I blinked my eyes and 12 years have gone by since I graduated from massage school- beginning the most rewarding journey of my life thus far.
I’ve worked for 3 different chiropractic offices, 1 corporate chain, 1 hair salon and let’s not forget— my old bedroom at my parent’s house. Each experience was different from the next. As I packed my stuff and moved on from each, I carried with me the sum of my experiences- good and bad. I finally unpacked them in my own place, let them mellow and have found these lessons have laid a beautiful foundation for the successes to come.
I’m getting to the age where I find myself saying things like, “I remember when…” and “kids these days…” and while the last 12 years have flown by, it’s incredible to think of all the things that happened during that time and how much I’ve grown. With this 10 year challenge going around on Facebook, it sparked my own version of the challenge not only with the changes in my appearance, but also the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
I learned the value of customer service-- not only with clients/patients-- but in each and every person who I come into contact with as a service provider. This includes other therapists, receptionists, the UPS guy and even the people I pass in the parking lot.
I learned the importance of kindness and respect mostly because at one of my first jobs, I was treated like a child and not as the professional I was trying to learn how to be.
I learned time management and the importance of creating a work schedule. I became a more effective therapist the moment I stopped counting down minutes and started creating a smoothly running schedule that took into consideration all of the background duties required in running a business.
I listened. I heard when clients would lament about experiences with other therapists, doctors and service providers. I filed those gripes in my brain and tried my best to be better than them. I struggled to be quiet and let the session be about them, and not me. I went from selfish to selfless.
I worked for a corporate chain for 4 months and learned the value of quality versus convenience. I had a lesson in ego here too with people who judged what I was doing behind closed doors because I gained repeat clients quickly. I learned that enemies are often close friends in disguise. This was also the first time that I had a boss who respected me enough to fight for me to stay when I decided it was time to move on.
The most impactful was when I worked for a salon. I was given a lot of freedom to begin to develop into the business owner I am today. I was trusted and admired and had other people prioritizing my success, because it also meant their success. One of the most valuable lessons I learned here was in my appearance. I was required to dress up, have my hair dried and makeup on. While I work in a physically demanding job, it still made a difference when I felt good about myself. It became easier to help others feel good about themselves too. This was the hardest place to leave and by far the most positive work experience of my life.
Now I’ve been running Sarassage for a little over 4 years. I tried things that meant success for others and learned that I’m entitled to creating and abiding by my own definition of success. I tried having employees and learned that managing people is not my strong suit. I run my practice with intention… making sure I never forget the little things that separate me from others.
I’m honored to have nearly every new client pre-book their next massage before they leave. I’m still humbled when I hear, “that was the best massage I’ve ever had.”
For the first time in my life, I was able to get a solid retirement plan together, maxed my ROTH IRA contribution for 2018 (even with the new changes) and feel more financially independent than ever.
I still maintain contact with my past graduate students- and am so honored to have them as a part of my support network and be able to learn from them as their journeys unfold.
I get to work alongside another therapist whom I look up to immensely- and regardless of the fact that she has over 15 more years of experience than me, she makes me feel like an equal. I’m thrilled our paths crossed in this life.
More than anything, I’m so appreciative to my husband for giving me the freedom to follow my heart and accept the ups and downs. I sacrificed a lot over the last few years. He has always validated me even when I’m working until 9:00pm and still have 2 loads of laundry to do when I get home. He has always made sure I had a warm meal to come home to.
Also, to my parents for going along with this whole massage therapy idea when I brought it up. I dropped out of college and chose a non-traditional path into the trades. I know they were not happy and probably prayed every day that I would get my head out of my ass, return to college and “get a real job.” Thanks to their blind faith and unconditional love, I have grown into myself and truly believe I’m where I was meant to be!
So, cheers to 12 years, learning lessons every day- and never forgetting where you came from.