This question entertains me every time it comes up.
Answers to this question include:
Getting new students
Creating quality Black Belts
Selling Taekwon-Do lessons
And the list can go on and on.
Although many things on that list may be what you are doing (and some of those are great things) the problem with this list is that it’s not the business you are in.
As instructors we get caught up in the day to day operations and individual aspects of the business of running a Taekwon-Do school. It’s very easy to lose sight of the business that we are really in.
It’s imperative that you, as the instructor and school owner have your eye on the big picture as well as what there is to do and handle right in front of you.
You may have heard the expression that you can’t see the forest through the trees? Well, as the instructor and school owner you HAVE to be able to see the forest through the trees because you are responsible for all of it.
While you are teaching classes, enrolling new members, selling merchandise, talking to parents, developing leaders, dealing with misbehaving kids, paying rent, creating Black Belts, collecting tuition, making flyers, hosting events, cleaning mirrors, mats and bathrooms, preparing for testings and finding time for yourself to train (just to name a few things)…
You also have to keep in mind the business that you are actually in.
You are in the business of marketing and selling a way of life.
All of those things listed above are just what there is for you to do to fulfill on what it takes to market and sell a way of life.
What you do and what you provide is bigger than any class, any tournament or any upset parent. Even if you are not currently present to it right now, you are literally changing and developing lives everyday for the better. You provide that with the physical and mental training that Taekwon-Do has to offer.
Allow yourself to let this sink into your bones. Taekwon-Do is already a way of life for you, so much so that you don’t even have to think about it. But when you get clear about the impact of what you are providing has on others and the difference it makes in people’s lives, you’ll have a whole new perspective on what it is to be an instructor.
When I was about 14 years old, there was a student we had that was about 8 years old, trained his butt off, was always super respectful and nice and was with us for about two years before he suddenly stopped coming. All I remembered was that his parents always acted kind of strange and looked pretty rough anytime I saw them. Later on I found out that his parents were drug addicts and this student was taken to a foster or group home.
Then, about three years ago a student brings in this newspaper article with my dad’s name in it wondering if he’d seen it. We had no idea, but there was an article on that same kid who disappeared 15 years earlier and it was all about how he had gotten himself through school, paid for and graduated college all on his own, got a job as a pharmacy technician and was preparing to take his MCAT test so that he could go to medical school and become a doctor.
In the article he credited Master David Karstadt and what he learned in Taekwon-Do as a kid for his ability to accomplish what he had accomplished.
This is what happens when you can do the busy work and keep your eyes on the big picture. Creating successes out in the world that come as a result of your training is something YOU can do with your students everyday, and from experience, I can tell you that having that kind of impact on someone else’s life means more than winning any world championship.
About the Author:
Mr. Karstadt is the founder of 1 TKD Consulting and owns the longest running ITF Taekwon-Do school in Arizona, Karstadt Taekwon-Do in Phoenix, AZ with his father Master David Karstadt. He has been training since 1984, earned his Black Belt at the age of 8 and is currently an internationally renown intstructor teaching the culture, discipline, leadership and business skills of Taekwon-Do in classes and seminars to Instructors around the world. He has been a member of eight U.S. Taekwon-Do Teams and has traveled to 14 different countries competing in Taekwon-Do. He has won numerous medals at the World Championships and in international competition, most notably winning the 2004 World Championships in South Korea with two gold medals and the Men’s Team All Around Trophy. Mr. Karstadt currently resides in uptown Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and three children. Mr. Karstadt can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org