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Your Client’s Happiness is Your Job

By Melinda Perkins – Let’s face it, your clients choose you because they are unhappy.


Let’s face it, your clients choose you because they are unhappy. Happy people’s pain points are just little dots on the map. They will scroll right past your best laid-out, most provocative social media because they just don’t don’t see it.

Your clients come to you because those pain points you describe in exquisite detail are giant, red pin-drops that read YOU ARE HERE.

They are unhappy with some aspect of themselves that they hope you can help them change. 

And you can. ‘

You are outstanding in your niche and no one does what you do in the way you do it. 

You can’t wait to dive in, but if you take a step back you won’t regret it.

Whether your magic potion is nutrition, fitness, mindset, or an alchemical mix of all three and then some, you’ll support each client more effectively if you make them happy first. 


Why do the basics, when there’s a faster way to get better results that last?

You don’t lead your industry because you do the same things that everyone else does in the same way that they do them.

So why not try something even more left-field?

Instead of latching onto their most hurtful pain point and crafting a path to dissolve it, take a breath, look them in the eye and turn that pain point into a strength. Shift their perspective to see that ugly, awful, hurtful thing in a new, positive light.

What? If they’re happy, then they’ll walk out. 

Contrary to popular belief, (and even what I said at the outset), life actually plays out the opposite of that.


Let’s paint a picture.

Your next client walks in the door because they hate their reflection in the mirror and they’re ready to toss out every bit of their wardrobe because it has all shrunk. 

They are unhappy. 

Your mind will instantly whir with the perfect exercise prescription, the ideal detox, that blood panel that no other health professional thought to order. If they follow your protocols you know they will get results.

Don’t act just yet.

Pause and consider the positives.


Here is where it gets personal:

You must consider the specific upsides to this individual’s particular struggle with the pain point of your expertise; make it personal to the biology, psychology and personality in front of you. The more precise you are, the more profound this technique will be.

Let’s break it down.

Your client is heavyset, has struggled with weight issues all their life to yo-yo style outcomes. They are busy taking care of everyone else’s needs and forget to meet their own. They want you to help them shuck those unwanted pounds and fully expect you to do that through beration and deprivation.

What if, instead, you pointed out that what they see reflected in the mirror is, indeed, their greatest strength? While mainstream society praises the stick-figure, no one talks about the obvious disadvantages. Imagine a skinny person trying to carry six suitcases through the airport. 

Then add some structural heft and muscle. Suddenly you have someone who can not only cart the suitcases with grace, but herd three kids at the same time. You have to be structurally sound to carry other people’s burdens. 

This client sitting across from you naturally does so with ease. 

Chances are, no one has ever pointed this out to them. 

On the flipside, what if your client is that skinny person? Legs and arms sport an unsatisfying amount of muscle, but their last three months of meals seem to have congregated at their waistline. Work is life for them, which means nutrients enter their body at odd hours and in shocking forms.

They expect you to tell them to work less, lift heavier stuff and stop eating junk.

Instead, you point out that their focus on work is admirable and the fat stores are the body’s way of making sure they can fuel their brain to do the big work. Get them talking about why their work is of utmost importance and how they are changing the world.

When was the last time a health professional cared about their mission? 

Um, exactly never.  


It works

This works with any dissatisfaction you can imagine: lack of energy, brain fog, short temper as well as loss of job, relationship, or physical prowess. It doesn’t matter what pain points you are passionate about resolving, nor what ground-breaking, results-garnering method you have developed. Despite the magnitude of your expertise and how elite you are in your niche, tackling your client’s happiness first will catapult you to the next level. 

This approach will be as effective with the next client that walks in your door regardless of the number of times you’ve seen them, or how much they have progressed previously. You can start anywhere with any client and facilitate a positive shift. 


But why does it work?

When we take a moment to appreciate the strengths of the person before us, we help them see their unique perfection in that moment. We’re not selling them on the idea of how great they will be once we help them (our marketing did this). We’re selling them on their individual greatness now. This ticks two boxes related to Albert Bandura’s self-efficacy theory: Mastery Experiences and Verbal Persuasion. 

Mastery Experiences are about identifying and compiling past successes. With your stout client, helping them recognize the strength in their underlying body structure sets the foundation to build on that strength in ways that will optimize it, not try to make it something it will never be. They are much more likely to feel capable of making their body stronger and healthier than what they have failed at in the past: making it lanky. 

Verbal Persuasion is what the coaching and personal training industry are built on, spurring someone into action through motivational and encouraging words. Your belief in their ability to complete the steps to achieve the goal helps them see it is possible. You do this naturally and probably even add in some case studies of others who have built on their strengths to achieve their desired outcome which takes us into a third of Bandura’s four sources of self-efficacy: Vicarious Experiences. 

Studies show that self-efficacy correlates positively with happiness. In short, leading with your client’s strengths instead of zeroing in on the weaknesses, increases their belief in their ability to affect change in their life which, among other things, makes them happy. 

Happy people do life differently. They are open to new ideas, attack things with more energy, make better choices, and surround themselves with better influencers. Anything that you suggest once you’ve helped them increase their happiness quotient, will be better received, followed more closely and lead to lasting change.


So, why is their happiness your job?

Even if they have a smile brighter than the sun and a list of achievements longer than yours, they walked into your office because they are unhappy. They think losing those stubborn pounds, being strong enough to lift their kids, bending over without back pain, rediscovering love with their life partner or fixing chronic gut issues will reignite the joy they’re missing. 

When you do this in the opening minutes of your session, everything you do after that feels like dancing through a field of flowers.

Are you ready to get precise with your clients? It’s simple. To learn how to apply precision methods and technology solutions to your service offering check out our, Level 1 Course for Health Professionals.





  1. L. L. N. Shilpa and R. Prasad, “Self efficacy, perceived stress and happiness among students,” 2017 International Conference on Advances in Computing, Communications and Informatics (ICACCI), Udupi, India, 2017, pp. 2105-2109, doi: 10.1109/ICACCI.2017.8126156.


O’Brien, K. M. (2003). Measuring career self-efficacy: Promoting confidence and happiness at work. In S. J. Lopez & C. R. Snyder (Eds.), Positive psychological assessment: A handbook of models and measures (pp. 109–126). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/10612-007

Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84(2), 191–215. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.84.2.191

Yolande van Zyl & Manilall Dhurup (2018) Self-efficacy and its relationship with satisfaction with life and happiness among university students, Journal of Psychology in Africa, 28:5, 389-393, DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2018.1528760

Driver, M. (2011). Coaching positively: Lessons for coaches from positive psychology. Open University Press.

Erika Stoerkel, M, Sc. “What is a strength-based approach?” (Incl. Activities and Examples), Positive Psychology: 2020



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