The One About My Amputated Finger

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog.  I don’t like that it’s been so long – but there you have it.  I’ve been a little out of sorts lately – in ways I never imagined that I would be, and it’s created a ton of issues to work through.

Some of you might know, but many don’t know – that I lost a finger participating in a mud run in October 2013.  It was one of those surreal moments that you never imagine that you would be situated right in the middle of – but I had about 30 seconds to decide to try to save the finger, or amputate.

It’s a scary thought to know that amputation might be the better choice, especially for a massage therapist.  Here’s the scoop that happened…

I was on a wooden platform at the mud run.  The obstacle has you climb up 15 feet and then the idea is that you jump into 11 foot of water.  When I was on the platform and looked into the water, I couldn’t jump.  (There’s more to the story, but that’s for another day.)  I decided to go down the backside and essentially what happened is that my finger got caught in the wood bracing as I was dropping down.  All tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, nerve and the muscle profundus was ripped out of my hand, all the way to my elbow.

I was transported to the hospital via ambulance and my 5th digit was amputated that day.  The hand surgeon gave me 2 choices and I had to make a quick decision.  The first one was that he would try to repair the damage, reattach everything (including profundus) and then he would open a pocket in my stomach and place my finger in the pocket for up to 2 weeks to see if it would regenerate skin growth – with NO GUARANTEE it would work.  Or choice #2 was to amputate the finger.

He told me “if it was [him], he would say to take the finger.”  I imagined it would take a lot for a surgeon to want to have a finger amputated.

I chose to have the finger amputated.  He cut the bone down to where there was enough skin to cover the bone and sewed me up.

When I got home, I had a lot of pain in my forearm where the muscle was ripped.  I chose to follow-up with a local surgeon to make sure that my arm was okay.  He recommend a surgery called a Ray Resection, where the 5th metacarpal bone would be cut down to a stub and then the muscles in my hand would be “stuffed inside” and the nerve stuffed inside the muscles for protection.

On Monday, 10/14, I had the Ray Resection surgery and have been recovering ever since.  The surgery was for practical, as well as cosmetic, purposes.  Most people I meet cannot tell that I am missing a finger.  My surgeon was very skilled and did great work on my hand.

IMG_2753 IMG_2952 Finger amputation






I am currently doing about 10 massages a week as I work back into the full swing or providing my best to my clients.  I started back at just 1 or 2 a week late last year and now do 1 or 2 a day.

I am learning an important self-care lesson as I have been overdoing it a bit.  I teach my students, but it doesn’t hit home until it happens to you. 

“Never put your financial needs ahead of your well-being.”

It’s really hard when you want to help people, and your hands have been a large part of your success – and when you need the money to keep your business going.

I met with a good friend a while back and his words to me were this:
“You’ll make more money using your head than your hands.”
He was right.

I took those months to work on my massage school, Bodymechanics School of Myotherapy & Massage in Olympia WA, and wrote many blog posts to drive up recruitment.  For the first time since I bought the school in 2010, I have a full class starting at the end of April, and even have a waiting list!  This change will increase my gross revenue for the year by more than $40,000.  That’s huge.

I now know how I can increase school interest and get applicants in the door.
I am one step closer to helping others who want to run their own massage school do so.
I know I can make a living with or without my hands.

Life may not always turn out like you think it will, but if you focus on your goals, you can continue to help others.

I hope this finds you happy, healthy and living your passion.

Shari Aldrich, LMP

PS – my clients say my 9-finger massage rocks!  Yahoo

Rules I Choose to Live By (Do you have any?)



by Shari Aldrich, LMP

How many people in your life have you met that have very strong personal beliefs that they never waver from?  Perhaps you know someone who eats super healthy, or who exercises religiously – and they never seem to have an issue sticking to their goals.

What makes them different than others who seem to start diets, mess up and lose sight of why they started in the first place?

You see, someone that has strong convictions are led by beliefs that allow them to act in a way that is in line with their goals. 

