It’s always a good practice to occasionally reflect on how we’ve made it to the place we’re at. Personally, I still find the whole last 5/6 years to be quite unbelievable. I’m sharing this because I hope you find some value in the steps outlined, and if you’re seeking your passions and are struggling to take action on them, these might help.
Step 1: Following Strong Interests
I always knew I wanted to work with the body. Or at least, since I was in grade 9, when I wanted to be a physiotherapist. Looking back, one of the more difficult things to determine was what elements of my passions I wanted to do for work.
When I moved to Canada I put the specific idea of physio on hold, after finishing my degree in human biology and venturing to the other side of the world for love. I parked in Toronto and began to search for work in my field.
For months I was unsuccessful in finding work in research as all my academic connections were back in Australia, so instead I started working in retail – and to balance the degree of enjoyment I got from retail, I sought a hobby! (Back comes the strong interest for working with the body…)
That’s when I found Thai massage. I had actually never heard of if before, and definitely never received it. It took a few tries/months of randomly searching “massage courses Toronto” for it to pop up – and when I saw it, I was intrigued enough to go in to the school to meet the owner.
Step 2: Diving in blindly
It was then and there that I signed up for all their trainings, on the spot. I still hadn’t had a Thai massage yet, so I look back at that time with a little bit of a grin for the illogical and irrational decision to dive so deeply without any prior experience, and therefore without any gauge to know whether I’d actually like this form of massage. If there’s one piece of advice in all this, it’s that it’s okay to occasionally be irrational – and in fact, as long as it feels good, and a little bit scary, it can be really life-changing to just dive in with no safety net.
((It’s interesting to note that along the way, I’ve actually met and taught many people with this same innate draw to Thai massage, without necessarily having experienced it. I don’t know how common that is in other fields or even in other modalities of bodywork, but I really think it’s fascinating.))
That was the beginning of a rapid progression from taking all my trainings with the school to then teaching for that school and within 18-months was managing school operations! When you dive into the right pool/lake/body of water, the current will often help to propel you forward. It doesn’t mean that it’s all easy and that you don’t have to do the work (quite the opposite in fact), but the innate, directional encouragement of the water is evident.
Thai massage felt so good. It fuelled me in a way that no other job I’d ever had did. I was even working in research by now and it was nothing like what I wanted it to be. On a side note, it’s often the things that make us feel so good that are the ones we should be putting most of our time into. It’s selfish in a way, but also not.
So I dived deeper into Thai massage. And I had all these ideas; all these plans of how Thai massage education could be enhanced, improved and blended with modern science (without removing the older, more traditional essence).
Step 3: Branching out when the vision is bigger
And so it became time for me to start developing curriculum. I’d never done that before, but I had been a tutor at university and had taught in a range of academic and athletic contexts for many years by this point. If anyone had told me before starting how much work it would be to develop your own curriculum suite from scratch, I probably wouldn’t have done it. But thankfully everyone just let me continue in my own little fanciful world of education development.
One of the biggest messages here is: Don’t settle. If you see clearly how something can and should be made better, do it. It’s that simple. It’s a ton of work, but it’s so worth it.
4 or 5 blurry months later, I hit the age of 23, and I had written over 150,000 words, equating to about 750 pages of curriculum, comprising 9 modules of professional education, and I’d officially opened my own school. And then the best thing happened – Daniela Goode came on board and whilst the team doubled, the vision and the possibilities expanded exponentially.
I will tell you now that having Daniela to work with on this has by far, and without reservation, been the most incredible part of this whole thing. If you want to do business alone, that’s fine. But I’m telling you that the power, the potential, the joy (and all the good things), become far greater when you are in collaboration with the right person/people. We achieve far more together, we touch more lives together, than we ever would have individually.
Step 4: Growing
Since then Daniela and I have continued to create curriculum, with big things on the horizon. We’ve been blessed to teach workshops and courses across Canada and around the world and we’ve established Navina™ communities in Toronto, Quebec, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Hawaii, across Germany and in the south of Costa Rica.
If you want it, get it. Grow into the fields/places you want to. Don’t subscribe to any ideas that tell you it’s not possible because of this, that or the other thing. Just do it. (thanks Nike 😉 ).
If you like reading about the inner workings of Navina and our path so far, you might also like this article: “An Inside View Into Navina – Big Vision, Big Plan”