One of the challenges I have faced since beginning business, is maintaining my creative, hippy, angel awareness, world-loving attitude to the world I find myself in. It's tough! Having come from a creative background where I went to work each day and got in touch with my central being, discovered my solar plexus for an hour in the morning and indulged in the first 90min of every day being 'all about me', its been a learning curve to find that in reality - you have to interact with others, be mindful of others in your personal space and be at one with the reality of crowded buses, queues at the coffee shop and having to answer phone calls and secure appointments before you actually arrive at the point where you are ready to do business!
It's a somewhat warped perspective but sometimes it is hard to bring that 'free-lovin' attitude to the realms of being a business owner and being deadline driven, communicative and also assertive. I mean, 'what do you mean I can't go and hug a tree in the middle of a business meeting'? And if I have a meltdown because my pirouette doesn't stick when I need to, what do you mean I can't go and take my cigarette and coffee into the canteen and just 'take a moment'?
Finding the balance between the two was actually much easier in the beginning, having made the clean break between arts and business. The change was unique, it was exciting, the responsibility was actually refreshing. It would appear that as the years have gone by (coming up to 10 years now) the balancing act between the business man and the creative massage therapist has become even a little more difficult to reconcile. Either that or I am turning into the cynical old man that a streetside clairvoyant warned me about being if I didn't watch myself when I was 21. Even now as I type I find myself reaching for old habits of overusing the exclamation mark key - something my business coach warned me about in our first months of partnership!!!!!! (see) I know that creative and expressive person who part of me
How does one tap into the inner hippy whilst still being a street-smart, sharp and no nonsense owner/operator/manager?
Personality traits are interesting elements. I hear friends in the corporate world talking about psych testing and long winded assessments in 3rd rounds of interviews and it makes me boggle eyed at the mere concept of someone probing into my crazed inner psyche. To think that anyone would bother to try and infiltrate my head space, delving into my constructionalist anatomy and determining if I could solve team orientated equations? They only need to come and watch me on a volleyball court to determine that I am a self centered, performance orientated over achiever with a penchant for the flamboyant and occasional exuberant expression of physical elation! (read cartwheels). Now this could serve as helpful on some occasions but I am sure that a cartwheel in an office space is not necessarily a positive attribute for workplace relations and decorum, not to mention personal safety.
It's a Jekyll and Hyde conundrum. One that is at odds with my expressive and exuberant inner child. How to be the kind and courteous 'prancing Pete' without the need to strangle people that try to take advantage of you whilst you offer a service based small business in the CBD. Its an issue my business coach has harped at me over - you have to be the two sides of the coin.
Wouldn't it be great to have someone handle all the negotiating for you, the money handling, the rates of exchange - all the stuff where you have to be solid, hold your ground, work for what YOU want and need. The flouncy pouncy fairy essence nature of a massage therapist can overtake that need to be direct, assertive. On one hand there is a need to be the carer, the one who looks out and understands and comforts, eases through with gentleness (yes that doesn't say anything about my style of treating now does it) and on the other you have to be a little more to the point, up front and concise, and reinforce your cancellation policy when someone refuses to show up for an appointment.
So why is it now that I am well into this career and have left behind the creative indulgences, do I find myself more and more coming up short on the karmic front? Why is it now that I feel that my gentleness and inner Buddha seems at odds with how I have to be in the office? Have I become the office 'bitch'. The bad cop? The person riding everyone's back? Is this now because I have that dreaded element of 'expectation' in my psyche? I now expect people to be able to comprehend daily tasks of computer spreadsheets, or be adept at online management skils and dare I say, even be adept at internet banking and the need to be cognitive with filling in a form with all the blanks. I mean - come on world, surely there's an inner administrative in all of us?
Perhaps now I find myself craving to bring the creative into my daily life. I have less time for the soft-buddha-lover in the course of my day. Is this because I work in the CBD, where the energy is very cut-throat? Eat or be eaten. Manouver or be out-manouvered. Compete or lose out? I find myself searching Facebook for the daily affirmations that before would flow freely through my thoughts, like a smoke filled, incense laden turkish Hamman. Now I consciously have to seek out the phrases that I cling to for clarity, calm and serene understanding. The need to remind myself to be 'OHM'.
I am now understanding why people do need to get out and take part in meditative weekends, in retreats and recharge their batteries as such. I think this is an innate way of 'resetting the patience meter'. It's like we need to take all the deadlines and KPI's out of the equation and get back in touch with the 'real' things that are important for our minds and bodies. Our bio-rhythms, our calm and centred being. Somehow we need to reinvigorate this sense and reconcile the need to be conscientious but sentient beings. To be able to respect and understand our fellow beings and be 'kind' to people. I think it's easy to spot the people that either don't get that chance to re-set or also don't have the awareness. They are usually the ones yelling abuse at people from their car doors, the front porches, their garages. Scary thought isn't it - when I catch myself hurling abuse at some poor L plater in a badly beaten and dodgy 1970's corolla with a Driving school board on the semi installed roof rack - have I become 'one of those people'?
There's a certain 'satisfying of the self' that needs to come into play. Bringing the awareness of what you bring to the workplace, the job, your relationship - bringing that back to yourself. Taking care of the self within with just as much gusto and vigour. It's ok to 'take a moment' to compose yourself and that moment can be a week or two, if needs be. Without it, we sometimes fail to lose that perspective and balance point of calm that we can then invoke when we are placed with a demanding position, a deadline or a negotiation. Bringing that clarity of buddha like serenity without sacrificing the wants and needs of the self. Perhaps this is the ultimate perspective and the factor for which we must all work. Balancing that inner hippie with the responsible urban negotiator.