Going For It: The Massage Mentor (with Diane Matkowski)

Summary

Whitney and Til talk to Diane Matkowski (a.k.a. the Massage Mentor) to find out what gave her the chutzpah to ask 10 of her favorite massage and bodywork teachers to teach in her first online event, what it was like when nearly 600 people showed up, and what she’s working on next.

 

Whitney Lowe:

Hello, I’m Whitney Lowe and Books of Discovery has been a part of massage therapy education for over 20 years. Thousands of schools around the world teach with their textbooks, E-textbooks and digital resources. In these trying times, this beloved publisher is dedicated to helping educators with online friendly digital resources that make instruction easier and more effective in the classroom or virtually.

Til Luchau:

Hi, I’m Til Luchau. Books of Discovery likes to say, “Learning adventures start here.” They see that same spirit here on The Thinking Practitioner podcast and they’re proud to support our work knowing we share the mission to bring the massage and bodywork community in live and in content that advances our profession. Check out their collection of E-textbooks and digital learning resources for Pathology, Kinesiology, Anatomy, and Physiology at booksofdiscovery.com where Thinking Practitioner listeners like you save 15% by entering “thinking” at checkout.

So, hey, Whitney, how you doing and who’s our guest today?

Whitney Lowe:

Til, I’m doing very well. And yes, we have a guest again, today. We are with Diane Matkowski today. And I’m going to do my best Diane Matkowski impersonation and say, “We have Diane, the massage mentor.” Welcome, Diane. Tell us a little bit about yourself, if you will.

Diane Matkowski:

Well, first, I have to say that I’m completely overwhelmed with joy to be in the presence of two people that I respect as much as I respect the both of you, and I love what you’re doing. And it’s been just an honor, getting to know both of you a little better. So, I just want to say thank you for your years of hard work and sharing what you’ve learned, and I really appreciate you both. So, I am Diane, the massage mentor.

Whitney Lowe:

All right.

Til Luchau:

We need a visual on that. Too bad this is just audio. We’re limited.

Diane Matkowski:

I’ve been doing massage.

Til Luchau:

High five.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah.

Diane Matkowski:

I’ve been doing massage for 25 years. I’ve built a business that’s a seven-time award winning establishment. I’ve written a couple of massage books. And I’m now doing the Massage Mentor Institute and Jam events.

Whitney Lowe:

Excellent. And we just completed the first of those, the shoulder Jam, which was I think a great success. Can you tell us what the number and final number of people were that you had join that event? Is that?

Diane Matkowski:

I would be thrilled to because when I started it, I was like, “Man, I really hope we get 50 people.” We ended up getting close to 600, so.

Whitney Lowe:

Wow. Yeah.

Diane Matkowski:

So, first of all, I’m really excited about that and you could feel the energy of that many people being interested, I think when you were at the event.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah, absolutely.

Til Luchau:

So, this was a virtual event. You had a bunch of teachers coming in. You had a bunch of people. And you mentioned, you pictured it, maybe 50 and then it exploded. And you got like almost 600.

Diane Matkowski:

Yes.

Til Luchau:

So, cool.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah.

Diane Matkowski:

It was very exciting.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah. Well, I wanted to ask you about this. You really brought together a diverse and interesting group of educators for this event. And I’m assuming that some of these people you didn’t know that well in advance, a lot of them you did, but what were your thoughts on reaching out to some of those people, especially the ones you didn’t know as well, and kind of like selling this whole idea of this kind of event of one body area, one topic area and lots of different teachers talking about it.

Diane Matkowski:

I think as a practitioner on the ground, training massage therapists for all these years, you kind of start to pick and choose and kind of get a feel for what you would like. And I started interviewing people online about three years ago, and I had the pleasure of meeting two and some other folks. And as I got in the arena, and I started talking to people, I started to get a feel for the fact that, “Wow, I’m lucky enough to get to talk to people who are really beautiful inside and out.” And they’ve been working as hard as I have teaching, building classes and doing all these things.

So, they’ve been working as hard as I have just in a different way. And as I got to know everyone, I started to realize, too, that we’re all kind of in the same place. I started to see a lot of similarities. And so, I just kind of went with my gut and went with my heart and started interviewing people. And I formed some relationships. Some I got closer than others. I have to say The Rebel was the first person. We just started-

Til Luchau:

This is Allison Denney and the massage rebel.

