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The best investment a martial arts school owner has is themselves. Most would say they’re great instructors and business owners. The question is, “Can we always be better?”
Professor Brannon Beliso of San Francisco, California, a martial arts millionaire, believes the answer to that question is “Absolutely.” He attributes his success to his business motto, “We constantly improve upon what we do, to better serve you.”
Here are eight keys to help you to be a better martial arts instructor and school owner:
1) Create a positive attitude: A smile and positive attitude are the traits of a successful person. If you smile you’ll feel better, attract positive people into your life and business, and the challenges you face will be easier. Exuding a positive attitude will inspire your staff, students, and families. It’ll make your martial arts business the only place people want to come to and the last place they want to leave. To create a positive attitude, you must eliminate three words from your vocabulary. They are “Problem, try and should.” Replace them with “Challenge, do and must.” You don’t have problems only challenges. Viewing situations as challenges allow you to see them as goals. Having goals are inspiring. You’ll be more motivated to achieve a successful outcome when you view problems as challenges. The great master Yoda once said to a young Jedi, “Either you do or you don’t, there is no such thing as try.”The challenge with trying is that it allows you to rationalize your behavior and failure by saying “At least I tried.”Successful people achieve their goals by doing not trying. You should train more. You should eat better. You should manage your time properly. Eliminate “should” from your vocabulary and replace it with “MUST.”You must train regularly. You must eat better. You must manage your time properly. Utilizing the word “must” instills a sense of urgency and an immediate call to action. While we’re at it, let’s also eliminate the words “I can’t.”Replace them with “Yes I can.”Say it real loud. Say it again. Say it as often as needed every day.
2) Be a master of sustained passion: To sustain passion is the art of a true master.It’s easy to be passionate for a day, a challenge to be passionate for a week, and difficult to be passionate consistently. The foundations of sustained passion are focus and discipline. These “life skills” are the characteristics of a great martial artist, instructor and successful school owner. Focus means to“Pay attention.”Pay attention to every aspect of your life and business. When you’re focused you’re more productive and efficient at everything you do. Passion comes easy when you are fully focused on teaching a class, enjoying a meal or spending time with a loved one. Focus also leads you to make better choices. Good choices improve the quality of your life and grow your business. Discipline is the second of these life skills. I define discipline as“To always do your best.”When you do your best you feel great, and feeling great about yourself is called self-esteem.A person with high self-esteem tends to be more goal-oriented and passionate about life. I always say, “In order to deserve the best, you have to do your best.” It doesn’t matter if you’re tired, in a bad mood, whether it’s fun or to your liking, you must always do your best to succeed. Only from a constant state of focus and discipline can you be a master of sustained passion.
3) Commit to being a student for life: As the proverb goes, “Always a student and never a master.” I love being a student. It allows me to take chances and make mistakes without fear. There’s nothing that feels better than standing in the lineup of a class and responding, “Yes sir” to my instructor’s directions. Instructors often spend so much time teaching they forget they were once students. Never forget by constantly learning and growing as a martial artist. It’s the path to being a better martial arts instructor and maintains the integrity of your skills. The moment you believe you have nothing more to learn, your martial arts and business will suffer. Instructors often believe teaching is the same as training. Repeat after me, “Teaching is not the same as training.”If you don’t train, how can you ask it of your students? Lead by example by making it a priority to schedule and participate in weekly training sessions and monthly workshops with your staff. Read something every day. I was watching a children’s awards show where the actor Will Smith encouraged the audience to read. He said something to the effect, “Everything that you could ever want to know has already been written in a book somewhere.” Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, simply learn to drive your car better. You’ll earn faster, make fewer mistakes, and save yourself time and money by reading and doing your homework. The majority of school owners will agree they’re all black belts on the mat. But when it comes to business, finances, advertising, staff training, retention or customer service, they admit they could always do better. Learn to be a black belt in all aspects of your business through joining organizations such as MAIA and MAIA Elite. Attend great events like the annual Martial Arts Supershow in Las Vegas.
4) Create balance in your life: Most eastern philosophies and martial arts practices believe we’re composed of three elements; mind, body, and spirit. It’s also the belief that all three must be nourished equally to create “Life Balance.”Nourish your mind by learning every day. Nourish your body by eating healthy, exercising and managing your stress. Nourish your spirit by finding your own spiritual path and walking it on a daily basis. If you neglect your mind, body or spirit in any way, you create the imbalance. If you are imbalanced, you cannot function optimally. This can lead to bad choices, wrong actions, illness, and stress.Creating balance is often the most overlooked aspect of most people’s life. “I’m too busy,”, “The kids come first,”,“I don’t have the time.”Sound familiar? You’re no good to anyone unless you’re good to yourself.Remember you’re your best investment, so make the commitment to creating balance in your life. Here are a few other suggestions I humbly offer you to create life balance; spend time alone every day. Share quality time with your family and friends. Take vacations every year. Humbly accept your limitations. Recognize you can’t do it alone. Learn to say “No” sometimes.Learn to let go. Develop a quality team in your business. Define what others could and should be doing in your business and delegate authority.
