Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Grass is Always Greener Where you Water It

The other day I was reading one of the endless marketing social media entries by one of the 1000’s of wanta-be consultants, because you know we don’t want to fall behind anyone else in the industry, and it struck me, like a surprise sidekick to the face.  They all want to help.  They all have the answer, assuming the answer is more student and/or more cash flow, and they all want you to know how to do it. But, and this a huge but, you have to buy into the assumption that YOU ARE NOT DOING IT RIGHT. 

I want you to know that YOUR way is the Right Way

There is NOTHING wrong with you, your art or your mission. You're good just the way you are, and whatever bait was dangled right in front of your nose was put there to appeal to your narcissistic side, designed to bait you into buying into their product or service.  They can't get you to pay a monthly fee for their advice if you already believe in yourself.  In order to buy into their product or service, first you MUST believe that your way of thinking or doing is wrong, counter productive or foolish. 

"You're a black belt.  You have already been tested in the fire, and you were not found wanting." - Sabum Paul McCoy. Click to Tweet.

If you are a person of faith, then you have the solid foundation of knowing that your every action, every choice, if done by reason of your calling to the kingdom, is already destined to work.  In any case, YOU have value just as your are, and all you need to do is improve and grow everyday.  You DO NOT need to uproot your life, your work, your desires and your belief system, and start again.  You were not found wanting. Water YOUR OWN GRASS, and avoid the temptation of coping, stealing or planting someone else's green grass.  The grass that is watered is green. 

So, Who Can You Trust

Our school has been around since 1994, when we opened with 90 students in 90 days.  We did this by looking for a consultant that was both direct and respectful of who we were and what our character and make up was. Once we knew that they were listening to us, and not just selling us a system they loved, we did what they suggested.

Let me give you an example from outside of the martial arts.  I recently had both of my knees replaced, due to damage from skiing back in the 70's.  Today was my first appointment with the Physical Therapist outside of the one that came to my home for 3 weeks.  Thirty minutes of total hell.  Not because of the pain; I'm a black belt, and overcoming pain is part of the package.  Hell because this person spoke her own language, PT ease,  and acted like it was my job to speak her language too.  Worse, she was not interested in my former activity level or my own hard earned experience and knowledge on stance and movement in the martial arts.  She just assumed I was like everybody else she saw, and launched into a long list of things I could never do again.  Many of them were things that we do in the martial arts 100's of times a day or week.  When I tried to tell her that she needed to listen to what the constraints were from my life style, or the things that I must be able to do, she just cut me off. "You're foolish if you do that," she said. This was my second knee.  It took hours to come to an understanding with the surgeon and previous therapist of why I was having the surgery done for to begin with.  These foolish things were the very things I needed to be able to do.  But she had success with her plan and system, so my needs, my desires, my goals, my life style had nothing to do with it.

That is the situation many consultants put you in.  You have to choice between THEIR WAY and your way.  Avoid these people.  If they start out by listening to what you believe, what you need, what you are trying to do, then you have a winner.  I found one of those 20 years ago, and ever since, he has gone out of his way to fit his advise to my needs, unlike my PT person.

This runs against some of the advise all of us have had to internalize just to get our black belt.  We have been taught to accept. Now I'm telling you to evaluate.  Why?  Because your grass can be green too, if you know how to water it and feed it.  And, most importantly, you are the only person on earth that can use your grass.  Don't grow someone elses.

"Your value to the community, to your students, to the world, is within YOU, not within your advisers." - Sabum Paul McCoy Click to Tweet.

The last advise I suggest you follow when deciding who to listen and follow and who to listen to and reject is probably the hardest to do.  If they hold out on giving you a direct answer or method, they are practicing salesmanship and not counselling.  They want you to keep coming back to the same well, and they think that if they withhold some of the answer, you will keep pushing the answer button.  Don't.  It might be the best advise in the world, but the character of the person giving the advise make a difference to who you are and who you will become.  Demand that your circle of advise givers are interested in your goals more than their own, at least when they are talking to you.  

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