Diane Matkowski:

Yes. We really hit it off. And I got to know Til and some other people and then started helping them set up classes and doing other things. So, it just really evolved kind of naturally. It was just, for me, I always tried to just do the next right thing. What should I do next? But I have to tell you, Whitney, typing your email, I was like, “Hah-hah-hah.” I was very nervous. I was very nervous. But like I said you have.

Whitney Lowe:

Why?

Diane Matkowski:

Well, again, it’s one of the things that I believe is sometimes we get in this habit of contempt prior to investigation, where we have our own ideas about how things are going to be, how they’ll look, and we can psych yourself out before we even try. So, I just kept walking through my fear and did it anyway. And I mean, I’m really glad I did, because you’re just so kind.

Whitney Lowe:

Well, in… thank you very much for that.

Til Luchau:

We also like kind. We also like kind.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah, so but there’s some interesting things in that like or there may be lessons for other people that are faced with challenges in their professional practice or their personal lives or professional lives, about really taking that next step out. That sort of fear step of jumping ahead and jumping and launching into something. So, how did you kind of overcome some of those feelings or sensations with reaching out to some of these people and deciding to really step out and put on a big national event like this, too? What of kind of things caused that?

Diane Matkowski:

In 1998, I remember being in my office and when my practice began, I worked with a lot of high-end clients. And I would listen to what they said. I found that I wanted to start listening to understand that a lot of people knew a lot more than I did, if I could listen to them, I could learn a lot from them.

And the first thing I think I heard that started helping me kind of do things I was afraid of was there was a gentleman who said that, “If you see a door, walk through it. Just walk through the door, Diane, just walk through the door.” And I think that was one of the things that really helped me kind of get moving. And also, too, there’s been a lot of times in my life, I have been afraid to do something, I haven’t done it, and then I look back and I go, “Oh.” And as I’m getting up to my 50s now, I’m like, “Oh, no. I’m just going to keep doing my best to not be afraid and do it anyway.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah, yeah. Well, you brought together a really interesting group of people. And I want to kind of to talk about that just a little bit. Did you have a vision for wanting say like, “I want one of these and one of these and one of these and one of these” kind of thing? Or how did that sort of group of people come together for you?

Diane Matkowski:

I think, my given name by my first mentor in 1996 was “the massage mentor.” “Someday, I think you’ll be doing some mentoring.” And I really realized the importance of having someone to teach me and through my career, I’ve had a ton of teachers, and they’ve all been very different. I think that helps me relate to a lot of different people, helps me have a lot of different conversations. It helps me meet a lot of people where they’re at.

So, for me, the journey started in 1998 with Ohashi in New York, and I just saw a lot of this journey has just been me trying to learn and grow as a person. And the right… there was, I mean, it’s very cliche, but they say when the student is ready, the teacher appears. And I guess I just got lucky, and had an amazing group of people appear for me to encourage them to do a cool event.

Til Luchau:

Yeah, it’s, I mean, part of your story is just that you got inspired, and you went for it and you walked through that door. But so, and then, and then so, you became the massage mentor, so but who, so who were your mentors? I mean, you gave me a clue just by mentioning Ohashi here, but tell me about your mentors.

Diane Matkowski:

Well, my first mentor was… I actually, before I went to massage school, I trained with someone in their home, because in Pennsylvania, there was no licensing. So, my first massage mentor taught me everything. Helped me make business cards, brochures. That was the olden days. Modern day, getting into the arena with these teachers that I admire, and I feel are just so brilliant and successful. The best mentor that I could get would be someone that I appreciate and I respect in the industry. So I mean, I have a mentor, who he runs a corporate office with thousands of employees and then I also wanted a while talk to a gentleman named Til.

Whitney Lowe:

Til. I’ve heard of him.

Til Luchau:

There’s another one?

Diane Matkowski:

And I-

Whitney Lowe:

It’s Till Eulenspiegel, right?

Diane Matkowski:

And I’ve always really been, I’m just open to learning and I know that through my experience so far to date, you just can jump into something and figure it out, all yourself. You have to be willing to ask for help. Be humble. So, I think, that said I would say in some ways almost I learned from everyone all the time. Special mentors have been kind of the teachers that I’ve interviewed. Special mentors to date I would say Til is definitely one of those for me. Hi, Til. Is that weird?

