Committing to Your Goal
Of course, a lot of people have goals, even specific ones with well-laid plans and a great deal of clarity around their purpose, that still don’t succeed. Why is this?
A lot of people look at goals as rather personal endeavors that are easy-come, easy-go — like New Year’s resolutions.
They don’t affect anyone but you, right?
So, you don’t get the goal, it doesn’t really matter. You can always walk away, jettison a goal when you no longer want to do it.
If you jettison a goal, or feel that you can easily jettison a goal, then guess what?
You’ll never, ever reach it.
Goals — in order to be achieved — require commitment.
When a goal is personal, the time and urgency aren’t there. If it doesn’t happen now, then that’s no big deal. In this instance, the stakes aren’t high, and the commitment is really only to yourself.
But when you take up the idea that you are in a business, you suddenly have that global perspective, and you realize something: teaching yoga isn’t about you. Teaching yoga is about teaching, and therefore teaching someone. Someone else is in the equation now. What allows you to teach yoga is having someone to teach.
So the commitment, really, isn’t to the goal itself, but rather to the other person.
In the case of business, it’s not just specific people — the clients that you have — but also the clients that you want to have, that you will have. If you are committed to them, if you are accountable to them, and if you think of them first when weighing out decisions, then they — in turn — will create the opportunity for you to make your living from teaching yoga.
This begins, as well, to take our business of teaching yoga into the space of service, one of the values of yoga.
Let me give an example:
Starting a new yoga class — anywhere — can be tough. It requires a lot of commitment and fortitude. You have to be willing to show up when no one else does, and to keep showing up when classes are small, and then, over time, as they grow.
In a competitive market, I recommend to teachers that they commit at least six months to a given class before evaluating whether or not they should let it go. This is six months from the start date of the first class. The class should be planned and the marketing strategy determined and implemented prior to that class — anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks ahead of time. More planning usually creates more success, so I recommend 12 weeks of good market research, strategy, and implementation of the marketing plan prior to the start date of the class.
In my experience, though, most teachers decide to start a new class late — giving them a very limited time to market — do not create a cohesive plan around the class, its marketing, etc., start the class before the marketing has been able to take root in the community. Then let go of the class when it “isn’t working” — usually after only several weeks. I’ve had teachers that I know “end” a class after only a month! That’s 4 classes! Oh, heck, I’m talking about myself too!
The common refrain is that it “isn’t worth their time” — but if this is true, then how would it ever be worth a student’s time, and a student’s money?
Teaching yoga isn’t about the teacher. It is about the students.
So, the question isn’t “what is my time worth?” but rather “what do the students want and require of me?”
This question creates a foundation to understanding our accountability.
If we are only beholden to ourselves — “worth my time” approach — then letting go of a class time because it was poorly planned and executed and therefore “not working” really gives a strong impression as to how seriously you actually take not only your business, but also yoga itself.
After all, our businesses are the vehicles for teaching yoga, so in that way, the business itself becomes a “yoga ambassador.” If we — and our businesses — have the appearance of “easy come, easy go” then it’s no wonder that people see us as flighty. At any moment we might decide to just stop teaching!
And this also goes to why our profession isn’t valued. There have been times when I haven’t behaved professionally, and let me be honest, most of the yoga teachers whom I know and love also don’t behave professionally.
If we don’t value our work, how can a client — real or potential?
But, if you take your work seriously, and what you offer seriously — if you truly commit yourself to the service of others — then the students take you seriously, and they will invest their time and money in you and in your classes.
Commit to give the students what they need — the feeling and sense of reliability and stability — and they will make the commitment to you.
Next week in this four part series on The Yoga of Business, Jenifer will look at the need for consistency in applying your goals, clarity, values and commitment to the business of yoga.
Jenifer M Parker is the owner/director of Healium, a holistic health collective, as well as a yoga teacher, Thai yoga massage practitioner, and avid meditator.
She enjoys the mindfulness practice that parenting her son Hawk brings, as well as sharing yoga and quiet meditation practices with him.