5) Be content but never satisfied: It’s important to be content where you are today but always strives to be and do better. Successful people don’t focus on what they’ve done. They focus on what they’ve yet to do. Live in the present, not the past. That’s why the present is called the “present” because it’s truly a gift. Teach every class like it’s the first, the last, and the only class you will ever teach. Be fully present with every person you interact with on a daily basis. Do take the knowledge of what you have learned from past experiences to help you live a better today. Focus on being the best martial arts instructor, school owner and person possible. What matters most is what you contribute to society, to your family and to yourself today.
6) Recognize the importance of having goals: Having goals helps build self-esteem. Remember being a white belt and having the goal of one day earning a black belt? How proud did you feel when you finally achieved that? To achieve your goals you must be able to visualize them. Accomplish this by writing them down. Seeing your goals on paper can be very powerful and facilitates a call to action. Start by dividing them into three lists; “A”, “B” and “C”. The “A” list are daily activities such as teaching quality classes, training, eating healthy, picking your kids up from school and getting enough sleep. The “B” list is tasks that must be accomplished in four to six weeks, and require planning and preparation, such as a monthly belt testing, a demonstration at a local mall, or making a dinner reservation to celebrate your anniversary. The “C” list is your wish list, filled with all the things you dream about such as a vacation around the world, buying a new home or going skydiving. This is my favorite list because it allows you to dream big, where everything is possible and the sky is the limit. To be successful with your lists you must follow through by taking action. Talk is cheap. Walk your talk. Ever find yourself saying, “One day I’ll do it” or “I should of have done that?” Own everything you do by taking responsibility for all your actions and choices. Review your lists on a weekly basis. Whatever goals you didn’t achieve this week get transferred to next week’s list. Do this until all your goals are achieved. Then set about making new lists and establishing new goals.
7) Properly manage your time, money & wealth goals: Managing your time effectively and efficiently is vital to your success. The downfall of many martial arts school owners is poor time management. Does this scenario sound familiar? An old student stops in unannounced, you stop what you are doing, and end up in a lengthy conversation about the good old days? Nostalgic as it seems, it’s bad time management. Remember those goal lists?Stick to them verbatim. They are the key to good time management. Proper money management is the fuel that drives your martial arts school. Create a budget for your business and don’t deter from it. Pay yourself a livable wage and reinvest as much of your profits that’s possible back into your business. Remember, “It takes money to make money.” Be mindful that at some point, you’ll need to show profits if you ever want to secure a loan to grow your business. It’s always better to borrow someone else’s money than to use your own personal resources. Wealth goals are the path to financial freedom. You have the potential to determine your level of wealth because you own your own business. It all depends on how hard you’re willing to work to achieve it. I follow the author of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” Robert T. Kiyosaki’s model for abundant wealth. He says, “The three goals to financial freedom are to own your own business, have a strong investment portfolio for your retirement, and invest in real estate.”Having wealth goals and achieving financial freedom allows you the vehicle to create the kind of life you’ve always dreamt about.
8) Surround yourself with quality people: Make it a priority to seek out and develop quality relationships. From your employees to your mentors and friends, spend your time with quality people. Define what that means to you. Include people who are goal oriented, compassionate, unselfish, confident, community-minded, spiritually grounded and devoted to their family. They should exemplify all the qualities you admire in a person and aspire to be. They should inspire you to greatness. They should be people who offer constructive suggestions but never criticize you.They should be one of your greatest reasons to love and do what you do. The martial arts industry is one of the greatest in the world. To be able to teach martial arts and own your own business is an honor and a privilege.Helping people being their best is one of the most rewarding careers you could possibly choose. You are your greatest investment so invest in yourself constantly. Live every day with a positive attitude. Sustain your passion through focus and discipline. Commit to being a student for life. Create “Life balance” by nourishing your mind, body and spirit equally. Be content but strive to do and be better. Manage your time optimally by creating lists and following through by taking action. Be goal-oriented, budget your money, and have wealth goals. Surround yourself with quality people that you love and respect. Be grateful each and every day you’re blessed to be a martial arts instructor and school owner.