Til Luchau:

Hey.

Diane Matkowski:

Is that awkward?

Til Luchau:

No, I’m honored. No, it’s true. You would come to me with ideas and you go, “Jeez, Is this crazy?” I said, “Yeah. You should go for it.” And you totally have. You just really built on that. I am so honored and proud to be on your list.

Diane Matkowski:

Yeah, so it really did. It just was like listening to people and doing it and just stopped being afraid. I know I’ve said that 10 times, but I was afraid and I just kept going. And that’s the truth.

Whitney Lowe:

So, lots of people who are out there, maybe they’re struggling a little bit in their practice, or trying to find some ways to get to that next level of what they’re doing in their career. Are there any things that you could say would be, what are key characteristics? And if you’re looking for a mentor? Trying to find that person that really is the ideal kind of mentor person for you? Do you have kind of like a sense of what kind of things should people look for in a mentor? Somebody to help them along that way?

Diane Matkowski:

I mean, the first way I was taught is, “Do they have what I want? Do they have something that I want or something that I admire?” I think that that’s a great thing. And I also think just certain people work with certain people well. I’ve talked to a lot of different people. And then I chose one that felt good to me and someone who was doing kind of what I would like to do someday. So for me, I think it’s more so a personality thing. And then also a desire thing and a willingness to allow that to evolve, too. Like I said, I’ve had a lot of teachers and a lot of mentors.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah, yeah. So, I want to ask another question here, kind of going a little bit off, but a little bit back to the Shoulder Jam, but also on another tangent here, too. One of the things that I mentioned to you prior to that event launching, we had some live, Facebook live events where we talked about a little bit. And you and I had one of those where we talked a little bit. One of the things that I said to you at that point, too, is that I really liked with this recent event with the Shoulder Jam, that there was a greater representation of women educators at that event.

Diane Matkowski:

Yes.

Whitney Lowe:

Which is not always the case in a lot of the events that we see across our profession. Tell us, I’m curious, what are your thoughts on why we don’t have more women, educational leaders. And what can we do to sort of create a more balanced representation of that? I mean, you certainly modeled doing something by bringing more women onto that event, which was great. And so, I’m curious, what else can we do and why is there that disparity, do you think?

Diane Matkowski:

And like I said, three years ago, I was teaching my staff, I was mentoring my staff, I was building a business that I could walk away from. And it would run itself. I was trying to own a building, I was trying to do a lot of different things. So, I was very detached from the teachers and what was happening and what the industry looked like until I got back online. And when I got back online, I was like, “Where are all the women? Oh, my God.” When I found someone like Judith Aston, and I was like, “Judith Aston.” I found The Rebel. I was like, “Oh, there’s another woman.” So, they were few and far between, which for me, when I landed back on massage therapist Earth, I’ve been kind of, like I said, just in my own little bubble building my own little thing. Not so little anymore, I’m proud to say. But I just I found that interesting, because when I started doing massage, it was mostly women. Women really ran the industry, so.

Whitney Lowe:

And it still is. I think, to a large extent, if you look at the numbers and the demographics, it’s still that way.

Diane Matkowski:

But I think balance is-

Til Luchau:

Women practitioners, women franchise owners, yeah.

Diane Matkowski:

But I think balance is good. And I think I’m still not opposed to the way, I think we still have balance, even if sometimes, maybe there’s more men teaching or this or that. I do still feel like the community of as a whole, as I get to know the men, you guys are all pretty balanced men. You got a little feminine side to you. You got a little masculine side to you. You’re all pretty balanced. I don’t think you could do what we do and not have some form of balance. So, I’m very pleased with all the men.

Til Luchau:

You do compliment. Thank you very much.

Whitney Lowe:

Yes, indeed. I guess I still feel like I kind of want to figure out how to address the maybe cultural dilemma that this poses. That like you take a man in front of a big conference presentation room saying something and you put a woman in front of that same conference room saying something that’s contrary or something like that. The chances are people are going to more likely believe what the man says, and there’s just this thing about male educators and people in those positions of power, et cetera. That seems to be an inherent dynamic. I don’t know how we move beyond that.

