The 2012 SoulSalt Courage Award

Two strong constructs within my work are to:

  • Support people to clarify and align with their core value system
  • Support people through the process of career reinvention

This year’s Courage Award goes to a woman whose story embraces both and has unfolded right beneath my nose. Susan McLaughlin, my partner in life has simply yet bravely earned this award.

Having her livelihood placed on the line, Susan chose to leave a job in order to remain aligned with her personal values. This daring move has required that she quickly reinvent herself in the world of entrepreneurship (something she is approaching with as much skill and thoughtfulness as I’ve ever witnessed). Her story is best told by her own pen:

Recently I experienced a big shift in my life that has made me wonder.

 I wonder, what is it that drives a person to initiate a big change?

What is it that allows a person to take the next step, to change careers, a relationship, even a residence?

I took a big step…. no, I took a leap this Dec, 2011.

I have been practicing physical therapy since 2001. Four years ago I established myself as an outpatient physical therapist with a top notch healthcare company. I had an ideal position with a decent salary, potential to develop a pelvic health program and move into a leadership role.

During my years with this company, minute incongruencies clashed with my core values and began to take its toll. I had been packaging and storing these differences in a way that manifested as stress in my body. I started to observe that I mixed up words when I spoke, I transposed words when I wrote, I couldn’t finish my sentences, and I started to revert back to the childhood days when I couldn’t say my “Rs”.

I also noticed that despite all of the hours of stretching and restorative exercise™ during the week, my muscles just wouldn’t let go….Although I could feel that I was carrying more tension in my body than was healthy, I didn’t want to admit that my current job was contributing to this condition.

I now realize that my stress was caused by the friction of internal struggle. I have a belief that our bodies will heal if given the optimal environment. I wanted to work from my soul. However, I was working within a system where healing is something done to us and we wait for people to get sick, and then “cure” them with surgery and pills. I would have continued to work with this subtle inner struggle, but my company initiated a new policy that challenged me to really look at my core value of health and wellness.

You see, it is becoming a national healthcare trend to initiate a mandatory flu shot policy for all workers of large healthcare systems. My company followed suit this fall 2011. I had to make a decision: Do I sacrifice my personal health and compromise my immune system, or do I sacrifice a “good job” and a paycheck?

I realized that if I continued to make compromises to my core values, my physical body would eventually revolt, and then where would I be? I had to ask myself an important question: How could I stand for health and wellness when, by taking the flu shot and working for this company, I would be out of my personal integrity? 

I chose not to get the flu shot and I left my company. I was able to take that leap and land on my feet because I have an inner conviction that I know that my body has everything it needs to be vital. I stayed aligned to what I believe in. It wasn’t popular, nor was it profitable, however, I am committed to health and wellness and I will support others to do so as well. So I formed my own company and aptly named it, Align Integration and Movement, PLC. I intend to thrive and I intend to work with those who want to thrive as well.

Please feel free to visit www.alignintegrationandmovement.com and be sure to check out the class schedule. If something within Susan’s philosophy resonates with your own outlook on wellness, I recommend that you attend one of her Restorative Exercise™ classes now being held in Salt Lake !

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