I’ve developed my own set of rules that I chose to live by, and they help me get up each morning dedicated to living the life I want to live.  These beliefs are not right or wrong – they are mine.  These are the same rules that helped me to buy a massage school in 2010, and to buy a 6000 square foot facility in 2012.

I want to share my rules with you – to help you see that you can live the life you want, and help you to develop your own rules to guide you.

My Rules:   

Movement is life, stillness is death.
I believe this to be true in any area of your life à relationships, business, or health.  You need to keep moving, or “it” will die.  I pushed harder than I ever imagined in my business in the last 3 years and it shows in more than 500% growth over that time.

I believe there are plenty of resources to go around.  I dislike it when people choose fear and scarcity to rule their life.

Right to choose
This is a major core belief of mine.  People, clients, patients, etc have the right to choose – choose their own provider, clinic, gym, etc.   I have to look inside ME to learn a lesson if a client chooses a different provider, school or clinic over mine.  There is no anger or resentment.  There is just a lesson to learn and improve upon to make me and mine better.  Because when I’m better, I’m meeting the needs of those around me to help them reach their goals.

Show gratitude daily to what is good in your life.  Be grateful.

Surround yourself with people you want to be like
It is said that you are the equivalent of the 5 closest people you surround yourself with.  Choose wisely.

Never quit
Quitters never win, and winners never quit.  I can’t say this enough – hold close to your heart your biggest goals, your strongest desires – and go out and make them happen.  No one is going to do it for you.  I bought my building because I believed it would happen.  It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done – but I never lost sight of the fact that this was my dream!

This ties closely to the never quit rule.  Simply, you just have to Get Sh*t Done – everyday.  Work hard, make lists and check them off.  Every day, work hard to get everything done that will bring you closer to your goal.  No excuses – just get it done.

No fear
Fear is the assassin to you reaching your goals.  Fear and scarcity will prevent you from living the life you want to live.  If I let fear rule me, I wouldn’t have reached out to find someone to finance my dream.  Your hopes, your goals, your desires are what you need to remember when you feel the flutter of anxiety.

One shot at this life – live it!
Hey, I figure it should at least be the life I want – not someone else’s version of a life they think I should be living.  Live for you, and be happy!

My rules help me live the life I desire.  They are congruent with where I want to go.  My company is flourishing and it will continue to grow.

I’m curious if you have rules you live by?  Has my list inspired you to write down your rules?
Feel free to share your rules in the comments section.

Committed to your success –
Shari Aldrich, LMP
Massage Business Training

2 Business Commandments

Have you thought about starting your own business?

What’s stopping you from taking the leap?  Fear of change?  Fear of failure?  Fear of success?

Fear is a terrible thing.
Fear stifles our thinking.  It stifles our actions.
Fear creates indecisiveness.
Fear causes us to lose our confidence.

Listen, you have a dream.  Your dream is always there – simmering in the back of your brain – close to the surface, but hidden nonetheless.  You wish you could make it happen, but you’re afraid to leave your comfort zone.


I’ve been there, but I stopped letting fear rule me long ago.  For these reasons, I’d like to share with you 2 Commandments for Business.  These commandments helped me grow – my hope is that they will encourage you to make the change in your life!



Commandment #1:                
Don’t Mess Around

You have a dream.  Go out and make it happen.  Really.  Don’t mess around.  Figure out what you need to do to make it happen, and just get started.  One of my favorite quotes is “Speed of Implementation” and it describes the first commandment perfectly.  Get Version 1 done and just start – speed of implementation.

The key is that you self correct and make changes as needed – but you have to start to fix.  You have to start to test the validity of your plan.  You just have to start – and the only way to start, is to stop messing around and GET IT DONE.

Commandment #2:              Don’t let fear guide you.

Refer back to commandment #1 – don’t mess around.  Do not let fear stop you.  Listen; there will never be a perfect time to start.