Diane Matkowski:

I feel like the first thing that comes to my mind when you’re saying that is demonstrate where you are. Demonstrate who you are as a human being. I think one of the things that Til taught me was I’m a little goofy, like I like to have a good time. I get really excited. That’s Diane and people feel that authenticity. I’m not trying to be someone I’m not. I’m not claiming to be anything. And I think that I just come and I’m raw. And like, “Hey, what’s up, Til? What’s up, Whitney?” And I’m dancing around. It’s not for any other reason than I’m just so excited to meet everyone. I’m so excited for our industry. I can’t believe, like I said, rejoining it, I feel like how much it’s grown, how smart everyone is, what everyone’s doing. And that the possibilities are endless for us all as a community.

So, for me, I just came in as I was, and I don’t know if there’s a distinction for me, between men and women, this and that. I just think we’re people on a journey together. We’re all heading to the same mountain. Some of us are driving up in VW. Some of us have motorcycles. Some of us have Cadillacs, but we’re all trying to get to the same place. So, a body is a body, but I don’t mean to be teasy, but a soul is a soul. So, I don’t know if it matters if it’s men or women. Although I do agree, like I said, I just out of, I guess sake of maybe comfort, maybe. I mean, I’d love to see more women, but I don’t, I just, I don’t really see it one way or the other, honestly.

Til Luchau:

I got a question for you. How was doing this? And maybe by this, I mean, both the business you built and now, the Shoulder Jam, which is leading into more Jams and different things. How did this come out of your personal experience? How was this an answer, let’s say, to the question of your life?

Diane Matkowski:

Well, I think, being on the floor with massage therapists, there’s so much beyond the techniques that I’ve had to mentor them with. The technique is like a very small portion of our work. And seeing the body as a whole is a big part of our work, I think. So, for me, I just, there’s a lot of things that I would always hear when people would go to classes, maybe they’d get overwhelmed, maybe they’d get a lot of information, how do I incorporate all of this? And one day, I was at my office and one of my therapist said, “I really want to learn more shoulder work.” And you know Till, I’m only one person. I have a lot of tricks on my sleeve. I can show a lot of shoulder work, but I realized I needed Whitney Lowe and Til and I needed some James Waslaski.

I’m only one person and you can’t learn everything from one person. And that really, I really had to humble myself with my staff and say, “I can’t teach you everything. I know you think I’m the best thing since sliced bread, but I can’t teach you everything. You need a group of teachers. You need a village.” So for me, that’s kind of how it all started. And one of my therapists literally said, “I’d like to learn more about the shoulder.” I was like, “All right, you want to learn more about the shoulder? All right, we’re going to learn something about the shoulder.”

Whitney Lowe:

All right.

Diane Matkowski:

That’s really how it started, so.

Whitney Lowe:

So, what were some of the biggest lessons that you learn from this event? This was a new-

Diane Matkowski:

My God.

Whitney Lowe:

A new first time doing things like-

Diane Matkowski:

Yes.

Whitney Lowe:

What were some of those? I’m sure there was lessons on technical stuff. There were lessons on things that you learned from the presenters. But what were some of your big takeaways from that?

Diane Matkowski:

I think, I learned a little humility. I was very humbled. And again, I learned how hard all of you work. You guys work hard. You don’t just like whip together a presentation on the shoulder. It takes years to get good at teaching. It takes years to put together a good class. It takes years to be able to precisely explain something so that a large group can relate and understand what you’re saying. And I just have gotten so much more respect for the group that taught with me and just teachers in general, because it’s an art what you guys do. It’s important. We need you and I’m so thankful for all of you. All the people that were in the Jam.

So I think, for me, I just keep learning humility, because, I’m like, “Oh, I’m going to whip this together, blah, blah, blah.” My God. It was a lot of work. And it took a lot of energy and it took a lot of way. I don’t think, I personally and maybe today, this is how I feel like I don’t think life is an I program. It’s a we program. And again, I asked for help and I worked hard and I listened. And it all worked out, honestly, more beautifully than I could have ever imagined. And the people that I liked, I would almost say that I love now, just what a great group of people and I’m just so thankful for all your hard work and efforts and that I could be a part of kind of sharing that wit the community.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah. Well, that word, too, community has so much power to it. And I think in that particular event, you did a wonderful job of demonstrating and showing a sense of community at an educational event. Not just an educational event, but let’s face it, it was a virtual event, where we didn’t get that chance to have the personal interactions that we usually have in-person, and you did a great deal to bring together a sense of community. The music and the sort of dancing at the end of the presentations. Getting the presenters to come together at the end of the day, in the end of the week and talk about things. Do you think this sort of community spirit is an important part of a good educational event? I mean, do you think that that really had an impact, a significant impact on the quality of that educational event?

