by Mary Beth Huwe
Sometimes things can feel really hard.
In my lines of work, that can show up for clients as knee pains or relationship pains or marketing pains.
Regardless of the details of the situations, the crux is the same. Things feel really, really hard. Insurmountably hard.
It happens less now, because I’ve been so clear about this with people, but at one time it was not uncommon for an acupuncture client to lie down and say, “I just want you to fix me.”
My response is an unequivocal “No. I cannot fix you.”
This often surprises – and sometimes even angers – people. But it doesn’t change the fact that I’m serious.
No. I am not a fixer of people.
There are two reasons for that.
The first is that I don’t want that relationship with you.
It interests me exactly 0% to be in a position of authority like that over a person.
Some people crave an “expert” to tell them what to do, how to feel, what to think, how to approach life. And some “experts” crave people to tell what to do, how to feel, what to think, how to approach life.
These people are made for each other, and I hope they’ll be very happy together.
They are not me. They are not my clients. I am not a fixer. I am a collaborator.
I crave people with “expertise” in a field or technique – with agility and curiosity and imagination and some experience – but who do not consider themselves to be so “expert” that they have The Formula.
“The Formula” is cringe-worthy material. It is narrow. It is restrictive, and unencompassing.
“A formula,” now that’ll preach. “A” has lots more flexibility and scope than “the.”
When I work with clients – whether with acupuncture or writing – I serve people who are aware of their own inner authority. Who do not fear to know themselves – or if they do sometimes fear it, who face that fear. It doesn’t have to be flawless. But it does require persistence.
My clients want my opinion – of course, or they wouldn’t work with me – but they recognize it as my opinion. Not as the ultimate guiding authority.
As an acupuncturist, yes, I am the one with the needle “expertise.” But I am not the expert of your body. You are.
As a writer, yes, I am the one with the messaging and composition “expertise.” But I am not the expert over your core messages and values. You are.
There’s a second reason I cannot fix you.
I don’t believe you’re broken.
You might be in pain, limited in a way that frustrates you, angry, giving up, heartsick, grieving, confused, depressed, exhausted, bankrupt, disempowered, afraid, and/or overwhelmed, but I will not treat you as if you are broken.
Systems can be broken; things can be broken.
But in my understanding, it’s a mistake to treat people that way.
I’m Mary Beth Huwe (pronounced Huey. Obviously.) I offer writing and branding services for business and life.
The “business” part is content strategy for entrepreneurs. It’s intentional content marketing made fun, invigorating, and designed specifically for the solopreneur and small business owner.
The “life” part is Writes of Passage. It is about crafting ceremonies that honor life’s big shifts – weddings, births, deaths, and other transitions.
These essays are forays into the art and essence of communication. They have not been subjected to the full scrutiny of my editor’s eye(s), and may contain typos. (But you’ll probably never find apostrophe abuse, because that’s just cruel.)