Waaaaaay back when I was in school (or was that 2 seconds ago?!) I came across a quote that truly informed many of the decisions I've made as a holistic health provider. Those of you who have seen me speak or know me well, may vaguely remember it:
The superior physician does not just treat disease, but teaches society and helps form the intentions of humanity.
It was written by one of the most influential founding fathers of traditional Chinese medicine(TCM), Sun Simiao.
While, I had been busy learning the circular logic of TCM, the constellation of signs and symptoms that point to certain patterns of imbalance, food therapy, the properties of individual herbs and the ways to combine them into classic formulas, but I hadn't really given much thought to HOW I wanted to practice these things until then.
Indeed, the schooling for Eastern medicine is much like the schooling for Western medicine in that you learn lots of tools, facts, statistics and skills, but spend little to no time thinking about your interactions with patients beyond their patterns and even less time thinking about your role in society.
But this quote made me pause and spend some time thinking on just those ideas and I'm so glad I did.
I LOVE teaching and as a practitioner of something that is both very foreign and very intuitive to most westerners I was in the position not to just practice what I learn and keep it all in my own head, but to TEACH.
So I made it my goal to start speaking. I set the goal of speaking at least once a month to whoever would have me. At first it was community groups, small businesses, and clubs, eventually it included fortune 500 companies, symposiums and private retreats. But several threads run through each and every talk I've ever done:
1) They make me better at what I do! When I connect with more people, hear their thoughts, insights, questions and concerns it broadens my perspective and gives me more to draw from. When I spend time focusing on a topic it helps me distill ways to communicate certain ideas and help others understand them easier and use them in their lives. From how to deal with feeling too busy and overwhelmed, to facing lives' challenges & taking control of your health by seeing yourself as a whole person and the many ways you influence your own health and more, I love going more in depth and communicating these ideas.
2) I love them! I used to get nervous before speaking (and still sometimes do), but even with nerves I always LOVE speaking. It is such a thrill to share what I am passionate about and what I believe can help others. It is an honor to be heard. I know my own life and the lives of literally hundreds and hundred of patients have been changed through TCM and it is something most people really connect with, even if it sounded like voodoo before I began (oh, and I like a challenging room too!)
3) My goal is always to give more than I receive! Sure, there is an aspect of putting ME (Nicole Lange) out there and marketing myself, but my hope and goal is that what I can give people to take away (whether they ever think about ME again, see me, etc.) trumps my own benefit. When I speak, I don't intend to "sell" anyone on needing to pay me or use certain products or services that I offer. I fully intend to teach my audiences things they can immediately take away and use on their own to make their lives more balanced and healthier. Ways to feel empowered and informed. From new paradigms to reframe old issues, to practical tips on food, breathing, stress reduction and exercise and more. What I do at my practice is just a tiny part of what TCM has to offer and my speaking events are always about that.
So 10 years later, I've kept at my goal and managed to average at least 1 talk per month and I am thankful for each and every ear I've been received by and for each and every invitation that has been extended to me. I often speak for free or for the cost of covering childcare while I am speaking. The "payment" of feeling like I have the opportunity to make the world a better place and share ideas that I know can make lives better is a meaningful one (then again I'm a bleeding heart liberal!)
Although I've got lots of experience, I'm still not above any opportunity. If you have a class, club, group or event you are looking for a speaker for, please, don't hesitate to ask. I'd love the opportunity. My areas of expertise are women's health & fertility, sexual health and trauma, parenting and modern family challenges, creating down time in the busy world, and basic DIY holistic self care for all. I'm happy to custom craft a new topic if it's one I can speak to that you are interested in too...
Friends, Romans, Countrymen Lend Me Your Ears!