Diane Matkowski:

I mean, for me, again, it’s everything, and I’ve learned that from my staff is that I just started to feel overwhelmed, I couldn’t give them everything that they wanted. The economics, the study of economics is satisfying human needs and wants with scarce resources. As a person, I’m a scarce resource. As a teacher, you’re a scarce resource.

I mean, you guys rock, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t hurt to have a little help. And I really do think that massage has always been a community event for me And it takes more than one teacher to make a solid massage therapist. I really think that and I think that the teachers think that and I think you all… I think teachers like being around each other, so it’s been fun.

Til Luchau:

I have a theory that, because it’s such a solitary profession for most practitioners, you’re in your room with somebody who’s not talking to you much.

Diane Matkowski:

I mean, that is-

Til Luchau:

I mean, you’re spending a lot of time doing that, that any excuse we get to get together is great. And actually, a lot of the CE stuff, including this, is like this is how we get community, those are our communities. And so, you managed to transfer that to an online setting in a really successful way. And we had a lot of fun getting connected.

Diane Matkowski:

Well, it was fun. And that’s exactly, that’s true, too. That’s one of the reasons I started all this. And I’ve started a lot of things in my life. As a massage therapist on my own, I got lonely, I couldn’t learn. I wasn’t challenged not being around other massage therapist. I worked for myself, by myself for a while. And it was just waiting for the next client, going in the room.

And working with a group, I found that I was challenged by the therapist around me. That they did things better than I did in some areas. I did not better, but their strengths were in areas that maybe mine were of lesser strengths. So, for me, I found that I learned most being around other massage practitioners. Once I had a team, I just, I went to a whole new level.

Til Luchau:

So true. And then, so then there’s the idea of business. Can I ask you about that a little bit?

Diane Matkowski:

Til, you can ask me just about anything.

Til Luchau:

Just about, all right. So, in terms of business, though, you have had some success, you put together your own practice, you put together a clinic, you moved on to now these events. And who knows, the sky’s the limit. But what I hear, yeah, what I hear a lot from people in my trainings and from my colleagues is they say, “I’m not really that into business. I’m not that good at business. I’m not a good marketer. I kind of do if I have to, but mostly, I just feel like I’m not very good at it.” What would you say to them?

Diane Matkowski:

I would say that’s going to make for a very interesting practice. I mean, there’s no… I remember, when I first started in the ’90s, my accountant said to me, “Diane, you’re a really amazing massage therapist, but you’re a horrible business person.” And I was really offended by that. But and two, it takes time to become a good business person. Everything in life takes practice. You don’t very rarely do you just do something, all of a sudden, you’re brilliant at it. Practice.

Til Luchau:

Okay, so if I’m a practitioner, I’m thinking I’m not good at business, do I just need to get over that and get good at business?

Diane Matkowski:

No, I think you need to find a mentor and you need to find, surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to do, and ask for help. There’s mentors. I mean, I’m available. Til’s available. I don’t know, Whitney. I mean, there’s people out there who are, that you could invest in. I think it’s important to find someone to invest and to help you grow as a business person. I was lucky.

Til Luchau:

Yeah, getting some support, getting some mentorship, getting some outside input. What else? What else would help people?

Diane Matkowski:

I mean, I learned-

Til Luchau:

If they only knew about it, only did it, what would it be?

Diane Matkowski:

I mean, I’ve learned from, just like I said, people around me. And I think that that’s the best way is to find someone that you trust and that will sit down with you and kind of go through what your strengths and your lesser strengths are and work with you on the lesser strengths when it comes to business. And I think, too, a lot of people think they’re not as good at… “I’m not good at that, I’m not good at that.” Well, let’s dive in and see. Let’s find out. Let’s investigate. Let’s give you some challenges, so that you can learn solutions.

I learned how to be a good business person by making a ton of mistakes. My mistakes were my greatest business training. All the things that I did wrong, said wrong, bought that I shouldn’t have, all those things. That was a lot of my training, too. So, not being afraid to fail, not that or make a mistake, too, I think is an important part of it.

