Learning from 2019
Blog attempt Day 8! I spent ages writing a post a few days ago. It was random, disjointed and crap (frankly). Having aborted trying to make it coherent, I decided to write about what jumped out at me from 2019 instead. It turned out that the unexpected theme running through it related to learning. So here is my blog about what I have learnt from what 2019 brought. I’m hoping that if I write a similar blog this time next year, blog writing will have appeared on the list!
A trip to Australia
That was definitely the trip of a lifetime. Never really on our radar, friends moving out there was a great catalyst to go. Port Douglas, Darwin and Sydney with a stop in Hong Kong each way. I had often wondered why you would travel for 23 hours to go somewhere where so much can kill you.
The answer was clear as soon as we started the drive along the coast, even in the worst rain I had ever seen. Once the rain stopped, the sun came out and we explored beaches, rainforests, wildlife and wine. And spent wonderful time with our friends. If ever you get the chance to go, grab it. You won’t be disappointed. It had been a scary thought being away for a month. I was convinced my massage work would implode and I would need to start all over again when I got back. As I type that, I realise what a funny way to think that was. Of course, it wouldn’t. And didn’t!
I went on two massage training courses this year (with Eyal Lederman and Til Luchau). Both gave me with new ‘tools’ for my work. However, I learnt as much from my tutors being the type of practitioners they are as I did the subject of the courses.
New skills are one thing, insights into being a good therapist can be something different. Both these tutors had detailed knowledge of their subjects, as you would expect. But the manner in which the material was delivered gave me as much education as the subject itself. Interestingly the essence of both courses, despite being on different things, was the importance of connecting with my clients no matter what way I might decide to treat their body. That it’s not just what you do but how you do it. This was a really liberating message to take away and has helped me see where my work might go in future.
Well, who’d have thought I’d have something involving technology as a highlight. I hesitated to get an Instagram account as I am not great with these things and couldn’t understand how it would work for massage. The thought of another forum in which I would need to sell myself didn’t fill me with enthusiasm – I already knew from Facebook that this was not my forte. But after a great podcast by Social Brighton and encouragement from my sister in law, off I went.
I have found that I love it. It is a warm space, full of people who willingly share their knowledge and experience(s). And it is a great place to gather resources for personal growth. A wealth of information exists. I have gained so much from people sharing both their successes and their difficulties as small businesses. I have learnt from them and taken comfort from not feeling alone when I find they too have or are having the same issues I am.
The creativity I have found there has put me back in touch with my long-lost creative side. And as this year closes, I am realising that may be more creativity in my life will be the way ahead for me next year. Whether it be trying again and again to make a decent loaf of bread, spending more time in the garden or walking. Who knows? But Instagram has provided an unexpected opportunity for change and support. And, ironically, for showing that whilst technology has its place, there is much to be said for the world outside of it.
I love to read. As well as novels, I like books that help me understand myself abit better. A couple of years ago I read Quiet by Susan Cain. It was a revelation! This year I have two books which have added to the understanding that book brought ….
Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig (who is fab on Instagram) and The Chimp Paradox by Prof Steve Peters (not quite finished in honesty!). I find there is something very powerful in gaining greater insight into what makes me tick. I might not be able to change things overnight (or at all), but an awareness helps to shift the patterns that have become ingrained over time. Even if it is only small shifts. It definitely makes a difference on those days when I am questioning my abilities or wondering if it’s just me that feels out of her depth.
My massage work
Although I have been self-employed for 15 years, I’m not sure if I really saw myself as a business. After all, I do massage don’t I, surely that’s all there is to it?! I realised this year that I needed some help. And then when I started looking for help, I found I needed help deciding what help I needed! Thankfully I have been able to tap into some brilliant resources in Brighton. I couldn’t believe my luck when I found The Good Business Club and the Thrive Effect.
I benefited from the 1:1 business coaching and marketing sessions that were offered through the Good Business Club and attended one of monthly meet-ups organised by Thrive. It is really exciting when you start to explore the myriad of amazing projects out there. Brighton and the surrounding areas are full of them and I can’t recommend them highly enough. People are so giving of their time and knowledge and there is a great energy that comes with that.
Finally, my clients, they are such a rich tapestry of life. And I am so grateful that they choose to share some of that with me. To try to illustrate what I mean by that would be counter to the trust that is vital to our relationship. But one thing that has been the case since I started 15+ years ago is that I learn so much from them and continue to do so each year. And I will always be grateful that in coming to see me they enable me to do something I love.
The year ahead
Who knows what it will bring? If the last year has shown me anything, it is that the old cliché that you never know what is around the corner exists for a reason. There is no greater reminder of that than seeing two friends fight hard against illness and the loss of someone who should have continued shining their light for longer.
Life is definitely for living. It is not always easy of course. I have found this year a tricky one in many respects. However reflecting on it by writing this blog has made me realise that I have learnt a little more about me. It feels that the most important part of that is to see that one person’s measure of success does not need to be another’s.
I hope that 2020 is kind to you. And if you made it this far, thank you. This took bloody ages and I’m so grateful!