Shannon Bueche has been a Museum Manager, International Travel Coordinator, Personal Banker, Daycare Owner, Bartender

Shannon Radcliffe BuecheDYE YOUR HAIR BLUE! I wrote a post about this recently on my Facebook page as a random wish to everyone who had ever spent their life doing the “right” things, instead of following their heart and doing what they really felt called to do.

Don’t get me wrong though, doing the “right” things have given me a great life and ability to support myself and my family through the years. I also learned a myriad of transferable skills that have followed me from one profession to another and opened doors I never even considered knocking on before that.

As a result, I’ve spent time as an accountant, administrative assistant, department office manager for a large museum, international travel coordinator and guide, Personal Banker, Daycare owner and provider, bartender, and currently, an alternative learning high school teacher. Needless to say, I’ve been around the block a few times. Each one of these professions were, at the time, a mark of success for me. Throughout all of this though, there has always been something that didn’t feel quite right.

Each time I hit a “success mark”, I felt almost cheated. It felt like I had worked so hard, and fought so long to hit the goal I had built up in my head as “success”, only to find that it left me still unsatisfied and missing something. In all honesty though, I wouldn’t call any of these “failures”. I would say they’ve been more like a long series of lessons designed to teach me what real success is.

What I’ve discovered in all of these twists and turns is that success, real success, is following your passions, regardless of what others think you should do, or worse, what you think others think you should do. Do we really need to focus on success to be happy? I’d say it depends on your definition. If real, honest happiness in your lifestyle, and a career that follows your passions is how you mark success, then yes, definitely focus on that with all your being and determination.

However, if your mark of success is something else, like a rung on the ladder or a series of letters attached to your name, be careful that you’re not spending all your energies focused on something that will eventually leave you unfulfilled. Can we be happy without being successful? Can we be successful without being happy? Again, it depends on your definition.

I’ve been “successful” in the corporate world, the academic world, and in the entrepreneurial world, and at the end of the day, I wasn’t happy in any of them. In fact, I was often sick with migraines, health problems, depression, and exhaustion. Now when I think about what it means to be successful, my mind focuses on my beautiful child that has grown into a strong, kind man; on the love of my life who stands beside me and encourages me to be my best, true self every day; on finding the freedom to pursue a career and a lifestyle that’s more aligned with my passions; and of course, on the courage to finally dye my hair blue! That, my friends, is true happiness and success.

If I were to list all the criteria for a successful massage practitioner, the attribute at the top of the list would have to be a passion for healing others. Massage creates a personal connection with the practitioner and the client, that heals and releases energy in a way that can’t be done through allopathic medicinal means. The reality is that we live in a very high-stress, fast-paced world that demands excessive amounts of energy just to maintain the daily flow of life.

Being able to slow those demands down and allow the client time to refresh and focus just on themselves and their own energy for a few moments, is a far better and more sustainable healing practice than any prescription can offer. Because of this energy connection, however, another attribute close to the top of the list would be the ability to ground yourself before and after a session with your client.

Practicing good self-care will keep you energized and able to work with several clients in a day without feeling burned out or depleted from the sessions. Knowledge of the various techniques and practice styles are obviously important, but there are also intuitive and communication skills needed for tailoring sessions according to what will best benefit the client at that point in time. Massage is definitely not a “one size fits all” practice, and being able to effectively communicate and understand what your client is experiencing that day is critical for helping them find relief.

Personally, I believe knowledge of aromatherapy, herbal infused oils, energy work, and reflexology are also important for a successful practice as additional tools that can be used for the individual client needs. Becoming a certified, licensed practitioner, in my opinion, is just the beginning of a lifelong passion for learning that connects the mind, body, and spirit to help people heal and achieve their best selves.

Shannon Radcliffe Bueche

Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

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