Have you ever left a studio?
Of course, schedules change or you need more time for yourself.
But, have you ever quit?
Sometimes we forget to look at the big picture when where excited about teaching each class.
I once taught at a local Ashtanga shala near my home. It was just a 15 walk away. How wonderful! But, the dynamics of the city changed. And, as the studio struggled to maintain students. I saw my paychecks shrink. Being paid per head is great when the room is full. But, it was just a short walk down the street. The class time was convenient. I love teaching. What’s the problem?
I did the math. The numbers revealed the ugly truth. The pay no longer covered the time and energy I spent getting there. I was clearing less than minimum wage, far less than the normal rate for a senior teacher. So, I left.
It’s not always about money though. I taught at another studio that paid a fair flat rate. I was really excited to be a part of the community. This studio was renown throughout the area, the world, and had a legacy. But the community wasn’t welcoming. The addition of a “power yoga” class was sneered at by existing teachers. Yes, air quotes were often used and not so subtle references to “trendy yoga” and “ridiculous poses”. What I taught was different and many teachers in the space weren’t capable of the vigorous asana. So, they belittled what they were afraid of. It was pretty toxic. So, I left.
“We often say ‘yes’ with regrets.
But sometimes, we have to say no.
Sometimes, we have to walk away. “
Have you ever fired a student?
I know, I know…it sounds like self-sabotage. It’s really self-preservation.
I volunteered at the International Film Festival for years. There were several dedicated volunteers who had been with the festival for decades. When I was invited to join the seasonal staff, I used them as a valuable resource for best practices. Things would go well if things went their way. Too often, new volunteers found themselves iced out and discouraged from coming back.
One year, the operations director uninvited dozens of long time volunteers from the festival. It was scandalous. They were fired. And, we were better for it. The general atmosphere was more welcoming and friendly to everyone. A heavy weight was lifted from everyone’s shoulders.
Sometimes, students need to leave your class for their own benefit or for the benefit of your teaching. The student who stays in the beginner class because it’s safe or easy, needs to move on. The regular student who dominates your time and energy before, during and after class is interfering with your serving the other students.
We often say “yes” with regrets. But sometimes, we have to say no. Sometimes, we have to walk away.
Check out this interesting article from James Altucher about the realities of selling oneself…pay close attention to points B and I.