If you ask most tarot readers why they got into their line of work, you’ll usually hear this: “I want to help people.” We tend to be caretakers with a big capacity for empathy.
Empathy is “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” It’s what makes us good at our work.
But there is a side effect that comes with all this caring business: it can feel heavy at times. We deal with some pretty sensitive stuff. We might be helping a client find their way through a nasty divorce and then moving on to assisting another with the grief of losing a loved one – all in the same day.
This is intense work and it can affect the reader in various ways: feeling drained; over-giving during your sessions (especially if you feel sorry for a client); becoming over-invested in the outcome; or being haunted by the client problems and carrying their issues around with you.
Caring for a client means being present and helping them move through their issues. Carrying means taking on the responsibility that the client needs to do – or carrying their problems into your life. It feels like a thousand pounds of dead weight on your shoulders.
This reminds me of a story:
A man was trapped in a well. He called for help and finally, a passerby heard his screams and came to the well. The passerby looked down, saw the man’s predicament and jumped in. Now they were both in the well.
When we are “in the well” with the client, it does nothing to help them. If anything, it is detrimental to both the reader and the client because now they are both stuck.
How can you care without carrying?
It starts with strict boundaries, which means you never step outside of the client/reader relationship. For example, you may not want to hang out with your clients outside of work or allow them to “friend you” in your private social media places – especially if they are knee-deep in drama. If you choose to do either, you must make sure that your clients understand that when it’s business, it’s business – and when you are off the clock, you are not doing readings or being a personal dumping ground. There is no discussing their reading or their issues in a social situation, online or off.
Here’s an example: I once met a client for coffee and ended up with my Facebook message box full of emails about their problems later that day. Not cool. I had to nip that right in the bud.
At times, you may feel bad saying no to requests for dinner or refusing a friend request on social media, but in the long run, these boundaries will help you remain objective and the relationship will stay healthy.
When you are in the appointment, be your ever-loving caring self and give your all. But when the session is done – so are you. For example, that means no endless free “follow-up” or “clarifying” questions. No calling the next day to “discuss the reading.” Nitpicking over a reading endlessly does not serve the client and it does not allow you to move on with your life. Once you are done with your reading, resist the urge to keep on going over it with the client. Done is done.
Unplug yourself from your work. That means sticking to a set schedule with no “emergency readings” during your off hours. Turn off your phone and shut down your email. You are not a convenience store.
Create strict phone policies. Which may mean keeping it short when you return calls or avoiding calls for clients who “just want to chat” or “update you” on their situation. This will often amount to you getting stuck in a conversation that will usually morph into a free reading. (My phone is never on and I do not return calls. All appointments must be scheduled via email. This has improved my business and my life 100%.)
Charge a living wage for your work. You are providing a professional service and charging for your work sends the message that this your job, not a free helpline.
At the end of your day, find a way to move on – perhaps a ritual to suggest your day is done. That could be turning off the phone, shutting down the computer and a short meditation or a brisk walk to shake off that energy.
In some situations, you may need to end the client/reader relationship. While extreme, it does happen on occasion. If the client’s issues are beyond the scope of your abilities, if they are making excessive demands on you, or disrespecting your boundaries, the wisest path is to walk away.
Practice good self care. That means eating well, getting plenty of rest, exercise and meditation daily. Treat yourself like a golden temple. Because you are.
Lastly, remind yourself that you are there during the session to care but it’s their responsibility to live their lives once they walk out the door or hang up the phone. Give them back the accountability for their issues. If their life is not going the way they want, a tarot reading won’t change that. You can illuminate the way, but only they have the power to make a change. Their life is their life and yours is yours.
“Don’t sacrifice yourself too much, because if you sacrifice too much there’s nothing else you can give and nobody will care for you.” ~ Karl Lagerfeld
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2015
Want to learn how to care for your clients without carrying that shizz around with you? My latest e-book, How to Read Tarot Under Any Circumstance, will give you my best survival tips (and my all time best client horror stories!) to help you stay pro, no matter what.
The doors for the next Soulful Proprietor Retreat will open up on July 2nd – and this time it’s going to be a one-day event complete with tarot, astrology, business masterminding + planning, plus luxe food and other goodies. Limited to 8 lucky ladies. Stay in my world and be ready when the doors open:
images from stock photography