You know what it means to live your life with passion. You followed your passion to the massage therapy profession, where you spend your time helping others feel their best, maintaining their health and well-being or dealing with the sometimes overwhelming symptoms of chronic or acute health conditions.
You have the best of both worlds: By living your best life, you help others live their best lives, too.
That doesn’t mean the road is always smooth.
Everyone, no matter how successful, faces personal and professional challenges. Some are small, some big. Some you can overcome fairly easily. Others feel like they might break you, or derail your hard-won successes. How you choose to deal with these challenges— no matter how big or small—can make all the difference.
Robin Roberts, this year’s Keynote Speaker at AMTA’s 2016 National Convention, knows a thing or two about both successes and challenges:
Legendary Athlete. From 1990 to 2005, Roberts was a contributor to ESPN, where she was one of the network’s most versatile commentators. Her assignments there included hosting SportsCenter and contributing to NFL PrimeTime.
She came to the position with a strong sports pedigree. In 1983, Roberts graduated cum laude from Southeastern Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications. She was a standout performer on the women’s basketball team, and she ended her career as the school’s all-time leading scorer (1,446 points) and rebounder (1,034). Roberts is one of only three Lady Lions to score 1,000 career points and grab 1,000 career rebounds. During her senior season, she averaged a career-high 15.2 points per game.
Interviews With Passion. As the anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America, Roberts’ leadership has resulted in the broadcast winning three consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Morning program. When not traveling around the country or the world covering breaking news events, Roberts is at GMA’s studio in Times Square conducting interviews with a diverse group of newsmakers. Her headline-making interviews include President Barack Obama and a groundbreaking, live broadcast from inside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In August 2005, Roberts found her personal and professional lives collide when Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, a part of the country Roberts called home for most of her life. In the days following, Roberts traveled to the hurricane zone and reported live amid the devastation of the storm.
Overcoming Cancer. In addition to covering world events, Robin has shared her personal experiences with GMA audiences around the country. In July 2007, she announced that she had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and was undergoing treatment. Then, five years after beating breast cancer, she announced she’d been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a disease of the blood and bone marrow that medical experts previously described as preleukemia. Her courageous and public battles with two life-threatening diseases have been recognized with awards and honors from organizations around the country.
Since her diagnosis, Robin has become an outspoken advocate for breast cancer awareness and the importance of early detection. In March 2007, Hyperion Books published her first book, From the Heart: Seven Rules to Live By, which was a New York Times bestseller. An updated version, From The Heart: Eight Rules To Live By, was released in October 2008 with an additional chapter on her experience with breast cancer.
All of these experiences taught Roberts the value and necessity of maintaining her health and well-being, both physically and mentally—a message that she shares regularly with all who watch her. Having a positive attitude, finding ways to better handle stress and deal with the sometimes challenging symptoms of breast cancer, as well as the arduous treatment, are all a part of how Roberts continues to live her best life, chasing her dreams and going after her goals with passion.
And, like you, massage therapy has played an integral role in helping her do that.
Massage Therapy Journal staff had the opportunity to connect with Roberts and ask her how she stays healthy, her sources of motivation and the words of encouragement she’d share with those people facing their own personal and professional challenges.
MTJ: What are some ways you maintain your health and wellness with your hectic schedule?Do you continue to use massage therapy?
Robin Roberts: Making time for health and wellness is essential for me—not just physically, but mentally as well. I practice yoga and Pilates, and I also work with a trainer a couple of times a week on strength training. To me, a massage is the perfect end to a busy week and gets my body and mind back on track. There’s nothing more relaxing and healing than spending 60 to 90 minutes in the hands of a fantastic therapist.
What role does massage therapy play in your or your family’s health and wellness regimen?
My long-time partner, Amber, graduated from the Swedish Institute’s massage therapy program, earned her associate’s degree, and is now a licensed massage therapist. One could safely assume that massage therapy plays a pretty important role in our lives! Together, we are committed to a lifestyle of wellness, healing and positivity.
What is one wellness habit you have that you consider integral to your health and well-being?
Meditation has been an important practice in my life for just over a year now. I find that taking quiet time during my day makes those 3 a.m. wake-up calls much less stressful. Getting my mind right helps to relieve stress, releases tension in my body and makes me more productive during my days.
What is your biggest source of motivation/inspiration?
The three F’s: Faith, family and friends. My life has been filled with blessings—deep faith, strong family ties, a core group of loyal friends— and these are the foundations upon which everything in my life rests. Having a strong ground to stand on gives me the energy and courage to pursue my goals without hesitation.
What words of encouragement or advice would you give to people facing their own personal or professional challenges?
When I face a challenge or frustration, I say to myself, “God’s delays are not His denials.” Not landing the perfect job, not seeing immediate results or facing heartbreak—situations that are difficult, painful and frustrating—are best met with patience, persistence and self-love. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, and more importantly, never tell yourself that.