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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Live and Learn

When I was a kid my parents used to always tell me that you continue learning throughout your life. I doubted it though, as I thought of learning only as something you do sitting in a classroom with a teacher blabbing at you. Of course, now I know they were right and I marvel at how much I learn every day. Some of the learning is from school, of course, but lots of it is simply from life experience.

Take the past two days, for example. One lesson I learned was that sometimes it makes sense to suspend your own doubts and listen to someone else's advice. When my allergies and sinus headaches re-emerged this fall, I called my brother, who also suffers from the same thing. He recommended I take an antihistamine and decongestant, but he stressed the importance of regularly flushing out my sinuses with a saline rinse. He did not mention any pain relievers.

I get the antihistamine and decongestant in the Claritin, however, I was doubtful that a simple saline rinse could do much good. I did buy one and have been using once a day. As my past posts have shown, however, I have continued to be plagued by serious sinus pain and have been popping handfuls of various painkillers, which aren't even effective. Sunday morning I woke up feeling great and decided to see what would happen if I skipped the rinse. BIG MISTAKE! By 1pm I had intense pressure in my sinuses and it was just getting worse. Still nervous about taking the Tylenol 3s, I tried the Excedrin Migraine, my mother-in-law gave me to try. They had seemed to help last week one day when I had some mild pain. This time no luck and the pain continued to worsen but because the Excedrin has acetominophin and aspirin in it, I could not take the Naproxen, Tylenol 1s or 3s at that point. In desperation, I took 2 of the oxycontin. BIG MISTAKE #2. We got in the car to do our afternoon activities with the girls and I became severely nauseous. I don't know if that was from the meds, the pain or simply the car ride. But I felt absolutely horrible until about 8pm at night when the nausea finally subsided. Yesterday I decided to take the opposite approach. I took no pain meds and simply flushed my sinuses with saline about 4-5 times. To my surprise, by yesterday evening I felt so much better. And today, even though I was woken up by Little A 3-4 times last night (she has a bad cough that seems to only bother her at night), I feel fine. I just keep flushing my sinuses out. I am so happy! Not only do I feel better, but the cure is much healthier than handfuls of pain meds. Looks like big brother was right! To my sister-in-law, Elin - if you read this, don't tell Dan, I don't want him getting a swelled head (no pun intended, ha ha!).

I also had to admit to Adam that he was right about something. I attended the seminar for small businesses/entrepreneurs yesterday. I learned a lot of valuable information and it was very helpful. But I was advised to forget my idea of developing the fitness consultant business. The facilitator said the number one mistake small business owners make is becoming fragmented/unfocused from their original vision. This happens because they start to have doubts about their primary goal and begin moving in multiple different directions. She recommended I focus exclusively on developing my psychotherapy practice. Adam had been saying this right from the start. Actually, I am relieved. Unlike therapy, where there is a proven need for the service, I was trying to develop an untested service for which there is no proof of a market. Would people actually pay for that service? Who knows. So the problem is that the majority of my time would have to be spent on the marketing and that's really not what I want. Besides, the facilitator also said to put your energies into what you do best and spend as little of your time as possible on the stuff you hate/aren't good at.

There was a social worker in the seminar who has a counselling practice. She was also very helpful. She said the fact that my services will not be covered by OHIP or private insurance should not be a problem and will not prevent me from getting clients. She also suggested we have coffee because she said counsellors often network with each other so that if someone comes to them with a particular problem outside their area of expertise, they can then refer to someone else.

I also learned about some websites and women's groups that provide networking opportunities for female entrepreneurs. It never occurred to me that I should do this, but given the area of counselling I intend to focus on, it makes perfect sense.

I realized on Friday after my meeting with J.S. at Women's College Hospital, that my anxiety over not having an income right now has more to do with simply feeling ineffectual because of my inability to get my career aspirations moving forward in the way that I desire. Now that I know I have the opportunity to get directly involved in counselling and get some critical experience, my passion and drive for my original goal has been re-ignited and the fact that I have no paid work right now seems to matter a lot less. After all, if I can get the experience and networking opportunities I need now to ensure the viability of my future career, I'm more likely to actually have some income from doing what I want to do, sooner rather than later.

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