S.W.O.T. and Personal Development Plans

This week’s lecture topic introduced the concept of a S.W.O.T. Analysis for a new business opportunity and how such an analysis might provide directions for future personal development opportunities.

S = Strengths (Internal – What are your strengths?)
W = Weaknesses (Internal – What are your weaknesses?)
O = Opportunities (External – What opportunities do you have available to you?)
T = Threats (External – What threats do you face as a therapist?).

We were then encouraged to watch a TEDTalk lecture by Brené Brown.

“Shame is an unspoken epidemic, the secret behind many forms of broken behavior. Brené Brown, whose earlier talk on vulnerability became a viral hit, explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on. Her own humor, humanity and vulnerability shine through every word…”


Listening to shame | Brené Brown

One of Ms Brown’s viewers’ comments under this TEDTalk suggests that “Shakespeare summarised this talk in one line: ‘Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt…’

Activities performed to enhance professional practice can involve:
• Informal vs Formal
• Compulsory vs Voluntary
• Theory vs Practical,

which leads into our term’s main assignment, developing a personal Professional Development Plan (PDP). This activity certainly aligns with my previous career in primary education. There was a lot of emphasis on PDPs in my last few years of full-time employment.

Values and emotional intelligence

This week, we were asked to watch Prabakaran Thirumalai’s 2015 Youtube clip and comment upon both the speaker and the content. The video asks “What are your Values? What is the relation between Values and Beliefs?” It is a “Practical Thinking Course Video which explains the difference between values and beliefs and how it improves to handle our emotions effectively…”


What are your values? Emotional Intelligence by Brain Quotes

I love Thirumalai’s quote “Anger is like drinking poison and expecting [the] other person to die.” I definitely takes a lot of self-control to stop getting angry, but keeping that quote in mind might be very useful breaking that anger cycle.

Interesting that Thirumalai has noticed that people with “Average IQ outperform High IQ 70% of the time.” Not surprising – and, thinking about the quote, I have probably seen many examples in school classrooms over the years where a High IQ student gets stunned to see others excelling in some area of unexpected expertise. I particularly remember a Year 3 student, who had just returned from a term at another school in a dedicated class for Intellectually Mild (I.M.) children. He was supposed to stay for the rest of his primary school years, but something clicked with the opportunity to work in small groups, and they considered him now able to cope in a mixed ability class. I sat him next to my brightest student, a very talented young mathematician. He and I were both astounded when our returned class member turned out to be a whiz at matchstick puzzles and other spatial problems. The bright student was embarrassed to be soundly beaten by him in these types of activities. It was good for both of them.

Thirumalai notes that “Emotional Intelligence covers four skills, which are: Self Awareness; Social Awareness; Self Management; and Relationship Management.” He then moves on to Goals and says, “If your Goals are aligned with your Values you lead a happy life. And if your Goals are misaligned with your Values, life becomes a misery.”

We are then encouraged to identify and then rank our Values… After looking through many online resources for massage therapists, and taking into account my own Values from previous careers, I have chosen:

1. Clear lines of Communication.
2. A focus on Clients, ie. identifying their needs.
3. Best Practice, in particular Ergonomics (for self-care and longevity of career) and, especially in the current pandemic situation, hygiene.

Thirumalai suggests we then set some goals which align with these values but, after achieving them, now what? From there, we move to the Growth Cycle.

Growth Cycle

To interpret the diagram below, Skill leads to Effort, which leads to Results. A self-perpetuating cycle is achieved when Belief also funnels into that Effort. We are thus encouraged by the Results to keep putting in more Effort. Believing in oneself builds Confidence, which then improves the Results.

Values and Beliefs

It seems that our Emotions can be more efficiently altered by focusing on our Values and Beliefs, rather than our Behaviour. Sounds sensible to me!

I have been searching around for more quotes by Prabakaran Thirumalai and found this great one to finish up:

“Life is a game. It is up to you to be a toy or become a player.”

The way forward?

Developing goals for my eventual massage therapy practice is really stretching my brain at this point. I do love these ideas from massage therapist – and avid Youtuber – Spencer Harwood (HM Massage, 19 February, 2018). I found these points to be useful to ponder as I started setting my own goals this week.