The truth is that someone else is thinking of the same idea as you.  If you don’t start making your dream a reality, that person will – and you will forever wish you had started first because you had the idea long before they did.

Just start.  Remember this:  speed of implementation.

When Your Career is Your Passion

Tuesday, I heard something profound.  I invited my sister, Janice, to come and introduce herself to students at Bodymechanics School of Myotherapy & Massage.

Obviously, we share the same story with the deaths in our family.  (Read our story here.)  Janice is a Breast Cancer survivor.   She explained to my students how she felt with the deaths in our family, and subsequently her getting cancer – and how each time “it” got closer to her personally.   For me, I never looked at it in this way.  My thinking has always been that I wanted to be around for my kids and grandkids for a very long time.  I never thought about “it” getting closer.

But, I could see how she would feel this way.  It did get close to her – it got very close and very personal.  Janice went on to say “each of us has a personal story to what brought us where we are today.”  And that’s very true.  We do all have a very personal reason for getting into massage therapy.

For me, I needed to make a change.  I needed to decrease my stress if I wanted to be

Find your passion

Find your passion

around for my kids for a long time.  I believe if I continued on my path that the stress would have killed me at a young age, as it did my brother and sister.

She made her change – becoming a health and wellness coach and leaving the stress of college administration.

I made my change as well.  I own a massage school.  I mentor students and therapists around the country.  I educate clients about their body.  I’m an innovator and I am excited to continue to grow and push the walls further and further and see just how far I can take my business.

My career is my passion – and I’ve never been more excited to see what the future brings as I am today.

Oh, the places you’ll go!

Friday night, we graduated another class from Bodymechanics School of Myotherapy & Massage.  The class elected speaker, Jace, came up with a play on the Dr. Seuss book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go…”  It was so much fun that I asked his permission to share with my readers and he was gracious enough to allow it.  Here it is – enjoy!

Today is your day!
You’re off to great places
You’re off and away!

You have a hangly-dangly in your head
You have cuboids in your shoes
You can bipedally locomoter any direction you choose!
You’re on your own.
And you know what you know
And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down bodies
Look ’em over with care
Some will be contraindicated
And you will choose not to go there
You’ll be horizontally abducting at the glenohumeral joints!
You’ll be seeing great postural deviation sites!
You’ll scoop and lift fibers
and soar to high heights
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Though you can get so confused….
What’s the origin of iliopsoas again?
You’ll race through your memories at a breakneck pace
Thinking of isotonic flexion at the coxal joint place
Pondering on platysma, piriformis, plantaris and popliteus
Picking your brain for peroneals, pectorals, and pesky pectinous.

Oh, the places you’ll go! when you forget what you know.
There are adhesions to cross fiber friction
There are scalenes to be done
Trigger points to palpate and release until you’ve won!
And the magical things you can do with those carpals
will make your clients drool and release all their tarsals
FAME!  You’ll be famous as can be
with the whole wide world watching you skin roll on TV

Except when they don’t
Because sometimes they won’t
There are some down the road between hither and yon
Than can scare you so much you won’t want to go on
But on you will go
Though the foot odor be foul
on you will go
though muscle spasms prowl
On you will go
though your thenar pads howl
Onward up many hairy legs and feet
Though your arms may get sore
and your synovial joints may creak

On and on you will go and I know you’ll go far
And face up to your problems, whatever they are

You’ll get mixed up, of course
As you already know
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange pathologies as you go
So be sure when you work
Work with care and great tact
and remember that life’s a great balancing act

Just never forget to be dextrous and deft
And never mix up your right acetabulum with your left

And will you succeed?
Yes!  You will indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed!)

So, be your name Danielle or Les or Cody or Becky or Jace
Be you Valerie, Victoria, Heather, Joelene, or Desiree.
You’re off to a great place!
Today is your day!
Your clients are waiting,
So…. get on your way!


