Kimberly Sena Moore & Neurosong Music Therapy Services (home of Music Therapy Maven)
The Importance of Embracing Change
Kimberly set her purse and keys on the kitchen counter. She was finally home after an afternoon of sessions. It wasn't easy working with trauma-influenced kids who cursed and threw her instruments--even if she did have the "fun" job of being their music therapist--but these kids had held a special place in her heart for the past 5 years.
Kimberly's husband, Steven, walked in the door. They had a couple minutes alone before the nanny brought the kids, then one and three, upstairs. Steven, the Director of Bands at a Colorado State University, turned to Kimberly and said, "Well, I hope you like the Maslanka (symphony) at my next concert, because it will be the last piece I conduct at CSU."
Kimberly felt an immediate pit in her stomach. "Why?"
Steven smiled and said "Because I got the job!"
The job that would take the two of them, plus their two young children, from Colorado to Missouri. The job that would require Kimberly to figure out what to do with her growing music therapy practice. The job that would force another major change on her life.
It's not always easy for Kimberly to answer the question "So, where are you from?" But after years of working out a response, she finally found the right one: "I grew up in Washington, DC, and went to high school in Kansas City." Technically, Kimberly was born on a naval base in Okinawa, Japan, but her parents moved back to the states when she was one. They lived in Chantilly, Virginia, a suburb of DC, until Kimberly was 13. By then, her mother--several years divorced now--had been trying to find a way to move out of DC. The crime rate was high and it was an expensive place to raise a family.
The opportunity came that fall with a job offer in Kansas City. Kimberly was in the eighth grade. She was starting to develop deep friendships, was involved in band and--finally!--show choir, and was active on swim and soccer teams. But this move would change all that. Worst of all, they were moving in the middle of the school year! Kimberly was leaving her friends, her activities, and her home right before Christmas.
Kimberly's first "aha" moment happened that fall as she sat in the passenger seat of a turquoise Dodge Colt. Her mom's partner, who was driving, turned to Kimberly and said, "You know, it's true you won't have any friends when you get to Kansas, but you can also start with a clean slate. No one there knows who you are or what you've done. If there's anything you want to change or do differently, you can."
In other words, although change is scary and can be hard, embrace it for the opportunities it presents.
Kimberly didn't know it at the time, but this realization and understanding would serve her well over the years. It served her as a soon-to-be college sophomore, when she decided to change her major from music performance to music therapy. This may not seem like a big deal, but Kimberly's decision involved her transferring to a brand-new school in the middle of summer. No chance to say good-bye to her professors or her friends from freshman year.
It served Kimberly in a much bigger way in 2006. Here's what happened:
- In October 2005, Kimberly started dating Steven.
- In February 2006, they made the decision for Kimberly to move in with Steven.
- In March 2006--the day Kimberly moved in, no less--they found out Kimberly was pregnant.
- In May 2006, Kimberly graduated with her Master's degree.
- In June 2006, Steven and Kimberly got married.
- In August 2006, Kimberly began developing a music therapy program for a local hospital.
- In November 2006, Steven and Kimberly welcome their first child.
There's a survey that Kimberly took as part of one of her graduate courses that measures a person's level of stress based on significant life changes: babies, marriage, moving, new job, death, etc. (This test may have been the Holmes and Rahe Life Events Stress Test, which you can read more about here, or at least something very similar to that) http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/stress-management/stress-assessment.htm In the span of 9 months, Kimberly went through multiple major life changes. This would cause some people to struggle and flounder, but Kimberly took it in stride, tackling one event at a time. Her belief in change and the good it can do helped her pull through that year.
Four years later, Kimberly had the opportunity to embrace change again. The family was moving from Colorado to Missouri. At the time, Kimberly had an active music therapy private practice...and less than four months to decide what to do with it.
She started researching. She talked to her professional friends, her attorney, her accountant. She read articles, consulted her business books, and sought a mentor through SCORE. Kimberly reasoned that her options were 1) to sell the business, 2) to give away the contracts, 3) to keep the business and hire a manager, or 4) to dissolve the business.
The problem with dissolving was that it would leave her clients without any services. That didn't seem right, especially since, in some instances, Kimberly had spent years nurturing the business relationship to get a program started. What about keeping the business and hiring a manager? For one, it would leave Kimberly tied to Colorado; perhaps it was time for a clean break and a fresh start in Missouri. Additionally, Kimberly had been the biggest promoter of her business, so would it continue to grow if the person who cared about it most was two states away? Not likely. Furthermore, she wasn't bringing in enough business to make it worth hiring a manager. So that was not an option. What about selling the business? Truthfully, the business was probably not worth enough to sell. And all of the promotional materials included Kimberly's name and image. So "no" to selling the business.
It took several months to come to a decision, but ultimately Kimberly chose to accept this move as a chance to start fresh. It was an opportunity to learn from the mistakes she made building her first business and try to do a better job when building her second. She tried to take care of her clients by leaving them either with a new music therapist to work with or a referral list of music therapists accepting clients. At the same time, she tried to take care of herself by taking Neurosong Music Therapy Services, now client-less, with her. In essence, Kimberly gave away her business. Not an easy choice...but the right one.
While change does open opportunities, it can also be scary and can bring with it some difficult and complex feelings. When the little stick showed two lines that indicated "you're pregnant," Kimberly turned to Steven and cried. When she walked down the steps in her white dress towards her soon-to-be-husband, she cried--partly from happiness, partly from being pregnant and wildly hormonal, and partly from fear of this major step in her life. Kimberly also cried while working through closing her Colorado-based business--it was frustrating to figure out the right decision to make and difficult to say good-bye to her clients.
As a therapist, Kimberly understands the importance of allowing herself to feel and work through her emotions. One of the ways she does that is by crying. Whether she's sad, scared, frustrated, or mad, crying is a form of physical release that, more often than not, helps Kimberly feel better enough to think through a solution or deal with the situation. There have also been a handful of times where what she was going through was too difficult to process alone. In those instances, Kimberly sought outside help by going to see a counselor.
Kimberly says, "There's a saying that goes 'Life only gives you what you can handle.' That may be true, but it's easier to believe that some days more than others."
So what happened with Kimberly and her move from Colorado to Missouri? Well, two days after finding out they were moving, Kimberly got offered a job she didn't apply for that would allow her to work from her home. And it turns out that Steven's new job took them within 60 miles of one of the 7 universities in the USA that offered a doctorale music therapy program. Kimberly plans to enroll in Fall 2011...when she will live through yet another change balancing full-time doctorale work with a part-time job and full-time family.
Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying "Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes." No offense to Mr. Franklin, but perhaps it's more accurate to say that nothing is certain but death, taxes...and change.