5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Going Into Massage Therapy

Spencer lists the following main points, ie. the things Spencer wished he’d known before going into massage therapy as a career:
1. You probably won’t make as much money (in your first few years) as you thought.
2. Massaging clients is hard work. Therefore…
3. Self-care is necessary/essential, including strengthening and stretching exercises, yoga and regular (monthly) massages. Many therapists, he notes, only last in the job for about three years.
4. At first, be prepared to work unusual, perhaps inconvenient hours.
5. You are not only your client’s massage therapist, you are usually also their therapist.

I realised that I appreciate Point 3, in particular. Embracing the requirement for regular self-care is probably the aspect of being a massage therapist that I have deliberately avoided so far, but it does seem inevitable that creating a plan for regular strengthening and stretching exercises, especially as a warm-up before performing a massage would be… preemptive. I have (perhaps reluctantly) made a self-care goal the one I will be following up as this term progresses. It has been the niggling doubt since starting the course last July. Through a comedy of errors, it is the one I have avoided.

Meanwhile, blogger susygg‘s article, Goal-setting for your massage practice at Canadian College of Massage & Hydrotherapy (July 23, 2013), identifies massage therapist Stephanie Beck‘s hints for evolving a practice:
1. Take stock of your practice.
2. Make goals. Divide them into multiple lists, such as personal, professional and financial.
3. Picture yourself one year down the road, having accomplished all of these goals. Record the changes that you’ll need to make.
4. Identify challenges. List all obstacles and hurdles in your way.
5. Brainstorm solutions.
6. Write down the advice and inspiration that you take from your mentors.

I really like the message about recording advice from mentors. It’s also nice when you find yourself repeating someone else’s advice to remember where it came from, and give credit for it, before making it your own.

Dr Joelle Jay‘s blog entry, Make your SMART goals WISE goals (Massage Magazine, 24 June, 2016) considers WISE goals. To summarise:
1. Writing your goals forces clarity of thinking. It allows objectivity, instills commitment and puts thoughts into a durable form you can revisit.
2. Integrating ideas means bringing them together in the same place, so you can look at them all at once. Allow personal and professional lives to intermingle. “You get to have it all. There are no rules. You make it up.”
3. Synergising means making the goals work together; one idea advances another.
4. Expansive – Think big! Your goals should inspire you to stay on the path to your dreams. “This may be the biggest differentiator between SMART and WISE thinking…” Spending too much time and energy boxing objectives into a tight formula “can squeeze the life right out of them.”

Sounds good to me! I am feeling a lot better about goal-setting after absorbing and reflecting upon these three pieces this week.

Merry Christmas!

Have you been wondering why no updates?

Currently I am on Long Service Leave, preparing for retirement. I guess there will be irregular blog updates as they occur to me. Meanwhile, Merry Christmas!


John Lewis Christmas advert 2018 featuring Elton John | The boy and the piano


The making of The boy and the piano | John Lewis & Partners Christmas ad 2018

Researching Scottish soldiers

Stage 2 students need to build their field knowledge about Scottish soldiers for a writing activity based on the ending of the picture book, “Billy the Punk” by Jessica Carroll & Craig Smith.


Anzac Day 2013, walking with the bagpipes in Sydney


Massed pipe bands in Sydney on Anzac Day 2012


Funny introduction to Scottish uniform in Halifax Citadel

Humpty Dumpty and eggs

Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 students are investigating the nursery rhyme of Humpty Dumpty.


Humpty Dumpty Traditional English nursery rhyme egg song


Humpty Dumpty – 3D animation English nursery rhyme songs for children with lyrics


Humpty Dumpty


Humpty Dumpty rhyme – Meaning behind the nursery rhyme

More origin possibilities at:
Humpty Dumpty and the Fall of Colchester


Alice through the looking glass [movie] | Humpty Dumpty | Disney NL

Humpty was pushed?

Grass into hay: Little Boy Blue

Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 students are investigating the nursery rhyme, “Little Boy Blue”.


Little Boy Blue – nursery rhyme with karaoke

Here are the factual Youtube clips we will be using to expand their field knowledge:


Haystack building using pitchforks


How to make grass into hay bales


Round baling hay


Blowing horns


Blowing 2 shofars