Whitney Lowe:

I think there’s two important aspects of team development when you talk about business. And when I say team, I think about that, in terms of a big picture view, like who are some of like, you said, you had an accountant that you worked with. There are a lot of massage therapists should not be doing their own books.

Diane Matkowski:

No.

Whitney Lowe:

Because it just, it really is out of the realm of your expertise. And that is the kind of thing that you should outsource. And there’s a lot of things that you can outsource on small levels with people that would turn out to be really helpful for you in building your practice.

And I’d also expand that to say there’s things that you can outsource to systems. Now, we’ve got all these online booking systems. We’ve got CRM database systems that we can help communicate with clients and things like that. There’s a lot of ways that people can get help in some of those areas that they’re not so good at. So, building out resources and teams and additional things that can really support what you’re doing can help you in those places where you’re weaker, I think.

Diane Matkowski:

And I think, too, keeping in mind your price point or where are you really, as a massage therapist. I think sometimes people, I know a lot of people get out of school and are like, “I’m opening up an office, I’m going to fill it with the best stuff. I’m going to put it on the corner of the busiest street.” And they don’t have clients yet, so I mean, it’s a process. My first accountant was my step mom. We sat around, and we figured it out, and slowly. Now, I don’t even really deal with my books so much. Now, I give the information. But that was a long process. Again, just the learning curve.

Til Luchau:

Well, okay, so then if we took some of those things, and said we, is there any that applies to just the practice of doing bodywork? Are there any of those principles that have really helped you with business? I think being available to help, just giving at go, going for it, do those apply to like what you do with your client on the table, too or are there other things that you should?

Diane Matkowski:

My goodness gracious. I’m so glad you asked that. Because I do. I feel like there’s a tool. I’ve developed this toolbox. I’ve done thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of massages in 25 years. I’ve done so many massages. And I feel like the reason that I’ve endured is one, beating people where they’re at. Two, trusting that I have a good toolbox, and that their body will tell me what it needs and just kind of trusting myself.

So, for me, I think that not getting too caught up and having too many ideas prior to investigation. Meaning once my hands are on the client, because somebody can sit there and tell you a lot of stuff. And I used to get really caught up. They’d be like, “This and this and this and this and this and this and this and this.” And then once I got them on the table, and felt them, their body might have told me a little different story, which is why I love that Whitney does such powerful assessments.

Til Luchau:

Yes, that’s right. Powerful, clear, methodical and useful, I might add.

Diane Matkowski:

Yes.

Til Luchau:

All right. So, I only got one more question I’ve been wondering about and been wanting to ask you in this context. And that is you talk a lot about mentoring, you do a lot of mentoring, you give honor to your mentors, and you encourage people to get mentors. What have you gotten from your mentors that you’re passing on? What is your heritage? What is the essential part of that, what would you say?

Diane Matkowski:

I think acceptance is an action word. And that really, everybody has their own journey. And if I get luck, if I’m lucky enough to be a part of that for a little while or a long while, that’s awesome. But relationships take time to develop, and it takes showing up. And I can’t be the only one showing up as a mentor. The mentee also has to show up. So, I think just really learning acceptance has probably been some of the greatest gifts and just being who I am are some of the greatest lessons that I’ve learned from the mentors that I’ve chosen.

Til Luchau:

Being who you are, acceptance. Beautiful. We’ll add that to going for it.

Diane Matkowski:

Yes, go for it.

Whitney Lowe:

And I want to jump in for a second, because I think this is a really good question. And I would like to hear, Til, I would like for you to answer that question also.

Til Luchau:

Jesus Christ.

Whitney Lowe:

Because I’m curious to hear that. I think it’s just such a really good question and I’d like to hear what you say about that as well.

Til Luchau:

All right, I’m thinking. I’m thinking because it’s fair. Turnabout is fair play here. What elements did I get from my mentors that I’m willing to pass on? I think it’s something about a deep interest for me, myself, a deep interest in people and in about what helps someone unfold in the way they want to unfold. It’s like a puzzle. And there’s a listening in a patient and adapting that I have to do from my side to really find out, help someone find out and know for themselves what that is. And then to help them have the courage to actually do that, whether it’s to take a big breath or move when it doesn’t feel good or come back for a session or do something for themselves. Whatever that is, it’s that puzzle of how do I help someone take those steps that they want to take for themselves?

Diane Matkowski:

Something just popped out at me, too.

