What do you do? How would you describe your working life?
I live a bit of a double life as I retrained and changed career in my early 50's. I'm an acupuncturist and TuiNa massage therapist. I also do a Thai therapy called Tok Sen. I have my own home clinic and also work from the Haelan Centre in Crouch End.
I worked as a TV and video producer for 25 years and I still keep my hand in making the odd film or animation. Whatever lands in my lap really.
I made a decision that I wanted to choose how I live and work and to a certain extent I've done that.
Did you show any early signs as a child that indicated that you would end up where you are today?
I was always always good at English and a good communicator. If anything that's what has propelled me forward at work. I wasn't a good student but I loved learning. It just took me time to realise that I could do that better in my working life.
Describe your morning routine
My mornings start late. At 10 am. I tend to work anytime from midday and finish around 8 or 9. I check my diary to see my client list for that day so I can prepare for who's coming in. I also do home admin and marketing. I also look at any new acupuncture research. Chinese medicine may be ancient but it keeps evolving and there are amazing developments happening globally.
Where do you get your ideas/inspiration from and when do they arrive?
They always come from the people I meet, hear about or read about. That applies for both media and holistic medicine. You interpret what someone needs and come up with a creative way to meet those needs. It's important to look beyond what's right in front of you. It's often what is least obvious that is the most interesting. The lightbulb moments often happens when I'm in the shower!
When motivation wavers, how do you get back on track?
I've always worked in an environment where I have had to create opportunities. Whether pitching ideas or engaging new clients. It isn't always easy but I've learned that if you put the work in, you'll eventually get returns. You have to learn to live with the uncertainty and just keep going.
What is the best thing about your job/lifestyle?
So many things! I'm my own boss. My success or failure is down to how good (or bad) I am. I choose how much I work, when I work and make it fit in with how I want to live my life. I can meet friends for coffee or lunch in the middle of the day, choose training I want to undertake and take holidays as I wish. I travel every year around Xmas new year, part training/work and part holiday and rent my flat out. Last year I had a holiday in Thailand and worked at a Chinese medicine hospital in Hanoi. This year I hope to volunteer as an acupuncturist at a hospital in rural Gujerat In India and maybe spend Xmas in Sri Lanka.
I do a lot of things but I'm really mindful about how many hours I put in. I'm always able to say no.
If you could do something else for the day- what would you do?
Spend a sunny day on the Southbank.
How do you overcome any challenges in your work?
There are always challenges, and as a practitioner it's often related to the help I'm able to offer a client.
I treat a lot of clients who suffer from chronic pain, in particular severe musculoskeletal problems. In these cases, the treatment may initially make the symptoms worse and sometimes this can prove too much for someone who is constantly in pain. Sadly, in spite of my reassurances, some discontinue treatment. I always feel bad and wish I could to more for them.
Accepting that you're not always able to help, or that you can't meet expectations quickly enough is difficult but necessary.
How do you celebrate your successes?
There's nothing like the feeling you get when clients' health improves as a result of your treatment. Celebrating is feeling that I've done my job well. But if I drank I'd probably open a bottle of good wine!
Do you have any tools/resources or rituals that you couldn’t live without?
I remind myself that I do the best I can. And I talk to my friends or acupuncture colleagues when things get on top of me.
Which books from your bookcase would you recommend?
I don't read self help books but do love trashy/good thrillers.
What are your daily essentials to make you feel ready?
I have to log on and see what's happening in the world. I'm a news junkie.
What advice would you give your teenage self?
You'll find what you're good at and you will love the work you do. (I doubt she'd believe me though)!
Where would you like to be in 5 years time?
Being better at what I do and to continue learning my craft.
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Rita has kindly offered 20% off her treatments for all new clients. Just mention my name. Thanks Rita :)