Wednesday, December 10, 2014

5 Year Plan

Today I was asked what my 5 year plan was.

I responded like a deer in the headlights.

Which felt pretty miserable. I know the things I want to do and become, but I wasn't sure how to articulate them. And of course when I was asked my answer mattered.

I spent the rest of the day thinking... What IS my 5 year plan? What DO I really want to do? What do I want my life to look like in 5 years?

Initially the things that came to mind are "I want to have learned more, I want to be more capable physically and mentally, and I want to have a vast wealth of knowledge and understanding when it comes to the human body."

Really, the answers need to be more substantial than that. Over the last few months, Nick and I have been talking about my strengths, my weaknesses, how to grow my massage business, among other things. We've come to realize one very critical thing about me. I'm an excellent facilitator. I am really great at helping other people achieve their dreams, but I tend to stumble when it comes to spending time on my own things.

I've given that some more thought... is that really such a bad thing? Maybe I should embrace the fact that that is what I'm good at. Maybe that is my dream, I just haven't realized it yet?

I've gotten to where I don't enjoy working for other people primarily because I've had terrible managers the last several jobs, and I like my job to have a lot of flexibility with my schedule. When I think about why I wouldn't want to work for someone else, it is 90% percent because I don't want another crapy manager, and 10% because I want a more flexible schedule, or I want to have an easier time scheduling time off, which I ask for very rarely to begin with. I think I'm usually excellent at scheduling things around work. The truth is, I function much better with a set schedule. I just don't like to admit it.

I will bust my ass for a manager who cares about me. I will work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week when needed, if I know that later on down the road when I go to my manager and say "Hey, I want to take a weekend off next month to do an obstacle run." and the manager helps me work it out, that's awesome. I will walk through hot coals and go to the ends of the earth for a manager or co-workers who really care about and work to support each other like that.

So what if I found a job that could be like that? Would I still want to be self employed, or would I want to go back to working for someone else again? I could easily see myself in more of a management type roll for another business. A manager who leads by example and jumps in and helps their employees vs. a boss who sits back and demands a commands, to be specific. I could see myself doing it, and being very happy if I had great leaders above me.

It's definitely given me things to think about recently.

Back to the 5 year plan. If I had full 100% control over where I am in 5 years, what would that look like?

The Snapshot I saw in my head when asked "What is you 5 year plan?" was this:

  • I will be working for Dan & Ryan at Axistence Athletics as both a trainer and an unofficial physical therapist. I will teach group classes, teach stretch and mobility classes, and assist in running the business in any other way needed.
  • I will be working for Nick at his Martial Arts school in the same capacity as I am working for Axistence Athletics, teaching group classes, teaching mobility classes, and assist in running the business in any other way needed.
  • Partner my business with Axistence and Nick's school to offer one on one massage therapy/physical therapy type sessions to really help people become pain free and live the awesome adventures they want. *(Whether this looks like contract work through my business, or whether the businesses decide to just hire me on and offer that service through their business, however that works out best for all parties involved)
  • Nick and I will be Debt Free! 
  • I will have a completed at least one comic book or novel.
In a nutshell... that's what I'm aiming for. Those are my professional/work life goals.

Yes, that's like... 3 jobs. But... if you love what you're doing it's not really work. And that's honestly where I see myself. And happily. Axistence Instructor by day, Martial Arts Instructor by night, Artist in my down time.

To make my 5 year plan come true, there is going to be a lot of work involved. There will be lots of steps to make that happen, including getting lots more certifications (Personal Training, CrossFit Level 1, CrossFit Gymnastics, Gymnastic Bodies, etc), finishing getting my black belts in Aiki and Karate, and of course using my free time to actually make art instead of surf Facebook as I tend to do... ¬.¬

The cool thing is, I WANT to learn. I want to do ALL that hard work so I can know ALL THE THINGS.

There is a saying, If you ever find that you are the smartest person in the room, it's time to find another room. Well, I'm not sure I've ever been the smartest person in the room, but I definitely feel like I am finding new rooms with lots of very, VERY smart people in them. I want to learn all they have to offer so I can really learn and know the human body inside and out, how it works, what it's capable of, and how to fix it when it gets stuck or 'broken'.

I feel good about all this. I feel like I'm headed in the right direction. I need to sit down and prioritize and map all these things out, but for now I feel good to have gotten them written down. I read or heard somewhere that writing your goals down makes it more likely they will be accomplished. So here it is. Just don't ask me about my 10 year plan... I think my head would probably explode.

All the best!

Samurai Girl

Monday, March 31, 2014

Humble Pie - Asking for support for advanced training


I can't believe it's been almost a year since I last posted. I can't even begin to explain how many things have changed. Denver is awesome, but it's been a very stressful last few months. Between October and now I've had maybe 12 - 15 days off in total. I finally was able to go back to being seasonal at Barnes and Noble so I have some time to study for State Board Testing and start really job hunting in April. I am currently in training at a Spa down in Castle Rock, which is really exciting.

I am one month away from finishing school at the Aveda Institute. I will be dual licensed in massage therapy and aesthetics/esthetics. I am working on lining up some jobs, and the good news is that full time employment for massage therapists is around 32 hours a week, or four days. This will give me lots of time to go back to training in the martial arts and drawing. But I digress.

The main reason that I am writing this post is because, as some of my readers know, I made the decision to switch careers because I wasn't really happy in the design industry. I like art, I just don't like doing graphic design and advertising for a living. I didn't feel like I was really making a difference in anyone's life. I wasn't interacting with people or reaching them on a personal level. I know graphic design has the capacity to do this, but I just wasn't feeling fulfilled. I sort of wandered around for a while and considered many other careers, including personal trainer and physical therapist, but I eventually settled on massage therapy. After going to school for massage I can definitely say that I picked the right choice.