When the going gets tough…

You know the rest of this…  the tough get going.  This week alone, three therapists have talked with me about struggles they are having in getting clients in their doors.  Financial worries are weighing heavily on them.  Times are tough…..  or are they?
Is it truly in your perspective?  Lets see.

Are you taking your practice serious?

Are you taking your practice serious?

When times are tough, you have 2 choices –

  • Sit at home and worry about your (lack of) practice, or
  • Get out and take control of your practice.

Your success is directly correlated to the amount of time and effort you put into growing your business.  If you’re sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring, it will not.  If you’re passively waiting for clients to be sent your way, they won’t be sent.

If you’re out handing out business cards, meeting people, sharing the benefits of massage with people you meet, returning phone calls, showing up to the office – in other words working, things will start to happen.

When I first started my practice, I drove 30 miles every day to sit in the office and just be there in case someone walked in the door.  I got many clients from answering the phone and just talking with people who were calling for the nutritionist who wasn’t in the office.  We talked, I described what I did, I commiserated with their pain and I offered to help them out.  Many took me up on my offers.  Sometimes, I worked for free to get my hands on people so that they could experience my work.

  • I often went to health fairs and worked on people for free.
  • I worked on people coming in the office for free with stretching.
  • I took workshops and learned as much as I could.  I got ideas to help my clients out and I came back to the office and educated my clients on what I had learned.
  • I worked on students who followed after me from the school I graduated from to develop skills and teach them.
  • I encouraged students to bring in their family members so that I could work on them (and teach the students at the same time).  These people have friends.
  • I was always available when clients called

I believe more than anything the fact that I treated my practice like a job I wanted to do forever is the single most important thing I did for my career.  Because I do want to do this forever.  I care about helping people.  I thrive on figuring out why people hurt, relieving their pain and educating them about their body.

Yes, times are tough – but you gotta get going.  Take the time to grow your business.  You can’t expect it to be easy and for people to just magically appear at your door.  Cultivate relationships, meet people, educate and help.  It will happen for you if you take the time to make it happen.

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”
~ Bruce Lee

Committed to your success
Shari Aldrich

Motion is Attracted to Motion

I heard this statement recently and loved it right away – motion is attracted to motion.  It is so true.  I’ve seen first hand that when you get up and work ON your business that the phone rings – and conversely, when you sit at home waiting for something to happen, the phone doesn’t ring.

With some leeway, we can take lessons from Sir Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion:

  1. First Law:  An object a rest remains at rest unless acted upon by a force.  An object in motion remains in motion
  2. Second Law:  The acceleration is directly proportional to the net force
  3. Third Law:  To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction the force is equal and opposite.
Motion is Attracted to Motion Massage Business Training

Motion is Attracted to Motion
Massage Business Training

An object at rest remains at rest – sit home and wait for the phone, nothing is going to happen.
The acceleration is proportional to the net force – do nothing, get nothing.
To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction who force is equal and opposite – the more motion expended, the more motion is created.

Need an example?
Most of you know that I bought a beautiful new building for my professional clinic, my massage school, and fitness center.  But, many of you don’t know that I retained my previous leased space and need to cover the lease payment at that location for an additional 17 months from today.

New Building

New Building 

To help cover the lease expenses, I decided to open a new student massage clinic to help students get their practice hours and to meet the needs of the community for low-cost, yet top-notch student massages.

In calculating the amount of massages a week we need to do in the ancillary clinic to cover the lease payment each month, we need to do 40 massages a week.   In our student clinic in school, we typically get 20 a week.  So, for the ancillary clinic, we need an additional 40 clients a week – we still need to maintain our 20 in the school clinic to offer the students a clinical setting with the instructor who guide’s and assists their learning.

Now, this might seem like a lot of clients to need to bring in, especially to a new clinic – but, check this out.  I started a campaign on our Facebook page and the first week, we reached almost 50% of that goal!

It’s continuing to grow – in fact, we had to shift 3 clients who called yesterday wanting in that same day to today because we were full.  In 3 short weeks, we have gone from zero to 20 a week – well on our way to 40.

