by Jo Permaul
I began to think about resilience in my career as a health professional 10 years ago when I discovered that treating others touched something in me. For every client that I found straightforward, another would test me on many levels. Being in the well-being industry instils a need for constant reflection; we learn from our clients and grow from what they teach us, but if we feel vulnerable to start with, our resilience is challenged, and our work and health can suffer.
I look back at my early days as a homoeopath and think about how much I would change if I could start the journey again: I completely undercharged and didn’t have any robust systems in place. I can say that I was not a resilient practitioner and, as a result, made mistakes, most of which have been the motivation for my coaching work and co-creating the Certificate in Resilience and Reflective Practice for Wellbeing Professionals. A decade in the profession has given me much material to draw upon!
I began to work out that to be a resilient therapist, there needed to be this bifurcation that occurred in which ‘business’ had to be looked at differently from ‘healing modality’ but that the common denominator was me. So I had to be the grounding force. If my practice was suffering, then it was because of me. Nothing or no one else could be blamed, everything was up for scrutiny and development, and I could learn ways and techniques to support me whilst I continued the work I feel so passionate about. This reflective process would grow to be lifelong and be my grounding force.
There are so many things that can proffer challenges along the way for the wellbeing professional. Here is a list of some of the things I’ve had to face up to over the last 10 years. Check out how many of them you can identify with:
- Children transitioning from primary to secondary school
- A child taking GCSEs and then A-Levels and then deciding what to do at university
- Challenges of having a sick parent(s)
- Personal injury/health issues
- A child being ill/ in hospital
- Partner being unwell
- Partner off work
- Financial issues
- Taking on a part-time job/leaving job
- Building work in house
- A fire in our garden!
- Dealing with appliances breaking/getting new ones/workers in the house
- Friends in crises/ supporting others
- Technology issues and buying or dealing with wifi/TV /PCs
- Pets and all the joy and chaos they attract, including pet surgery and finding a dog!
- Having relatives to stay and then family politics
- Planning holidays and then taking time out for holidays
- Deaths, grief and funerals
- Covid and a global pandemic!
The list could go on…..
I soon discovered that if I didn’t have strategies to support me, then any of the above could knock me off track, and I’d spend time dealing with the issue, and my work would come second. And when it comes to holding space for my clients, I want them to feel like they are on top of my agenda, not my stuff. I think it took my daughter having major surgery for me to realise that if only I’d thought through how I run the business aspect of my work, then I wouldn’t feel so drained and exhausted when clients wanted to reschedule, order new remedies or ring up for a quick chat. Instead, after a year of being self-employed with no real systems in place, I felt burnt out, just like when I quit my previous job. I could see that those patterns within me to overwork and do things with such passion and commitment, whilst great qualities to have, were also my weaknesses and that if I didn’t sort myself out, I would not be getting a second chance.
At this point in my career, I realized that my pain points were common in the healing and therapeutic community:
- A desire to cure everyone because we love what we do!
- A wish for everyone to be as enthusiastic as we are about what we do for a living.
- Over-reading and feeling like we don’t know it all (imposter syndrome!)
- Searching and asking too many people about how to treat the issue and not relying enough on intuition.
- Juggling the theory with the employed/self-employed bit and not seeing healing as a business.
- No efficient systems in place.
- Putting sufficient boundaries in place.
This cocktail of pain points can potentially lead to a yucky scenario in which overwhelm hits, followed by procrastination, self-doubt, and worst-case scenario – quitting. I’m going to admit to overwhelm, procrastination, and self-doubt in the past, but I never wanted to give up. We all have our own ‘straw that breaks the camel’s back’, so now may be a good time to reflect here on your own experiences.
Have you ever felt conflicted by a need just to quit while still having a desire to keep going?
How many of my life-list experiences have you had to deal with when you look back at the time frame you felt under pressure?
What were the reasons you didn’t give up?
How would you like to feel stronger, bolder, more confident and creative about your wellbeing business?