What I am Selling as an Herbalist vs What I am Not Selling

Estimated read time... 4 minutes

As I continue to work with a variety of herbal clients and students, I realize that there is a degree of suspicion when working with an herbalist: exchanging money for advice and plants.  Why pay someone to help you with obtaining advice and which plants to use when you can look it up online, for free?  It is all too easy to think we can buy a program, supplements, herbs, foods, exercise equipment, and think that we’re done.  It’s all too easy to think that whoever is selling services (or prodcts) such as mine is out to rob everyone blind or swindle them at the very least.

Hey, I get it!  After all, I started an herbal course for this very reason: because I didn’t want to go to yet another person for help, I wanted to help myself.  And, I did really well for a time doing just that.  I got to a certain point, and I realized I needed outside help the way a plumber needs to be called for issues beyond one’s skill level.  I’m so glad I called in outside help, it’s revolutionized not only my life, but how I work with my clients and students.  Being on the receiving end, vs on the giving end, in terms of my health care has allowed me to stop worrying about whether or not I’m “doing it right” and let me lean into myself and face what needed to be faced, and let go of what has not been contributing to my life.  That’s what my goal has always been with my clients and students, and now that I’ve done the work on myself, I can share it with you in a more open-hearted way.

Sure, I could go on and on about expertise, and how because I’ve done this work for six years that I know more than the regular person on the street about plants, and TCM and dietary concerns and that’s why you should hire me to help you.  I’m not going to argue, this is all true.

I could say that I’m selling health, and to buy from me (work with me, take the herbal medicines I’m offering) you will obtain optimal health.  I don’t know what “optimal health” means or looks like for you, how could I sell it without knowing what it was for you first?

It’s no wonder there’s such a deep-rooted suspicion and mistrust when working with folks like me: herbalists and “alternative health practitioners”.

What I am selling is the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to help you get to your baseline optimal functioning so that you can then move through the world with a greater awareness of how you best function.

The teaching grows out of an in-depth intake, a conversation and interview where we review what your life looks like right now, and where you want to go with it.  It is all-encompassing: what your primary and secondary concerns are, sleep, diet, exercise, work-life balance/happiness, and everything in between.  You are, in essence, hiring a personal teacher, a mentor, to help you get to where you want to go.

What do you want from your life?

Do you know what makes you light up?

Do you know what to eat that allows you to feel so great you don’t need a cup of coffee in the afternoon as a “pick me up”?

Do you have a diet that you feel good about on a daily basis?

Do you give yourself the time and space to pursue your creative or athletic endeavors?

Do you take on things that you want to say no to, but cannot?

Do you need help with figuring out what creates uncomfortable bodily sensations and responses (pain, acne, insomnia, IBS, headaches, etc.) from a tradition and methodical perspective that is not based on allopathic medicine? Do you know what to do about it?

Whether the form of this help comes from the spoken word, a bottle of tincture or herbal tablets, a change in how you eat, the creation of new personal routines and habits, or even the shedding of things in your life that no longer serve you – all it comes down to is learning how to foster and allow the “you” you suspect yourself to be to come out into the world.
I’m not selling a quick answer in the form of a juice cleanse, or an expensive long-term contract that requires frequent purchases of various supplements.  I’m not selling a cure to anything that ails you.  (Heck, I’m an herbalist and I still have some health problems – but they aren’t stopping me and I know how to manage them thanks to the tools I have at my disposal.)

I’m selling the accumulation of my life’s twists and turns, education, experience and all that I have learned.

I cannot heal you any more than I can make you eat more kale and go to the gym, but I can teach you everything that I’ve got that I think is helpful for you.  The rest is up to you.  
They say there is no rest for the wicked, but I beg to differ: There’s no rest for those of us who have the relentless drive to keep growing and getting better and stronger no matter what life has handed us. It’s a hard sell in this society where taking a pill is the answer to nearly all of life’s problems, and this isn’t an easy path, but the rewards can be life-changing.

That’s what I’m selling: the opportunity to learn.