We had the good fortune of connecting with Nikki Lanoue and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nikki, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Work/Life balance was the driving force for becoming self-employed. The first 10 years of my working life (14-24 y/o) I was a slave to retail, and the 40 hour a week, need-health-insurance-through-a-company life. I was also the most unhappy and unhealthy I’d ever been during most of those years. The deep desire for true balance and happiness set me on a path of self-discovery. The moment I realized planning work around life was possible, VS life around work, my world was changed forever. Balance became the goal. I began to unsubscribe to the belief that I needed to find one place, somewhere/someone that would see my value and give me what I needed. I began to subscribe to my true value and what my unique gifts are that I bring to the world. My time slowly became more and more valuable, for how I personally spent it as well as how I was compensated for it. It truly involved deep self-awareness and personal work for over a decade to get to where I am now (34). When I let go of money being the goal, and balance took its place, unexpected possibilities became available. I feel like my life has a beautiful balance of work, play and rest. Play & rest are often looked at as luxuries in our high-paced society, but they are vital necessities. I cannot stress that fact enough. It’s not worth the burnout when it’s possible to have the best of everything. The key is balance.

What should our readers know about your business?
I am coming up on 10 years of practicing massage therapy, and almost 5 years being self-employed. The massage field of professionals is a very interesting bunch, filled with a wide variety of skill levels and abilities. I didn’t know I was going to be a MT. College didn’t work for me, even though I was a very good student. The institution of it didn’t make sense to me, paying thousands of dollars for classes I didn’t want to take. When I discovered massage school, it seemed to fit like a glove. Science and spirituality. Medicine and relaxation. Athletic and peaceful. I was a natural and fell in love with the human body and how it works. Everything I was learning would help me to improve my own life as well as the lives of others. Once in the field, I quickly developed a loyal following of clients and discovered I had a real knack for working with athletes. I pulled out my old school books, redid the business plan project from that part of the program, and set myself up to be my own boss. It was important to develop a reputation in the field before I went off on my own. By the time I decided to take the leap of faith, my schedule filled from the very first month and I’ve been fully booked ever since. I have some clients I’ve been seeing since my first year as a MT. I truly believe it’s because I’m not only skilled, but also passionate. They can tell I love doing what I do, and that makes them happy to be there. Parallel to that, I became a photographer by chance. I received my first DSLR camera as a Christmas gift in 2008. I had always loved taking pictures, so I would hit up my friends to play model/photographer. I would give them their photos and they’d post them on Facebook. Then those friends would get requests for my info from their friends and family to take their pictures. I did a 365 day photo project 2010-2011 that went viral (for that time lol) and that really helped my career take off. Photography went on the back burner for a while when I started my private massage practice. I had been doing a lot of weddings prior, and knew it was time to rest. It was becoming more like work than creating, so I shifted my focus. This year photography has bloomed back in my life. It has evolved into this amazing medium for working with and empowering women. I’m so excited to see where this goes. I love having multiple outlets for income. I’ve had ebbs and flows where I do more or less photography. I’ve been a Crossfit coach and yoga teacher. I’ve recently started massaging horses because a childhood dream of mine was to work with animals. I don’t like to be put into any one box. Once I got out of my own way and let go of minting beliefs, my life took off. I learned to BE the person I wanted to be instead of waiting to become it.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
For Boston, my personal favorite place is the Museum of Fine Arts. There is so much to see there. You can focus on one region and read all it’s history. Or you could spend the entire day walking down every hall trying to see everything you can. Being plant-based, my two favorite go-to spots to eat are Veggie Galaxy (think vegan comfort food) and Life Alive (food that makes you feel). Another day in Boston would involve the New England Aquarium to check out the penguins and octopus, a performance at the Boston Opera House, and cannolis from Mike’s Pastry in the North End. You can’t come to Massachusetts without visiting Plymouth & the Cape. We’d take the ferry to Provincetown for the afternoon to enjoy shopping, cocktails, and people watching. Ferry back to downtown Plymouth and have dinner at any number of amazing restaurants (Su Casa, KKatie’s Burger Bar, or The Blue-Eyed Crab to name a few).

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I couldn’t agree with this more! Which is why I took 1 year to complete a personal gratitude project. It highlights the 10 people in the 10 years prior that had the biggest impact on my life. It was a huge creative burst, blending my love for writing and photography. It was completed and shared at the beginning of 2020 and can be found at www.gratefulphotographer.com/project. This is a very vulnerable and personal journey that I took because I was called to share it. I would like to dedicate this shoutout to my partner, Matthew. Being in a conscious relationship with him has helped me grow more as a person than I thought was possible. His passion for his music inspires me to check in with my purpose and what my passions truly are. He treats me with incredible love and respect, and deserves all the credit in the world for who he is.

Website: www.gratefulphotographer.com/project
Instagram: @nikkimassaj
Facebook: facebook.com/gratitudephotography

Image Credits
They’re all my images

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