Updated: Apr 9, 2021
Part 1: My Vision
It’s early April, 2021. My parents and partner are fully vaccinated and I just have one more dose to go. Clients I’ve not heard from in over a year are contacting me, ready to return to in-person sessions now that they have immunity. We’re just a couple months away from having survived a full school year of homeschooling. Even as case numbers surge in Michigan there’s still a sense of light and hope ahead that things will return to normal.
But “Normal”, what does that even mean now? After being fired at the beginning of the pandemic from the studio where I taught (see my three part series on this), I’m free to go in just about any direction I want. But as I’m getting busier, having recently done a 38 day stretch with no days off, I’m realizing I need to be very intentional with that freedom.
Speaking with colleagues and seeing how my own schedule is playing out I think many of us are in danger of, or are already experiencing, a transitional crush of workload. In my own case, I have many clients coming back to in-person sessions, which I’m trying to work in around my continuing online teaching load. Additionally, I have many teacher training students whose courses were disrupted at the start of the pandemic who I’m now trying to accommodate by putting all their needed courses back on the calendar, as well as many students reaching out after a year of isolation, ready to jump back into courses for inspiration and professional growth. I’m traveling again to teach, starting in just a few weeks, teaching a Jumping Stretching Board course in New Hampshire and a GYROTONIC® Level 1 Update course in Tampa (Although I’ll be fully vaccinated, I’ll still be suiting up with double masks and a face shield to travel). Additionally, I’m teaching several courses for just one or two people, since many students don’t yet feel comfortable working in a group. And on top of all this, I still have homeschool for my 11 year old son.
Right now it’s as if all the work of the pandemic is still happening, but now the normal-life work is back on as well. And as someone who for years has continually struggled with keeping my schedule contained, I know I need to step back and do some serious self-evaluating and reality checking before this gets out of hand.
Currently, I’m working out of a tiny home studio in our basement, teaching online clients and group classes, as well as seeing in-person clients. I’m also doing my one or two person courses in the space. We’re still working on building my dream studio behind our house, but the pandemic has driven a huge demand in home remodeling, so we’ve had trouble getting the project underway. I also rent space in a pilates studio downtown, as I only have GYROTONIC® equipment in my home studio. I’ll eventually have a home pilates space, but for now my pilates equipment is in the break room of a client’s law office, and I run downtown early in the morning to train her two or three times a week before running back home to start my online teaching at 8am. Additionally, I’ve been doing teacher training courses in the Detroit area, about a 40 minute drive from home.
I know keeping all of this up is not sustainable long term and I’m going to have to make some choices going forward. I think that for all of us it’s important to envision how we want our lives to be on the other side of all this upheaval in our field. Life probably won’t be quite the same for many of us after Covid, and we can either just wait and see where we wash up after all of this, or set clear intentions for ourselves and hopefully end up in better command of our work lives, in a situation more ideal for our own needs and goals.
So what do I really want my post pandemic career to look like?
Online teaching has opened up a whole new perspective on how it’s possible to model my business. I’m thinking this is going to hold a permanent place in my schedule. Maybe it means having some clients in-person as I live-stream classes so online participants can join. I like that I can continue to see my morning online clients even as I travel to teach (as long as I don’t stray too far from my time zone). Online teaching may offer a way for me to be more consistent for my regular clients, even as my travel teaching schedule picks up. I also like being able to offer very inexpensive GYROKINESIS® classes and GYROTONIC® tower classes, which teaching online allows. It feels good to my to make this work accessible to more people who might not otherwise be able to afford it.
Teaching from home works really well for me. Once the pandemic lifts people’s patience for training in my basement might wear thin, but once my new, fully equipped studio is up and running behind the house it feels like that will be the ideal situation. Having a full studio all to myself so I can schedule my courses and clients however suits my needs. As does not having much overhead to keep up with when I’m traveling and the studio sits empty.
Having my teaching schedule consolidated into one space will also ease the stress of running from teaching location to teaching location. And should we have a resurgence of Covid, or a new pandemic in the future, having full control of my own space will give me more options to keep my business running in the case of future restrictions. As I set up my new space I’m also going to keep in mind how it will best function for video in order to incorporate the online aspect of my work.
Traveling to teach is a refreshing change of routine. I enjoy teaching in different spaces to students I don’t see regularly. I find when I work with different people it shakes up any ruts in my cueing, makes me more specific in conveying concepts, since I don’t have the existing shorthand I might have with a regular student, and it allows me to see the movement on different bodies, which is good for the eye and good for the brain. While I know I don’t want to pack my schedule to overflowing, as I’ve often done in the past, I know I want to include a reasonable amount of traveling for work in my future plan.
Rebalancing my time is another priority going forward. My focus won’t be so much on private clients, I’ll keep fewer daily hours open for standing sessions. Instead, I’d like to dedicate more of my time to teacher training courses, offering master classes, and mentoring trainers. I’ll always keep seeing private clients, but in recent years the daily routine of long client hours feels much more draining than the ebb and flow of a varied course schedule. After teaching for 24 years I feel making decisions now toward career longevity, meaning avoiding burn out, is critical. Rebalancing my time will help me do this.
Your vision for a post Covid career make look very different than mine, but that’s actually kind of the point. Many of us have learned that following the expected path in this field may have left us vulnerable during tough times. Or maybe you might be able to see your career and your life from a new perspective after everything has been shaken up and has started to settle a little.
In my next post I’ll share some of the thoughts I’ve had and advice I’ve given to trainers who are considering taking this opportunity to make changes, set new goals, and develop their ambitions and dreams to move forward in their own movement careers.
New GYROKINESIS® Apprentices ready to embark on post-pandemic careers