5 Steps to Set Your Priorities Straight as a Yoga Teacher
I think I’ve been scared of the word ‘priority’ since I was a kid. It comes up whenever you have a ‘discussion’ with your parents. It means that things are about to get serious and you have to face them. Even as adults, we tend to regress into our inner 8-year old whenever we have to engage in these moments. Which is why we deny, we sweep things under the rug and whistle as we walk away. It is not the proudest of moments but it is a very human one.
I have been planning out the second part of my career since last year. Waiting `til the establishment of my choice finally released their advanced courses, making my own feasibility study, letting practicality take over so that my own frivolity keeps in check. It was easier last year because everything was speculation. Nothing was concrete yet. Fast forward to the present day. The time has come to make decisions, pay for them, know that whatever happens after that will either be something you live with, thrive in, or learn from.
It was easier last year because everything was speculation. Nothing was concrete yet. Fast forward to the present day.
The 2nd part of your career is like the residency program for doctors. Hands-on experience until you eventually want to specialize in some area of your field. There are many factors to consider when you do make your choices. The trick is organising them. Here are mine.
1. Define your priorities
Defining what’s important to you may be a step that you can overlook. Maybe you feel that you have a clear vision of what they are or you feel like it should be something basic to every person. All good reasons. Still, what if you had to redefine them? What if you get yourself out of autopilot, sit down and take a second look at the aspects that are professionally important to you? I was so sure of myself that I needed my level 2 Teacher Training. Simply because I felt that it was the next step. Then I started getting dedicated clients that needed some form of yoga rehabilitation. Then I realised that a generic step up was not for me. This one little tweak in my head helped me narrow down my search. Knowing your destination takes away a huge weight on your shoulders. it allows you to actually embark on your journey than just keep looking at the map.
2. Immediate needs
What are the things you need to accomplish right now? Maybe you need to make new ads for your workshop? New business cards? Flyers? Think of the things that you cannot put off for another minute. Take care of those first. What you earn from accomplishing those immediate needs will get you to the next ones on your list. I live in Spain. More often than not people find my classes through the flyers and posters. In turn, I am usually in and out of the printers. It’s not a difficult task but it is a tedious part of my job. I also know that if I don’t promote my classes I won’t be able to afford the other needs that support my business, which is next.
3. Secondary needs
What do you need to make yourself a better teacher and wellness entrepreneur? This is where things get tricky because something you want could be justified as a need. Our inner kid can be very manipulative at this part of the process. Whenever you want to categorize your objective as a secondary need, think of the benefits you will gain after you get it. If the investment can be justified then do it. However, if keeping your savings is more important then it is a `want.´ Secondary needs can also wait a bit. Some of them don’t have deadlines. they just need to happen at some point in the near or farther future. My secondary needs are a good camera, a printer and taking yoga classes from a teacher. I have put off investing in the hardware because it can still wait. I have my phone and I could always have things printed out. These are inconveniences I can still live with. On the other hand, continuing on as a student is a `must´ for me because I abundantly learn from live classes. From cues, class management, up to studio management—it serves as my personal practice and preparation for when I open my own business.
This seems easy to fill in because as teachers, we want to help as many people as we can, we want to offer as much as we can. Yet we have to remember that old adage: Jack-of-all-trades, master of none. While writing a list for what you want seems like the place to go wild, we still need to use our heads. After all, you don’t want to invest in something you won’t have much use for. What do you want for your teaching career? How beneficial is it to you? Maybe you want a really good video camera—4k video, one that will show every bead of sweat on your nose. Do you really want people to see that? Plus if you only upload through youtube, the video quality will never come out well as it should. In a nutshell, be capricious but practical.
After all, you don’t want to invest in something you won’t have much use for. What do you want for your teaching career? How beneficial is it to you?
5. Make your calendar of events
Set your timeline. It isn’t that hard once you have broken down your priorities. After you’ve done everything above, setting up your year should go a lot more smoothly. Immediate needs should be ticked off within a week or 10 days max. Next, take care of time-sensitive secondary needs then after those tasks or events have been accomplished you can look into the rest. Following a best case scenario, if you can permit to tick off something you fancy, then so be it. We all need a bit of fun. Try it. Even just the simple act of putting this on paper motivates you more than you think. It will make you feel like you’re working towards something.
That’s it. To recap, define our priorities. The important things for you can be very different from what the teacher next to you is thinking. List your immediate needs. These have definite deadlines within the week. Figure out your secondary needs. Some have to be done at a certain time, others can wait but they have to be done sometime. Write down your wants these are things you fancy but are still professionally useful. Lastly, set a timeline for your goals. spread it throughout the course of a year or more because when you write things down it gives you goals to meet.
Yoga teachers live in the world of in-between. Subjective and objective, altruism and business, scientific and holistic—of which makes the job wonderfully frustrating. Still, with a little bit of organisation, you can become a more effective teacher and/or entrepreneur.