Til Luchau:

Yeah.

Diane Matkowski:

It too, it’s being vulnerable and being willing to have life’s experiences yourself. It’s really hard to share what you haven’t kind of worked through on your own. And I think that the mentors that I choose or people that I can see have, for lack of better word, done the inside job, have really kind of reflected, looked at themselves. And, or are even available to support me in the way that I would hope a mentor would be able to do.

Til Luchau:

Yeah.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah, yeah.

Til Luchau:

Well, Whitney, we got to ask you, too?

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah, so let me think. While I reflect on that because, again, this made me think a little bit as you were talking about that question. And this, I think kind of gets back to a couple of things, something Diane said earlier, too and also just sort of reflecting on that process. My primary mentor, especially early on in my career, was Benny Vaughn and I had the great opportunity to work with him a lot in person, one-on-one. And for me, he was a mentor, not only professionally, but also personally as a marvelous individual that I learned so much from. But there were some really important lessons about mentorship, and I think, Diane, you kind of touched on this earlier, to talking about finding your own unique kind of voice and thing.

Because, there was a part of me early on, when you see somebody like that, who is, I mean, at the point that I was having the opportunity to work with him, he was already a star. I mean, he was already a huge persona in our field. And so, you see that and you want to, “I want to be like that. I want to be the next Benny Vaughn” kind of thing. “I want to be that sort of thing.” And we started teaching together in the classroom, and something became apparent to me really early on, which is that, I can’t be Benny Vaughn because I’m not. There was a thing, when he walks into a room, he’s a big guy, he’s intelligent, he’s a good looking guy and this expansive persona, of an individual that walks in and he just sort of captivates that energy.

And I realized early on that that’s not going to be me, I’m not that kind of, I don’t have that kind of magnetism of drawing that kind of energy in. I’m going to have to find what it is, for me, that really what drives me, what’s going to make me be able to be successful in that way. And it kind of tapped into a couple different things. One of which was, this was happening when I was in probably my, I’m going to think like back now, probably late 20s. And I have always looked a lot younger than I am. And I’m a kind of a small person. And so, I had this kind of small stature and persona, and I looked like I was 17 years old when I was in my late 20s. And so I walk into a classroom and we have, a lot of people in our profession who are second career people and people who are much older than me and they walk in the classroom and like, “Who’s the kid? Who’s this kid?

And so, I realized, for me, the way that I was going to have to deal with that was I was going to have to be really smart. And I was going to have to be really knowledgeable about what I was doing. And that tapped into something that I got going on when I was in college in a Psychology class, back in the ’80s. And I got turned on to a book by Carl Rogers called Freedom to Learn. And it really was a revolutionary thing for me of recognizing that my learning is not dependent on school. It’s not dependent on me getting a particular degree. It’s not dependent on me, following this particular curriculum path. If I want to learn something, it’s up to me to find ways to learn that.

And so I realized at that point, too, that’s what’s going to be my thing is, I know how to go do things and create things for me to be a better learner. And so I started, just going to the Medical Library at Emory University, and just staying there for hours and hours just reading stuff and learning things and finding like, “Where’s the adventure going to take me today?” So, I think that whole thing with mentorship is so much about finding the thing that makes you unique or your unique way of expressing that, that I think is so, so very important.

Til Luchau:

That’s great.

Diane Matkowski:

Love that, love that.

Til Luchau:

And Diane are pumping our fists in the air as you’re talking about that, like, yes. It’s so great.

Whitney Lowe:

So, find your thing. Find your thing that you resonate with. So, Dan, a couple of things as we wrap up here today that I want to just look at. What’s coming down the pike for you? What’s on your radar screen or your horizon for the next big adventures for you?

Diane Matkowski:

So yeah, my experience has been on the ground with the massage therapist coming out of classes, coming out of school. And one of the things that I was thinking about and I’ve talked to Til about is, I really feel like success, it’s an inside job, it really is. It’s more than techniques. It’s more than, as you were saying, just now, Whitney, books or a degree or this or that. It really is an inside job.

So, we’re putting together a little series called the Inside Job series, and we’re going to have some of the… yes, yes. We’re going to have, I believe Til will be there. I think Whitney might be there. I think we might have some other teachers there. I think Alison Denny is joining, for sure. I believe James will probably join. So, we’re not going to be doing techniques, we’re going to do a series about what it means to be successful to you from Judith Aston. Just what does that job look like without the techniques? So, I’m excited about that. I actually can’t wait. It will be teachers, groups partnering, and I think it will be a lot of fun.

