At one time or another, we all have known—and perhaps even been—one of those people who is not exactly sure about the best possible path toward the future. Perhaps these individuals lack direction or don’t have the proper focus to proceed on a set course of action. When it comes to continuing education, however, there are both drawbacks and benefits to bouncing around from topic to topic for extended learning.

Among the possible drawbacks of being uncertain about which continuing education classes you most want to take is choosing one that is wrong for you and your practice, which could mean a waste of time and money. You must remember, though, that it is possible to make lemonade out of lemons, and you should be able to find some way to benefit from the continuing education course you chose, even if at first it seems to be quite unappealing.

One of the more substantial consequences of being unsure about your direction in taking continuing education classes is the fact that this may end up inhibiting your progress toward gaining the most advanced skills for your clients and your practice as a whole.

In other words, if you are bouncing from an introductory course on myofascial release to an introductory course on shiatsu to an introductory course on aromatherapy for massage therapists, you may end up more like a jack of all trades and a master of none.

Of course, this can also be seen in a much more positive light, because you will possess basic skills in a diverse array of massage therapy and bodywork techniques. For those practitioners of healthy touch who hope to hold a much higher level of expertise, however, uncertainty could serve as a roadblock.

Let’s take a look at a concrete example of how a strong focus and specific direction can serve massage therapists and bodyworkers in the realm of continuing education, in terms of gaining the most advanced skills. Consider a massage therapist who has all sorts of clients, but finds herself the most engaged when working with her athletic clients.

These are the daily joggers, avid tennis players, members of local sports teams and so on. They make consistent appointments to see the massage therapist for relief from the tension and pains that come along with the repetitive movements and physical demands of their hobby or profession. Most of these clients not only want to alleviate the aches, but they also hope the massage will perhaps even improve their performance.

With the right level of awareness, this massage therapist will realize she is most passionate and enthusiastic when working with these clients, and will translate this into taking continuing education classes relevant  to sports massage and massage for active, athletic clients.

By following this focused game plan, she can begin with an introductory course and keep moving up, into continuing education classes that cover everything from massage therapy protocols for dealing with injured clients to more specific classes, such as one that focuses on the rotator cuff and shoulder dysfunction.

Even if you choose to bounce around in your continuing education classes, keep your awareness level high, so you will know when you find a focus that fires up your enthusiasm.

–Brandi Schlossberg