I absolutely love getting to make people feel great. The benefits of massage are AMAZING! Better health, better sense of well being, reduced muscle pain, better digestion, relief from stress, tension, anxiety, better mobility and range of motion, etc. Ultimately I've decided I want to specialize more in modalities that allow me to work deep tissue work and to work with athletes and/or very active people. Not that I can't work on anyone, but being around martial artists, cross fitters, LEO, etc. I want to work with people who work with their bodies a lot. Especially after working on the guys at my gym (Axistence Athletics) and seeing how even a few sessions has made a difference for them.

The problem is that deep tissue work can be incredibly hard on a massage therapists' body. Especially for us smaller massage therapists. Even with really good posture and body mechanics I am finding that I can be a little sore at the end of the day. And I only do massage two days a week in school. I'll be doing double once I'm graduated and employed. Many massage therapists have incredibly short careers, lasting between 2 and 5 years before they destroy their shoulders, wrists, or thumbs, from repetitive motion strain. AHHH! This terrifies me! I don't want to be in pain all the time or have life long problems with my shoulders, wrists or thumbs! I want to help people with their pain, stiffness, anxiety, etc and still take care of my body too.

I have really fallen in love with this line of work and would love to be able to do it for years to come. Nick's massage therapist in Oklahoma practices a modality called Ashiatsu. (Which is where I first heard about it). Ashiatsu (Ashi = feet and Atsu = pressure) is where the massage therapist can walk on the client's body and use their feet and their body weight to apply pressure. They get to use their full body weight and gravity to do all of the hard work and it saves the massage therapist's body. When I decided on massage therapy I knew that I wanted to learn this as soon as possible.

Now that I am at the end of my program, I started looking into attending an Ashiatsu class. I was lucky enough to receive the last spot in the April class here in Denver. This is actually the place where this modality was made and I will get to study with the lady who developed it! Here is a Link to the Deep Feet School in case you're curious. So the end of April is going to look like this:

April 22nd - Last classroom day at school
April 23rd - Take the MBLEX (this test lets me get licensed in the state of CO)
April 24th - 27th - Take Ashiatsu barefoot basics and the anterior and side lying class (Missing my last clinic floor day at school to take this class)
April 28th - Graduation

I can get everything all wrapped up at once and hit the ground running once I graduate! There are few hurdles I still have to overcome though. This class if pretty expensive, and I'm a little financially strapped due to being in school and only being able to work part time, I'm having to sign up for all my state testing which is about $400 in testing fees, plus insurance, plus background check and fingerprints, of course my car just died last week and I am having to get a new one; anyone who has even been self employed, especially in massage therapy, knows that it will take a while to build up a clientele, so I might not be making much money at all my first few months out of school. Basically, typical life stuff.

I have had friends in the past who have had really good luck with GoFundMe, so I thought I would try it. I only need to raise about $800-900. The class is $795, which if I could just get that much that would be great! After that there is about $100 or more in supplies I will need to buy before I attend. I even posted reward levels similar to how KickStarter does it, because I want people to know I genuinely appreciate their support. From hand written thank you letters up to a free massage. But when I posted a fundraiser online and linked it on Facebook I got a lot of feedback about people who didn't want to support me through that website, or who were uncomfortable about how much information that website took, etc.

So I promptly took it down. At this point I honestly feel really strange and awkward about the whole thing. I feel bad asking for money. Like, I have that sinking feeling of "Why, God did I even post that? Why did I think it was a good idea? Can't I just take it back?" I feel pathetic and I feel really bad for posting it, I should have just kept my mouth shut and tried to figure out how to pay for it on my own. It's a humbling feeling, having to ask for help.

I was talking to a good friend Indi about it this evening. ( Check out her stuff! --> Indi's Business Facebook and her Webcomic: Dissolution. Indi is a huge inspiration to me because she took the leap I've been really afraid to take for a long time. She jumped in with both feet, quit her job, and started making a living as an artist by doing comic books and fan art. I really admire her for that and hope to do the same someday when Nick and I start our own business.)

Anyway, she mentioned that she remembered it feeling awkward and uncomfortable when she was running her KickStarter campaign to get her comic printed. The feeling I have now is definitely an icky feeling, but I also remember being able to back her project. I've backed several of my friend's projects and other projects on KickStarter over the last two or three years and it's a really wonderful feeling. I get so excited when I can donate money to someone to help them reach their goal and get their book published or their movie made or their board game manufactured. It's something I will continue to do as long as I can. Even if it's just a few dollars here and there, it really makes a difference for those people trying to achieve their dream. So Indi suggested I type up a blog post with my story so she could link it to some of her friends since some people might be willing to donate via PayPal or send a check in the mail. You never know until you ask. And everyone has to start somewhere, right?

So I have done just that. I still want to send people hand written thank you notes, drawings, and give free massages to people who donate to help me go to this class to show my appreciation. Obviously the massages are a little harder because I know people all over the country and all over the world, but the offer still stands. But I don't expect people to just give me money, I want to do something in return for them if I at all possible.

If you are interested in helping me get to this class so I continue to help make martial artists and non-martial artists alike feel relaxed and pain free for years to come, please let me know. I would be incredibly, genuinely, and sincerely thankful.

You can e-mail me at Tiffani.Sahara(a)  or send a donation via paypal using that e-mail address. (Please note that my name is spelled with an "i" and not a "y" at the end, so if your phone/computer auto corrects the spelling and you don't change it back, it will go to the wrong place)

Thank you for reading and I'll be sure to post something more soon. I have had a few ideas for posts I've been wanting to get written up, I just haven't had time to do it yet. @.@

<3  - Tiff