance with those weebie-jeebie feelings, use the energy of fear as fuel for continued growth, and use the opportunities to learn more about myself

  2. Kathy February 10, 2014 at 6:25 am #

    Kat! Thanks for being so vulnerable and open. This is thought provoking stuff. Personally, I don’t have any plans for being a CEO and do not want employees now or in the near future. BUT, your mentoring and passion is fueling me to make a huge difference in other areas. Count me in the 20%!

    • Kat Fulton February 10, 2014 at 7:27 am #

      Hi Kathy – I think licensing your Tuneful Teaching programs is CEO-level stuff whether you have employees or not! Thanks for joining me in the 20!

  3. JoAnn Jordan February 13, 2014 at 8:32 am #

    Count me in your 20% and adding me to the dance group. As this year has unfolded, I have thought about adding employees in the future – both musicians and music therapists. For know, I am focusing on getting my foundation solid with all the wonderful steps/support you and Tim are providing.

  4. Susan Seale February 13, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

    This is a great post, Kat:) In my eyes you uplift, educate and inspire. I can also relate to so many of your stories!!!

    Cheers to the anyone in the 80% who wants to ‘cross over’ into the 20%! It CAN be done:)

  5. Jordan Goodman February 13, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

    Great, thoughtful post Kat! If you try to please 100% of the people, you’ll end up pleasing no one. “Pissing off” the 80% just means you’re contributing something remarkable, (i.e., worth talking about), to the world. Also, becoming financially independent requires creativity and bravery—an especially fitting recipe for any artist.

  6. Roia February 17, 2014 at 6:54 am #

    Kat, I so appreciate your sharing this experience. Many years ago I had a similar challenge when I, gradually and with a lot of clinical supervision, decided to use a relationally-based, psychodynamic approach to working with people who have significant disabilities. It was so different from what I had known and what had been done with this group of people that it upset the support staff, it freaked out the music therapists who worked with me at the time, and it created some rifts. It was a scary time, particularly because, at first, I wasn’t even sure I was doing the right thing. But, as you’ve discovered, once you know something new on a gut level, you just can’t go back to being who you used to be and doing things in the “old way.’

    As I’m thinking about this, the situation you’re describing (and that I also experienced) beautifully illustrates a parallel process of sorts. We invite our clients to work toward change every day, and, honestly, so much of therapy is about working with resistance. Nobody is psyched to change the way they see things. Nobody! And unless we, as music therapists, are willing to look at our own flat out resistance to seeing things differently and (eventually) doing things differently (in ways that help us grow and flourish), it’s going to be difficult for us to support our clients to make the real changes they need to make in their lives so they can move forward.

    Thank you for courageously sharing your journey! It is powerful and it is worth the walk!

    • Ellen August 26, 2014 at 7:40 am #

      Roia – It’s so nice to know I’m not the only one experiencing that outside acceptance when exploring different approaches with clients. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Christian February 28, 2014 at 6:56 am #

    Hi! Count me in on the 20%. I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s almost something like you’re in a gathering and you’ll only get to connect with a few guys simply because you see things differently from the rest of the crowd. So who cares? who after all would like to be part of the herd except those who can’t think for themselves

  8. nora April 24, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

    idk.. u had me..until this comment:

    So, off she goes into the 80%. Glad to have made you sad, my friend! I only imagine that everything else I have to contribute to the world will throw you into a deep dark depression! Good luck with that! She doesn’t “get it.” Know what I’m sayin? She is so deep into her own stuff, that she can’t even come up for air.

    Are you looking for truth or just trying to get on top? Nothing wrong with success unless it gets mean..maybe youre not going there? hope not 🙂

    • Kat Fulton April 24, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

      Hi Nora, I certainly do not intend to be mean. I’m just expressing my own confusion with the letter I received.

      I’m not sure I understand how watching someone else’s success could possible make one sad. That’s it! Thanks for your comment —

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