Til Luchau:

That’s so great. Because I mean, in some of the talking I’ve heard you do about it is like the thing that makes the techniques work. It’s like what is that thing that actually makes the techniques do their good? That helps us do our good work in the world.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah, very, very crucial. So, excited to hear more about that and see how it unfolds.

Diane Matkowski:

When I hire a therapist, I always say that, “I can teach someone how to do great techniques, but I can always help someone to want to be a great person,” or so for me, it really has been an inside job and an ongoing process. I think when I’m at the destination, I wouldn’t be sitting here with you anymore.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah. Yeah. Well, great. Well, Diane, where can people find you and learn more about what you’re doing with your whole plans and processes you got coming down the pike?

Til Luchau:

And what about, sorry. And what about her Hip Jam?

Diane Matkowski:

The Hip Jam.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah, that’s right. We didn’t hear about that. That’s right.

Diane Matkowski:

The Hip Jam. So, we did the shoulders because of a staff member by the name of Eugenia of mine, she’s like, “I want more shoulder stuff.” And then Til was like, “I think hip is next.” So, we’re just going to, I think we’re going to work through the whole body, one body part at a time. And who knows how long that will take, because there’s a lot going on with the human being. So, we could be doing this for quite a while, but yes, the Hip Jam is next.

And some people were like, “Well, what about the neck?” And I say, “Well, the neck and the hips go together, everything goes together.” So really, every class of the single parts are really helping us understand the body as a whole.

Whitney Lowe:

Cool.

Til Luchau:

Nice. And that’s coming up, do you have dates? You want to mention them here yet?

Diane Matkowski:

I do. I have dates. October 4th to October 8th.

Til Luchau:

Great.

Diane Matkowski:

A fun-filled packed week of teachers and fun.

Til Luchau:

October 4th through 8th, this is 2021. We’ll put a link to that in the show notes so people can go check that out. What else do you want to tell us about on the way out, Dan? What else do you want to bookmark or flag then?

Diane Matkowski:

Just again, I just want to say that I’m humbled and thankful for all the teachers that are involved with the Institute and the Jams and now, the series. And I just, your work to me is it doesn’t go unseen. And I just really have a lot of respect for all of you and I’m thankful for all your hard work. And it’s good to be out of my office and playing with you.

Whitney Lowe:

All right.

Til Luchau:

It’s been great to have you here. I’ll go ahead and do our closing sponsor thank you.

And that thank you today is for ABMP, who say they are proud to sponsor The Thinking Practitioner podcast. ABMP membership gives massage therapists and body workers exceptional liability insurance, numerous discounts and great resources to help you thrive like their ABMP podcast. Available @abmp.com/podcasts or wherever you listen. Even if you’re not a member, you can get free access to massage and bodywork magazine, where Whitney and I are frequent contributors and special offers for thinking [email protected]/thinking.

Whitney Lowe:

And we want to say a big thank you to all of our sponsors and also to all of our listeners, who tune in every once in a while to listen to us. We really appreciate you and we really appreciate the notes and everything that you send over to us as well. You can stop by our sites for show notes, transcripts and any extras. You can find that with me over at academyofclinicalmassage.com and Til, where can people find that through you?

Til Luchau:

Advanced-trainings.com, just click on the podcast or blog link and that will take you right to our episodes. If you got questions or things you want to hear us talk about, email us at [email protected] or look for us each on social media. I’m at my name, Til Luchau. How about you, Whitney?

Whitney Lowe:

Also, my name Whitney Lowe over there. And you can follow us on Spotify, Apple podcast, Google podcasts, wherever else you happen to listen. And of course, if you’re unable to find us in any of those locations, you can grab a couple of empty cans of Jolly Green giant green peas and tie string between them and put them up to your ear and you’ll hear us there.

Til Luchau:

I got to test that out. I want to hear it.

Whitney Lowe:

Do it. All right. In fact. All right, I think that’s going to wrap it up for us here and we will look forward to seeing everyone again very shortly.

Til Luchau:

Thanks, Diane.

Diane Matkowski:

Thank you.

Whitney Lowe:

Yep.

 

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