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88 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k j a n u a r y/ fe b r u a r y 2 0 2 3 Let's kick off this topic of professionalism with a moment of self-reflection. Ponder this question and choose a response: On a scale of 1–5, how effective are you at demonstrating professionalism in your day-to-day business activities? (1 = not very effective, 3 = somewhat effective, 5 = very effective.) While I'm naturally curious what your response is, what I'm even more curious about is what you base your response on. As you pondered this question, what thoughts and/or images came to mind? What factors did you find most important in demonstrating professionalism? To truly determine how well you demonstrate professionalism, it is necessary to define the components and criteria. What are the requirements of professionalism and how are they demonstrated? COMPONENTS OF PROFESSIONALISM In 2013, a collaboration of educational experts published the "Entry-Level Analysis Project (ELAP)," a blueprint of foundational standards of entry-level massage education. We can look to this valuable resource to guide us down the path in front of us today. According to ELAP, professionalism comprises work ethic, honesty, integrity, accountability, professional image, specialized knowledge, self-regulation, and time management. Did you base your response on any of these? If not, you may be missing a few details that are worth opening a keen eye to. Let's have a look at each component with acuity by defining it and considering ways it might be demonstrated. Honesty and Integrity Honesty is the quality of being fair, truthful, and accurate during communication and interactions with others, while integrity is the quality of being complete, whole, authentic, honest, and fair during those interactions. We'll address these together because they go hand in hand. If you are dishonest, you are not living and working with integrity. Let's say you craft a set of policies for your practice, including a policy that requires a 24-hour notice for appointment cancellations. Unless the cancellation is due to an illness or emergency, the penalty for a client not providing this notice is a charge of 50 percent of the regular session fee. However, one day you wake up and decide you need a personal day for one reason or another. You cancel your clients for the day, telling them you are sick. Then, you expect them to pay full price at their next session. Does this demonstrate honesty and integrity? The answer is no. First, you aren't sick, so you are demonstrating dishonesty. Second, if you have a policy that requires a 50 percent charge when the client doesn't give a 24-hour notice, then you should also follow that policy and offer a 50 percent discount on their next session. It's totally fine if you don't tell your clients why you take a day off. However, you should follow your own policies. Taking this action shows you are honest, fair, whole, authentic, and truthful. Accountability Accountability is an individual's willingness to be liable or responsible for their personal actions and the situations that result. essential skills | BACK TO BASICS Living Professionalism Assessing Your Work Ethic, Honesty, Accountability, Image, Knowledge, Self-Regulation, and Time Management By Cindy Williams Work Ethic Work ethic is the belief in the moral benefit and importance of work, its ability to strengthen one's character, and a willingness and desire to do one's best in the workplace. What makes you show up to work each day? Is it solely for the money? Or is it because you believe in the value of the work you do and the positive impact you have on others? Do you continually strive to learn more, hone your skills, and elevate yourself to progressively higher levels? Does your attitude ref lect your passion for what you do? Or are you ready for the day to be done before you even get started? Your response to each of these questions carries a level of energy, and that energy is felt by your clients, coworkers, and supervisors. This is what determines your work ethic. It isn't that you show up for work . . . it's how you show up for work! ALENA SHEKHOV TCOVA/PEXELS.COM

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