Those of you who regularly read my blogs will know that I am a bit of a workaholic! I have been a self employed Voice and Acting Coach for 45 years and on the whole, I have enjoyed every minute But, all my self employed friends out there will know that it is very tempting to accept all work, even if you already have a busy diary because you don’t know when or if the next enquiry might arrive.
In the past, I have frequently found myself working 7 days a week without really considering the consequences. We all need income, of course, but I suppose we also need to address that famous cliché – the work/life balance.
This year a number of things have happened which have really made me consider how I want to spend my time in the future. To begin with, my husband had a heart attack in April. it was totally unexpected but fortunately after insertion of a stent, he is perfectly fine. This was especially difficult at the time because of my very busy diary. In the first five months of 2017 I judged 5 Speech & Drama festivals, examined for a month in China, was a guest speaker on 2 cruises, ran a number of business and voice protection workshops and coached around 20 clients on programmes. There was very little ‘downtime’ to allow for problems like a heart attack!
Then, while I was working in China my own health became an issue and this resulted in tests followed by a major operation last week. These happenings have really made me think about how I want to use my time. I have no intention of retiring but I do intend to remove myself from the business ‘treadmill’ so that I can amble along at my own pace as and when I want to.
Some of you might be thinking, ‘what’s the problem? Voice coaching isn’t a physical job. Why would you need time to recover?’ I can understand this point of view but all the coaches reading this will tell you that when working with a client you use a large amount of mental concentration and energy. Also I use strong physicality when teaching voice projection or voice protection and notice how tiring this is when I have clients 1 after the other.
I do already have some adjudicating bookings in my diary up to the year 2020 and I am looking forward to continuing my travels as a Public Speaker and examiner but when it comes to my private 1-to-1 clients I’ll be seeing 2 or 3 per day rather than 6 and I’ll be taking lots of days off.
So, I suppose my blog this month is delivering the message that life is too important to spend all of it working, no matter how much you love doing it. Get off that working treadmill and enjoy time doing something different and don’t forget the wherever you are….
Speak Loud & Clear!