Wondering if I know Pilates Instructors? I mean really know them? I’ve been living and breathing Pilates for over 10 years now. I hold two certifications, have worked in more studios than I can count on two hands, taught out of a little home studio, and eventually inherited an 850 sq foot Pilates studio in the heart of Manhattan. I am an instructor, some of my best friends are instructors, and I work with said instructors all week. Hell yeah, I KNOW Pilates instructors! Which is why, being so close to my industry, I see the struggles and needs of these teachers daily.
I know its a specific type of person that becomes a teacher, especially a good one. Guiding others is for the giving, self-less, and compassionate. Sometimes though, these same trainers strengths can also be their weaknesses. The good characteristics can go bad- like being people pleasers, conflict avoiders, and, (ek!) martyrs. Nearly all the instructors I’ve encountered while mentoring and guiding on how to run their businesses, love the teaching but loathe anything that eludes to business. They would rather just stick their heads in the springs than market their practice or (eek!) sell anything. There are a handful of us that find creativity and joy in having a little business baby and seeing grow, but not many, and mostly not by choice. Why then do the majority of instructors think they’re alone in feeling like a business disaster? My hunch is we are afraid. More specifically- afraid of failure. How the heck did we become this way and how do we heal? Read on my little Pilates fanatic, read on.
Stereotypes, while somewhat biased, are often true. Forgive me while I wax poetic about the origin of a Pilates Instructor. We come from movement backgrounds- the dancer, the gymnast, the athlete are our tribe. We know what it’s like to be in our body, push ourselves beyond what’s comfortable, and what it’s like when we break. We learned at an early age that excellence requires revery and direction following- we will do whatever our coach, teacher, or choreographer says to achieve our dreams. We would never think of talking back or disagreeing with the status quo. We are good little soliders, which in turn makes us good little teachers because we learn quickly and practice for perfection despite the fact it doesn’t exist. These are the qualities required to become a pro-athlete or professional dancer, but not ideal traits for the successful entrepreneur. Never fret! Even though we spent our years in ballet or baseball instead of getting our MBA, we are smart, we are creative, we are adaptable, we know how to hustle.
So this is the deal- you can work in a studio or venture out on your own, but to be successful you’re gonna need skills other than knowing the difference between internal and external obliques or 100 ways to use a magic circle. This is what successful people do differently….
#1 Believe Perfectionism is a Prison
Although it may be obvious- we all do it. Unfortunately there is no such thing as perfection. It’s a nirvana you’ll never reach. A fictional planet in a universe far, far, away. The quicker you can get used to being human, the quicker you can start forgiving your imperfections and get free! In business, perfectionism is death. Do you think that Thomas Edison never failed when creating electricity? Pshaw! I would be writing this in the dark if he stopped when he thought it wouldn’t be perfect. Joe Pilates himself must of scratched at least a blueprint or two of his inventions before he settled on the reformer. Would you ever not teach a client an exercise because they couldn’t do it perfectly? I. Don’t. Think. So. Why would you do it when you’re making business decisions then? Allow yourself to brainstorm new classes or offerings. Step outside your comfort zone, create something new. It will feel funky. There will be failure, it will be imperfect and that’s just perfect.
#2 Just Do it
Time after time I hear clients and instructors hemming and hawing over what their niche should be or what they should name their business. While a certain amount of contemplation is necessary for finding your north star, months and months of it will get you no where fast. This behavior, commonly known as procrastination, can suck the life out of any dream you might have. Even if you’re afraid of making mistakes (see #1)- just do it. Do something- anything. Make a bold choice even if you end up with egg on your face and your pants around your ankles. This is how you make things happen…by doing.
#3 Above all keep it moving
Once you start moving forward, keep it moving! Forward momentum will create a breeze in the universe that will carry you on, but you have to initiate it. A body in motion stays in motion.
#4 Set a goal, pick a path,
I can’t stress enough how much goal setting is an integral part of being successful. Sitting down to work without a plan is like taking a trip to a new place without a map. You’re gonna get lost. Lost in FB, lost in your inbox. Get organized. Pick like 3 things to get done that day, and then (like #2) Just do it! Sit down and eat your greens! Once your plate is clear then reward yourself for the good work. (Chocolate is my fav but Mani and pedis are always nice;)
#5 Keep Moving Forward- No Matter What
I wise man once said, “Patience and Persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.” Pilates kept keeping on and now you can make a living teaching what he designed. Don’t let down Joe. Keep going, be patient, you’re worth it!
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