On the top of one of my bookshelves is a "Kindness Calendar" - a calendar with a nice little piece of advice for each month on being kind to yourself and others. In August, the lovely people who designed the calendar wrote:
"It's possible to grow kindness, but every good gardener will tell you: You will need to nurture it, tend to it, weed out the harmful stuff, be prepared for failures and TAKE TIME TO SIT AND ENJOY IT."
And I think I can implement this advice in other areas of my lives (As the well-worn phrase goes: "practice makes perfect" - an irritant to teenagers everywhere!).
With this in mind, I have started to take a more “nurturing” approach to my job prospects. As a little-known journalist with few contacts, getting work has proven difficult; thus, I have turned to the dangers of the Internet and social media to get my name out there. But I’m aware this will take time and effort on my part and will not produce immediate results. Still, I am determined, so: my first step - creating a website. It's not published yet, but I'll be sure to post a link on the blog page and as many other platforms as possible. My second stage of attack – taking a more active role on social media.
I know all too well how cruel and unforgiving social media can be, and I'll admit to some anxiety over the thought. Yet, it is one of the quickest and most effective ways of promoting yourself. A quick Google search came up with a survey done by Hootsuite and We Are Social - two sites that help manage social media connections. According to their research:
I'm aware too that I must now prepare myself for possible negative comments. (I'm not the most thick-skinned of people). But, as the "Kindness Calendar" credo puts it: I must weed out the harmful stuff and accept that there will be some failures. In other words, I should not become too downhearted by upsetting comments or lack of job offers.
All this has also made me consider the work and practice that musicians - disabled or not - put into learning their craft. I remember the time I put into my singing lessons and can still hear my parents reminding my sister to do her piano practice. I also think of those musicians I've already talked to, like David Nabb, Jenni Bevis-Lacey and Liz Eaton. All of them have had to relearn how to play their instruments or learn new ones. David had a new saxophone designed for him; Jenni had to relearn the fingering on her flute, and Liz learnt a whole new instrument, following her stroke. But through hard work and a bit of trial and error, they've become good musicians who we can enjoy play (I've heard David and he's excellent).
And what these musicians have shown me is that I can't give up; it's alright to make mistakes, if that is what they are, and finally, that I should enjoy the progress I've made.
As the Australian motivational speaker, Susan Powter says: “Laziness doesn’t fly. It’s all in the practice. It does take work and it ain’t easy – but man, the rewards!”
I am the daughter of Stephen Hetherington, founder of the OHMI Trust, and suffer from left hemiplegia (cerebral palsy affecting the left side of the body). I am a professional journalist but have also worked as an archaeologist. In my free time, I enjoy reading, writing and walking the dog.