My Dad is an “You’re not outta the 4th quarter yet, sweetheart!” and “It’s not about the game, it’s about the series!” kind of guy. He’s a self-made sales and marketing dynamo who’s motivation has always been to provide a good life for the family, which he has. My father has been a huge supporter of every business endeavor I’ve taken on in my professional life, always offering important lessons to help me weather the storms that are a given when you own a small business. In this week’s post, I share some of the most important lessons he’s taught me and how they’ve translated directly to creating a successful career in Pilates.
It’s Nice To Be Nice
While this one carries a bit of a “no kidding” sentiment to it, I’ve really practiced this lesson as much as possible throughout my career. When I’ve felt myself being pulled into judgment or criticism, I remember this lesson and recognize that being nice takes less energy than being critical. Based on recent social media interaction, I know that I’m not the only one who desires more nice-ness in their lives and do my best to send out some niceness to random strangers, colleagues and especially my students as regularly as I can. With this motivating reminder, I’ve cultivated some of the most inspirational relationships with some of the most well-known pros, as well as some amazing hidden gems. When you are nice, you open the doors that build relationships that will connect you with some of your best friends and also help you greatly in your career.
Listen And Learn
My father always taught me that with each new interaction comes an opportunity to learn a new skill or receive new information. I based the majority of my tenure as a studio owner on this tenant. I watched, I listened, I learned and I asked questions. I recognized that what I was achieving is real-life-in-the-trenches knowledge with a side order of grit and chops! About 7 years into owning the studio, I told my father that I wanted to go back to school for my MBA – a degree that he had achieved years ago. He responded, without hesitation: “Sweetheart – you’ve owned a small business in a major metropolitan city for 7 years. You have your MBA!” This gave me the confidence to reflect on the skills I had gained and put them to good use in propelling my business forward. One of my favorite sayings is “Your Experience Is Your Expertise.” My Dad has always reminded me that the knowledge I’ve gained “on the job” is as important as any training I’ll receive in the future.
Know How To Change Your Own Oil
While it was a literal lesson, (and I have yet to put these skills to the test) I use this reminder to acknowledge that through understanding the processes of the tasks or projects I want to accomplish, I can absolutely become a better director and manager. In short – know how things work so you can take care of yourself in an emergency and also decide when to ask for help, which leads me to the next lesson:
Running a small business requires that you wear many hats. If you choose those that “fit,” you’ll probably find yourself with a reasonable workload (which still means a lot of work for the small business owner, but I digress…) If you put every hat on because it’s there, you will drown in a mountain of hats. Accepting help when it’s offered to you is one of the most powerful moves a teacher or studio owner can make. It means that you recognize that you are in a process that requires you to step back, reevaluate and delegate consistently. For teachers, perhaps this means asking clients to help you move the equipment or get their own props so you might preserve your energy. For studio owners, this can mean outsourcing tasks like laundry and cleaning to persons that will do them with more efficiency, again, preserving your energy for teaching and management. It’s a simple, but important lesson and I’m grateful for the help I’ve been able to receive throughout the years.
Invest In Your Future
Oh how I wish this was the part where I bragged about my beefed up 401k! It’s there, it’s healthy, but in a career where your income is relevant to the hours you work, contributing regularly to retirement funds can be challenging. With this guiding principle, I’ve gained perspective about where my time spent was most valuable and where I was outputting more than necessary. I chose to sell my studio, go into private practice and diversify my offerings to invest in my future. My father has shown me the importance of hard work as well as being able to enjoy your life and so, I shifted my work to reflect the energy I need to thrive in both my work AND home life as well as the creativity in how I make my income. I expect to report back at the end of the year with a very happy 401k and I credit this to the perspective I took over my professional life and the shifts I made for the future.
My father has continued to be a supporter and an inspiration to me and I know how fortunate I am to have a role model to look up to in the realm of business and motivation. In celebration of Father’s Day, I’d love to hear some of your favorite “Fatherly Lessons.” Drop them in the comments below to share the wisdom and I’ll be sure to reply :).