We’ve printed one postcard that is hand-delivered to local business at a cost of $200 and posted on Facebook.  That’s it.  No expensive marketing tactics.  I didn’t hire extra staff to accomplish any of this.

How can you learn from this?
Create motion.  Get to the office whether you have clients or not – motion is attracted to motion.

Create Facebook momentum.  Ask your clients, friends, family and so on to share your page, to like your posts, to comment on your links.

Generate excitement by posting, teaching, and sharing information.

There are many actions you can take today to build the practice of your dreams that don’t cost a lot of money.
But, if you don’t start you’ll never get off the ground!

You can do it – I believe in you!

Committed to your success –

Shari Aldrich, LMP




Top 10 Takeaways from San Diego Mastermind

I had a GREAT weekend in San Diego, hanging out with some of the best and brightest minds I’ve ever met!  Adam Bornstein was one of our presenters.  You might not know his name, but I guarantee that you know his work.  Adam is the “behind the scenes” guy in IMG_0887anything health and fitness.  He was the editor for and has written many articles as a ghost writer.  He’s a passionate presenter and it was great to meet him and have him autograph my book.

His book Man 2.0 Engineering the Alpha opened at #4 on  the NY Times Bestselling list.

We had attendees from as far away as Australia and Hong Kong, from England to Canada and from all over the US.  I feel blessed to be with such a great group of entrepreneurs.

Things that were covered included social media, web site development, e-mail crafting, blog creation, copy review, YouTube domination, mindset, plus so much more.  I crafted my list of Top 10 takeaways from the event and am sharing those with you.

Today, I’m in the office and I’m following my own advice (you’ll see when you click on the link below to download my takeaways) – I’m working on improving myself, taking time to accomplish goals, writing down where I want to go.

I also went through an activity on the plane ride home that helped me focus in on goal setting:

  1. Detail where you want to be but aren’t…  List why you’re not there
  2. Ask yourself why you want something but aren’t acting in congruence with achieving it.

You need to be brutally honest with yourself and get to the bottom with why you aren’t reaching goals.

Click here to read my ==> Top 10 Takeaways

Enjoy your day and get yourself where you want to go!


Who wants more massage clients?

If you’re like many massage therapists, you’re sitting around wondering HOW to get more clients. Is there a fast, easy and reliable way that is cost effective to getting more massage clients?Treating shoulder pain - by Shari Aldrich

Perhaps you’ve been swayed to pay for an expensive web site, pay per click ad, direct mail or print ad campaigns. It’s definitely nice to have multiple avenues for bringing in new clients.

Are they the best choices? Perhaps, perhaps not…
Truly, the BEST and least expensive option to get new clients come from people you already know. Your current clients who already know, like and trust you.  Zig Ziglar said it like this: “If people like you they will listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.”  What better compliment can you receive then when your client tells their family or friend about you?

What do you do when clients aren’t referring to you?
I’m going to let you in on 2 secrets to getting as many new clients as you can manage.

#1 Secret:
If you say you’re going to do something, then do it!  Deliver on promises – give them the results they are expecting.  Follow up with doctors if you say you’re going to.  Follow up on researching stretches if you say you’re going to.  Call them when you say you’re going to.

Get the idea?  Might seem simple to you, but to many the activities of the day make it difficult to perform the follow-up.

Your goal is to be the BEST massage office around!  Give them an experience that is beyond what others in your area can do for them.

#2 Secret:
Condition clients to give you referrals.  Let me explain.  As you’re working on clients, and they thank you profusely for helping them – tell them the biggest compliment they can give is to refer their friends to you.  Explain the neck treatment you are doing is good for headaches – or whiplash.  Condition them to think of you when their friends or family are in pain and need help.

Exceed their expectations – every time they are in to see you.

Building your practice is really about building relationships built on trust.

As Zig says:  “If people like you they will listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.”  Build the trust!

Committed to your success

Shari Aldrich