An Unmotivated Masseuse

Kristin has a 31-year-old son who doesn't seem to be motivated. He's a masseuse and says he's having a hard time building his business. Does Dave have any words of wisdom for motivating this young man?

QUESTION: Kristin in Los Angeles has a 31-year-old son who doesn’t seem to be motivated. He’s a masseuse and says he’s having a hard time building his business. Does Dave have any words of wisdom for motivating this young man?

ANSWER: There’s probably about one of three or four reasons why he’s not motivated.

Number one, he’s afraid. When we’re afraid, we’re not motivated. We freeze. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Deer in the headlights”? A deer gets in the headlights of a car, and it freezes. That’s fear.

Number two is hopelessness. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” When someone believes that if they engage in sacrifice or they engage in planting corn that they’ll never get any corn, then why plant corn?

The third possibility that comes to mind is he’s lazy.

I don’t know which one it is, but it’s probably something like one of those three, or it’s some combination of those three. I’m a go-getter. I’m a hard-driving guy, and I used to think a lot more people are lazy than are lazy. There are some lazy people, but most people who people think are lazy are really fearful or hopeless. They’re afraid of something. That’s usually what shuts people down more often than just raw laziness. There are people who simply just don’t like to work much. That’s a character flaw like lying or stealing. That’s something that someone has to learn the hard way that it’s not going to work out for them.

I don’t know which one he falls into. I will tell you that there’s absolutely no reason … I do not believe what you said earlier that it is tough out there for a masseuse right now. I know three people in that business personally who are having the best years of their lives right now. All three of them are prospering like they have never prospered before. Can you imagine how much need there is for stress relief right now in America? Everybody walking around is a potential customer for a masseuse.

He needs to develop two sets of skills here. He needs to develop his massage skills further than he has, but more than anything, having been a customer of that business, the biggest thing is you have to learn people. You have to have people skills. People who come in and are weird and they’ve got a weird vibe on them—you don’t want them touching your body. They’ve got to be friendly, kind, quiet if they need to be quiet, a little conversational if it’s someone who likes a little conversation, don’t tell them all your own personal problems. They’ve got their own problems. They’re there for stress relief. It’s like the waitress who comes up to your table and starts telling you she’s getting a divorce. I’m sorry you’re getting a divorce, but I didn’t come in here for that. I came in here for food. This is what he’s facing.

The best people skill that he can develop is a referral business extraordinaire. Someone who has a great masseuse who does a massage for them and they love the massage will tell everyone on the planet. It’s like a lady who finally gets a hair stylist who does her hair just right. She tells everyone about her guy or her gal. That’s how this business is built.

If he can overcome his fear or hopelessness and not blame it on the economy and not say it’s tough to be a masseuse right now … it’s not, you’re standing in the middle of a cornfield wanting to harvest corn, you’ve got stressed people within arm’s reach of you everywhere you walk right now. It’s a luxury for some people, but a lot of people are deeply engaged in this. It’s a booming industry. I think he’s going to be fine once he gets his head screwed on straight. I don’t know how you help him as his mom when he’s 31, but maybe you get him Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s book or get him EntreLeadership. That’s assuming he’ll read.