It started as a Facebook post…
Right, Facebook. Loads of things are on my mind. Too many!
I attended the SEI awards on Tuesday night, which marked the end of a 12 month journey of major learning, progress and pivots. A really personal journey. Let me tell you, it has been a roller coaster. I’m still baffled I even won the award in 2015! An amazing organisation, truly, and a heartfelt hug of thanks for my mentor, Sara Dennedy, who was a rock of sanity throughout. My biggest learning? Two things: 1. Scheduled time out is imperative, and 2. While I am a visionary – passionate, outside-the-box and bigger-picture oriented – delivery of services, the actual work, being with my clients, supporting diverse lives, is where I add the most value. All the new awardees reminded me of my energy 12 months ago and pushed me to refocus: what was my original mission? What did I originally want to do before even bigger ideas took hold? I looked an my mission board from my time at the School for Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, when I had long hair and zero self-esteem, and it was simple:
Make Speech & Language Therapy Services Accessible to the Irish Transgender Community.
Setting up a business – strategy, social media, VAT returns, legal structuring – was a real struggle for me. I am not industrious. The last year has been about simplifying the process and making it sustainable, and I have had amazing support, through the SEI programme, my business consultant Samantha Magee, from the trans community as well as from my friends and family. Keep simplifying. Keep scaling back, so that you might scale up and reach. Be practical I suppose. And take care of yourself! Don’t burn out!
My most important work is my voice therapy work (I intend “voice” here in it’s literal and metaphorical sense – expressing, voicing, the self). I know how much this service helps the people I work with and how much I love doing it. I have invested years of academic study and personal time in developing my expertise. I have more to learn, always. But this is the work I love to do. When I talk about voice work, personal expression, finding the truth within, people smile at my passion. Something happens to me and I suddenly feel as though I know what I am talking about. I feel good! The rest of the time I feel like an imposter – barely holding adult life together and giving my self an awful ol’ time, fighting the urge to pack it all in and run for the hills.
So, back to the basics. Back to the truth, to the start. A bit like my pal T.S. Eliot says,