Finding Joy on the Job
Having It All in Honolulu
For the past three years, Glen P. has earned a good living as a massage therapist. The Honolulu resident says the work is far more rewarding than his previous jobs, which included being a waiter and an executive at a property-management firm. "When I do massage, I have 100 percent positive feedback from every client interaction," he says.
Glen has always enjoyed giving massages, ever since he first tried it some 15 years ago. But until recently, his life outside work was a mess. "When I wasn't doing massage, it all fell apart," Glen recalls. "I was losing things -- my appointment book, phone, wallet -- and it got to be very disruptive."
Glen was afraid he might have a brain tumor. But a doctor identified the problem as ADD. "The ADD diagnosis gave me hope," Glen says. "I had the energy to do something about it." He started taking a stimulant, and, although he has mixed emotions about drug therapy, he calls the medication "a tool that enables me to learn and use new behaviors."
One problem Glen faced was burnout: He was on call day and night for 27 days a month -- and he hadn't had a vacation in years. Glen was also grappling with a desperate financial situation. "I had a boom-and-bust practice," he says. "I was as much as 12 months behind in my insurance billing, and I had nothing to put in the bank after doing six massages per day. That was discouraging."
With the help of New York City-based coach Jennifer Koretsky ( ADDManagement.com ), Glen revamped his scheduling and billing systems. Six months later, he felt less stressed, and his insurance reimbursements had risen 50 percent. Given his improved cash flow, he felt secure enough to spend time relaxing at the beach and to take a yoga class. He even allowed himself a month-long idyll in Italy -- an indulgence he's continued every year since. "I now know that if I send each of my clients a postcard from Italy, my business will go right back to where it was when I return,"he says.
"I used to have a paper calendar," explains Glen, "but I could never find it when the phone rang." To solve the problem, he bought a PDA and started making full use of its calendar feature, color-coding his appointments so he could tell at a glance which sessions took place in his office and which required travel. The PDA has proved useful in another way: to record Glen's frequent flashes of inspiration. "Before, by the time I got to my pen and pencil, the thought was gone," he explains. "So I started writing in my Palm Pilot, which I always have on hand."
The changes have helped Glen experience a feeling that he gives his clients: bliss. "In massage, client and therapist focus on the same thing for an hour -- it creates an amazing synergy," he says. "Now I have even more emotional energy at the end of the day than I did at the beginning."
This article comes from the June/July 2006 issue of ADDitude.